Craig, list

Pub date August 14, 2007


Dear Andrea:

I am in love with a girl a few years younger than me. She’s in her early 20s, and before me she had never had a sexual partner. The fact that I’ve been around the block over and over again made me reluctant to become "that guy." That said, our relationship has become very serious as well as emotionally rewarding.

The fact that I’ve been recruited as the lab segment for a human sexuality course has not been lost on me. I’ve done my best to exemplify a quality educational experience. We still have a couple of problems, though. First, I am an audiophile: besides having a good record collection, I’m physically aroused by sound. Even now I’m contemputf8g how I can turn my nonsqueaky bed into a squeaky bed. She’s pretty quiet (not letting go?), which leads to the second problem: the elusive orgasm. I know many women never have orgasms or don’t start having them until later, but I’m doing my best to make sure that she beats the odds. She has them when she masturbates but refuses or ducks the issue if I ask to watch. Currently she and I are separated by the vastness of the Midwest, and I’ve been devising different strategies to break through her mental block on her return. Any additions to the list would be welcome.

Stratagem one: convince her that I am not real. This would involve blindfolding, earplugs, tying her to my soon-to-be squeaky bed, and a very slow and imaginative seduction. This will end up happening in any case because it is just hot.

Stratagem two: make a symbolic charm, imbued with sexual voodoo.

Stratagem three: learn hypnosis, then subconsciously encourage her to let the fuck go. (Has any research been done in this area?)

Stratagem four: relax and just let it happen.

Stratagem five: get advice from a sex columnist.


Audio Science

Dear Science:

Oh my. You sure do use a lot of words, don’t you? Just like to hear yourself talk, is it?

It’s funny — I had your letter mentally filed under "physical problem solving: bed squeaks" and had you filed under "freaks: audio," but now that I read back over it, it’s really just the same old same old with a lot of extra words and a very small element of interesting freakiness. So let’s look at that first, in the interest of keeping me awake (sorry, late night). So: bed not noisy enough? Immediately I think, "Yay, engineering question — who do I know who might make a good consultant for that, and how do you reverse-engineer a squeak, and what sort of hardware would produce the desired degree of squeakiness … ?" and then I thought, "Good grief, let’s not get silly." (Or squeaky either: at a former job my husband used to have to attend meetings that tended toward the discursive, and at some point someone would interrupt the proceedings with a loud "Squeeeeak!" which meant "You’re going down a rat hole.") Most people, lacking your rarified sensibilities, find bed squeakiness annoying and distracting or even mood killing, as fear of being overheard by roommates or neighbors or, God forbid, parents can do that to a person, and these less-rarified people are dying to get rid of their squeaky beds, aren’t they? Wouldn’t someone be happy to trade? Not to go down a rat hole here myself, but I was walking down the street a few days ago and my friend said, "That guy looks familiar," and I said, "That was Craig Newmark. He’s Craig!" And why is Craig famous? He’s famous because people have beds they don’t want, and other people want those beds, and Craig makes it happen for them. Don’t fix or, rather, unfix your bed, and don’t buy a new one. Use Craig!

Now, your list. Your list, with the exception of stratagem five, is just not going to work. If indeed the young lady is not having orgasms (perhaps she isn’t, but all you really seem sure of is that she is not vocalizing them to your satisfaction, which is not at all the same thing), I would not advocate either doing anything weird or doing nothing. If she maybe knows what she likes but is reluctant to spell it out for you, I do advocate talking, books (Lonnie Barbach’s are the classics, although there are newer and more sciency ones out now) to clarify things and establish a vocabulary, and something like the "Do what I tell you" game, in which you, well, do what she tells you. This allows for giggling and admissions of shyness, plus, it is hot. So is your scenario with the blindfolds and whatnot, although that one does not make a whole lot of sense under the circumstances. You are hot for sound? You like to listen? You wear the blindfold, silly.



PS As for hypnosis and orgasm, there is … stuff on this. A great deal of stuff. I wouldn’t call most of it research.

Andrea is home with the kids and going stir-crazy. Write her a letter! Ask her a question! Send her your tedious e-mail forwards! On second thought, don’t do that. Just ask her a question.