April 1999

Hi Chris,

I am a 16 year-old gay teen in South Africa.

I love my boyfriend and we have been together for a year and a few days. I have a problem when we have sex or perform oral sex; I can never reach orgasm. I think it might be physical or maybe mental. I think it may be my subconscious acting up. I have a low self-esteem, as well. Could you inform me of anything, or offer me some advice!


All my love (and great column),



Hi Stefan,

First, thanks for the nice words -- glad to be here! And how nice to hear that the two of you have been together that long. Congratulations to you both.

There could be a lot of things going on with respect to your inability to achieve orgasm. Here are some thoughts.

You might have some sort of physical problem that prevents you from achieving orgasm. That seems like it might be fairly easy to test, though. If you are able to come when you masturbate, most likely you can rule out some sort of physical problem (I have made the assumption here that you are able to get an erection, by the way, but the same thinking applies). It's also less likely for someone your age to have this kind of issue (than it might be for someone in their 60s or 70s, for example.

If you can't reach orgasm at all, however, you might have some sort of biological problem and you'll want to visit a urologist or a specialist in this area. If you're uncomfortable discussing this with your family doctor, you might try a public health clinic (I'm not familiar with what services you might have in South Africa, nor with what privacy laws you might have, but there's probably something like this by you).

But it appears that you have a handle on what might be at the root of your problem: some sort of psychological block or issue. It may be that your self-esteem issues cause you to think that you might not be good enough at sex or might not be attractive enough. If so, that's a common fear -- most people are usually dissatisfied with some aspect or another of their body.

Or it might be that you might have some residual guilt hanging around. For a lot of gay guys, they've been taught so long that gay sex is bad, that it can take quite a while to get past. That can also hold you back.

Now, the best approach would be for you to meet with a therapist, perhaps even one that specializes in sexual issues. Ultimately, it may be that this is the only way you're able to resolve this issue. But I'm going to bet that this might not be an easy thing for you to do at 16 years old, so let's think through another approach.

If your boyfriend is willing to work with you, then you might want to enlist his help in this project. To be honest, I bet he will want to help, because this could be fun and, after all, it's what you're both trying to do, anyhow.

If you can achieve orgasm when you're masturbating, you might start out with that and then get your boyfriend to help you along the way. If it works, then just try going a little farther next time, until you get where you want to be. It's hard to say whether or not this will work, but in any case, it's likely to be quite a bit of fun along the way.

I hope things work out for you,



Dear Chris,

Last year, I went out with my first love, my first kiss, and the one to whom I lost my virginity, for about nine months. Though we loved each other, there were problems and personality clashes which brought about a month-long break-up and then, later, the final break-up itself.

My problem is that I am still very much attracted to him, as he is to me. He is far away right now at university while I am still at high school. When he was home during Christmas, we were so strongly attracted that we slept together, although he was seeing someone in the city where he studies. Recently, during reading week, we visited while he was back home, and he still felt the same way, while still going out with the same person! We didn't have sex then, though.

I must admit that I did enjoy sex with him, and don't regret it. However, "ending up in bed together" is how our one-month break-up ended, leading to our second abortive attempt at a relationship. I'm almost one hundred percent sure that our relationship can never move beyond good friends, so I'm not sure that having sex is a good idea.

Sometimes, I believe that pursuing a pure friendship is the high road that I should follow, but at other times, I think I should give in to my body rather than just fantasize about someone whom I know wants me as much as I want him. My mind's been going around in circles.

He'll probably be returning for spring break, and most definitely for summer. I think we'll have the chance to have sex again, especially since he doesn't seem too excited about his relationship with the guy he's going out with. I'm not sure where I stand, and I don't want something to happen without me being certain about how I feel. What do you think?




Hi Ken,

The answer is in your last two sentences, and that's something only you will be able to answer.

How DO you feel about him? And what are your thoughts about sex with him?

One answer could be that it's not important to you whether or not you still have feelings with him, that sex is fun, and you want to enjoy sex with him again. There's nothing at all the matter with that, and if you both are into it, why not (and just a little preaching: be safe!)

Now it might be that it's important to you that guys you have sex with are ones you're either in a relationship with, or have strong feelings for. Again, if that's the case, and you both feel you want to, that's great.

But there's something you need to ask yourself, too. If you're thinking of having sex with him because it might rekindle your old relationship, you probably want to think again. That almost never happens, and usually leaves one or the other of the guys wondering, afterwards, why they let themselves get carried away. In that case, you're probably better skipping it.

Take care,


Chris can be reached at chris@kryzan.com.

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