Not getting IT enough

Originally Published: March 1, 1994 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: July 22, 2011
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Alice,

I am a freshman in college. My girlfriend from home moved here with me last semester and had an awful time living in the college town where I attend school, so she moved back home to get a job there and go to a local college. She never ended up doing anything. As a result of her complete lack of motivation, I ended our two-year relationship. Now that I'm dating again, I find it difficult to be patient waiting for the physical aspects of my new relationships to develop. When I tell the women I get involved with about this problem, they are frightened away. I can't very well make the 9 hour drive back to her place every weekend to get laid by my ex. How should I handle this darned sex-drive thing?

Signed,

Libido-that-defies-the-confines-of-time

Dear Libido-that-defies-the-confines-of-time,

Being in a relationship can be great — you have easy access to emotional and physical intimacy, a permanent date for family functions, Friday night dinners, and Saturday night movies. Other times it may not be so dreamy. In your case, it sounds like the not so great started to outweigh the great. It's mature of you to recognize your need to end it and move on. However, with the positives of ending your relationship, you may have to face the negatives such as losing your easy access to physical intimacy.

Sexual urges are completely normal and for many people, easily managed. Some may satisfy these urges by masturbating, casually hooking up with people, or seeking out more serious physical relationships. Methods of handling sky-high libido are different for everyone, though. To understand why your sex drive all of a sudden seems so uncontrollable and how you might be able to rein it back in, ask yourself a few questions: Since you seem to feel uncomfortable having sex with someone outside of a relationship, what is it about being in a relationship that makes sex acceptable? What would happen if you tried to release that tension in another way? Is your sex drive getting in the way of school, work, or other relationships?

Masturbation may be a good option for you since there's no one to "frighten away" and it certainly won't require a nine hour drive to set off the sexual fireworks. Self-pleasuring may not only help release some of your sexual tension, but it may also help you understand more about your sex drive (i.e., what lights your fuse, how often that fuse needs to be lit, etc.). However, for some people, emotional connection adds to physical chemistry in the sack. Without it, the experience may not feel as satisfying. If this is the case for you, trying a more casual relationship with someone may be another option, though it may not be right for everyone. This may not even require that the encounter turn into a serious relationship in the future. The key here is to be open with your partner. If you two are not on the same page about what you want out of your relationship with one another (whatever it turns out to be), those pyrotechnics could backfire. As with any relationship, it takes patience to find one that fits and you may have to frighten a few away before you find someone who'll stick around for the long-haul.

Learning to live without the luxuries of a committed relationship may be a big adjustment, but there are ways to deal until the next one comes along. However, if you find that you're constantly thinking about sex to the point where it is interfering with everyday life, you may want to consider talking to a health care professional. Contacting a counseling center on your campus may offer opportunities to do this. Columbia students can call Counseling and Psychological Services at x4-2284.

Overall, patience and a little "handy" work may go a long way in satisfying your insatiable sex drive.  

Alice