I'm in a relationship with a wonderful guy whom I love very, very much—but I dread being intimate with him, because it always ends with me screaming silently to myself as he rams himself into me as hard and fast as possible. I'm left fighting back tears, feeling alone and used. It's not that he wouldn't stop if I asked him to—but I bite my lip and try to tolerate it for as long as I can because it's the only way he can orgasm. He masturbates extremely vigorously, and when we have sex I end up feeling like a masturbatory tool rather than a partner making love. I feel so guilty whenever I turn down sex and he resorts to jacking off (which is pretty frequently now), but I can't handle the physical and emotional trauma of the alternative. I've discussed these feelings with my partner many times, but things haven't gotten any better. If there is anything I can do to salvage the intimacy in our relationship, please tell me.

Get Your Tickets for the Savage Love Livestream! Dan answers your burning relationship questions live and all the money goes to Northwest Harvest!

Silently Hates Intimate Times

There's just one thing you can do, SHIT, other than what you're already doing. In addition to enduring his ramming (and then feeling like shit during and after) or avoiding sex entirely, you could put oral, mutual masturbation, and outercourse on the menu and cut way back on the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad PIV intercourse. With the understanding, of course, that he doesn't get to fuck your mouth the way he's been fucking your pussy.

But there is something he can do about it: he can retrain his cock. Your boyfriend clearly has a terrible, horrible, etc., case of what I call Death Grip Syndrome—difficultly coming during intercourse thanks to that vigorous-to-violent masturbatory style of his—and you're suffering the consequences. He is too, to a lesser extent, as his partner is now avoiding sex. And he can and should take the advice I gave to another man with Death Grip Syndrome:

You'll have to swear off the death grip forever, ABF, if you want your dick to respond to more subtle sensations. When you jerk off, use a light touch and let it take as long as necessary—and it may take a while. When you're with a woman, fuck her brains out and give her orgasms galore, and when it's time for you to come—the moment you're used to taking matters into your own hands and finishing yourself off with the death grip—force yourself to use her body or her mouth or her pussy, or, if you must use your own hand, use that same light touch you've been practicing with when you beat off. If you don't come, well, tough shit, you don't get to come. To avoid giving the women you're with complexes, warn them in advance that you're trying to retrain your dick. While this approach may be frustrating in the short run, in the long run only this approach—a light touch, a firm resolve, and consistent denial—will kick your dick's dormant nerve endings into gear.

Mike Pearl, writing for Vice, did a deep (and skeptical) dive into Death Grip Syndrome—and other "idiosyncratic" forms of masturbation—and the experts he consulted agreed: a guy can do something about it. Pearl:

New York sex therapist Michael A. Perelman [is] a clinical professor of psychology in psychiatry at Cornell University, and co-director of the Human Sexuality Program at The New York Presbyterian Hospital. Perelman has encountered delayed ejaculation in many, many incarnations, including the endless thrusting anecdotally associated with a "death grip."

Full disclosure: Perelman isn't a big fan of my "Death Grip Syndrome" descriptor/theory/diagnoses, which he finds "ridiculously provocative." (Just doing my job, doc, just doing my job.) Back to Pearl:

In a "five year retrospective chart review," (meaning gathering data from his patients' charts) Perelman told us he looked at 80 men with delayed ejaculation, and 37 percent of them had a history of masturbating in a way that stimulated a "specific spot," or "with an idiosyncratic style." He estimates that in total, 40 percent of men who make it to his office after complaining about delayed ejaculation are "idiosyncratic" masturbators. But too tight of a masturbatory grip is just one variation in the wonderful world of idiosyncratic masturbation. "There are a lot of variations on this," he said. In addition to a tight grip, "you've got speed—super rapid simulation. You've got a particular place, and if that place isn't touched, it doesn't work." Then there are the really idiosyncratic ones. "Someone else might always use the same sock," Perelman said.

But, in the end, Perelman's prescription for men with your boyfriend's problem is the same as mine: retrain your cock.

As for what to do about it, Savage was remarkably on point when he changed his boyfriend's habits. Perelman does something similar: "I'll have them suspend masturbation temporarily until they're able to ejaculate with whatever their preferred form of sexual activity is with their partner.

Perelman thinks your boyfriend should stop masturbating, I think your boyfriend should keep masturbating but with a very light touch and, again, if he doesn't come, he doesn't come. But both approaches require your boyfriend to recognize that this is his problem, not yours, and that he has to fix it. And if he won't do that—if he doesn't love you enough to fix his problem (and spare both your pussy and your psyche)—I don't think there's much hope for your relationship.

Support The Stranger

P.S. In some cases, SHIT, Death Grip Syndrome isn't a problem that can be solved—even with a sincere, good-faith effort on the part of guy suffering from it. Like I said in that column I quoted above...

Your problem may not be fixable, ABF, because your dick, after 30 years of abuse, may be too far gone. If that's the case, you may have to accept your fate, adjust, and deal. Fuck your girlfriends until they're satisfied, then pull out, use the death grip, and when you've reached the point of no return, stuff it back in her.

Fucking the girlfriend until she's satisfied? In your case, SHIT, that means fucking you gently, not slamming in and out of you. Since the point will be your pleasure—your mutual pleasure—not getting him off, there's no need for him to do the ramming that he needs to make himself come. If he can't fix his Death Grip Syndrome, he fucks you until you come, he pulls out, he masturbates in his accustomed/damaging style, gets himself to the point of "orgasmic inevitability," as it's called, and then he slides back in you to come. Mix that up with lots of oral, outercourse, and mutual masturbation, SHIT, and you can have a pretty great sex life with this guy.