E-mails from Readers

Here are some questions and comments from readers. Names and contact details have been removed for privacy. We are working on a way to submit questions and comments anonymously. We absolutely understand the desire for total privacy on something like this. But, until the anonymous contact feature is available, do know that if you do want to email with a random account, do rest assured that your e-mail address or other info will not be shared with anyone ever and email content is only posted here by permission of the sender.


An E-mail from one guy's awesome wife:

My husband just purchased a Fleshlight and encouraged me to read up on it to get a better understanding of what it is and what he wants to happen through using it. He told me about the condition "death grip" (with which he thinks he's afflicted) and I stumbled on your site.

I just wanted to thank you for some well-written articles and pieces of information; I also appreciated the letter from readers section. It was nice to read that you attempted to get at any underlying issues the guys had, rather than just pawn them off with simplistic answers.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks :)

And our response back . . .

Thanks! We're a husband wife team as well and we really appreciate the feedback. We're also really glad to read that you are both looking at the site together and working on this together. That's great support and what it's all about. We really hope it ends up being helpful. If it helps, please write us back sometime and let us know how it went, or let us know if you discover any additional tips or advice you'd like to share with other couples via the site.


We're heroes? Awesome! So glad it helped!

My girlfriend went travelling for 8 months and came back just over a month ago. During her travelling, i masturbated a lot! Without trying to sound big-headed, i get a lot of attention from girls - but i love my girlfriend and wouldn't dream of cheating on her...but urges are urges, and you have to deal with them some way, so i started masturbating a hell of a lot, i have a very active sex drive! When she came back, and we got to having sex, i couldn't feel much pleasure, and within a matter of minutes i went down. We laughed it off, and thought it might be the condom, so we did other stuff, and after a few days she got the pill from her doctor, and when we got to having sex, again, i didnt feel much again, it was better without the condom, so i lasted a while longer, but all the while not really feeling much and then it went down. I explained to her that i had masturbated a lot yaddah-yaddah, and she said it happens, so we did other stuff, and when she played with my junk, it all went fine. I searched frantically online, and stumbled across your page, and you have got me out of this mess! I followed your instructions - explained what i was doing to my girlfriend - and after 3 weeks, we had sex! It felt just like it used to! Thank you so much!

And our response back . . .

Awesome! Thanks so much for sending the feedback. Personally, that's pretty much what I went through myself because of a long distance relationship at the end of college and honestly I've had to repeat the process a few times for similar reasons. It can be really freakin' depressing when you you lose it during sex. It can also be a little scary, and that's why I set the site up. So, I'm really glad this worked for you and I really appreciate the feedback.

Thanks for writing, and we hope things keep rocking for you and the GF.


Trouble maintaining an erection. Is this "death grip"?

Question:

Hi, I've visited your website and found it very helpful.

I didn't realize that "death grip" was the thing i have ( i think so).

My problem is i can get an erection and ejaculte if i ( or she )masturbate myself strong and rapidly but if i want to have a sexual intercouse i lose the erection in her vagina... so i have to jerk it strong to have an erection again.

So i think i have the called "death grip" ... Do you think if i buy a fleshlight and use it instead of my hands would be helpful to overcame the "death grip" ??

Answer:

The issue you are describing could be any number of things, including "death grip", but a there are also other factors that can contribute to problems maintaining an erection during intercourse. Before approaching your issue as if it were "death grip", I'd look into some of these other factors to make sure your erection loss isn't a symptom of any sort of real health issue that needs to be addressed.

Have you checked your blood pressure recently? High blood pressure can contribute to erection loss and even difficulty getting an erection. And low blood pressure or blood pressure medications can also contribute. Does your email address indicate your birth year—1984? If you're around 28, you are at an age where you'll want to begin checking your blood pressure periodically. If you haven't checked it recently, you can often find free blood pressure machines at grocery stores and pharmacies if you want to do a quick check before going as far as scheduling a visit to your doctor. Normal blood pressure should be around 120/80. If either of those numbers is 10 points above or below, you might want to go get checked out by your doctor. Here's a WebMD article about blood pressure and erections: http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/high-blood-pressure-erectile-dysfunction

You might also want to take a look at your weight, activity level, diet, and stress. In addition to all of these items being a factor in blood pressure, they can also affect sexual performance regardless of whether or not you've got high blood pressure. (Though, please note that many people do experience high blood pressure despite perfect weight, diet and exercise, so still look at your blood pressure even if you're in good shape and live a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes it's just hereditary.)

Also, has this been an issue that has developed recently or has this been an issue for as long as you've been sexually active with a partner? If this is a recent or occasional issue I'd be more inclined to look at some factors other than "death grip" first. Some additional factors to consider include the health of your relationship with your partner, work or life-related stress that might be taking your mind out of the moment, exhaustion from your job or even working out. etc. Other than this one issue you're experiencing in bed, is everything going well in your relationship? And is this an issue you experience every now and then or consistently? Remember that you aren't a machine. You're human. Sometimes you're just going to have an off day in bed just like you might have an off day in sports where things just aren't happening for you. It just happens. The important thing is to not start worrying every time thereafter that the same things is going to happen again or that you're broken. Just worrying that it will happen can cause it to happen again. Sometimes you just need to relax. It's not cheating and you're not broken if every now and then you just aren't able to get off through intercourse. Sometimes you just need something different to push you over the edge.

If you take a look at all of these other factors and determine that none of these issues are at play here, then you indeed might want to consider "death grip" as a possible explanation for what you're experiencing, especially if you're having trouble reaching an orgasm during vaginal intercourse, which is really the hallmark sign of "death grip". "Jerking off" is definitely not the same kind of stimulation or sensation you experience during intercourse. As described on the site, if over the years you've developed a dependence on this particular type of stimulation in order to relieve sexual tension, you may be having difficulty responding to the sensations of intercourse, which is a different type of stimulation and more subtle and soft than what you experience with a hand—especially your own hand.

You don't necessarily have to use a Fleshlight to try to recondition yourself to be more responsive. There is a guide on the site to trying to recondition yourself just by using your hand, lubricant, and some self discipline. However, the Fleshlight can be helpful in this process for several reasons. First, it prevents you from adding additional pressure with your hand—the case prevents you from squeezing harder and harder as you might do while jerking off. Second, the Fleshlight feels more like the sensations of intercourse than your hand because it is the same type of gliding and engulfing sensation you feel during intercourse. It doesn't feel exactly like sex, but it feels much more like sex than your hand and it's close enough to help you recondition yourself to be more responsive to vaginal stimulation. And finally, with the Fleshlight, it's almost as if you're able to practice in a vagina whenever you have time and without pressure. Plus, the Fleshlight is just a really good product on it's own and feels a lot better than your hand once you become more responsive to that type of stimulation.

Even with the Fleshlight though, you'll still need to use some self discipline. Try the schedule on the site first. Also, if you decide to try a Fleshlight, some models will be more helpful than others depending on the type of texture on the inside. Some models are designed to be tighter and/or extra intense—more intense than a vagina—and this is not what you want if you're trying to condition yourself to be more responsive inside a vagina. It could have the opposite effect. However, a vagina is also not completely smooth inside, so you also want to avoid the Fleshlight that is completely smooth inside. Probably the best one to use for the purpose of trying to overcome death grip is going to be one of the models that features the "Lotus" texture inside. (Warning! The following links will take you to the Fleshlight site and you will see adult sexual content. You must be 18 or over in order to use and purchase from this site.) The Lotus texture is designed to be the most realistic sensation and is available only in the "Fleshlight Girls series of Fleshlights. Like a vagina it has contours and shape, yet not so much texture that it should feel more stimulating than a vagina.

Another tip. If you are in a serious relationship with your partner, consider being honest with her about what is going on. First, honesty fosters intimacy, which enhances the sexual part of the relationship and can affect your performance. Second, if you get a Fleshlight, you don't want to have to sneak around with it or lie. It's not that easy to hide if you live with someone and you shouldn't have to hide it. Many women completely understand the issue and also understand why a guy would want a toy regardless of whether or not they're trying to overcome death grip. Some women may need some reassurance though that you aren't using a toy because she is inadequate. Being upfront can help avoid that impression versus hiding it and having it discovered. But, you know her personality best. Use your judgement but take it into consideration.

Good luck. Go check your blood pressure today just to make sure.


Death Grip + Lack of Erection

Question:

My name is _______ and I'm 22 years old.

Short background on me: I'm still a virgin for largely psychological reasons. I'm a fairly normal looking and acting dude. Don't have very much experience with women, but I have done everything but intercourse.

So here's the deal, a few months ago I decided I was ready for sex. More specifically, with my ex girlfriend. We are still really good friends. So after a few months (of heartache) I was finally able to get her in the mood. And damn it, she was in the mood. But I wasn't!!!!!

At first I didn't think much of it, but a few days later I hooked up with another girl... Same thing! No matter what these two women did I could not get up!

As a 22 year old, it was pretty fucking embarrassing. I'm fairly sure death grip syndrome has something to do with the lack of sensitivity my penis has.

But here's my question: can death grip syndrome also contribute to unable getting an erection? If not, what do you suggest I do to help me to perform better - except for seeing a doctor, but I'll do it if have too. Is this a normal thing for 22 year olds to have, or could I be in trouble?

Thank you for your help.

Answer:

I don't think what you're experiencing is really the death grip effect. You really wouldn't be able to tell if something like that is going on until you actually start experiencing intercourse often enough to get a feel for your normal physical response to intercourse. Death grip is about not being able to reach an orgasm through intercourse due to a sort of dependency on the type of deep tissue massage stimulation you experience from using your own hand—which is very different from the type of stimulation you experience during intercourse. If you're unable to achieve an erection in order to facilitate intercourse, you're looking at a different issue.

I think it's much more likely, at this point, that your trouble getting an erection at the beginning of a sexual encounter has a lot more to do with nerves than anything else. This is extremely common, especially for guys who wait until they're a little older to start having sex, but it also happens to guys who start having sex relatively early also. The difference between guys who start early and guys who start later is that guys who start later have spent more time over thinking and analyzing their own sexual maturity. As a result, they end up placing so much importance on "the first time" (or even the first few times) that when the big moment does arrive, they find themselves distracted or stressed by a multitude of thoughts and feelings that have built up after years of thinking too much. These distractions take you away from being in the moment and make it hard to become aroused or get into it even if you want it.

On a personal note, I didn't start having sex until 22 or 23 either and experienced something similar. Despite fantasizing and anticipating the moment since age 13 or 14, when I came upon my first opportunities, I was numb and completely shocked by my body's ambivalent response to something that I thought I wanted so badly. I had placed so much importance on the moment that I was completely distracted—a deer in the headlights, as they say.

"First times" for sex are usually marginal at best, if not completely awkward, just like "first times" for just about everything else—walking, driving, first day at a job, etc. It's just that when you're a little older, you feel like you're getting pretty good at the whole adult life thing and then having to be a newbie at some of life's basic things kinda sucks. But, life sort of just continues that way forever. You think you've got everything figured out and then you try something new and look dumb. Then you get good at it and never look back. Repeat.

So, what I suggest this circumstance is the same cure for all newbie jitters—practice and persistence. If you're able to achieve sexual release on your own and you fantasize (at least sometimes) about the kind of sex you'd like to have, then you know that you are sexually responsive. Don't be discouraged by some rough starts. Erections aren't operated by a switch, you have to be relaxed and comfortable.

You said that you were trying with your ex girlfriend. Could there be a lot of complex feelings involved in that relationship? Sex fosters intimacy, especially the "first time". It's an incredibly intimate and vulnerable moment. Are there dynamics to your current or former relationship with this woman that might be triggering something in the back of your head that tells you that you shouldn't do something that will extend or complicate feelings of intimacy with her? There's nothing wrong with sex between friends, but she's not just a friend. You have a history. Your brain may be shutting your body's responses down for a reason. Perhaps it knows better. I would suggest instead that you'll be more successful with either a new no-strings-attached friend with benefits, or a new romantic relationship. In either one, you don't have the previous history or complicated feelings. What you have is newness, excitement, and a clean start.

You'll get there. Just relax. Don't over think things or put a timer on your sexual experience. You don't want to try to have sex for the sake of it being a milestone, you'll stress yourself out. You don't set out to have sex and then expect your body to make it happen for you, you have sex because your mind and body lead you to it. And, don't sweat your sexual experience and your age. For every person who thinks that it is odd to be a virgin at 22, there is another who thinks it's weird to be sexually experienced at 22. You just have to move at your own pace and do what is most comfortable for you and not pay attention to anyone else's thoughts on it. Remember, there are millions of people who are intentionally waiting until marriage. You've got plenty of time.

I hope you find some of this helpful or encouraging and I wish you the best of luck. Feel free to email again if you need further clarification. (Just be aware it may take a while for a response.)


The following question is a followup to the question above about death grip and lack of erection.

Question:

Death grip and a porn habit

First of all I'd really like to thank you for your time and response. it was very helpful and I really appreciate it.

Since you seem like your pretty knowledgable about the subject, I'd like to ask you one more question if you don't mind. The truth is, my issues with sex go a bit deeper than my fear of death grip, stemming from all kinds of things like depression and the fact that I am nervous due to the fact that I am 22 and my have a history with my ex. But mostly, this brought on because I've recently began a relationship with someone else, and I seem to be having a very similar issue.

On to my question: there were two things I was worried about sex, death grip and my porn habits. Although I do not watch anything extreme, my choice of porn tends to be those of "abnormal situations.". What's truly funny about it is that they are things I don't have a huge interest in trying myself.

I know the obvious thing to do is to quit cold turkey in order to get some sort of sexual sensitivity back, but it's been proving very difficult. After doing this for over 10 years, I've definitely developed (for lack of a better term) a sort of physical addiction to it. If death grip is not my biggest problem, I think this might be. Do you have any advice on how to conquer an "addiction" like this? Do you even think that this is an issue?

If you feel like this isn't exactly for field of expertise, I absolutely understand. Thank you so much for your help.

Answer:

Regarding the porn issue, are you certain that the scenarios you like in porn aren't something that you would want to at least try in real life? Plain vanilla sex doesn't do it for everyone and there's nothing wrong with you if plain vanilla isn't it for you. There's no right or wrong answers in sex as long as everything is consensual. Whatever it is that you like in porn, there are women out there who are also into it. Depending on what it is though, it may take a little more time to find the women who are into whatever it is, but they're out there. The reason I ask is that you seem to feel that your porn interests are interfering with your ability to enjoy the regular sex that you want or say you want to have. If the deep truth is that what you see in porn is what you do desire, there is nothing wrong with pursuing it as long as it is possible to do in real life and is completely consensual.

That having been said, porn is an outlet for fantasy, so it's not that unusual for people to let porn be the only outlet for some of their secondary interests. For example, there are many straight guys who otherwise have absolutely no interest in ever having any physical contact with another guy at all, but nevertheless like to occasionally watch a video of another guy masturbating. And there are women who have rape fantasies but don't actually want to be raped. And this applies to all sorts of media. Many of us love action movies where people blow stuff up and shoot at each other, but that doesn't mean we all want to become Navy SEALS in real life. Porn is the same way for most people. Most of us balance out a fantasy life and our real sex lives. You'll be able too also. You've just got to get a balance. You've been involved in just the fantasy world for a long time.

If you're absolutely certain the scenarios you like in porn are a purely a fictional interest, and not something you want to do in real life, then the best course of action probably is to lay off the porn for a while. Rediscover your own imagination. Or, at the very least, experiment with some more pedestrian porn that depicts the kind of real life sex you want to have and see if you can be responsive to it. If you really think you've gotten yourself into a rut, it's time to change things up.

Back to your worries about death grip, and at the same time, addressing again my hunch that nerves may be playing a role in your frustration, I trust you've read through the recommendations on the site already and you saw the recommendation of the Fleshlight. Not only can it be useful in trying to overcome the death grip effect (the site goes over all the reasons why) but it might also help you transition your association with your own hands as being your primary source of pleasure to a vagina being your primary source of pleasure simply by the appearance of the Fleshlight itself as well as through the way that you are actually being stimulated by penetrating and being engulfed by something that feels good. Your hand doesn't look like a vagina and it definitely doesn't feel like a vagina. A Fleshlight comes a lot closer. Not only might it help with the death grip effect, it may also help you start catching up on associating a vagina with pleasure. Up until now, you see, the idea of a vagina being pleasurable has only been theoretical. Right? And with the Fleshlight, you can practice and experiment, and be awkward all in privacy and without any pressure.

No, it won't be the same. Real sex will definitely be more intricate and comes with more mental energy than a Fleshlight, but it's a much, much closer approximation than your hand and your history with your hand seems to be presenting a bit of a problem for you right now.

And finally, if you develop a good relationship with a woman before starting to have sex, perhaps you can enlist her help as well if you're honest about your concerns. One of the activities prescribed for guys who have trouble climaxing during intercourse is to masturbate with their female partners until he can feel that he is very close to reaching an orgasm. At that point, he swithces to penetration to finish and actually have the orgasm. This helps the guy begin to associate orgasms with being inside his partner. Eventually he should be able to enjoy full stimulation through intercourse from beginning to climax. It's a similar principle as practicing with a Fleshlight, but it is reliant on a certain comfort level between partners.

And one more recommendation. You can get much better general advice than what I can give you by listening to Dan Savage's "Savage Love" podcast. Savage Love Podcast Page Not only does he give great, straight-shooting practical advice, he can be really funny as well. I've heard him speak on death grip and Fleshlights, as well as take calls from guys worried about how the amount or type of porn they watch is affecting their real-life sex life. And, I know he'd say not to sweat that you're 22 and a virgin. He also has a syndicated column. At some point he's addressed your questions better than I can. Definitely check him out and start listening to the podcast. It's available free on iTunes also. Just search for Savage Love.

Good luck.


An extra tough case of Death Grip

Question (April 2016):

I started masturbating at a young age, only problem was I learned wrong, I used a prone technique pushing my penis into my hands with a lot of pressure and thrusting. In high school I finally came across an article showing how dangerous this method can be, so I switched over to a traditional. Unfortunately this article did not warn me about the deathgrip. So now years have gone by and now I am at the point where I can only ejaculate using the deathgrip and flexing my legs as hard as I can. I am able to keep an erection during sex but I cant get anywhere near ejaculation. So looking into this I found your webpage curedeathgrip.com, I just went a week without masturbating, and when I tried I used lots of lubricant and a looser grip in various positions, I went for an hour without coming close at all to finishing. Any advice on how i can fix this problem. I wish I would have got educated at an early age on how to properly because now I have this problem.

Answer:

Thanks for writing and sorry for the slow response!

Getting over the "deathgrip" and forming more healthy sexual habits is actually a lot like weight loss or getting back into shape. A week of change, although a good step in the right direction, isn't going to automatically undo years of bad habits. You have to make the new and positive habits part of your everyday lifestyle. I would suggest continuing with the full plan outlined in on curedeathgrip.com, but modifying it to try masturbating (with the loose grip) only once per week until you are able to hook up to a sensation. If nothing happens after 20 minutes, just stop and wait another week.

Another thing I would recommend trying in the course of your weekly attempts, is to take breaks. Stimulate for a few minutes, and then pause for 30 seconds, then begin touching again. What you're trying to do is pick up on the sudden change from no stimulation to stimulation. When you're perceiving pleasure normally, returning to stimulation after a pause can be an extra pleasurable sensation. Hopefully you'll be able to "find" the sensation again by doing that.

Failing those suggestions, you might have to be a little more drastic in your time off…maybe a full month.

It does take some discipline, and it takes permanent change. If you continue to have trouble, it might be time to consider trying a Fleshlight, or at least maybe even just a cheap Tenga Egg or something to introduce a new dynamic and possibly disrupt your rut.

Hope some of that helps. Come back and let us know how it goes.

A Fleshlight can help with "death grip" in two ways. First, the case prevents you from squeezing too hard. Second, it feels more like intercourse than your hand and therefore helps you become accustomed to that type of stimulation exclusively instead of being dependent on your hand. Learn more about the Fleshlight.