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Can you become less sensitive because of sex and masturbation?

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Rachel asks:

I’m a 19 year old girl and I’ve been masturbating since I was 14. I usually do it every day, sometimes more than once. My boyfriend is quite willing to please when it comes to oral sex, but lately it isn’t doing much for me. Even masturbation is less satisfying than it used to be, and needs a firmer touch. You hear of guys who worry that too much masturbation has made their penis less sensitive to the extent that they can’t come during penetrative sex – can the same thing happen to a clitoris? And, more importantly, is there anything I can do about it?

Heather Corinna replies:

This kind of thing is not an issue with your genitals changing in any way. It has more to do with your mind.

One big thing that has long been the conundrum of married and long-term couples everywhere when it comes to sex is the fact that our libidos really do tend to thrive on changing things up, rather than keeping things the same. Habit isn't exactly the enemy of people's sexual drives and sexual response, but it does often tend to result in things being less exciting, for our minds and our bodies.

So, the fact that after a handful of years, you're finding you need to adapt your masturbation patterns some isn't surprising. Most people, now and then, will need to find a new place, a new fantasy, a new toy, a new technique, a new approach. Our sexuality likes change and in many ways, it favors novelty.

It should also be said, though, that given how many drivers and influences we have per our libidos -- the alchemy of our bodies, our general health, our reproductive cycles, whatever stress or eustress we have in our lives, how our relationships are going, what all else we're doing with our lives besides sex -- it's also normal for us to have phases where sex is very high-key and phases where it's lower. There are times we'll be very libidinous,and times our libidos will be lower, or even seemingly nonexistent. That's normal. So, it may be, too, that you're just in a part of your life at the moment where sex is less interesting or important that it has been at other times.

If you don't feel like that's the case, and it's just a matter of you having desires that are just as strong, but you aren't responding sexually the way you're used to, then mix it up a bit. Do change how you masturbate some if that's what your body likes. Talk to your partner about exploring new activities beyond oral sex, or add a different dimension to the oral sex you're having; maybe explore some different fantasies in your mind throughout.

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