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How do I calm down my sexual desires around others?

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Guyman asks:

I'm a 14 year old guy, and basically, I've had trouble not really "thinking" about sex. I know its my hormones and growing up, but really, how can you, calm sexual desires down, and, I'm going to a party next week, with lots of girls. So, can you help?

Heather Corinna replies:

I'm afraid that there isn't a whole lot I can do for you, Guyman.

You're right: it is totally normal right now for you to feel strong sexual desires, and to get pretty excited when you're around people that you're attracted to. It's also certainly more profound because of your age.

It does settle down some in time, but it also kind of doesn't: we just get more used to it as we get older, and often have a lot more to distract us. But most of us are still always going to feel pretty giddy and hyped when we're around someone where we feel a really strong attraction, and age, alas, doesn't keep us from making an arse of ourselves every now and then when we have those feelings. It's also totally okay to think about sex a lot: people can't read your mind, after all, and your thoughts don't do anyone harm, so long as you still treat them with care and respect, and like the whole people they are separate from your sexual thoughts or fantasies.

One thing that does tend to help is just managing your desires on your own. Given, if you're masturbating all the time and that still isn't helping, I recognize that may be hollow advice. But some other things can help, too, like just staying active. Hey: at a party you can dance to get your ya-yas out, just watch it with the bump and grind. Get some fresh air when you need to. Engage the girls you see into talking about real things so you can remind yourself there's more to them -- and you -- than just sex. Have a friend be your wingman (or wingwoman, if you prefer a female friend) and give you a hand signal if you're starting to act in a way you won't be able to live down after the weekend. And for the love of Pete, don't get wasted. Not only is it not good for your health, not only is it nothing close to legal for you, it massively increases the chance of you behaving in a way that few people, including yourself, are likely to appreciate.

Ultimately, though, advice for how not to feel something you're feeling only makes so much sense, especially when it's normal, healthy and totally okay to feel that way. I know it sucks to feel awkward and a bit out of control, and it's tough to feel like our thoughts or drives are unmanageable, but they are manageable, and this too shall pass. It isn't likely to take much time at all for you to get more used to feeling like this, and also feeling more able to keep it together when you do. Plus, it's pretty darn likely that eventually, you'll have sexual partners who not only don't want you to calm these desires down, they'll revel in them and very much encourage you to let them be rowdy.

If it's any consolation, the girls at that party have the same kinds of feelings as you: they're in a similar space. It's so not just you. It might help to remember that at moments when you're feeling really awkward around them.

And when you're all old and grey, there's not a one of you who will have gotten through your adolescence without embarrassing yourself profoundly at least once (and probably way more than once if you're like most of us), and that's okay, too. We've all survived it, and it makes us feel just that much cooler as full-fledged adults, since it makes our embarrassing, spaztastic moments we have now pale in comparison.

written 09 Feb 2008 . updated 09 Feb 2008

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