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Silicon Valley Sex Therapy

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Click, click, click. The sound of black high heels faded as Gloria walked down the hall away from my office. "I haven't been laid in months," she had cried just moments ago, "and I'm losing my mind."

But she didn't have time for my reply. She had budgeted exactly 50 minutes for our session, and now had to rush off to a sales meeting. No, gorgeous, talented, over-scheduled and overwhelmed Gloria probably wouldn't be getting laid for a while longer. In her case the medium really was the message--but ironically, she was too busy to notice. One more casualty of our insane high-tech work ethic, I thought, slowly closing the door.

I'm a sex therapist. I spend most of my time in the private worlds of 25 patients a week. I treat undependable penises and vaginas, desires that trouble partners, orgasms that don't please, and fantasies that frighten. Hour after hour in a comfortable chair listening to uncomfortable people, I sit in a sunlit room bearing witness to the darkest parts of people's lives.

Doing this in Silicon Valley presents a sex therapist with some unusual challenges. For one thing, many people find their work so fascinating that personal relationships simply can't compete. These folks hardly notice their partner's sexuality (or their kids' emotional needs, for that matter). Many channel their "libido"--their ch'i, their life force--into their work rather than their eroticism. People who work for survival, or just for money, don't usually do that. But people whose existential meaning depends on their work do. Same for those who find their work the most interesting thing on earth. We get lots of that around here.

As a result, one of the most common predicaments I treat is desire discrepancies--one partner wanting sex much more than the other. The popular stereotype of these situations (if they're heterosexual) is that the higher desire partner is the male. Whether that's true anywhere else, it certainly isn't true around here. The number of 40ish women complaining that their mates just don't respond (much less initiate) anymore is staggering. These women are feeling frustrated, angry, unappreciated, and hopeless.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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