Dr. Ruth Westheimer is a psychosexual therapist who helped to pioneer the field of media psychology with her radio program, Sexually Speaking. It began in September of 1980 as a fifteen minute, taped show that aired Sundays after midnight on WYNY-FM (NBC) in New York. One year later it became a live, one-hour show airing at 10 PM on which Dr. Ruth, as she became known, answered call-in questions from listeners. Soon it became part of a communications network to distribute Dr. Westheimer's expertise which has included television, books, newspapers, games, home video, computer software and her own website, www.drruth.com.
Born in Germany in 1928, Dr. Westheimer was sent to a children's home in Switzerland at the age of ten which became an orphanage for most of the German Jewish students who had been sent there to escape the Holocaust. At 17 she went to Israel where she fought for that country's independence as a member of the Haganah, the Jewish freedom fighters. She then moved to Paris where she studied at the Sorbonne and taught kindergarten. She immigrated to the U.S. in 1956 where she obtained her Masters Degree in Sociology from the Graduate Faculty of the New School of Social Research. In 1970, she received a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in the Interdisciplinary Study of the Family from Columbia University Teacher's College.
She worked for Planned Parenthood for a time and it was that experience that prompted her to further her education in human sexuality by studying under Dr. Helen Singer Kaplan at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center. She later participated in the program for five years as an Adjunct Associate Professor. She has also taught at Lehman College, Brooklyn College, Adelphi University, Columbia University and West Point.
Currently Dr. Westheimer is an Adjunct Professor at N.Y.U. and an Associate Fellow of Calhoun College at Yale University, where she teaches a course on the Jewish family, and a Fellow of Butler College at Princeton University, where she teaches a similar course. She is a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and in addition to having her own private practice, she frequently lectures at universities across the country and has twice been named "College Lecturer of the Year."
I can only have an orgasm from a vibrator or shower hose
Q. I have never had an orgasm through vaginal intercourse, but what’s REALLY troubling me is that I can't even climax through stimulation of the clitoris when I masturbate by hand (though I’ve tried many times). the only method that works is if I use a vibrator or a shower hose. I've been using pretty strong vibrators for years and I’m worried that I’ve de-sensitized my clitoris by masturbating too much! Is that possible? What can I do to have a normal, natural, manually-induced orgasm?
A. There are two possible answers to your situation. The first is that you did use the strong sensations of a vibrator too much so that you now require them to have an orgasm. The other is that you are one of those women who are born with no other option than to apply strong sensations to their clitoris in order to trigger the orgasmic response.
Let’s deal with the second one first. If that’s the case, it’s not the end of the world. At least you can have orgasms so that you don’t have to be sexually frustrated for the rest of your life. And hopefully you can teach your partner how to use the vibrator on you so that he can give you orgasms, so that he won’t feel too left out. I understand that it’s not the ideal, but it’s better to need a vibrator than to not be able to have orgasms at all.
The more likely scenario is that because you’ve been using vibrators for a long time that you’ve taught yourself to require those strong sensations in order to have an orgasm. It may be possible to wean yourself of this need. Start by using the vibrator to make yourself very aroused, and then try to finish off using just your fingers. Hopefully, little by little, you’ll be able to reduce the need for the vibrator’s strong sensations and one day may not need them at all. Whatever you do, don’t put a timetable on yourself. The more pressure you put on yourself, the harder it’s going to be to accomplish. If it takes a year, then it takes a year. Of course you may not be able to succeed, and then you’re in the situation described above, which as I said, is not the worst thing in the world