From a Submariner's Perspective is a weekly column, written in response to the letters sent in to advice columnist "Prudie" at Each week, The Submariner responds to the letter writers in a way that author, Emily Yoffe, probably can't (but perhaps would like to...). Each entry is headed with a link to the orginal questions and Yoffe's answers. Enjoy!

Also, if you have questions that you'd like answered by The Submariner, or anyone here at "The Fly", just write to me at and I'll forward to the appropriate party/parties for an answer (or you can write to them directly via the e-mail addresses on their pages)! Once the answers are published, I'll drop you a note letting you know.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

...on Masturbating. A lot. (orig. 6/11/09) <---Original Prudie Questions Can Be Found There

Morning, shippers! What a fine, fine Navy day it is! I’ve been hard at work this week, with the boat in port, installing an upgraded access/egress system. It’s purportedly for SEALS to ride with us, and, upon getting orders for a mission, jettisoning themselves and their equipment into the briny blue. Personally? I’ll be using it for swim call. Now, to the letters!

LW#1: I masturbate pretty frequently and my wife of seven years thinks it’s freakish. Further, instead of being impressed with my stamina in the sack, she’s put off by it. What should I do? Wowsers! This guy’s question could have taken up the space for all four letters! But since Prudie’s gone and added three more, I’ll keep this brief.

Dude, there’s nothing wrong with masturbating and there’s nothing shameful about it. Doing it with your partner can be fun, too, by the way, but I’m guessing your wife isn’t going to go for that at all. But you should be able to talk to your wife about the issue and she should not be acting like masturbation is a problem in and of itself. But, that’s not really the whole story here, is it? Nope.

You masturbate a lot, guy. I mean, holy crap! I live on a submarine for months at a time. No sex. No intimacy (although I have just installed a new access hatch…) And even then, I don’t masturbate as much as you do! At all! As I’m not a doctor, I don’t know if the amount that you’re masturbating is problematic, but, I’m guessing that if you just did it less, you wouldn’t last as long with your wife (and she may want to consider some intimate lubrication). I mean, that’s just simple physiology, right? The more the pressure builds, the harder it is to control. If you masturbate less, say, take three of four sessions off, then, when you’re with your wife, I’m betting that you’ll freakin’ explode! Of course, that means that you’ll have to want to masturbate less, or at least be willing. And if you try hand-abstinence, and then find yourself in the bathroom at work because you couldn’t go all day without “releasing the pressure,” you really do need to find some help--and, no, I’m not talking about help by having someone jack it for you.

You don’t say “how” you masturbate, but, if you’re using ‘net porn or porn movies every time, there’s a whole condition that Prudie didn’t mention called “porn addiction” that can affect you and your relationship in ways that sound a lot like what you’re describing. Look it up.

LW#2: My friend’s mom is gravely ill and my friend would like for me (along with other friends) to fund mom’s alternative (read: nut job) treatment. Should I send the money anyway, even though it puts me in mind of Jim Bakker and his air-conditioned dog house…? Wow. I’m torn here between a) advising you to call your friend and tell her that she’s freaking nuts and that you’ve decided to go spend the money that you were going to send to her on strippers because you feel like then at least someone you know (you) will get some good out of it, and, b) being completely sensitive to the tough place you’re in and giving you a heartfelt, serious answer. Thing is, the stripper is probably only stripping to get herself through medical school (just ask her) and she may discover a cure for leukemia once she graduates… But, damnit, I have to go with choice “b” anyway because I’m a softy.

Here’s the thing. This isn’t just your money. This is other people’s money, and potentially, as Prudie said, your friend’s and her mom’s very last dime (she may even take a second mortgage on her house if she believes this fucktard can cure her mom). You’ve got to, as a friend, get all of your research together about this “treatment” and present it to her in a very clinical way. You can bet that if cancer could be cured by this nut job, he wouldn’t be the only one offering the service. It’s easy when grieving to lose sight of this fact, so your friend and her mom can be forgiven for believing this asshat, but you are obligated to tell them. She won’t listen, but your conscious will be clear. I’m really sorry.

LW#3: I’m 26, dating a girl older than me. I am happy with the relationship and digging it. All is well except my parents don't approve of the relationship and say mean things to me about it. What should I do? Okay, dude, Prudie covered it, but not nearly harshly enough. You. Are. An. Adult. Well, physically, anyway. You say that you like this girl. You say that you want to take some time to get to know her and see where things go. That is normal. It’s healthy, and, it’s about the most adult thing that was presented in your letter. Tell your parents to piss off. But, too, talk with your girlfriend about any concerns you have with the relationship--she’s the one who needs to know, not your parents. Speak to her as if she’s an adult and as if you’re one, too (that’ll be hard, I know, but, give it a try).

Too, what’s with your parents saying that the relationship is weird and odd and that you haven’t had many serious relationships? Who has? Geez! If they keep it up, ask them (rhetorically-only, don’t actually entertain answers unless they can be serious and treat you as an adult) how many serious relationships they had prior to getting married. Ask what’s weird or odd about yours. But in the end, you’re an adult. Act like it.

Unless, whoa, dude, new thought here--are you still living at home? In your parents’ basement? If you are, skip the advice above and go immediately to the newspaper classifieds and find yourself an apartment. Don’t let your parents help you move. Don’t let your mom decorate the new place. Get out. Get a job. Hurry!

LW#4: I’ve been invited to a wedding. I initially declined due to a previous travel commitment (though I did send a gift), but, have since been relieved of the travel commitment. I don’t want to go to the wedding, but the bride found out that I’ll be home. She’s pissed. What should I do? Look, the only thing I have to say here, besides advising you not to go if you don’t want to and not to explain yourself (regardless), is that in the future you need to be honest when declining an invitation (if you give a reason at all, which you are NOT obligated to do). You told your co-worker it was due to travel that you couldn’t attend, but, apparently that wasn’t really true. Truth is, you didn’t want to attend and the travel was a convenient excuse. Learn from this mistake. In the meantime, your only choices here are to attend to keep the peace, or stay at home to make yourself happy. Even though I’m a submariner and, as such, quasi-magical, I can’t tell you which choice to make there because I don’t know how much pain this woman can visit upon you at work. Put on a blindfold, hold out your arms and weigh each side. There you go!

Alright shipmates, until next week, fair winds, following seas and clandestine visits via your new access hatches…

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