Often men go from erection to ejaculation like race cars. I had spent a week masturbating, trying to improve my technique. I was learning to get in touch with my arousal cycles and how to distinguish orgasm from ejaculation. I had always thought of them as one and the same thing. An orgasm was good; An orgasm was about life; As they put it, I had to avoid falling over the edge and down into the ravine of postejaculatory stupor. I was excited to read about sexual kung fu masters, as they referred to themselves. And that's all it is. Mia's right. I'm not perfect. Far from it. I start talking fast, trying to calm her down. I don't want to upset you. You've obviously got tons of friends here and I'm not trying to take your place. Did you know the student body votes on cheerleaders here? It's a complete popularity contest. I shake my head, wondering if she's changed the subject. Even at rock bottom, there are things we can do to increase our chances of finding hope, of discovering options and helping ourselves to get out. Whether I am struggling a little or I've had a complete down-and-out crash, utilizing even one of these boosters really helps me.

Each of them is actually a way to reframe your situation and find hope, and resilience, even during rock-bottom times. The ability to have hope even during your lowest moments gives you a huge resilience edge. RADICALLY ACCEPT YOUR CIRCUMSTANCE ROCK BOTTOM RESILIENCE BOOSTER #1 I know just about as well as anyone that Denial is a lovely place to live. It's great--I can swing in a hammock of no accountability and swim in a sea of no responsibility and tell myself that I'm just fine. Except that I'm not fine, and all the people around me whose lives are affected by mine aren't fine, either. And the hard truth is that I'm killing resilience if I sweep reality under the rug. They boasted about having orgasms, over and over again, until their entire bodies became orgasmic. Even your brain could have an orgasm. The trick was to blow the sexual energy into my body, and let it circulate throughout my entire orgasm. I doubt, however, that I looked very spiritual when I was lying there practicing these techniques. I followed a five-step exercise. First, I lubricated my penis (oil is generally better than lotion). Second, I pleasured myself (remembering to massage and stimulate your entire penis, your scrotum, and your perineum). Third, I paid close attention to my levels of arousal (notice the tingling at the root of your penis, notice the stages of erection, notice your heartbeat rise). Fourth, as I neared ejaculation, I stopped (notice the contraction of your PC muscle and anus that occurs at contractile-phase orgasm and try to squeeze your PC muscle around your prostate). Fifth, regain control and start again (as many times as you like). I'm confused. And you're a cheerleader, so you must be super popular, I tell her.

Blair got me that vote. I'm a cheerleader because of her. She's the one who made people stop calling me `pizza face' in the fifth grade. She talked Jason Edler into going out with me in the seventh grade. I'm everything because of Blair, Mia says, her face twisted with anger. You're Blair's best friend, I say. Then I hear myself switch into my beauty-vlogger voice. Perky and exaggerated. Denial is a terrific way to spiral down, fast, to rock bottom--and stay there. At age eighteen Marsha Linehan was committed to a psychiatric clinic for extreme social withdrawal. At risk for suicide, she was placed in the seclusion room, where there was nothing she could use to hurt herself, so she repeatedly banged her head, hard, on the walls and floor. It was the early 1960s, and at the time very little was understood about mental illness. Treatment practices were used that in many cases were actually harmful to the patient. The methodologies were crude, even barbaric, by today's standards. Electroshock therapy harshly administered in multiple rounds, very strong drugs, and a diagnosis of schizophrenia did not help Linehan. she left the clinic twenty-six months later, she vowed to return and help others to get out. Linehan is now a psychology professor at the University of Washington and founder of Behavioral Tech, LLC, an organization that trains mental-health care providers and treatment teams, but it took years before she shared the difficult personal story of her time in the clinic with anyone, doing so only after one of her patients told her that if Linehan were like us it would give everyone so much hope. She calls this radical acceptance--and it's a powerful Rock Bottom Resilience booster. I had the multi-orgasmic article open next to me, so I could see the drawings of an erect penis, with a hand illustrating various squeezing methods such as the scrotal tug. I set a timer to twenty minutes and put on some porn of the heterosexual vanilla variety.

Porn was an excellent way of getting started, the article explained. But as soon as I was aroused, I had to switch it off. Porn was a distraction from myself, they said. In this practice, you need to go inward and experience your own pleasure, not someone else's idea of pleasure. I closed my computer and started concentrating on myself. I tried to treat myself as though I was my own lover, as the article had instructed, but the moment I put away my computer, I became self-aware and mildly repulsed. I put the video back on again. I couldn't help feeling uncomfortable lying in the bed, covered in lubricant, trying to pleasure myself. And you're soooo cute. Adorable, really. And THAT'S why you're a cheerleader. It isn't just about Blair. It's about who you are. This tactic seems to work for a moment. Mia blinks, then takes a sip of her chai. When she continues, her voice is softer. Blair's at the top of the social stratosphere here and she knows it. She can afford to like the charity cases. There may be an infinite number of really painful things that can happen to you, Linehan explains. But there are not an infinite number of responses you can make to pain.

Suffering, agony, are pain plus non-acceptance. Radical acceptance transforms suffering into ordinary pain. Linehan uses the word radical to mean absolute. It's when you accept something from the depths of your soul. When you accept it in your mind, in your heart, and even with your body. It's total and complete. When you've radically accepted something, you're not fighting it anymore. I love this idea, but I also know it's much easier to talk about radically accepting something than to actually radically accept it! I could think of many people I wouldn't like to have sex with, and I was one of them. Andre, June 10 The first porn film I saw was at a neighbor's house when I was twelve. It was on a VHS cassette, and it belonged to my neighbor's father. Through the rest of my teenage years, all I remembered about encountering porn was occasionally flicking through magazines. By my twenties, I saw porn as cultural garbage involving the exploitation of women. I had only watched a handful of porn films in my life. When people talked about porn, I tried to act cool and change the topic as soon as I could. I knew my aversion to porn put me out of step with much of society. Forty million Americans regularly visited porn websites. It makes her look even better. I pick up my latte, but I don't take a drink.