In Which Going To California Was Her Idea

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to or by dropping us a note at our tumblr.


I work in close proximity to my significant other. (Our company permits employees to date or even marry one another.) Recently my boyfriend, who I’ll call Jim, had a setback on a major project and has been making noise about being unhappy in the company.

Jim and I have discussed not bringing our work problems into our relationship. With his new outlook, he can’t stop himself from talking about his problems. I don’t want to shut him down, but I’m feeling like this situation is not exactly the best way of dealing with his issue.

How do I figure out this tricky situation?

Hanna J.

Dear Hanna,

Jim has made a dangerous mistake. He thought he was in a relationship with you: the kind of partnership that would last the ages. But actually, you were only interested enough in him while things were going well. Now that it isn’t as positive of a situation, you want to end things with this Jim character. Well, if you really care about him at all, end things quickly and don’t date in the workplace again.

Also, after you break up with him, make sure that everyone else knows he is kind of a drag. Maybe even complain to H.R.?


My husband David still masturbates on a daily basis. I had no real problem with this practice, although I have never particularly understood the need when we have an active and healthy sex life.

However, I recently observed his self-orgasm and I was completely shocked by how different it was from when he comes during our sex. Should I be concerned?

Kali D. 

Dear Kali,

In the years before their conscious coupling, men develop disturbing and horrific coagulations with their own sexualities. Unraveling these bloviating intimacies is the work of a generation or a marriage counselor. You cannot possibly hope to do this alone.

The type of orgasm is of no concern — each individual expression of pleasure contains its own particular constitution. With time you may be able to please your husband as he can himself. Ask him more about what he requires, sexually, and you may be surprised at the answer. Tell him he can’t please himself without asking you first, either.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

“Summer Nights” – Shenandoah and the Night (mp3)

“100 Wants” – Shenandoah and the Night (mp3)

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