Good advice on sex is difficult to implement, so give yourself a break in this area if you make a mistake or struggle with it. You will, most certainly, struggle and make some mistakes -- as has every other male in history.
Men have a naturally strong physiological/emotional sex drive. If you are feeling this, it's just nature and there is nothing wrong with you in this regard. Disregard anyone who tries to make you feel bad about this.
However, just "doing what comes naturally" leads men toward promiscuity and many negative outcomes. Your natural instincts must be tempered with character, judgement, a connection to love, and responsibility.
Your male sex drive is very positive in many respects. However, it can also lead you to poor choices and follow-on actions (with their consequences) if not controlled by your mind, good values and good choices.
There are, of course, many other natural "instincts" and emotions that will similarly, if unguided, give you big problems.
In today's culture and media, you may find male sex drive, sexual urges, sexual attraction to females, appreciation of female attributes, and many other "traditional male" beliefs and behaviors under attack. These criticisms are largely unwarranted if you aren't involved in any of the following "old school" types of behaviors:
- Boorish male chauvinist pig,
- Demanding sex before granting career advancement,
- Paying for sex,
- Put downs,
- Lack of fidelity,
- Abdicating your responsibility for safe sex,
- Prejudice against women,
- Unwanted or overly persistent advances,
- Not owning up to promises (explicit or implied) or owning up to mutually created "problems",
- Physical forcefulness or aggressiveness.
Based on the above list, it may be clearer why the culture has a problem with the "traditional male", but a guilt trip put on you via guilt-by-association isn't something you should accept (in this or any other area). If you aren't largely the kind of "traditional male" described in the bullet points above, there is no reason for you to feel bad about yourself for being a man/male in a more traditional way.
Natural impulses, instincts and emotional responses are given to us to help us (and the human species) survive -- sex drive and the associated pleasure included. "Fight or flight" reaction to pain from injury, hot/cold, extremely loud noises, and bright flashes of light are similar. Hunger pains signal a need to eat something.
With sex drive in humans, you have to use your superior thinking capabilities to put these natural reactions into perspective and make intelligent choices (synthesize, prioritize, defer, delay, or override) when receiving these physical pleasure/pain "signals" and "triggers".
Think about it with something simple like the hunger pains mentioned above if you aren't convinced that you need to use your brain to synthesize, prioritize, defer, delay, or override. You don't just stop whatever you are doing to get something to eat every time you feel a little hungry. You can:
- Wait until you finish what you are doing if it is more important.
- Substitute with drinking water to stave off the desire to eat.
- Walk away if the food isn't healthy.
- Choose healthier foods or smaller portions.
- Defer to others' needs if they need the food more than you.
- Compromise and share the food with a friend even if you would like to eat all of the food yourself.
- Abstain if you are trying to lose weight for an objective or fast for a spiritual experience.
Without going through every situation explicitly, I hope you can use the hunger pains analogy to help guide you on your decisions involving sex.
Stay one or two "steps" or "levels" of sexual activity behind your love relationship level. This gives you a buffer and avoids hurting your partner/friend/love.
Abstinence is often promoted as the preferred sexual choice outside of marriage. If defined as 100% "no sex", there may be only a very few who can actually pull this off -- and you are going to feel bad about yourself if that's your standard and you fail. You are also missing out on expressing intimacy if you never even hold hands, hug, or kiss. Most of you should try a middle ground that doesn't require perfection as your standard. You will be happier and might actually be able to live up to it.
You are on a road to unhappiness, being hated, and stepping into a bear trap you might not be able to remove yourself from if your goal is to "get sex" or "get to X base" in a relationship. The relationship needs to come first -- including caring enough for the other person to not take advantage of them.
Be aware that it isn't always the male who is interested in moving the sexual activity forward rapidly. The motivation for this will vary, but you need to be ready with your own morality and standards -- and be ready to put on the brakes. You cannot be successful if your decision to go forward is based on how far the woman is willing to go despite any standards you may have set for yourself.
"Free love" and casual sex, defined as no commitments, consequences, and responsibilities, are big lies -- whether you are thinking about the "hippie" model of the 1960's or something that happens in a sitcom. Don't be surprised if something that seems so easy and free in the world of fiction becomes a big mess in the real world you are living in.
Don't abdicate your responsibility to control the level of the sexual relationship or engage in safe sex. You will need to be a leader -- not just following along or "hoping" that everything will be OK because the other person "should" be taking care of birth control or protection.
You can have a lot of intimacy, enjoyment and pleasure without "going all the way" -- so there is no need to expose yourself and your partner to the exponentially greater risk of STDs, greater risk of pregnancy, hurt feelings of broken commitments, and difficulty in breaking a relationship up if you don't go to the final steps of sexual involvement.
If you are married, you have committed to a monogamous relationship and you need to be a man of integrity -- no matter what temptations you face, how angry you might be, or what your partner has done. Get divorced first, if you have to. (Although you need to know that this will probably persist for quite awhile as a messy element of your life -- especially if you have children.)
You will spend years of your life living down an infidelity decision even if you repent and are granted forgiveness (by your spouse, children, friends, parents, and/or God/Jesus).
If you are not married but are involved as living together, engaged, or going steady -- you are still monogamously committed and must live by this promise. It won't be as bad as if your are married, but it won't be pleasant, either.
Don't expect an immediate warm reception if you have been focused on something other than your partner, you've been rude, you haven't been listening to her when she is talking, or you were off at some remote event.
Stay away from pornography. It disconnects the act of sex from a loving relationship. Human imaginations and visualization are powerful tools which can be used very positively, of course. Pornography perverts the great gift of visualization to promote immoral activity and it is very hard to get it out of one's mind for years or, even, decades.
Avoiding pornography is almost impossible with today's film and TV productions, but you need to, at least, be well aware of the standards they are promoting. You can try to avoid exposure by minimizing R-rated (and above) "adult" movies and shows. Remember that this is fiction.
Remember that, if you are viewing pornography, you are actually funding the producers of this material. They are using the "actors" and promoting immorality with the money they are obtaining from you.
Never pay for sex. STDs are a great possibility if you do this, of course. You are also using another person. There is also a possibility that this is a trap that could result in theft, assault, or very expensive blackmail. If you are that needful of sexual release, self-stimulation will take care of your need.
If you need sexual release, self-stimulation is the answer -- not using someone else, paying for sex, porn, etc. When self-stimulating, think "good thoughts" about your potential future or current loving monogamous relationship. You won't be perverting your imagination or undermining your character. You won't feel bad about yourself. You will find that the need for release doesn't keep occupying more and more of your thoughts and time.
For the younger guys, here are a few more helpful points that no one ever tells you about: (1) Being behind others in terms of puberty doesn't make any difference at all after a few years have passed. Just be patient and ignore anyone bullying you about this. (2) The size of your penis doesn't matter to any good woman and it will take care of itself in a loving sexual relationship. It probably isn't an issue unless you are 0.1% of the population. Even so, you can make most women feel very good other ways and it will be appreciated. (3) Your penis probably doesn't hang straight down (usually to the left they say) -- and neither does anyone else's. (4) "Boners" are a pain in the butt for everyone growing up -- not just you. Think about something else, like doing a few math problems, and it will go away. (5) Same with "wet dreams". Just go with it and don't make it the dominant activity of your life.