Why you should care
OZY’s Eugene S. Robinson addresses queries from the love-weary in “Sex With Eugene.”
Buckling Under the Bi
EUGENE, SIR: My wife and I have been swingers for the past few years and enjoy the lifestyle. While swinging has her with both men and other women, my swinging has been limited to women. Recently, I let slip that the man in one of the couples we were swinging with was hot. Then it came out: I was probably bi-curious and would she mind if I got with a man. Turns out she would mind very much. How is this something forbidden? The pressure to behave in traditionally masculine ways is suffocating me, and I don’t know what the big deal is. Did I sell this wrong? — XY Not?
Dear Joe Friday: If you used the word “probably” with her like you did here I can imagine that this so-called weasel word — i.e., a word or phrase designed to deliver maximum flexibility no matter what it’s appended to — might have set the wrong tone. Specifically, by its modification of “bi-curious.”
You “probably” want to see Frozen II. You “probably” will be a little late to see Frozen II. If you are a little late to the theater to see Frozen II you will “probably” skip getting popcorn and go right to your seat.
All as circumstances dictate.
Wanting to lose your homosexual virginity is not a “probably.” Or rather, it’s probably not a “probably,” but more than likely a very distinct moment of clarity. Presented as such would set the right tone and indicate the nonnegotiability of it, which would put your wife in a very different frame of mind. One where she might sagely calculate that it’s better she be there than not.
This addresses just the initial approach and explains why you didn’t stick the landing. The reality of it is that we like/love people on a representational level and her idea of you as a man precludes presently understanding that you are interested in being the kind of man who on occasion has sex with other men. It’s not hard to process, especially since she’s made sense of it with her own tastes in partners. However, being a “man” is often more complex than it gets credit for.
Your move? Stop trying to “sell” it. You’ve expressed a desire. She can’t un-hear it. Let her think about it and maybe she’ll come around. If she doesn’t, then you’ve got some decisions to make. And they “probably” won’t be easy ones. Good luck.
A New Penile Theory!
EUGENE, SIR: I don’t have to read your column all the time to imagine that the penis questions do not stop. So here’s a theory: I trace men’s obsession with the size of their penises to the introduction of African slavery. To women, a penis has always been a penis. But when you introduce a larger penis into a population of smaller penises? Obsession. Agree? — Kate
Dear Kiss Me Kate: Partially. While that would explain the genesis of the obsession and would also explain why both the Reformation and the Renaissance, and pretty much everything up until the late 1600s, featured little obvious obsession with penis size, it doesn’t explain why the fixation endures. In the 20 or so years I have written a sex column, I have fielded roughly 350 questions about penises by either owners of said penises or partners of owners of said penises.
So I’m going to counter-theory your theory: I also blame pornography.
Sure, there’s been pornography and erotica for a long time, but wholesale, commercially produced pornography? Filmed with cameras that add 10 pounds to everything? That’s relatively recent.
So monkey see, monkey do humans get attuned to image projection, and the image that’s projected in the image capital of the world — i.e., Southern California — is that a lot is good and more is better. The upshot? Next week I will have question No. 351 regarding penis size. I say this without sorrow or regret. If I can help, I’m here to help! Thanks for writing.
EUGENE, SIR: I’m in a crazy new romance that’s intense and, I think, serious. After sex recently, though, I experienced significant amounts of vaginal itching and pain. It happened right after we stopped using condoms. My boyfriend said I must be allergic to his semen, but I suspect it’s a VD, and I feel like a fool for stopping condom usage so soon into the relationship. I’ve made a doctor’s appointment, but in the interim I’m resenting him since I suspect he has cheated. I don’t know what to believe from what I’ve read online. Have you heard of semen allergy? — Name withheld by request
Dear J’Accuse: It’s unusual and unreliably irregular, but semen allergy — also called seminal plasma hypersensitivity — is a real thing and appears to be caused by the proteins found in semen.
Most of those who suffer from the allergy are women. Men who come into contact with other men’s semen might have it too, but the samplings are statistically insignificant. And yes, you can have the allergy with some partners and not with others. Or it may suddenly happen with a longtime partner. Does it mean he’s been cheating? Not necessarily. Could it be a yeast infection or herpes? Possibly.
Your doctor, which I am not, will be able to help more here. Have your allergist inject a small amount of your partner’s semen subcutaneously. If it turns out that you are indeed allergic to your partner’s semen, there are treatments. My favorite? The one that has the allergist place diluted amounts of semen into you every 20 minutes followed by a diet of sex every 48 hours. How long? Until you’re cured!
Weird, isn’t it, when VD suddenly seems like the easiest option? It’s not really, but it feels like it. Let us know what the real doctor says, though!