Stopping the Cycle of Bad Sex
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because you can’t spell S-E-X without E-X.
By Eugene S. Robinson
You have sexy questions? Eugene has sexy answers. Write. Now: Eugene@ozy.com
EUGENE, SIR: My boyfriend and I have really great sex. We have two modes: One is very passionate and intense, and he takes things slow, stares deeply into my eyes, and so on. The other is more relaxed, what you may call “fun” sex: easygoing, with laughing and smiling, but he still maintains a sweet and loving approach. All of this is really wonderful, and I always feel satisfied and loved, so I don’t want to sound ungrateful when I say that on rare occasions, I want it a bit rougher. And I’m not talking about serious S&M or anything either, just … rougher. How do I tell him this without making him feel like I don’t appreciate how great I think he is at everything else? — Jess
Dear Jess Say Yes: If you tell him what you just told me, which many columnists would recommend and which I do not, it colors all of the shadows with shades of things ominous. “Is she bored? With me? And she’s just too nice to say it, for real?” “She did talk a little too much to that guy at the gym. Is this some sort of ideation for that stupid, predictable macho energy?” “My penis is too small!”
And he will write me, and the cycle of bad sex will be complete.
Nope, if you’re going to ask me, and you did, I think the best time to tell him you want it rougher is right when you want it rougher. Strategic use of the word “harder” could help, wouldn’t hurt. Sex, successfully done, is sometimes the world’s most perfect feedback loop. An arch of the back here, an unspoken urging and a partner that’s smart/intuitive enough to pick up the cues and carry you just a little bit beyond where you’d have normally landed yourself: This is not magic. This is sort of the way it’s done.
If none of this — and I would try it all FIRST — works, then I’d suggest plan B whereby you lay out specifically what you mean when you say “rougher” and let the chips fall where they may. If this sounds much less sexy than plan A, there’s a reason for that: It is. But if the end goal is the kind of sex you want versus the sex you’re getting? Then you gotta do what you gotta do. Which is to say: Saying nothing is not an option at this point. Good luck.
EUGENE, SIR: I don’t know if it’s porn or what, but my girlfriend, whom I love, thinks sexy is this thing where she acts like she’s a baby. I don’t find it sexy. In fact, I have to concentrate to be able to maintain an erection when she does it during sex. She’ll even call me “daddy.” I don’t know whether this means she was molested when she was younger or what, but how do I get her to stop it without seeming like a prude? We’re both 26. — Name withheld by request
Dear Me No Pop I: I don’t know if not being tied into that whole infantilizing of the sexual is a pathway to prudery, but I do know not being able to maintain an erection during sex is sort of like going to a great restaurant without your wallet. You’ll more or less get what you came for, but in the end you won’t enjoy it much. And despite the fact that our whole culture seems to be swinging that way — “sexy” “girls” in selfies who can’t seem to stand straight or keep their index fingers out of their mouths, as though the whole prospect of penis is all too confusing — I’m completely down with what your body is telling you and what you’re telling me: Infants are not sexy. Unless this is your specific kink (see: diaperism), it can be uncomfortable and confusing. As is often the case when you and your partner’s kinks are at a crossroad.
But first: This doesn’t mean your girlfriend was molested when she was a kid. And even if it did, people who were molested have the right to adult sex lives too. It also hasn’t been determined yet that this is a specific kink of hers or that it’s porn-based. Perhaps she’s just doing it because she thinks you think it’s sexy. To shake her of this notion, you’re going to have to be a little less passive. You don’t like where the car is going, steer it somewhere else. For starters? To silence. Stop the goo-goo-ga-ga in the way that best suits both of your temperaments. After that? Steer away from the rocky shoals of infant fashion and the whole shtick. Eventually it may just be a bad memory. But the stakes are TOO HIGH; you can’t back away from this. You don’t know how many lifetime erections you will have, but you should know that that number is finite. Use them wisely.
Sex With the Dead
EUGENE, SIR: I want to go to a funeral of an ex. He and I were friendly at the end. Just friendly, I mean. But my partner thinks it’s stupid and doesn’t want me to go. Is it worth the fight? — Kim
Dear Kim: Yes. It’s not like your ex is going to have another funeral for you to attend, and unless there was some expectation when you and your current partner met that you were a virgin, it was known that you had a past. I know these points are worthy of debate, but the reality of it is you came to your partner in the full blush of honesty and laid it out there. Said partner also made his (or her) feelings known. And this is as much about the current partner as about the departed one. But I have to say that to not give a little here seems hard-hearted. It’s not as though you’re going to be dating your ex again anytime soon. So I’d say this: “I can dig where you’re coming from and I wish you felt a little bit differently as this person is clearly no threat to what you and I have, but while I have heard you, I am going to the funeral anyway. I hope you can find a way to be OK with that.”
And then go. Let me know if that works out.