The Banality of the Back Door
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because it doesn’t need to ride only on you.
By Eugene S. Robinson
You have sexy questions? Eugene has sexy answers. Write. Now: Eugene@ozy.com
The Issue With Up
EUGENE, SIR: Me and my husband tried to have a threesome. I say “tried” because he surprised us both by not being able to perform. So he ended up watching me and the guy, who wasn’t someone we knew before. I felt bad having such a good time, but I’m bad at faking it and it seemed crazy to fake like I was having a bad time when I was not. So the problem is not only is my husband insisting we try it again with a new other guy but he’s also coming up with excuses for why it happened. We’ve been married four years already, so I know he can be a good lover. My question is, is there anything I can do to help him in this situation that doesn’t feel patronizing? Please help if you can. — Mary
Dear Ms. Quite Contrary: You know how in the movies, or in New York City, when someone is freaking out and some sage voice from the crowd commands, “Just leave him alone!” or “Give him some room!” or, my favorite one yet, “NOBODY TOUCH HIS PENIS!”? Well, this is sort of like that, except there is no crowd other than you and whatever other dude should wander into your wobbly marital web of attempted adventure. While you all are to be praised for the stretch, my advice remains that such events should only be undertaken after much extended and thorough thought. The kind of thought that factors in every contingency or “what if?” You take precautions when you board an airplane for a trip. You should do the same when embarking on a journey of genitalia.
So, to answer your question regarding whether or not there’s anything you can do: Yes. Do nothing. There’s nothing worse for the penis than for the penis and the owner of said penis to feel like it’s ALL RIDING ON HIM. This is the very essence of performance pressure, so de-escalate. Take it easy. Mix in a few glasses of wine and dial the intensity way down. You two have had sex together before. You have had sex separately before. There’s no reason to panic.
And the new guy? Think of him as a sex toy. Pay him as much mind as you would a dildo. He won’t mind. I don’t imagine he’s there for love. So once you and your husband are well on your way, wave the new guy over. Or, he’ll figure it out himself and wander over. Your hubby has got to get back on the horse, so to speak, and have this not be a “thing.” Which it has become, which is natural. This is not business as usual even if it’s your business. Go slow, take care and have fun. And keep in mind that it’s about you and him first and foremost. Hope that helps.
EUGENE, SIR: Do you think if we treated men’s anuses as casually as they treat our vaginas, men might understand a little bit better when I say, “Can we slow down for a minute?” or “Go easy”? — Name Withheld by Request
Dear Wink & Nod: I think a lot of problems could be solved if we replaced “vagina” with “male anus.” For example, Brock Turner’s father’s characterization of the sexual assault his son committed as “a few minutes of fun” wouldn’t nearly be as fun for Brock Turner if we were talking about Brock’s anus and not his victim’s vagina. But if you treated your male partner’s rear end in a way that would, um, force empathy? Well, you’d either find yourself in a fundamentally different kind of relationship — that is, with a man who enjoyed it — or you’d find yourself up against a man who aggressively disagrees with your male anus initiative.
I guess it’ll have to remain a thought problem. But your point is well taken, and many could do with a dose of imagining themselves as the other to appreciate what it means to be on the business end of a penis. Thanks for writing.
EUGENE, SIR: If a woman likes anal sex, like, she knows she likes it and you don’t know she likes it and you go to have it with her, why is it such a big deal? This has happened to me three times with three different women over the past five years, and each time it’s like they’re giving me a special treat. If you like anal, how is it a treat for only me? Now I’m avoiding it, because I don’t like the idea that anybody having sex with me is doing me a “favor.” — Not Buying It
Dear Blue Light Special: Porn, the Rosetta stone for how we understand ourselves sexually (some of the time), fetishizes the normal to better sell the fetish. Even if it means having to pay performers more for doing what you’re talking about — being into something they’re already into — there’s probably a cost-benefit analysis that shows it’s worth it. So we’re left with the prevailing sense that the taboo portion of our sex lives, with its frisson of naughty, ranks some activities higher than others. Yeah, there are health reasons and risk factors, comfort issues, biblical invocations against, and so on, but since most heterosexual men who are not into having their own anuses used have no idea, anal sex still exists for many as both an “extra” and a “special.”
While I can understand your avoidance of it and the ideological basis for it, at the very least it could be like telling someone you’ve cooked a meal for how much you agonized over its preparation, while later both enjoying it and your enjoyment of it. At the very worst, you’re probably right, it’s some weird kind of horse-trading. Just using an anus instead of a horse.
My advice? Relax, let people work through their issues on their own time, and don’t get hung up on the fact that they are and they will.