The (Possibly) Fleeting Death of Foreplay

The (Possibly) Fleeting Death of Foreplay

By Eugene S. Robinson


Because bad sex can in fact make you a bad person.

By Eugene S. Robinson

You have sexy questions? Eugene has sexy answers. Write. Now:

For Play?

EUGENE, SIR: My boyfriend and I have been together for over a year. We have amazing sex and he can make me orgasm when he wants to. My problem is he doesn’t think foreplay is important. When he does any, it’s over quickly. Please help, I don’t wanna have this need anymore. — Leah

Dear From the Boat to the Hut to the Sea: Someone once asked me, “Eugene, what’s foreplay?” My answer: “Me driving over here.” The asker was joking (not really) when she asked and I was joking when I answered (not really), but the highlighted issue remains and it is/was: How much time is the right amount of time to invest in sexual congress? But before we even start scratching the surface, know that sex is play; if it’s not, it should be. No one ever asks, “How long are we going Jet Skiing for?” or “How much time do we have to spend drinking this 30-year-old bottle of port?” Because it’s fun. And if it’s not, it should be, since it removes the clock from consideration and returns to the arena the idea that good things are to be enjoyed, not hustled through. Unless there’s a game on or your mother’s about to come over or something.

Now, I imagine your boyfriend feels fairly virtuous that he’s got the orgasm part dialed in, but the reality is in this day and age — versus, say, the 1950s — this is not as much of a rarity as he might think it is. And here’s something else: You might be able to find a man who can do the orgasm thing and who really digs being naked with you for as long as you have time for. I don’t know if it’s having his sex framed by his experiences with masturbation or anything else that might cause him to screw to a schedule, but he needs to relax and take his time. And you have to encourage this. By? Showing him what you mean via luxuriating in the experience that under the rubric of “lady’s night” or something, has you dictating the terms. Who knows? It might catch on.

Or? It might totally bore him, and then, by proxy, you, because any one thing every single time gets wearisome and reveals a stunning lack of imagination. In the grand scheme of things, though, you don’t have things so bad, based on some of the letters I am getting. But if you’re expecting a lot of hand-holding, gentle kissing, hair stroking and deep eye contact, you also might be fundamentally misunderstanding the sexual response of the sexually aroused man. He might do this to please you, but left to his own devices? His foreplay clock starts during drive time. 

STDs for You + Me

EUGENE, SIR: The first girl who kissed me gave me herpes. Now I’m in love with this other girl, but if I tell her I have herpes she will stop talking to me. Fuck, I hate my life. Maybe I should just get an online hooker. I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but I’m drunk and you seem like a cool guy. LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DOOOOOO. — Snowblind

Dear Styx: Like the Mentors once sang, “I don’t want your herpes 2!” Easily what the aforementioned “online hooker” might say to this idea you seem to be nurturing that it’s OK to take all of your germs to your local sex worker. Here’s a surprise: They’re less interested in your germs, cash bonuses notwithstanding, than you think. In fact, what you’d do with sex workers is what you’d do with potential partners. Know the signs you’re about to have an outbreak, use condoms or abstain if you’re in the midst of an outbreak (there’s medication too — consult your doctor) and pay attention to how often you have outbreaks. If you have one every five years? Well, you’re probably OK more often than you’re not. More often? Cautions apply. But your real issue seems to be whether or not to disclose.

I say yes. If she flees? At least you don’t feel like the kind of scumbag you’d be if you did not disclose. Besides which, she’s going to be curious about you suddenly using condoms if you haven’t been using them. So, disclose, it’s easier all around. And if this one gets away, know that there are herpes dating groups. I think. 

Sexy Toys

EUGENE, SIR: I’m surprised that a savvy guy like yourself didn’t mention sex toys for after that last erection — a guy might be able to keep his partner happy for years following that “last one” and maybe even enjoy the experiences himself.  Maybe she could learn new ways to please him regardless of erection status. Hope springs eternal, at least for this female, but he shouldn’t just give up, for heaven’s sake. There’s more than one way to skin a pussycat, if you’ll forgive the double entendre. — MK

Dear Ms. Ultra: Sure, sure. There are lots of work-arounds. He could advertise for a designated hitter. He could, as you suggest, partner with the plastic, and there’s always oral (presuming that his mouth still works), but you’re missing the long, hard point made by the permanent lifetime absence of an erection: There’s no surer biological sign that it’s time to go than the never-ever status of finished erections.

Having only rented, borrowed or bartered for a penis, your relationship to an erection is very different from the landlords. There are always more erections for you. It’s a thriving market for those interested in them. But when you’re a penis owner, the sudden de-evaluation of one of your most probing assets can be devastating. Which means I am now officially freaking myself out. Like Tony Montana said, “It’s hard to be a man-g.” Or maybe not so hard, as the case may be. In either case, it’s a roller-coaster ride of terror not nearly compensated for by being able to lift heavy things. Thanks for trying to cheer us up, though.