The Problems With Public Sex
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because sucking at sex is not a crime, but continuing to suck at it might be.
By Eugene S. Robinson
Sex Party Pitfalls
EUGENE, SIR: I agreed to go to a sex club. Partly to spice things up, partly because it sounded interesting. We did what you said, and talked about ground rules before. We decided to watch; if we got hot enough, we agreed we’d have sex. With each other. So we were sitting watching another couple have sex. They had drawn a crowd. My man sat on my right. On my left was a guy I didn’t know who, after chatting with us, stood up and started masturbating. He was closer to my face than I would have liked. It was a little weird, but I didn’t feel threatened. But my man whispered to me, “Go ahead if you want,” right as the guy laughed and shrugged and said, “Hey, it’s a sex club.” It felt like some weird collusion between the two of them, that they suddenly wanted me to be the field of play on which they could work out some mutual fantasy that I was not privy to. I did fellate the stranger a little, but since then I’ve been put out with my man. It wasn’t what we agreed on. We’ve been together for about 14 months. Should I move on? — Name withheld by request
Dear A-Non: Complex and complicated. You two collectively agreed on a singular course of action. Specifically, go to a sex club. Contingencies were planned, and planned for: You two agreed to be part of the show if you both felt like it, but ONLY as a couple. And in the middle of all of this consensual couple planning, one of you reached the requisite level of hotness, so he let you know that if you had also reached a similar level of excitement, you should/could break the agreement and do what, in the end, you did.
I’m quite sure he thinks he did you a favor, which maybe accorded more with his desire to be a game partner and maybe less than his acting out some homoerotic fantasy in which you were a proxy. But I don’t know. I do know, based on your writing, that the issue seems to be the incorrectness of changing the rules midgame. But consistency is sometimes the hobgoblin of little minds, and your partner’s surprise, were he to read this, would cohere around the fact that, no matter which way the argument swings, you chose to fellate a stranger.
If I were a psychiatrist — and remember, I am NO KIND of medical professional — I would suggest that because you were not pressured into fellating a stranger, your pique might be because you did fellate a stranger. Did your partner have some inside info that this would be what lawyers sometimes call “an attractive nuisance,” something you might find irresistible? I don’t know enough about him to guess at his motivations. You know who doesn’t have to? You. Because? Because you can talk to him about this, and you should. Posthaste. I could see agreeing that he broke your agreement, but he broke it with words. Maybe you two could fix it with words. Let me know how things shake out, but as of now I wouldn’t advocate Dumpsville as a way to fix anything.
Show Time Will Tell
EUGENE, SIR: My girlfriend likes to have sex on our living room couch, which happens to look out on a courtyard surrounded by stairs that our neighbors use to get into their apartments from the garage. We can see them, so they can see us. When I mention wanting to close the curtains, she gets angry, like I’m not into it enough if I’m paying attention to curtains. I’m into it plenty; I just don’t like looking into my neighbors’ eyes while I’m into it. Solutions? — HR
Dear Hunting Rod: I don’t know what your apartment is like, but it seems that if it is dark inside and light outside, then this might prevent peeping. Or at least lower the odds. But there’s an issue you’re going to have to address head-on: Is exhibitionism more than a politeness problem? As we’ve said before, and with the help of outside legal counsel, if the average person could reasonably expect to be seen, even when inside his home, he is lacking home-is-castle protections. So your neighbors could complain, and they would have legal legs to stand on. But if they don’t, that still doesn’t address your not being into it and this being a problem. Sadly, this is a problem with no reasonable solution outside of what I’ve suggested. Because even if you get home early and draw the curtains, it will be known that this was your doing. Maybe ask your girlfriend if there are other ways to satisfy her exhibitionist urges that don’t make you uncomfortable and aren’t illegal. Like? Well, sex clubs for a start. Good luck.
EUGENE, SIR: Is there a way to communicate to partners that the party is not over just because someone’s had an orgasm? — EX1
Dear Uno Más: Any good bartender will tell you the party’s not over as long as people are willing to play. And sex is play. Keep playing. They’ll come around.