What's the Right Number of People to Have Sex With?
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because, well, people talk.
By Eugene S. Robinson
The Fucket List
EUGENE, SIR: A while ago you had mentioned this theory of yours that some men have a sex list of sorts of women or type of women that they need to sleep with before they can feel satisfied. This was something I immediately related to. Did you ever expand on that theory? I’d love to hear more about it as it’s something I’ve been grappling with lately. —David L.
Dear Down Low: It’s simple and crazy and some may say simply crazy, but the same mindset that brought you fantasy football leagues, Dungeons & Dragons and Strat-O-Matic Baseball, a mental quirk that quantifies all that should probably just be qualified, when turned to matters sexual makes things, well, strange.
Case in point: a thing. Everyone’s got one. A thing, that is.
Specifically either a thing for a “magical” person, place, number or actual thing that we must experience in order to feel fulfilled somehow. Hence, short men jonesing for taller women in the possible belief that this will mitigate the raw deal done them by nature, height-wise. Or a fetishized attraction to blondes. Or having more sex partners than you have fingers on both hands. It could be any of these things or others that I haven’t mentioned but whatever they are, it’s their placement that’s important. And that placement is always? Right. Beyond. Reach.
Men on the verge of getting married — and it seems to be mostly men, though I’ve just heard it mostly from men; women, I suspect, are better at keeping their mouths shut about such attractions — will entertain thoughts regarding what they have not gotten and what, if they’re lucky enough to stay married, will never get. They will sadly intone to friends in quiet moments, “I’ve never … ,” and you can fill in the blank with their thing and the sigh that follows it.
Life is full of things undone and not experienced. That’s not the problem. The problem is when you, in a moment of weakness, encounter that which you’ve most ardently desired for so long within your reach if only a little bit outside of your ethical grasp. Then you’re in trouble.
If, for example, you lust for Israeli women, but you’re married or are in a committed relationship, you have no problem unless … you meet an Israeli woman who is willing. When faced with the possibility of fulfilling an unfulfilled desire, are there ways to not do so and not hate yourself?
Sure. By doing everything under the sun that you could possibly ever want to do or try before you’re in a position where these things could damage your life. Tools that are necessary to do so? Honesty. Bullshitting the rest of the world is not nearly as damaging as bullshitting yourself. So live, expansively. Because to paraphrase James Brown, no matter how long you’re living, you’re a long time dead. Hope this makes some sense.
EUGENE, SIR: My boyfriend won’t let me sit on his face. Not because he doesn’t like oral sex. I would not date a man who didn’t, but because he thinks my vaginal fluids pooling in the back of his throat the way they would if he was on his back are going to lead to throat cancer. He’s OK if I am on my back but I like being active. He’s trying very hard now to make it great with me on my back but it feels like being in jail, and I certainly don’t want to live the rest of my life like this. What can I say to convince him he’s safe from throat cancer? —Ella
Dear L.A.: Thanks, Michael Douglas. For those who missed it, the actor Michael Douglas told The Guardian that he believed his throat cancer was caused by HPV, or the human papillomavirus — a virus that can cause cancer and is sexually transmitted. He later rescinded his claim, mostly on account of it making his wife and her vagina look very bad. While some noted that Douglas both drank and smoked, significant factors when it comes to cancers of the mouth, tongue and throat, the whole cunnilingus thing stuck. And the thing is? It IS actually causally connected to throat, tongue and mouth cancers. But first you’d have to have HPV, which you can be tested for. And so can your man. So go get tested and with clean bills of health in hand, he needs, post-facto, to rush to someplace where he can get supine and you need to rush to his face. BOOM!
EUGENE, SIR: We’re arguing about the stupidest thing ever. I want to see his old sex videos and he doesn’t want me to see them. I respect his wishes to have some of his private life stay private, but it makes me wonder what he’s hiding. Is there a modern protocol for what we do with our respective sex documentations? — Name withheld by request
Dear Peeky Boo: Are you the type of person around whom no one feels comfortable leaving out their diary? And just because you’re willing to let someone read your diary, doesn’t it even emerge as a sneaking suspicion that a refusal to reciprocate might be OK since different people have different levels of comfortability? People look at what they want to look at for different reasons and they show, or conceal, what they do, also, for different reasons. The presence of daylight between your two positions here means nothing but that you two are having a difference of opinion. Which is OK. It doesn’t have to be a thing. Unless your refusal to accept no for an answer makes it so. If it makes you feel any better? He could be denying your viewing for something as simple as he was too fat when he made the sex videos in question. In any case, pushing this is pointless.