Why you should care
Because being better in bed tomorrow than you were today has to be a good thing.
Depends on What Your Definition of “Is” Is
EUGENE, SIR: I’m 26 and have had five lovers. Here’s a question I want to ask, but it seems too stupid to ask anyone face to face. What do people mean when they call someone a “good” lover? I think I’m a good lover, but who knows? Will people tell you if you’re a bad lover? I guess I’m looking for an objective professional opinion about what it means to be “good” and not “bad.” — Just Checking
Dear Checking Account: Oh, people will tell you. Typically by never seeking out your company again if you’re bad. But I’ve heard tell of people being “too” good and also not being sought out again, mostly on account of a subject’s awareness that falling in love with someone who doesn’t love you puts you at a disadvantage. I’ve heard “it’s easier to fall in love with someone who is great in bed.” (Not if they’re asses in other ways.) In any case, straight to your query: Good is hard to make sense of. Sex is so singularly subjective that getting to an objective rendering is doomed to being culturally bound and almost insignificant if you move a little left or right of your target zone.
Which is to say, one person’s sexy could be another person’s sex crime, a fact that has largely contributed to everything from Aziz Ansari’s alleged bad date to former Stanford swimmer and convicted felon Brock Turner’s recent claim that he was seeking “outercourse,” not intercourse, and should have his conviction overturned.
But away from the stickier wickets of clearly bad behavior there seem to be certain good-sex benchmarks that might be useful in your self-evaluation.
1. You and your partner are both having fun/enjoying yourselves: Almost never have I heard anyone say, “That restaurant was great! The food was so wonderfully terrible!” Not to go tautological on you, but this is a simple, though sometimes ignored, performance marker. Signs that participants might be enjoying themselves involve smiles, moans of appreciation and, often, an orgasm somewhere in the process.
2. You and your partner are actively engaged. Unless you have a specific kink, lying there deathly still seems to be antithetical to No. 1.
3. You and your partner are making creative choices: Now we’re just repeating ourselves, but the powers of imagination are useful and usually well-received. Dancing can be fun. But doing a step-by-step re-creation of John Travolta’s moves in Saturday Night Fever more than once? Not so fun, and maybe a little creepy. You do you so that everyone being done by you understands precisely what that will look like on a long-enough timeline.
Hope this helps.
EUGENE, SIR: When we’re having anal sex, my man sometimes says it hurts. Maybe it’s something I’ve eaten, but how long before having anal could I expect something I’ve eaten to come into play? — Vanessa
Dear Contessa Vanessa: It hurts him? Has he also been on the other end of a penis? He might recalibrate what “hurts” is all about if he had.… But what I think you’re asking is how long might it take for either the bran or the broken glass you’ve been eating to work its way through your system before you all enjoy an evening of anal. After asking a few doctors, the consensus seems to be anywhere from six to 10 hours. This, or a change of position, might reduce/eliminate whatever “unpleasantness” he’s “enduring” by sticking his penis in your anus.
EUGENE, SIR: We’re thinking of experimenting with double penetration, but we’re not adventurous enough to have a third person in with us. We’re 10 years married and actually love just each other, so we’ve been considering using sex toys. Does this make sense, and what do other people prefer as to where the sex toy goes (as opposed to a penis, I guess)? Any information will be appreciated. — Name withheld by request
Dear In Through the Out Door: Before we go any further I should address this: People who love each other still do enjoy threesomes. I know I’d get letters if I didn’t say so and now that I’ve said so, on to your inquiry. First, yes, it makes sense. As has been said before, sex is play and sex toys are playthings, so it makes perfect sense. You wouldn’t be alone in having worked this into your repertoire and for some of the same reasons. As to the preferred placement, this is largely a taste issue and lest you think this is a way to weasel out of having an answer for you, I can point to the fact that sex toys — specifically dildos, vibrators and plugs — are legion. You can find one for every size, shape and party preference. And for those allergic to latex or rubber, non-latex condoms are advised as an outer sheath.
But the real meat of your query: Have my years as a sex columnist yielded a vote on preferred placement, by which I guess you mean does the sex toy get used anally while you enter vaginally, or vice versa?
Most people seem to favor a toy used anally due to the aforementioned variety. You can scale up or down as comfortable.
The connoisseur’s preference, however?
Repeat writers have informed me that their preference trends toward a vibrating sex toy used vaginally while the partner enters through the rear. It frees the passive partner on account of the other partner now able to pilot both penis and sex toy while also digitally manipulating the vagina. Definitely for sophisticates only. But give it a try. And let us know how it works out!