Why you should care
OZY’s Eugene S. Robinson addresses queries from the love-weary in Sex With Eugene.
Does Masturbation Make You a Criminal? Well … That Depends
EUGENE, SIR: In your response in your last column to “Thomas” [A Statute of Limitations on Partner Porn?] I think you were a bit off. If my man is still masturbating to pics of his exes years afterward, then I’m going to guess that something is seriously wrong. Possibly with me, definitely with him. Don’t you see that a sexual fixation outside of your primary relationship is a pathway to trouble? —Hanna
Dear Ms. Montana: I had a friend, and excuse me if you’re familiar with this story, who was told by his girlfriend that she thought the key to understanding how men were miswired in the sexuality department had to do with the HOW part of their masturbation process. Women, she claimed, masturbated in a feedback loop that included actual feelings. Which is to say: hand, genitalia, motion, sensation, orgasm.
Men, insofar as she could see, introduced sometimes commercially produced media into the process, and she had yet to meet a man who didn’t use some sort of masturbatory aid to masturbate: magazines, videos, old pics, Sears catalogs, whatever. She put him on a regimen: no visual imagery. Just “pure” masturbation. He did this for a month and when asked by me for the results of the Bataan Death March of masturbation and how, in general, things were going, he told me he didn’t know. Because? Well, because he kept falling asleep every time he tried.
I got it. I mean, I might feel sexier when I masturbated if I wore a top hat or something, but I’d never know since it seems a bridge too far to go for political reasons and, as you may have already noticed, politics and sex are one of the least sexy combos ever. Even if politicians disagree. So a nice experiment but there are LOTS of things that you do when ALONE that you’d be appalled to have others know about. The shame part is a shame, but there’s also a great deal of liberty in both having dirty secrets and reveling in those same secrets. As long as they don’t determine real-world outcomes, I think it’s fine. Even if, or especially if, it doesn’t affect anyone else.
But then there’s the Freudian angle, and if you have “discovered” your partner masturbating to pics of exes, I’d have to ask how genuine this “discovery” was. It feels weirdly dishonest even if a semi-valid way of broaching, well, something. Barring that whole canary in a coal mine thing, though, I think you just have to ask yourself: Is it worth grappling over? Time might be infinite, but your time on this planet is not. Use it wisely.
Dom Dom Dom Dom … Dom!
EUGENE, SIR: My girlfriend of the past two years had in the past a sort of master-slave relationship with someone else. I’m going to have to get graphic with this, so please excuse me, but this someone else used to slap her in the face, spit in her face and sometimes even urinate on her face. She doesn’t speak of this relationship with anger, and that’s sort of the problem. I’m not interested in doing any of that to her but am starting to fear that my lack of interest in that kind of action marks me as hopelessly vanilla, which is like the kiss of death. How do I meet her halfway on this somehow? —Ice Cream Man
Dear Mr. Softee: I’m going to have to quote the great Johnny Thunders here and say, in a very clear way, that you can’t put your arms around a memory. Which is to say that your desire to capture some element of her past for working it into your future together is a fool’s errand and you’re competing with ghosts. Ghosts who, in all likelihood, might make lousy long-term companions.
So, if you have no personal interest in this kind of kink and can find zero place for it on your platter of offerings, I’d suggest not letting it drive you crazy. And if anything helps, it might be this: Activity in the absence of ardor is sniffed out quick. So if you’re even contemplating trying this just to make her happy, do not. It will make you both miserable. Barring that, understand that she knows what she has with you and if it ceases pleasing her, I’m sure you’ll be the first to know. Or at least the last.
How to Try a Walk on the Wild Side
EUGENE, SIR: With no more Craigslist for this, how do my husband and I go about finding a third for some play? Plus, is it creepy if I prefer him to be Black? —Name Withheld by Request
Dear Eyes Wide Open: Two very different questions. Both of which I suspect of being trick questions, but I’m game. In regard to the first, I’d suggest starting with the internet. There are still plenty of places, interest groups and forums for people who dig on some variation of swinging, which is what you’re talking about, methinks. You’re talking a few extra clicks, but get on in there. You’ll find fellow travelers.
But your second question, which was maybe the real question, is more complex, and you’re asking me to adjudge the value of having a preference in sexual kink. While I don’t think I can offer much insight here, I can offer you some cover: I suspect for every expressed desire you’ll be able to find someone perfectly willing to fulfill it. So, one man’s creepy is another’s good day.
Now I don’t know whether you, yourself, are Black, or your husband is, or what race or nationality you are, so I have no idea if this will cause internal discord in light of you maybe having not discussed this with the aforementioned husband. But in terms of objective creepiness? Nah, I don’t think so. We like what we like.