Why you should care
Because tells are always a little bit easier on the sensibilities than shows.
Toys in the Attic
EUGENE, SIR: My boyfriend and I have been together for a year. For a while everything was OK and normal, but we’re having a thing. On “sexy” holidays, like Valentine’s Day, and even on my birthday, he has bought me sex toys. I don’t actually like sex toys, though. So I say thank you and put them away and ignore his hints I should use them since I can’t tell him I don’t like them. He’s been sulky lately when he tries to get me to use them, and he isn’t buying it when I tell him I find him hot all by himself. If I tell him I hate them, it makes me look like a prude and him feel stupid for buying them. If I don’t say anything I’m afraid I’m dooming myself to a future of sex toys I don’t want. I know being a good partner involves trying new things, but I have tried them and I don’t like them. I don’t want to end the relationship, but I don’t want to do what I don’t want to do. Advice, please! — No Toys No Games
Dear NTNG: The great thing about toys is that they’re meant to be played with. And unless you’re a selfish piece of garbage, they’re meant to be played with with someone. What you play and the manner in which you play? All up to the players.
So when you say you don’t like sex toys — and here I’m assuming you mean vibrators, dildos and any and all varieties of “love products” — I have to guess that you mean you don’t like how they’ve been used on you. Which could mean anything from you not enjoying the sensation of them being inside you to a philosophical distaste for someone deriving “pleasure” that they’re not experiencing directly but by proxy.
I don’t think it matters why you don’t like something; it’s enough for me that you don’t. And it might be enough for your boyfriend as well, if he knew. But he doesn’t, and while this might warrant a demerit in the sensitivity department, nothing gets nothing and if he doesn’t know, well, he can’t be blamed for what he doesn’t know. While you’ve had unpleasurable experiences with toys, he might have had good ones that are informing his desire to share them with you.
He might also, and this could be a long shot, desire you use them on him. I don’t know and neither do you, so by way of advice, get this entire debate out of your head and into the living room of ideas. Without judgment or condemnation. Just … talk. During which you can say, “I’ve never really dug them.” And he can say whatever he wants about non-penile playthings. It’s not a negotiation, it’s a talk. Good luck.
Fan Mail From Flounder
EUGENE, SIR: I think you’re a horrible sensation addict and your so-called column encourages unhealthy obsessions with sex. Imagine for one minute writing a column on teeth brushing. The fact that you think it’s column-worthy already speaks a lot about your character. So here you are selling threesomes and sex clubs like they’re normal. I have news for you: In the real world, it’s not normal, and we have a name for people who are not normal sexually and that name is “pervert.” Get out of San Francisco for five minutes, and you’ll see I’m right. — Stop It, Stupid, You’re Embarrassing Yourself
Dear You’re Embarrassing Stupid: The most appalling thing about our computer world is tonal, and the tone is a constant low-grade whine whereby how badly potty trained one was as a child is a determinant of every iota of peckishness one feels entitled to turn on the rest of the world. And all from the comfort of an electronic device.
Which is why I like babies. Babies — not gifted with the powers of speech, literacy or walking — look at what they like and/or are interested in and look away when they have had enough. My short-term suggestion for you is simple: Look away. My longer-term suggestion is that you employ a lot of the directives that come into play in this column and go screw … someone willing to screw you. It’ll be a big step toward making the world a better place. Believe it!
EUGENE, SIR: If my boyfriend goes too slow he loses his erection; if he goes too fast he orgasms before I do. And he always does one or the other. We’ve been together about four months, and sometimes we get close to the right tempo. Is there a way to get us there that we’re not trying? — L.B.
Dear PoundWise: Patience? Seems to me that you are close, sooo close. And while I am the last to advise “suffering” in silence, outside of maybe errant emails to me, I think I am the first to advise that if the trend lines are favorable do everything in your power to not power that down. It’s always nicer to figure stuff out without a whip to your back than it is figuring it out when, first and foremost, you’re convinced you’re ruining your partner’s life. Or at least the sexual portion of it. As has been said before, most of this sex game is a head game, and sometimes that’s harder to get back than anything that might be smoothed with a shift in technique, if you get my drift.
So give him a few more months of eager encouragement and if the outcomes improve, no problem. If outcomes don’t improve? Write back!