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Because good sex is promised to no one.
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The Smell of Sexess
EUGENE, SIR: I just found you online and love what you’ve got going on! I saw you have an advice column, and I’ve been kicking around a dilemma for a while now. I’ve been with my partner for four years. From the start, we’ve had good sex, but not great … because I’ve always been turned off by his body smells and tastes. I’m talking about his sweat and his breath (his cum is delightful). It’s not a result of bad hygiene, it’s more like subtle emanations that gross me out. Sometimes when he kisses my nipples, I think about how his mouth smells and I get turned off. For context, I am not a clean freak or a germophobe, and I’ve never met a stinky cheese I didn’t like, so I don’t think I’m being particularly squeamish. I’ve asked him to brush his teeth or shower before sex, but that’s anti-erotic and I feel like an asshole. I don’t consider this a deal breaker, but I would enjoy sex much more if I could get over it. Maybe his pheromones aren’t compatible with mine? — Battling Body Odors in Barranquilla
Dear BBOB: To quote the late, great Ian Curtis, “This is the crisis I knew had to come.” You see, I may have been fooling everyone into thinking I am sane and measured, like a modern-day Solomon of sex, but on this topic I will surf out into the mists because of something I hold to be an inviolable truth, and that’s that the nose knows. Like Patrick Süskind lays out in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, our sense of smell is much more significant than we give it credit for (I have never been led astray by mine). If someone smells not right or slightly off, it’s never been the case that very many good things happened as those connections ran their course. But my lunatic asides notwithstanding, this doesn’t help you much with your problem, and so I’ll add that there is some medical support for my beliefs.
From a 2005 study that found gay men preferred the anonymous sweat samples of other gay men over any others and that heterosexual men preferred the smells of women, to a study that found men unaroused by the smell of women’s tears, science seems to suggest that listening to your nose is not a bad way to go. If he can’t kiss your nipples without you thinking about these smells, and you acknowledge that these smells are not necessarily bad but off? Well, that’s a pretty solid sign, and any dietary changes or addition of cologne or perfume would just be helping you lie to yourself better. Which I won’t do.
It might seem silly to dump someone over “vague” smells, but while that might be all they are, they could also be the first of many signs that you should have paid attention to the first sign the first time you smelled it.
EUGENE, SIR: I’ve been chatting online with this woman. She’s tall, beautiful, has large breasts — total package. She is also completely hostile to my attentions. But she keeps writing me and I keep pouring it on. Until one day, after about a month, she tells me she needs to talk to me and she tells me, again over email, that she’s trans. I’m so far down the road that I can’t stop. Besides, I think she’s lying, so I keep pushing. I think I even said something like, “I don’t care if you’re from Transylvania, baby.” But now she’s making plans to come visit and I don’t think I want to have sex with a trans person but I don’t want to be rude either. If she has a penis, this is a bigger problem for me than if she doesn’t, but both ways are sort of a problem. How do I get out of this without being a transphobic asshole? — Name withheld by request
Dear Crying Game: OK, first, don’t start any sentence with “I don’t want to be an asshole but … ,” since no one will ever appreciate the sacrifice you’ve made in attempting to quasi-apologize for whatever you’re about to say next. Which in this instance should be something sweetly simple like, “I thought I was evolved enough to handle it, but I’m not.” If your wooing period was longer than a year, you might get called some names, but I believe that less than six months puts you in the clear and is all part of a process of evolving into a certain comfortableness with gender fluidity. I mean, none of this — that is, any relationship — is easy. Moreover, we like people partially because of what they represent to us, but if that doesn’t line up with how we’re thinking and feeling, why bother forcing it? On a long enough timeline, you may be called worse things, but being an ass who ruins someone’s vacation because you think you can do it but can’t shouldn’t be one of them.
EUGENE, SIR: My woman takes about 30 seconds to orgasm when we’re having sex. I can’t possibly come that fast, and it gets even harder to climax because I feel like she’s waiting on me to finish. Anything I can do to come faster? — H
Dear Josef H.: Well, I imagine if she was going to have, say, three orgasms in a row, each one would not hit in less than 30 seconds. So, take a break and come back for the second orgasm. And what to do between orgasm one and orgasm two? Whatever suits your fancy, Joey.