Why you should care
OZY’s Eugene S. Robinson addresses queries from the love-weary in “Sex With Eugene.”
Putting Your Left Foot Out
EUGENE, SIR: I thought I had a good sex life, but something has been coming up and I don’t think I should have to explain what seems perfectly natural: Some sex positions I like, and some I don’t. And when I say I don’t I mean to the point where I won’t do them. At all. Doggy-style, for example, feels demeaning to me; I like to look at my partner when we’re making love, and unless he’s using his hands while we’re doing it or I’m using mine, I feel less. Why am I being made to feel like a freak for this? — Name withheld by request
Dear Upward Dog: People like what they like and generally while open lines of communication might have some couples talking about their likes and dislikes, if it’s just a hookup, there’s scant time and maybe better things to talk about. However, if you’re at “won’t do them” and you’re not punctuating your first rejection of an attempt to go doggy with “I absolutely hate this position,” you’re inviting low-grade confusion, which is probably only made worse with your politicization of it.
While it’s good to know what you like and what you don’t like, explaining it along philosophical and/or political lines seems a little like you’re trying to convince the other person too, and honestly, it’s rare to be talked out of what you like. So you might be wasting your breath and your time. Especially when you can look at your partner in a mirror when having sex doggy-style. Also, don’t apologize, don’t explain (unless you feel like it) and be prepared for an occasional lack of repeat business from people who don’t have time for all of that. Good luck.
Do the Jerk
EUGENE, SIR: My boyfriend has been after me to jerk him off. Our sex life is good, but there are places where intercourse isn’t possible, so a few times, like at the movies, he’s asked me to jerk him off. We were sitting in the back row and no one else in the theater could see us, so that’s not the problem. The problem is I don’t know how and learning in a theater or on an airplane (another place he’s asked for this) is very stressful. We’re both 28 years old, and I just never learned how to do it when everyone else did. Where would I look online to find out how to perform a hand job? Any info would be very welcome. Even in porn they spend very little time on people jerking men off. — DW
Dear Dream Works: Are there places where intercourse isn’t possible? Really? A serious question that I am clearly asking for a friend. If people have shown us nothing else, they’ve shown us that you can screw just about any place it suits you to screw. But entertaining your query in the spirit in which it was asked, let’s assume there are places where you do not feel like having intercourse, and oral sex also seems like a bridge too far, what about the lowly and seemingly forgotten art of the hand job, a relic of a time when it was a big deal to get one, a bigger deal to get a good one, and it was an acceptable substitute for intercourse?
Here’s something you already know: The hand job is dead. As porn goes, so goes our collective sex lives sometimes and very little porn features hand jobs (don’t send me links, I’m generalizing). Moreover, many men are not asking for that which they can do themselves, and often better, because other forms of sexual expression have been much more readily embraced. “Not a single one,” said one of our go-to sex worker advisers when asked how many hand jobs she’d been asked to give during four years of escort work.
That’s not the point, though. In the same way that it makes very little sense to be able to read Latin, some still do, and for the same reasons, it’s good to know. Looking online might work, but why do that when you’ve got a living laboratory an arm’s length away? Tell your boyfriend what you told me, and start woodshedding. Which could be said about any sex act that requires some skill. Except … with hand jobs at least you have an excuse for not being good at it.
Odd Man Out
EUGENE, SIR: My partner and I just started swinging and met a couple we wanted to play with. Dinner, drinks, dancing — everything was working out. We headed up to the hotel room and it didn’t take long to get the feeling that while the other couple was into me, they were not that into my beau. He thinks I should have addressed it at the time. I told him he could have said something too. Long story much shorter, he wants us to stop and I’m OK with stopping but not because I did something “wrong.” How would you have handled this? — Tina
Dear Tina the Go-Go Queen: You’re not going to like this, but in a way your boyfriend is right. If you two go to a restaurant, a movie, shopping, bingo, whatever, the most steady and ready advocate for you, outside of you, should be your partner. You wouldn’t let a waiter treat him like slop, so why let people who are clearly unclear on the concept of swapping treat him so? Sounds like they didn’t want to play with y’all as much as they wanted to play with you, but they didn’t disinvite someone who’d been invited, specifically in a way that would’ve divided the other participating couple. They didn’t have to force themselves to like him, but they can’t choose to exclude midstream without addressing it.
What should you have done? You should have started directing traffic. “You know what I think would be sexy?” And then fill in the blank with that which most involves your partner. If the other couple goes for it? Fine. If they don’t? You two bid them adieu. But you come together, you play together, you leave together. Simple.