Why you should care
OZY’s Eugene S. Robinson addresses queries from the love-weary in “Sex With Eugene.”
Herpes + Hops
EUGENE, SIR: Can I get herpes from drinking from someone else’s bottle of beer? — Gal From the Internets
Dear Beer-Guzzling Gal: While in the olden days a cause for comedy was the prospect of getting a venereal disease from a toilet seat, according to our panel of medical professionals that we retain for just these questions, yes, you can get herpes from a bottle of beer. On Planet Speculation, if you have an open sore in your mouth or on your lips and/or tongue and the owner of the beer bottle is similarly equipped, this is totally possible. Is it more or less likely than French-kissing someone? Probably less likely, but still.…
Hot Tub Troubles
EUGENE, SIR: I’m at a dinner party. Things go late and there are only a few guests left and one of those guests says we should hot tub. I’m kinda with the woman who brought me, but these are her friends mostly and so I look to her on how to play this. She seems into the idea, so I go to the kitchen to grab a drink. The hostess is there, in a towel, and since she lives there, having a swimsuit underneath the towel would make sense. She asks me if I need anything from the refrigerator. The kitchen is dark and when she opens the refrigerator door, the light comes on, and her towel drops. I can see she doesn’t have a swimsuit on, but she’s not grabbing her towel So, I figure this is the new deal, and I grab her and start kissing her. She goes for it, then laughs and pushes me away and says we should hit the hot tub. We go to the tub, and everyone is naked. The woman I came with sits on my leg and the hostess sits on my other leg. She gets up after a bit and disappears and then the woman I came with asks me what we were laughing about in the kitchen. I tell her what happened, which I guess was a mistake. I thought they had planned this, but it turned out they had not, and now she’s pissed at me, and at her friend; her friend thinks I’m an idiot; and while it seems like their friendship hasn’t been harmed, neither will talk to me. How do I become the fucking goat for telling the truth? — Dude From the Internets
Dear Web Dude: That totally zigged when I thought the story was going to zag. I thought you were going to ask a question about consent or something since you have to know that being naked in your own house in a dark kitchen in front of a refrigerator is not a clear-cut invitation to be grabbed or kissed. I once met a man whose business card said that he was an applied semiotician. This amused me to no end since I pictured him spending his days walking hither and yon, to and fro, telling people what things mean. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized there’s a real need for this, since while being naked in your own kitchen isn’t necessarily an invitation to anything, everything means something and you were not wrong to have guessed that maybe this meant something somatic.
Going from guessing to assuming is where things start down a ditch. What I would have suggested, and a good practice in several situations, was to move closer to her to make sure you were understanding things as she meant to have them understood. Closer … closer … closer. If this doesn’t resolve itself in your favor, at least you don’t have the telltale laugh.
Telling the truth is nothing anyone should be sanctioned for, but again, you were in no position to know what the truth was, so in reporting the kitchen events you were probably the worst eyewitness ever. You only thought you knew what you were seeing. You ran the risk of destabilizing, well, everything. I don’t say you don’t get sexy with the homeowner. I do say you could have put yourself in a better position to glean what was meant by her actions than you did.
But, uh … next time.
64, Single + Needing a MAN
EUGENE, SIR: I’m 64 years old and newly single, and while most men my age are busy with younger women, I’ve found a special category of younger men who are emailing me and I’ve met some for drinks. I keep myself in shape and look younger than my age, but on the few occasions I’ve had sex with these nice young men, I get the feeling that they are treating me like I might break. Should I just stop mentioning my age? Or is there some way I can get them to be a tad more aggressive in bed? — Sheila
Dear Oh, Oh Sheila: Ah, it’s a tiger in the tank issue. This is tough. On the one hand, many would advise you to ask for what you want, and while this is good advice, it’s maddeningly nonspecific since who really knows what people mean when they say “more aggressive”? Is the desired aggressiveness for language? Activity? Speed? Rhythm? Sex leaves a lot up to that which we intuit, so those more sensitive will get it, while others won’t. The best way to get the sex you want, though, is to approach it the way you want it approached and hope that your partner is smart enough to pick up the cues. If they can do this? Problem solved. If they can’t? Problem is also solved. I mean, no one has to have sex more than once with someone who can’t swing it like it should be swung, right?