Every week, Emily Yoffe answers questions from readers in a live chat. Now she’ll be answering a few additional questions for Slate Plus members only.
Q. How to Show the Way?: I am a middle-aged divorcee who recently started dating a young man half my age. I do not look my age, and he believes I am the hottest thing there is … which is pretty hot. When we finally went to bed, I felt like I was in a porno. My young man has no clue how to do anything except do whatever is right for his pleasure, and as far as I can tell, he has no understanding of how to make love to a woman. I know that he is young, and thinking that he would be excellent in bed was a long shot. I have decided that because he is a sincerely kind and sweet man that I am willing to show him the way. Show him the way for me and probably his wife of the future. I do not have any idea how to broach this subject with him without hurting his feelings. During our first encounter I did not want to dampen his spirit, so I did not guide him much. How do I go back and discuss in a kind way that he is not really doing it for me at all?
A: One of the more noxious aspects of pornography culture is that it is training a generation of young men that brutal sex is what sex is. Please, gentlemen, turn off the porn and learn about making love! There’s little point in being an older, experienced lover if you don’t pass your wisdom on to the next generation. People are always told to tell their partners what they want. The problem comes when two young, inexperienced people not only lack the language but the knowledge. You, however, know what you want. You tell your young buck that you love his body, enthusiasm, and get-up-and-go—but now you want to slow things down and impart to him some special knowledge about what you like, knowledge he will be able to make great use of for the rest of his life. Then take over, teacher. Guide his hand (and his other parts), and explain that despite what he learned from the Internet, most women need warming up before getting to the main act. Let’s hope that once you finish your education, you both will feel the course was more than worthwhile.
Q. No Room in the Womb: I have two beautiful children, a military husband, and three successful surrogacies under my belt. It makes me so happy to help people create families (and the compensation allows me to not worry about college education for my kids). My problem is my sister-in-law found out she can’t get pregnant and hints that I should be her surrogate. I am not close to her, there would be next to no compensation, and it makes me very uncomfortable. She is getting my mother-in-law on board with this. My husband is overseas, and we live in his hometown. Help!
A: No one can bully you into carrying a child. You can be sympathetic to her very painful situation without taking the bait. If you are asked outright to be her surrogate, explain that you cannot but that you will be happy to put her in touch with the surrogacy community. You do not have to offer reasons or excuses, and frankly if you do—they don’t have enough money, you are uncomfortable carrying for a family member—that will just open you up to counter-arguments. I know your husband is deployed and has plenty on his mind, but if the pressure gets too bad, you can ask him to have a conversation with his mother and your sister-in-law explaining that this isn’t happening and that the sister-in-law needs to start exploring all her other options. Yes, this could get unpleasant for you, but the way to weather it is to stay firm, sympathetic, polite, and appropriately disengaged.