How to Do It is Slate’s sex advice column. Send your questions for Stoya and Rich to email@example.com. Nothing’s too small (or big).
Dear How to Do It,
Recently, I stumbled onto a secret profile of someone that I have a close, but not very personal relationship with. It’s on a popular site covering every topic imaginable, where, by clicking on a username, you can see all the person’s posts and comments/interactions with others. This user caught my eye because they were extremely conservative and anti-LGBTQ rights, while also openly being a member of the community. The last post I read actually revealed them to be the person I know. They are not out, and knowing their family, probably will never be.
While I’m glad they found a place to express their views, and I really want them to lead a happy, satisfying life, I have some concerns: First, I’m not sure if they realize just how public their comments are, or that they’ve posted some very easily identifiable information that could potentially out them to a lot of people. Second, we come from an extremely conservative and restrictive cultural background (one of the reasons why I’m worried about the first issue). A bunch of their posts were about how sad, lonely, and isolated they felt. I just wish there was a way to let them know that they have an ally in their corner, who would listen, support, and accept them. And finally, a bunch of their comments were affirmative replies to users across the country who share similar sexual interests asking for people to come to their homes. This person is young (but of age), unfamiliar with dating, especially in America, and very much looking for acceptance and affection. I’m worried they are particularly vulnerable and easy to take advantage of because they would definitely be lying to their family about their whereabouts during these hookups. I’d hate for them to be afraid to call for help if they ever wind up in a bad situation, because nobody knows about this part of their life.
My dilemma is: Do I talk to them about any of this? About hiding their profile better? About the fact that they can come to me? About safe dating and sexual practices? We definitely do not have the type of relationship where we’d normally ever broach the topic of romance/sex/dating, and I really don’t want to have a vague conversation that might reinforce the baseline assumption that everyone is straight, especially knowing that so many of the people close to them are openly anti-LGBTQ. I’d hate to make them feel even more uncomfortable or awkward about their sexual preferences. I also understand that choosing who gets to know about certain parts of your life is a very important decision, and I would never want to out someone because the privilege of sharing that is theirs, and theirs alone. But currently, they’re dealing with all of this completely alone, and I hate the idea of someone possibly getting hurt because they didn’t have anyone to go to.
I had to read this a few times in order to wrap my head around it. You’ve given me specifics and yet I want more. I’m left wondering how it’s possible to have a close but not personal relationship with a person. I’m imagining feuding conjoined twins, or perhaps a prison cellmate you just don’t jell with. (Seriously, are you a teacher? Religious congregant? Family friend?)
You say this person isn’t out, and yet you have discovered information to the contrary. Perhaps an active queer online life is an early step in their full coming out? I don’t know how you could possibly know whether they will ever come fully out unless you’ve got a crystal ball next to your keyboard, in which case: May I borrow it to help me write this column? No? The fact is that people tend not to live with their parents forever and find it much easier to live their truths once they aren’t living under the roof of an oppressive set of guardians.
I get the sense that you are older and well-meaning, but also that you’re underestimating this person’s savvy. If they’re young but of age, they grew up with the internet and likely understand how it works. They probably know a thing or two about sex at this point, as well, whether it’s firsthand or just what they’ve seen on the internet. I understand your concern—sex education in this country is abysmal, especially for LGBTQ youth. That said, by overstepping the current boundaries of your relationship, you may make things so awkward as to cause a total breakdown in communication. Tread lightly.
If my reasoning doesn’t move you and you are nonetheless convinced that this person is as clueless about the world as you portray in your letter, send them an anonymous message or email identifying yourself only as someone who’s in their life. Say that you saw their profile, you understand that they’re queer, you support them and won’t share this information with anyone, and that if they have questions or concerns, they can email you. Or, if they chose, they can talk to you in person. Expressing your agenda upfront and leaving the ball in their court will make this less intimidating, and it will give them a chance to hide themselves better if they so choose.
Dear How to Do It,
I’m a gay man in his late 20s. I live in a liberal city, and there is no shortage of attractive gay men on apps, at bars and clubs, or just walking down the street. And thanks to genetic luck, I have a really good dick. Guys love it, and want it, which means I have tons of chances to hook up.
When I’m on the receiving end of oral sex, I have no problem lasting for as long as a guy wants me to last (but can reach completion quickly, if necessary). The issue is when I top: There have been a handful of men I’ve been able to bang until they are ready to come, however long that may be, but more often than not I’m reaching completion in seconds flat. For a couple of regulars, they love it—one has said multiple times, “I love how quickly you come.” But for other men, especially one-time or first-time hookups … well, you can imagine the shock that comes with such a quick session. I’ve tried strategies to temper expectations (“I’ve been really horny today, so I might come quickly!”), but I worry that’s not fair or entirely honest. I’ve tried endurance strategies from online, but I’ve fallen off the wagon with “practicing” those in recent months (and breathing/taking it slowly during penetrative sex only gets me so far). I’ve considered talking to my doctor about different medicines/medications I might be able to use, but I also don’t want to let down the guys who hook up with me because of the quick sessions, which I also enjoy.
Is there a route I should be looking into? Language or warnings I should offer before hooking up? A secret network of hot men who hate when penetrative sex lasts for more than 10 seconds? I’m open to suggestions.
Dear Quick Shot,
Wow, a guy who tops enthusiastically with his good and sensitive dick, and who frets that the fair warning he’s already giving partners about his hang time may not be adequate. Hold me?
So, definitions on these matters are not always carved in stone, but premature ejaculation is generally attributed to guys who last less than two minutes during intercourse. I think at 10 seconds, you’d definitely qualify. You know you have options—you’ve done some research and likely know about different prescription meds, both topical and oral (sometimes antidepressants are prescribed for their ejaculation-delaying effects). A desensitizing topical may be worth a try, since you would use it as needed, and it should leave no lasting effects, meaning you’d still have your special talent to please the quick-pop enthusiasts. (Again, I have to say, your consideration for your partners is extraordinary—wanting to be all things to all bottoms!) On message boards mulling this topic, I’ve read guys describe using Kegels (particularly of the reverse variety) to help delay orgasm, but I’ve never had much luck with it myself.
You very well could lean into your hair trigger and use it market yourself on apps—it might even be worth it for the social experiment alone. Will you attract more or fewer interested parties if you make your username “QUICKCUMMER”? As you know, there are people out there who rather fancy a hasty spurt, Stoya and myself included. Barring that, I don’t really think you owe casual sex partners a detailed rundown of your physiology, and so your current expectation-tempering strategy seems sufficient to me, as it is the truth, albeit selectively so. If you’re still feeling too deceptive for comfort, be a little more specific in your pre-meet chat: “I come quickly from topping, but you can suck me for as long as you want.” So many guys out there just want to suck a dick, as I’m sure you’re well aware, and your ability to last as long or short as you want via a blow job is a quality worth highlighting. Extended foreplay has often been cited as compensating for brief intercourse, and it seems like your head-getting aptitude nicely compensates for your lack of anal-sex stamina. I love your perfectionism and encourage you to keep striving, but don’t lose sight of your potential dreamboat status to many in your current form.
Dear How to Do It,
I am a 35-year-old straight woman and just recently entered my second sexual relationship. My first relationship lasted five years, and this new one has been two months so far, but the sex is already so much more enjoyable. I didn’t have any previous experience to help me realize that my ex really didn’t take my pleasure into consideration more than the bare minimum, and my new guy always prioritizes me when I let him.
I want to just relax and enjoy these new experiences, including regular multiple orgasms, but I’ve also discovered something about myself … I am a squirter. Big time. My boyfriend says he LOVES it, and was so excited the first time it happened. I was mortified by the mess. I’ve tried to read tips online of how to control it and can usually keep it from happening, but once in a while I just can’t help it and I end up lying in a wet spot of shame.
I don’t know if I should continue to try to control it or just find a way to embrace it and accept the fact that my boyfriend finds it sexy and not gross. Since we’re still so new, I haven’t felt comfortable talking to him about my self-consciousness around it—all I’ve told him is that it’s a new experience for me, which is an odd thing at my age. Are there ways to stop squirting, or do I need to just make sure there’s always a towel and change of shorts around?
There’s ongoing disagreement about squirting between two major factions: People who say they squirt, and health experts who disagree. In her recently released book The Vagina Bible, OB-GYN Jen Gunter cites a study of women who claimed to be squirters whose “squirted” fluid was determined to be urine in lab tests. Though they had voided their bladders prior to sex, their bladders had filled “remarkably fast” when they were sexually stimulated. “It is possible that when women report squirting that they are simply having an orgasm strong enough for the pelvic floor muscles to empty their bladder, which is why it is associated with heightened sexual pleasure,” Gunter writes, also hypothesizing that intense sexual response may facilitate a fast filling of the bladder. The Skene’s glands, sometimes referred to as the “female prostate,” are on both sides of the urethra and can secrete traces of liquid, though Gunter says it’s perhaps 12 milliliters at most. Not quite the dancing fountains we think of when we think of female ejaculation.
When I think about squirting as a phenomenon overall, as someone with no pole in the pond, I consider the makeup of the fluid at hand to be immaterial. It doesn’t matter if the squirted juice is ejaculate or not; squirting, as we know it, is a thing. It has been practiced and repeated. We know exactly what someone means when they say “squirting.” A good number of women have demonstrated it on film; an even larger number of women have said they’re capable of doing it. Many people who have sex with women love it in the abstract and are thrilled when it occurs in real life. That’s real. Say everyone, including all the smart, sex-positive people, who say it’s happened to them, are utterly wrong and it is just urine—well, great, it’s not like there’s anything wrong with a little watersports.
Back to you: I understand you’re self-conscious, and I commend you for taking steps to assuage your discomfort here. I don’t, though, think it’s odd for you to be having new experiences at 35, especially when you’ve just entered your first satisfying sexual relationship. You should expect to have many new experiences, hopefully all of them good. I know it’s very hard to embrace something you don’t like about yourself regardless of your partner’s enthusiasm for it, but look at it this way: You have a built-in turn-on for your partner that comes at no cost and with a heaping serving of pleasure. Your body has a tendency that your partner (in your verbiage) LOVES. Sounds like a match to me. You can fight it, sure—some women make sure to pee before sex and practice Kegels to strengthen their pelvic floor—but it seems well worth embracing.
Dear How to Do It,
I’m a man in his 40s who was very much a late bloomer, and I’ve not had very many sexual partners in my life. I’m slightly above average in size and very inflexible when hard (can only move it a couple of inches in any direction).
My problem is that when I enter a sexual situation and I don’t finish within about 30 minutes, I start to develop an urge to pee. It’s not that I have to go, but that feeling is there. We pause, I go to the toilet, and it takes some work to go, but it happens. Relief is, however, only temporary and the feeling returns. It’s the same thing every time. We pause, I go pee, which takes a while to force it out, and we try to continue. I’ve asked my doctor about this and this is the first he’s heard of such a thing. I’m guessing I might be doing something wrong?
You can imagine that this puts a damper on our activities. I can climax in this state, but the sensation is very disappointing. I also wonder where my body is finding all this liquid. I always make sure to go pee and not drink before sex, but I still get that feeling anyway. It seems to come on quicker and stronger the more I am aroused. Are there any techniques I can use to prevent this from happening? (I’m not keen to divorce my husband and find another who’s into watersports.)
Dear Streaming 2,
You say you’ve discussed this with your doctor, which I’m assuming is your primary care physician and not a urologist, so my first piece of advice to you is: Talk to a urologist. They know things other doctors don’t. To help underline my point, I emailed a urologist on your behalf, Dr. Tobias Pottek of Vivantes Hospital Am Urban in Berlin.
Pottek told me that while your problem is unusual, it may be related to your prostate. In your 40s, your prostate starts to grow, which may cause an obstruction resulting in urinary problems. He suspects this may be your problem. Pottek said if you were his patient, he would conduct a uroflowmetry (a test of your urine flow), a residual urine ultrasound, and an ultrasound of the prostate. Additionally, he’d likely prescribe medication “to make the prostate smaller and weaker and control the effect by consultation and ultrasound.”
Find a urologist, preferably a gay one in case you have other specific sexual issues you’d like to discuss. “If you don’t find a competent urologist at home, I invite you to Berlin,” Pottek told me. I’ve never been, but I hear it’s nice.
But for real, get this checked out by an expert.
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I am a freshman at college. My roommate is pretty great—except for one thing. I’m pretty sure she “takes care of herself” after we turn out the lights and she thinks I’m asleep. The motions and noises she makes are consistent with this theory. I have no problem with her doing that, but it makes me uncomfortable that she does it while I’m in the room. I’m also absolutely mortified about possibly discussing this with her. They did not cover this in freshman orientation, so I’m counting on you for some insight.