How to Do It

I’m Considering Making a Mold of My Penis

I have some questions.

A man looking at a neon eggplant emoji.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images Plus.

Dear How to Do It,

My wife and I (both mid-30s, married four months, but together for six years) are, generally, excellent and open communicators, though some topics are, admittedly, harder to be fully open about. We are good, for instance, at communicating about and during our regular, relatively vanilla sexual encounters. But one area where we have acknowledged we could be better communicators is in expressing our less vanilla sexual fantasies.

Along these lines, I recently told my partner that I was interested in being pegged—a longtime fantasy of mine—to which she was initially merely open but has now grown more enthusiastic about as we have experimented and learned more. We are still figuring out which harness and dildo will work best for us, but just exploring my butt has been super fun so far. It has also been a great way to take our communication to the next level, not least of all because there is a lot to talk about when it comes to anal play, it turns out.

Here’s my conundrum. We haven’t even really gotten into honest-to-God pegging yet, but I already have in my mind that I would like to fuck myself, i.e., that I would like to mold a dildo based on my own penis that my partner would peg me with. This seems … hopelessly narcissistic. A feeling that is compounded by the fact that getting pegged already feels like it’s about me and my pleasure more than it’s about our experience and our pleasure—though obviously we have been talking and thinking a lot about how to heighten my partner’s physical enjoyment of the experience, in addition to any emotional or intellectual pleasure she might get from it.

My question is twofold: First, is this desire pathologically narcissistic? Like, should I discuss it with my therapist? And, second, should I hold off on expressing this desire until we have spent some time exploring one of my partner’s (as yet unexpressed) fantasies that centers her pleasure?

—Self-Love

Dear Self-Love,

Practically speaking, I see nothing disturbing here. You have to get pegged by something, so why not make it a cast of your own dick? It’s probably nice if you want it inside you so badly, and I’m not going to begrudge you a good dick. In the best-case interpretation, which I’m inclined to afford to you, you are merely confident and proud of your piece. I find both of those qualities to be common in guys who are good in bed. This is so not a big deal, in fact, that I wonder if there’s stuff that you left out that makes it more worrisome than it seems. Are you, in fact, narcissistic in other ways? Are you detrimentally self-centered? When you have sex, are you only taking and not giving? If you really suspect you are pathologically narcissistic to the point of having a personality disorder, you should definitely seek help.

But the second part of your question makes me doubt that this is in fact the case. You’re worried about coming off as selfish while you get your ass worked on. Here’s something to keep in mind: Some people experience great pleasure in giving pleasure. There are people out there who consider themselves cocksuckers to the point of it defining their sexuality. Life is not Deep Throat, and there is practically zero chance that they will orgasm from getting their mouths railed alone, but they love it all the same. It’s just fun to concentrate on someone else. Psychological stimulation can be as gratifying as the physical variety. Besides, it seems like getting pegged would be a component of an otherwise extensive sex life—it’s OK to be the focus sometimes. I wouldn’t recommend building an entire relationship around that dynamic, but certainly people have and seem to enjoy that too. You’ve already seen how making your butt the focus has improved your connection—in a healthy relationship, nurturing one means nurturing both.

That said, there are strap-ons that come with vibrators that target the clitoris, which could make this more of a bodily experience for her as well. So look into those. And yeah, talk about this. You’ve come this far, and it’s only been positive. Might as well go all the way and reveal your desires in full.

Dear How to Do It,

A man who took nude pictures of me without my consent in my home without my knowledge recently got married. He was convicted of multiple offenses related to my case. In the process of a plea deal, they dropped enough charges so he wouldn’t be on the sex offender registry. He is a bad person and probably has pictures of his wife too. Is there any way to let her know? I suspect she’s already aware of the case in general, but I’m sure she truly believes whatever lie he has told her in relation to the case and his character.

—Surveilled

Dear Surveilled,

With the evidence you’ve provided, I’m inclined to agree with your assessment of this guy. It’s hard to imagine considering such a person “good.” However, I’m not convinced that reaching out to his wife would be an act of pure benevolent solidarity. I think your motivation largely owes to your pain over what he did to you, and a major part of your sought resolution is catharsis. You’re entitled to your anger, but I’m going to recommend not getting involved in other people’s relationships. You don’t know their journey, and you believe she already knows about his convictions. I don’t see the upside to this right now.

Granted, I wouldn’t judge you harshly if you came to me after having alerted her, given all that you went through, but even still, I would question such a move’s usefulness. At this juncture, it seems unlikely that this woman will heed the words of someone from her new husband’s past anyway, and who knows what excuse he’d make to explain away your behavior? You’re better off working on this with a therapist, if you don’t already have one. If you do, keep working. I think self-healing will be far more useful than starting some shit with people without whom your life will be better off.

Dear How to Do It,

I have some strange and severe allergies as well as moderate asthma. There’s a sweet guy I have my eye on, but he’s an avid smoker. Even if he switches to vaping, doesn’t the nicotine show up in sweat and semen? I usually get a contact rash when I’m near smokers and it gets on my clothes, so I have to shower immediately upon returning home before the rash gets itchier. I don’t want to end up in the hospital by direct experimentation, so I thought to check the internet first—and all I’m getting is a possible connection of nicotine in semen to a greater risk of cervical cancer. Everything else is erectile dysfunction–related material for the smoker himself. Nothing about allergic reactions. I do sometimes have an asthma attack after sex, so I use my rescue inhaler. I don’t recall this one being covered under standard allergen testing. Should I stay in the nonsmoking section, or is there a way to safely check for possible reactions before PIV sex? Full-body latex? Abuse of Bubble Wrap? Dueling dildos at 50 paces?

—Smoking Hot

Dear Smoking Hot,

Yes, nicotine can be excreted in sweat as well as semen, and given your severe sensitivity, I think smokers should be off-limits to you. The unfortunate thing about the human body is also what makes it amazing: No two are exactly alike. To know for sure how this guy’s habit will affect you, you will have to experience it firsthand, which may cause an extreme allergic reaction. That’s dangerous and I’m not recommending it. If I were you, I’d consult an allergist (find one who’s doing virtual visits) to understand your range of options, but my two cents is: “Sweet” is not enough to warrant such a risk. Godlike? Maybe. The nicest dude you’ve ever met? Perhaps. Your undisputed future mate? Well, OK. But you can find plenty of sweetness in nonsmokers, both in terms of their affect and their tongues, which will have the added bonus of not tasting like ashtrays.

Dear How to Do It,

I am 59 and my husband is 63. We’ve been married for 29 years. Until I went through menopause 10 years ago, I enjoyed sex. When I say that, I mean I was interested in it, even though I rarely had an orgasm. Once the hormones went away, however, my distaste for sex appeared with a vengeance. I blame my dislike on my early years—I have had several incidences of sexual abuse from age 12 into my 20s.

As a result, my feelings about sex are that it’s dirty, messy, and embarrassing, things hormones helped mask. I don’t like anything about it, except that it makes my husband happy and I do feel closer to him when we have sex. He’s very unhappy that I never initiate or show any interest in sex or even in physical closeness, except perhaps once a month or so, and then only because I feel I have to to keep him from being super grumpy. I don’t touch or kiss him much because to him, that’s an invitation to take it further.

It just feels like a whole lot of work for very little payoff, as I rarely have an orgasm. I fake it or use oral or manual sex to make him happy once in awhile. I find sex toys distasteful, and I’ve tried reading books and articles on the topic, but I don’t care enough or can’t get past my squeamishness to try the suggested exercises to supposedly improve my outlook on the topic.

Our marriage is great otherwise. We laugh; we enjoy doing things together; we have very similar outlooks and interests. I doubt he’d ever cheat on or leave me, but I just can’t get over the mountain of our totally opposite ideas about sex. My medical sharing plan won’t pay for any kind of therapy, and we can’t afford to pay for sessions. I don’t know what to do, and with my attitude, I am not sure what I would do even if I had options. I’m pretty entrenched in my position. I guess I need an attitude adjustment. Any suggestions to help me move forward and try to make my husband at least a little happier? I have to admit, losing interest in sex is the only thing I wish would happen to him as we age.

—Off Switch

Dear Off Switch,

I think the best thing you could do in this situation, given its several constraints, is talk to your husband about your extensive history of trauma. There are no guarantees, but if he knew what you were dealing with (provided you’re comfortable revealing it), it would probably make him less grumpy and more empathetic. What you describe is completely logical. It’s unfortunate and sad, and I’m terribly sorry that you went through what you did, but given the abuse you endured, your attitude about sex makes sense.

I think your healing is more important than your husband’s pleasure, which, though he may not prefer it, can be attained through masturbation for now. It’s unfortunate that therapy is not an option for you, but there are lots of resources in the form of books that may help you come to terms with your past. Search an online bookstore for “healing from sexual abuse,” and you’ll be able to peruse several options. You can also call RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline (800-656-4673) and talk to a qualified staff member who may be able to provide some peace of mind in the short term and perhaps affordable treatment options. It’s worth a try. I say this not in the hope that you’ll one day become the sex partner that your husband desires, but because I think you have things that you haven’t yet worked through and it would probably be helpful for you to do so. It breaks my heart that you think you need an “attitude adjustment”—what happened to you isn’t your fault, and your reaction is not a shortcoming of your character. It’s a natural response to a terrible thing, and I hope you will find peace.

—Rich

More How to Do It

My question has to do with casually viewing porn on the internet. If you believe the New York Times, child pornography is basically everywhere. As I am someone whose tastes run to younger-looking, smaller-breasted women (but no kids!), I am concerned about the possibility of accidentally viewing something illegal. Just how hard—or easy—is it to run across that on the major porn sites?