How to Do It

I’m Worried the New Sex Game My Wife and I Are Playing Isn’t Safe

Is it?

A man and woman in bed, with a Ziplock bag hovering over them.
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How to Do It is Slate’s sex advice column. Have a question? Send it to Stoya and Rich here. It’s anonymous!

Dear How to Do It,

So my wife and I like to do the cuckold scene, but during COVID, it’s just the two of us, so we have been playing some dom/sub games. Right now, she is making me masturbate 1-2 times a day into a Ziplock bag and immediately freezing it. After a week, I have to eat it all. So my question is, assuming I’m STI free (tested and true), is there anything I need to worry about with my “cumsickle”? If we don’t hear from you by “cumsickle” day, we will just continue adding to the “prize” as we want to be safe. Thanks.

—Freeze Pop

Dear Freeze Pop,

While those who frequent the more fetishy fringes of tube sites have likely heard of this practice, for obvious reasons, there isn’t much data available to help us determine the risks involved in becoming your own Mister Softee machine. So let’s review what we do know.

Through the cryopreservation process, sperm that is frozen and stored can be thawed at a later date for fertilization. Even though this involves adding a preservative and is generally a far more sterile process than the average puttering around of the kitchen, we can assume that what comes out of the freezer is more or less what comes out of the dick. So let’s ponder the risks of semen eating more generally. Since you have already taken STDs out of the equation, thus eliminating the chance of spreading a localized infection to another part of your body, the main thing to be concerned about is whether you have a semen allergy—it is, in fact, possible to be allergic to your own semen, and this may present as redness, swelling, and hives. I read a Reddit horror story of someone who ate two weeks’ worth of frozen cum and had intense diarrhea as a result. Take it with a grain of salt, as you should anything you read on Reddit, though funnily enough, Reddit is about the most bountiful source of anecdotal cumsicle information. So tread lightly and saltily.

I ran this question by my go-to urologist source, Dr. Charles Welliver, director of men’s health at Albany Medical College, and he said that with all the necessary caveats of this not being actual medical advice, in his informed estimation, you should be fine. Just keep your cum away from the Otter Pops so as not to corrupt their innocence.

Dear How to Do It,

Can COVID-19 be transmitted from the active partner in cunnilingus to the passive one? I’ve read some articles about the risk the other way—i.e., the possibility of contracting the virus by going down on a woman—but haven’t seen anything about whether the cunnilinguist is at risk. What do the experts say?

—Stop the Spread

Dear Stop the Spread,

I will save my rant on why it’s weird to talk about “active” and “passive” partners in oral sex for another time, but if I understand your question correctly, the answer is: It’s unclear. SARS-CoV-2 is present in saliva, but there’s limited data on whether it is detectable in vaginal fluid. This study out of China says no, but it only tested 10 women. Another study of 35 women found no presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the lower vaginal tract. (The results of a third study have yet to publish.) Though a conclusion of the second study I cited is “the lower female genital tract may not be a transmission route for SARS-CoV-2,” it’s far from definitive and far too early to really say much about the virus for sure. There is still so much that we don’t know. But isolating such transmission is likely to be difficult anyway for a virus that seems to spread easily among people in close proximity who aren’t engaged in sex. Damn aerosols. Unless there were some sort of outdoor gloryhole configuration being used, at this point, I think it’d be difficult to isolate and say definitively, “You contracted COVID from oral sex,” over, “You contracted COVID from sitting next to that person,” which you’d certainly need to do in order to perform or receive oral sex. Hopefully, specificity is on our horizon.

Dear How to Do It,

My partner and I have been together for about six years now, and although the sex we have is great, we’ve never really discussed what things we might want to explore or try. I know about a few things my partner has done in the past, including a threesome with two men—and while if for some reason kind of bothered me in the beginning, I’ve begun to think about it in a sexual way a bit and it fuels some fantasies that I have had. Something about her being the object of desire in that way really turns me on.

I know I am too jealous to ever have a threesome in real life, but is there a way to bring up maybe a “simulated” fantasy/role-play scenario with her, maybe including some toys and dirty talk? I would want my partner to know that it’s not something I have any intention of wanting for real, but the fantasy of it turns me on and could be fun and hot. I just don’t want her to feel weird about me or the fantasy I have. And what about fantasies in general? What’s the best way to bring up something like that without my partner feeling like it’s something I actually want?

—Pretend Third

Dear Pretend Third,

The best way to the best way to bring up a fantasy without your partner feeling like it’s something you actually want is to use your words—the very ones you typed in your letter, in fact. You did a fine job of qualifying what you enjoy about the fantasy and what you’d like (and not like) to do about it. Take your time and tell your partner the whole story, just like you did to me. We barely even know each other! You can tell your partner.

A sexual fantasy, as defined by Justin Lehmiller in his book Tell Me What You Want, is “any mental picture that comes to mind while you’re awake that ultimately turns you on.” That’s it! It need not enter the realm of desire—something you actually want to do—to be able to turn you on. A lot of people have fantasies that they enjoy only as fantasies, and part of what’s appealing about them is their very nature: knowing that they will never act out these titillating scenarios allows some people to enjoy them without stress or pressure. It’s like having your cake and eating it too, except the exact opposite, because there’s no cake or eating of anything.

Lehmiller’s book is based on the findings of an extensive survey of sexual fantasies that more than 4,000 Americans filled out. I recommend that you read it, because there is an entire section devoted to the sharing of fantasies among partners. Lehmiller found that the sharing of fantasies correlated to “the most satisfying sex lives, the happiest relationships, and the fewest difficulties with sexual desire, arousal, and orgasm.” Further, the vast majority of respondents who shared their favorite fantasies with a partner reported a positive to neutral response, with negative responses being uncommon. As for setting for such sharing, Lehmiller suggests a distraction-free environment. Optimally, you’ll already both be in the mood (perhaps during the early stages of sexual play) because, as Lehmiller writes, “when people are sexually aroused, their disgust response lessens. So you and your partner will probably be more receptive to each other’s fantasies if you share them in a situation where both of you are already kind of horny.” Sounds right to me. So get to petting and sharing.

Dear How to Do It,

I am a gay man who has only been able to bottom like a champ with short dicks. When a dick is longer, I believe it hits that sigmoid colon or some kind of wall, and it becomes pretty uncomfortable and weirdly creates air bubbles, which become farts. I’ve looked online and everyone suggests vaguely working on moving past that colon, but there is so little guidance about how one does that. Any advice on that is appreciated but I’m more interested in knowing if there is some sex toy that artificially “shortens” the dick so that it can only go so far inside. Basically something that simulates the top holding the base of his dick so that it doesn’t penetrate as far but the top can still feel like they are thrusting all the way. My husband is longer and this has been a huge barrier.

—Bottomed Out

Dear Bottomed Out,

Yes, indeed—you’re looking for something along the lines of the OhNut or the ComeClose Pleasure Ring. They’re essentially stoppers worn at the base of the penis to control penetrative depth. I’ve never partaken, never needed to (my general attitude is: give me all ya got), but I’ve heard good things from women who need limitations on length for one reason or another. It may be a very simple solution to your problem. If not, reach back out and we’ll move past your colon together.

More How to Do It

Last year, my husband of two years and I were out to drinks with his childhood friend and the friend’s fiancée. (We’re both straight couples.) When we were several drinks in, we were talking about losing our virginities, and his friend’s fiancée made a comment along the lines of “well, you know what they used to do.” I did not know what they used to do!