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,
I am a 33-year-old married woman, and I have been on birth control since I was 16 years old. My sex drive was always pretty moderate. Once or twice a week was plenty for me, and my husband was the same way. Sex is and has always been an important part of our relationship, we’re open and honest and we like to try new things together. We’ve always had very satisfying and exciting sex, but we could also go two or three weeks without having sex if we were tired, busy, or just not feeling it. About four months ago, I stopped taking birth control for health reasons and boy, things have changed. My sex drive is HIGH. The good news is, I find my husband sexier and more desirable than ever. I want to have sex just about every night, sometimes multiple times a night. We’re having sex usually three or four times a week now, but my husband is struggling to keep up with me. When I make a move but we don’t have sex, it’s clear he feels bad about turning me down and then I feel bad too. I’m also starting to become interested in things like group sex and sex clubs (after COVID obvi), but I just don’t know the right way to bring these ideas to him. I’m worried my husband will interpret it as him not fulfilling my needs and be hurt. My husband is the perfect partner. He is funny, smart, creative, kind, and sexy. How do I deal with this new disparity in our sex drives without driving us apart?
—Can’t Get Enough
Dear Can’t Get Enough,
A newly high sex drive is a beautiful thing. I imagine it’s a bit like going through puberty a second time—the whole world is shiny and horny and oleaginous. But your husband signed up for once a week or so, and—unlike you—he hasn’t drastically changed his hormones recently. So how can you meet your recently revved up sexual appetite without wearing him out?
Vibrators seem like a great thing to look into right now. Dildos, butt plugs, and nipple pinchers, too. HeyEpiphora.com has an extensive backlog of toy reviews. There are vibrators with tiny, precisely vibrating tips. There are vibrators that have a wiggling nubbin that feel like you’re receiving somewhat exploratory oral sex. There are vibrators that engulf your clitoral glans and feel like a miniature blow job.
You can have a great time with toys, and your husband can watch, or join if he begins to feel aroused, or hold you, or do something else entirely separate from you and your sex session.
While you’re giving yourself all this pleasure, you can fantasize. You can think through how a group experience might feel and what you think you’d like one to look like. You can imagine sex clubs, and swinging, and exhibitionism until you start to get an idea of what appeals to you and how real you’d like to make the fantasy.
When you have some insight for your husband, go to him and tell him what you’ve learned about yourself and your sexuality. Ask him to consider his comfort levels around various activities, and go from there.
Dear How to Do It,
My boyfriend and I have been together for four years. During this time, things started out hot and heavy (literally sex almost every night), and of course over time that has diminished, but recently it’s gotten to once a week or every other week. We’ve talked about it, and he states that I’m not willing to try new things—which drives me crazy, because the only reason he says this is because I will not do anything that involves ass play. I do not like anal, having a finger in my ass, or having it licked. He has known this from the beginning; I was very open to him when we became sexual that this would never happen. He used to bring it up all the time and say that oh one day he will get it and never say never, but each and every time he gets the same response: No, it’s not going to happen, and I would appreciate if you would stop bringing it up. It’s not like I’m unwilling to do other things: I love it when he pulls my hair and lightly chokes me, we don’t always have sex in the same position, and we’ve tried toys (just wasn’t our thing). And I love to give him blow jobs pretty much whenever he wants one, so why is it that he considers me to be unwilling to try new things? And why is he so hung up anal sex to the point that I feel he doesn’t respect my decisions about what I will do with my body during sex? Please help! I don’t know what to say to get through to him and get our sex life back on track.
—Fed Up With Ass Obsession
Dear Fed Up With Ass Obsession,
“Why is he so hung up anal sex to the point that I feel he doesn’t respect my decisions about what I will do with my body during sex.” I don’t know why your boyfriend is so hung up on anal. He might have a fetish, it might be a power thing, or he might be fixated because he’s never experienced it. Who knows? I do know that feeling like your decisions about your body aren’t respected is a big warning sign.
The next time he tells you that you aren’t willing to try new things, ask him what aside from anal he wants to try. Be ready with some suggestions of your own. Light spanking might give him some up close and personal time with your ass—without touching the hole—and could be a sensation you find enjoyable. Dominating him sounds like it’d be new for you two. You’ve got options.
If he continues to focus on anal, and especially continues to disregard your stated boundaries, it might be time to move on.
Help us keep giving the advice you crave every week. Sign up for Slate Plus now.
Dear How to Do It,
I’m a 43-year-old hetero woman wondering if I will ever figure out how to get off with a partner. I only started having partnered sex in my late 30s—I spent my teens through that time as an obese woman so uncomfortable in my body that I never even contemplated a relationship with anyone. I have always been able to orgasm alone, though. I know exactly what gets me off, and it takes almost no time. But since I started having sex with men, I’ve been unable to reach orgasm through any means when I’m with someone. No amount of penetration, clit-rubbing, or oral stimulation will do it. Is it possible that I’m too used to my own methods? If so, what can I do to try and let someone else get me off for once? If it’s a psychological holdover from earlier times when I was wildly uncomfortable in my body, what can I do to try and let go?
Dear Solo Practitioner,
You don’t mention whether you use toys when you’re masturbating. If so, please try using those toys during partnered sex.
Do you fantasize when you’re masturbating? If you do, try fantasizing during sex. Try mining those fantasies for acts, props, and dynamics to incorporate into sex. Try speaking your fantasies out loud to your partner and building scenarios together.
How do you touch yourself? Do you use light strokes on the tip of your clitoral glans? Do you like flat pressure with two or three finger pads? Do you go in circles, back and forth, or up and down? Pay attention when you’re touching yourself so you can give your partners good data on how you like to be touched.
As to whether there’s a psychological holdover, do some introspection. Do you feel safe with your partners? Do you feel like you can relax around them? Do you feel like you’re in your body or like you’re worried about your body when you’re with another person? Are you concerned about being judged for what you look and sound like when you’re in the throes of an orgasm? If it’s the latter, you can watch amateur porn to get an idea of the wide and sometimes intense variety of ways people express orgasm.
You can also try not masturbating, or masturbating but specifically not orgasming, as a way of setting yourself up for orgasm with partners.
Dear How to Do It,
I have a pretty good sex life—a series of monogamous relationships—but I have always wanted to try a threesome with two men, one penetrating me vaginally and the other anally. I’ve suggested it to partners in the past, but all of them seemed threatened by the idea of another man in our bed. I’m guessing this is something I should advertise on a dating site, but which one? Everything I see about threesomes seems to involve either gay couples seeking a third, or a straight couple seeking a woman. What I want is pretty specific: two men who do not know each other (so there’s not an unequal power balance) and who have sex just with me and not each other. I just want to try it and am not looking for it to be a permanent thing. If I like it and want to do it again, I don’t know whether I would want the same partners or find someone new. How do I phrase this in an ad and where would I find men interested in fulfilling my fantasy?
—Dreaming in Threes
Dear Dreaming in Threes,
I had a suspicion that Feeld was the place for you, so I reached out to their community and events coordinator Cathy Keen, who was able to get me an anonymous quote from a user. They say: “Only when I met a partner who understood my desires and enjoyed helping me explore them did I feel safe enough to have an experience. Having someone I trusted lead the way and manage the other people involved meant I could completely let go and enjoy what was happening.” Our anonymous adviser brings up a good point—safety and trust take time to build, so you might have a better experience with at least one partner you already know.
I also reached out to Kenneth Play, international sex educator. He has some insight: “If you’re hesitant about ads on Reddit or Craigslist, apps like Feeld are great for finding casual partners who are seeking to explore similar fantasies. You can even adjust your settings to seek single men locally. Plus, there’s a feature to set up a group of matches.” Kenneth also recommends signing up for the web events of a local poly or ethical nonmonogamy community as a way to digitally network while we wait for COVID to pass.
As for how to phrase what you’re looking for, be up front. “In search of two no-strings-attached partners for double penetration.” Or “I’m looking for the DP of a lifetime. Do you want to join the team?”
In the meantime, get familiar with your anus. Spend some quality time rinsing yourself out and penetrating yourself with dildos the size of an average penis or larger. Develop a knowledge of what positions work for you and how you like to be penetrated. Figure out what lube works best for you. You’ll need all of this information, especially if you continue with your plan to use complete strangers.
More How to Do It
I have been sexually active since I was 17. I am now 29 years old. (I’m a straight, cis female.) A majority of the sex I had between 17 and 21 was only when I was drunk, so I don’t remember most of it, but I know I didn’t climax. I got sober and started a serious relationship and started actually enjoying sex, but I have one big issue: I can only climax if I think about awful/degrading things. And I do mean awful. Incest, non-consensual, old/young, or degrading scenarios have to be playing in my head for me to climax. I would in no way want these awful/terrible scenarios to happen to myself or anyone else, but I do need to think about them to come. In the moment, it gets the job done, but I feel terrible afterward, and I feel really awful that I can never come from thinking about my loving, caring, wonderful boyfriend. I’ve tried not thinking about them—that just means I won’t come. Am I doomed to come up with ever more creatively awful fantasies my entire life to get off?