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’m in a new relationship, and suddenly remembering that I bite when I have sex. A lot. I guess it doesn’t happen as much when I’m jerking off solo, but once sex becomes something I put more effort into, my teeth clamp down like an alligator’s jaws. It turns me on, and I wind up biting whatever I can reach—my hands, my arms, my partner. My partner enjoys it but, well, I can’t really regulate my pressure, and we’re both running out of unbruised skin. It is simply inconvenient for my knuckles to be this sore and swollen all day, especially considering I’d like to have sex again and wind up trapped in an endless cycle. Ball gags and the like make me, well, gag, and they tend to stimulate the back of my mouth, which doesn’t really scratch the itch. Do you have advice for chew toys or other solutions (something heftier than a pillow) that I can sink my incisors into, so human flesh remains only an occasional treat? We’re both enjoying ourselves but we need these bodies for day-to-day use!
My first suggestion is teething rings, which are made for small children to gnaw on as their teeth grow in. These are pretty inexpensive and available at most drug stores. The other option is leather. Instagram and Etsy are full of leather workers who cater to the kink scene, and I’m sure there’s someone who would be willing to make you a short—maybe four inches long, an inch wide, and a quarter of an inch thick—strap of a few layers of leather for you to sink your incisors into. Since you mention your knuckles, you might also consider a ski glove. Good luck to you and your extremities.
Dear How to Do It,
I’m a mid-30s guy with a great career and I’ve been with my girlfriend for over five years. I feel so fulfilled by her and our relationship. What could go wrong you ask? I have a foot fetish that I can’t tell her about. She is not into that and doesn’t want hers touched. It’s hard for me anyway, because there is a ton of stigma around it. Nobody knows this about me. Now it’s summertime, and women are wearing sandals and I find myself looking in public. She has not caught me. But this is a weird and difficult thing for me. I realize why people are put off by this. But it’s this part of myself that I feel I’ll never get to express. And that sucks. Needing advice on this.
—Toe the Line
Interest in feet is one of the most common sexual kinks. It’s certainly no more weird than an interest in anal sex, and it’s way less of a hassle for the recipient. I’m getting the sense that you’ve internalized some serious, needless shame. There’s plenty of judgmental commentary out there on sexuality, and I imagine you may have been rejected in the past over your interest in feet. The fact that your girlfriend—who you’re very attached to and appreciative of—isn’t into having her feet touched at all puts you in a difficult spot no matter if she knows about your kink or not. But that doesn’t mean you should never tell her.
If it’s financially feasible, my recommendation is to see a sex-positive counselor or therapist and start working through your beliefs about your sexuality. Why do you deem yourself weird? Why are you more focused on the stigma than the acceptance? Is it worth taking the risk that your girlfriend will reject you in a significant and relationship-altering way? If you decide to continue keeping quiet about your desires, how will you fulfill them in ways that feel acceptable to you? Will you be OK with never expressing this facet of who you are to your partner? Can you imagine a world where you’re able to be fully yourself in your sexual interactions? These are all questions worth answering, and a professional can help you navigate the likely difficult emotions you’ll experience along the way.
If you do decide to proceed with disclosure, you can set yourself up for success by neutrally stating your interest instead of, say, “I have this weird thing.” You might try saying “I’m turned on by feet” or “I’m attracted to toes” in front of the mirror and see how they feel. At the end of the day, it’s your choice whether you tell your girlfriend about your kink. Good luck.
Dear How to Do It,
I’m a woman who mostly has sex with other women, and everything I’ve read has led me to believe that my partner and I can (and should?) have multiple orgasms each time we have sex. The issue is that my orgasms are way, way too intense for this to feel like a possibility. Even the smallest orgasm with a partner leaves me feeling drained, super emotional, and in need of some platonic cuddling. A more fantastic finish can make me cry and requires my partner to refrain from touching me at all while I close my eyes and recover. What’s more, it’s like all the sexual desire just drains out of me the moment after I climax. I always have to make sure that my partner finishes before I do, because once I orgasm I feel vaguely grossed out, ready for some food or water, and more worried about whatever is on my to-do list than whoever is in my bed. When I masturbate, these emotional responses are less intense—but my clit is still way too sensitive and my libido way too low after one orgasm for me to be able to have a second for a few hours. (I’ve tried; it hurts!)
I know this kind of post-orgasm response is common for guys, but I thought women were supposed to be able to go again and again. Is there anything I can do? I’d like to be able to last longer in bed for my partner.
What I’m about to describe isn’t just a sexuality problem. In the United States, we have these very strong ideas about how people ought to be, and what is normal. In the course of carving out space for ourselves, we may forget the experiences of those of us who are different. So, we have sexuality professionals who make statements like “everyone loves sex” when, in fact, asexuality exists. We get people who think their way of life is something to impose on others—for their own good, no less! And we have all sorts of internalized ideas about how our sexual response should be and how we’re supposed to have sex.
You aren’t the only woman who has one intense orgasm and then wants a full stop for several hours. Some men can ejaculate, retain their erection, and ejaculate again. Many can ejaculate and retain their erection for some period of time or rest and achieve a new erection after several minutes. Some people, male and female, go through the physical process of orgasm—pelvic contractions, etc.—but don’t feel like they’ve actually, you know, orgasmed. The Earth didn’t shake, they didn’t feel a sense of release, their body did a thing without their selves and soul involved. Once we step outside the gender binary, we can understand that everyone has their own unique body and relationship to sexuality, and that these ideas about how men and women should be are deeply limiting and even harmful.
What I’m saying is that you’re OK exactly as you are. If you want to last longer in bed, and you know that once you orgasm you’ll be finished, you might decline to orgasm sometimes. You might reframe sex as a pleasureable interaction, rather than an activity where both parties orgasm. And, conversely, you might have sessions where it’s all about your pleasure and focused on you. Sex doesn’t have to be a one-to-one reciprocation.
Dear How to Do It,
I’m a woman in my 20s relatively new to sex, and I have a question about flexibility and sex positions. The concept of doggy style turns me on, but I only tried it once with a partner I didn’t know very well, and it didn’t really work because I couldn’t arch my back enough? Is this possible? I’m young, able bodied, I work out a lot, I’m not insanely flexible but not brittle either. I’m self-conscious about doing it again because it was so awkward that time, but at the same time I still want to. Are there stretches I can do to make it easier? Any tricks or suggestions? Should I just give up?
Every body is different. Rectums tilt in different directions; so do vaginal canals. Dildos and penises also tend to have curves or angles. It isn’t so much about how to position yourself for doggy as it is how to position yourself for doggy with that specific phallus. Every new sexual partner means figuring out how your bodies fit together. A position that is pleasurable with one may not be with another. Conversely, doggy not working with one partner in no way means the next time will also be difficult.
Arching is common in mainstream pornography because pornography is a visual medium. Pornographers are trying to deliver a sexual experience for the viewer with only two senses. To make up for the missing three—scent, taste, and touch—the visuals are heightened. The curve of the back looks beautiful, and tends to read as more intense or engaged.
In my experience, too much of an arch can be difficult for the penetrator to navigate, meaning there’s lots of slipping out. You can keep your back straight, bending at 90-degree angles, or even fold forward over the arm of the couch. And if you need to lower or raise your pelvis, moving your knees further apart or closer together is the easiest way. You might also consider stacking pillows to support your lower abdomen.
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