How to Do It is Slate’s sex advice column. Have a question? Send it to Stoya and Rich here. It’s anonymous!
Every Thursday night, the crew responds to a bonus question in chat form.
Dear How to Do It,
My boyfriend has offered to pay me for oral sex, because I don’t particularly like doing it. Should I feel disrespected?
Stoya: Should irks me in my soul. Because there’s so much social expectation baked into the concept.
Rich: Yes, and I think phrasing the question that way suggests to me the writer is, in fact, not feeling disrespected. So OK! That’s you. Other people might feel disrespected or otherwise offended at attempted coercion through cash, but if you aren’t emotionally affected by such a proposition, that’s great. Will be easier to move on, assuming this is a “no” for you.
Stoya: And if they are feeling disrespected, that’s OK. Women in the United States—and all over the globe—are told over and over that commercial sex is shameful. From what I understand, the messaging is different for men. But men have a right to be offended, too, if this writer is one.
Rich: I’ve been propositioned for money on apps. This is not meant to be a brag! It’s something common, and I think it probably frequently has to do with a financial submission. But anyway, what offends me in these cases is the low figures offered.
Rich: If you want me to freelance for you, you have to make it worth my time.
Stoya: One time, this guy chased me down the hall of a Vegas hotel during the big porn convention shouting higher and higher numbers. And I was like, “Bro, like I believe you have that much cash on hand.” Fortunately a trusted large man was waiting for me.
The Question You Can Never Ask Men on Dating Apps
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Rich: I mean, thank god. Regardless of issues of commercial sex, I think it’s probably pretty jarring to have one’s relationship put in transactional terms unexpectedly. One could argue that many relationships are implicitly transactional via assigned roles, compromises, and just a general give and take, but putting that in these terms is a whole new level of … transparency, at best.
Stoya: It is very sudden. And makes me wonder if what you said earlier about a payment fetish is at play here.
Rich: I think that is among the more charitable readings.
Stoya: I’m on board with the idea that the boyfriend genuinely thought he was sweetening the suck-job.
Rich: It’s certainly possible. I guess it would depend on how playful his delivery was, and how the money flows in their relationship as it is.
Stoya: Once again, we’d love so much more information.
Rich: Yes, this a lot to pack into two sentences. I guess bottom line for me is there’s no real standard here—feeling disrespected or not are both valid responses. If you want to move past this and it’s practically possible (i.e. the offers from him don’t continue to roll in), do so.
Stoya: If our writer needs to understand in order to move on, a direct question asking what exactly that was all about seems like the thing to do.
Rich: For sure. The more out of left field, the more there is to clarify.
Stoya: And asking is the best way to find out—it cuts right though all these what ifs.
More How to Do It
My husband recently walked into my office and saw me kiss my boss goodbye. My husband and I didn’t really discuss it at the time. But now a few weeks have gone by, and we’re not talking to each other. He wants me to shower when I get home—presumably because he thinks I’ve been having sex at work. But he has no idea what’s really going on.