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 a woman who, since I was a teenager, has had my entire sexuality centered on cops. Through experimentation, I’ve learned that role play, handcuffs, and a uniform aren’t enough—I prefer the real thing. So I sleep with cops, and I love every second of it, but these men have not made good romantic partners for me long term (I’m looking for a serious relationship). Mostly because they tend to be right wing—I’m not—and also often have anger issues, PTSD, and/or alcoholism issues. I think I’ll always be holding out for an officer who is the exception to the rule, but in the meantime, I’d like to be able to orgasm from a civilian. Can I somehow rewire what arouses me? I think it’s the real power over my life that turns me on—doing “pretend” power exchange with, say, a software developer or an accountant doesn’t hit the spot.
You think you’ll always be holding out for an officer who is the exception, but you’re looking for a serious relationship. It’s worth considering whether you’d be able to fully commit to a civilian, and if that isn’t the case, it would be callous to begin a serious relationship with one.
I’m not sure you can “rewire” your sexuality. However, you might be able to find something else that also strikes your fancy, sexually speaking.
How much investigation of other sexual acts have you done? If you feel you’ve left no stone unturned, skip this paragraph with my regrets. If you haven’t explored all that much, get to looking. Read erotic novels or peruse a massive text trove like Literotica.com. Watch diverse pornography—specifically try kink videos and queer sites like CrashPadSeries.com. Try a “real-world sex” site like MakeLoveNotPorn or Lustery. If you’re comfortable with the COVID risk, consider a sex party or a dungeon party. Get out there and see if anything else gets you going.
If none of that works, there are a lot of kinds of authority out there in between “cop” and “accountant.” Perhaps another kind of power might speak to you too.
Dear How to Do It,
My wife and I (straight couple in our later 30s) have been married for 13 years and have a wonderful life with great kids. We have amazing, regular, fun, and fulfilling sex, and excellent communication about our own needs. We recently agreed to explore the possibility of opening our marriage just for fun. We were not exactly very sexually active people before getting married and have only REALLY opened up to each other’s sexual needs over the last few years–it has been an awesome change. We both talked about the idea of discovering where we can take our sexual desires together: having an open marriage is a start. However, she’s very hesitant about where to start. To be honest, so am I …
We’re likely going to take on this idea very slowly since we have three big concerns. First, my career is in a very conservative community and gives me relatively high visibility: any form of adultery as grounds to get fired. Simply put, we can’t get caught, or else I lose my job, and I really like my job. Second, we worry about our kids and the impression they might get if they found out their parents are sleeping with other people. We have what many would consider a great “traditional Christian-based” conservative marriage, by U.S. standards. Third, we were concerned about potential health impacts (primarily STDs) that outside sexual partners might affect us. Any suggestions on where to start?
—Open to Opening
I have to focus on your first question. Murphy’s Law of Scandalous Behavior indicates that the less you want people to know about your sexcapades, the more likely it is that someone you know will find out. Given the risks for your job, I’m not sure it’s wise to proceed with opening up your marriage, at least not close to home. If you have a large city nearby, or travel often, you may have opportunities to hook up without risking your career. If not, sometimes the smart move isn’t the sexiest, and I feel for you. Perhaps when you’re retired or the kids are grown. In the meantime, keep being open and honest with each other and looking for other, less life-destroying, ways of spicing up your sex life.
Dear How to Do It,
My girlfriend and I (both women, 20) have been together for nearly three years. It’s my first romantic relationship, and we had sex for the first time with each other. Due to COVID-related periods of long distance and being busy, we don’t have sex particularly often, but I always enjoy it when we do. So I was surprised when recently my girlfriend admitted that she is very insecure about the fact that she hasn’t made me come without a vibrator. The first time we had sex, she went down on me for nearly an hour to no avail (it was pleasurable, but not enough to climax) and the second time, I was on my period and she’s squeamish, so I suggested we use a toy. Every time we’ve had sex since then, she’s always used one on me—and I have had no problem with this! I have a low sex drive and consider myself borderline asexual; I really enjoy getting her off and feeling close to her, but I don’t really have strong feelings about being on the receiving end, and I worry that my nonchalance makes her feel unwanted. I would be open to receiving oral again, if she wanted to practice, but she feels so insecure that she doesn’t want to try again either. So … what do I do? I feel like she’s upset about something that simply doesn’t feel like a problem for me, so I don’t know what to say or how to help her feel better.
Good on you for addressing this.
Pick your time wisely—when both of you have your biological needs met and are comfortable, and there’s plenty of time to talk in case the conversation goes sideways or gets complicated. Ask her if she’s up for a talk about sex. Then tell her what you’ve told me: “I consider myself borderline asexual; I really enjoy getting you off and feeling close to you, but I don’t really have strong feelings about being on the receiving end, and I worry that my nonchalance makes you feel unwanted.” You might add “It’s not that I don’t want you, it is that I want different things than fully allosexual people.” And then you might add a sentence telling her what you do want—if the vibrator is working for you from time to time, great. Then give her space to process and respond.
Your girlfriend might be too wrapped up in her feelings of inadequacy to hear you, and you might have to have this conversation again. You also might have to have the conversation in stages if she (or you!) start getting too emotional to really listen to each other. If that happens, gently suggest that you take a break and finish the conversation later. I think you’ve got this.
Dear How to Do It,
My partner and I purchased several expensive fantasy dildos that we thought were going to be a certain size based on the images on the online shop that sold them. It turns out that they’re huge. Two of them are anal toys, and I’m the only one of us who is actually *into* anal and I’m TERRIFIED of them. I’m afraid of breaking my ass with them, and I’m afraid that by the time I feel ready to use them, they’ll have “spoiled” or something. Does silicone even spoil? Please help.
Whoooboy. Yes. Those novelty dildos do tend to be larger than expected. If you haven’t unwrapped them, you may be able to return them or at least get an exchange for a smaller size.
If that isn’t possible, don’t worry, silicone doesn’t biodegrade in any near-term timespan. Keep it away from saline and super high temperatures and it’ll last for a very long time. Like at least a decade.
If the toys are tapered, you can also use … um, just the tip. You might put a penis donut in the middle to stop it from entering your orifice further than you’re comfortable with, but you can probably simply stay aware of your comfort level and communicate with your partner if they’re the one doing the thrusting. Good luck.
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