How to Do It

My Girlfriend Just Caught Me in the Most Compromising Position Imaginable

Literally.

Man covering his face in his hands, a graphic of a pretzel.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Getty Images Plus.

How to Do It, Slate’s sex advice column, now has its very own podcast featuring Stoya and Rich. Twice a week, they’ll tackle their most eye-popping questions yet in short, fun, informative episodes. Subscribe to the podcast now wherever you listen.

This episode transcript is available exclusively to Slate Plus members. Join today.

Dear How to Do It,

I am a straight man in his 30s in a live-in relationship with a woman. She just found me in a very compromising position and I am unsure how to possibly proceed.

To explain, ever since I was a teenager, my favorite way to masturbate has been to angle my body up so that I ejaculate in my mouth. I can’t remember, but I think I got the idea from porn. This was kind of a pragmatic thing at first, because I was embarrassed to be masturbating and didn’t want my mom to discover my semen all over. When I figured out that other guys don’t do this and had roommates etc., I stopped, but I got over that as I got older and realized it’s just a me thing and it enhances my orgasms to be contorted that way. I think I do find semen hot too, but only mine.

My problem is that my girlfriend didn’t know I was doing this, and found out the exact wrong way: she came home early from her family’s house to see porn on my computer and me looking like a semen-shooting pretzel. She apologized and left the room, but our twice-a-week sex has screeched to a halt for the past week and I can’t find the words to explain this to her. I am so embarrassed, and I am pretty sure she thinks I have a secret or might be gay or something. What is the right way to approach this? I’ve never told a woman about this and am wondering if I should have.

—Open Mouth

Rich: I can relate to this, not in the shooting-semen-in-my-mouth thing, but a kind of idiosyncratic masturbation technique. I don’t think mine is that off the mark of what happens in general; I do like some lube. But I’d been told early on in my sexual life that I jerk off weird. And I have to tell you, I have not heard that in a while, like years and years and years, and I don’t think I have really changed—I think that my partners just have more knowledge of a wide variation within masturbation practice, and that if you hook up with enough people and watch enough people jerk off, you’ll see a lot of “weird” stuff. Everybody’s got their own way. This guy just happens to have a particularly elaborate one that involves ejaculating into his own mouth.

Stoya: This detail about how it enhances his orgasms to be contorted, I do just want to linger on that for a minute—it’s amazing how physical tension increases the strength of orgasm. I love it. It was fascinating to Masters and Johnson, too. It’s just this beautiful thing about bodies.

As far as the girlfriend, it really was the exact wrong, most startling way for her to find out about this. The “should” word is always a tricky one, but in the event that our writer finds themselves cohabiting with another woman who might walk into his private space and see him doing this, then yeah, say something, just to avoid this sudden abrupt surprise. The same as I warn people about my diva cup—I’m like, “Hello, my menstrual cup will sometimes be air-drying on the edge of the sink. It has been washed. This is part of sharing a bathroom with me.”

Rich: Also, if they can get to the point where they can talk about this in a nuts-and-bolts rational way, there’s nothing about eating your own semen that’s gay. You’re exempt from the whole gay thing when you’re doing it to yourself. Technically when you masturbate, you got a dick in your hand. That’s kind of gay. Why are you touching a dick? Well, it’s yours, so that’s why. So I think the same kind of logic can be applied to eating your own semen. It’s not gay; it’s your own. Also you could even frame it as a mild kind of kink. It’s just what you’re into.

I think that because masturbation can be idiosyncratic, the girlfriend perhaps needs to have her mind expanded, and maybe seeing him shoot cum into his mouth will actually expand her mind to understand that different people do different stuff. It might look weird, it might not be anything you’ve ever heard of, but it doesn’t actually have anything to do with her.

Stoya: And she might not be judging this at all. She might not have his sexual orientation in her mind. She also may simply feel like she intruded upon something very vulnerable, and she may be on the other end of this trying to figure out how to broach the subject without shaming or embarrassing him any more than she fears she already has by walking in.

Rich: Because what we understand is: “Our twice-a-week sex has screeched to a halt, and for the past week I can’t find the words to explain this to her.” That doesn’t necessarily mean “she saw me doing this, now she wants nothing to do with me.” They’re both being awkward and they’re both playing a part in this sex-halting.

Stoya: I personally don’t feel comfortable having sex with someone when there’s something looming that we haven’t discussed. It feels odd and uncomfortable, and I can’t bring my full self to the interaction. If something’s being held back, that isn’t a very sexually arousing feeling for me.

Rich: Yeah, there’s a fissure in connection that you want to get back so that you can further connect through the sex.

Stoya: It’s very possible that we have a letter from her saying, “I caught my boyfriend doing this and I don’t know how to tell him that I thought it was hot.” There are all sorts of possibilities. The phrasing feels like he thinks he’s done something wrong somehow that he needs to offer an excuse for and it, I think, could be more of a situation where you’re coming together as equals to discuss like, “Hey, so you saw this. How are you feeling?” And then you go from there, and then you find out, out of all of these possibilities—the ones we discussed, the ones we didn’t think of—what the issue is, and then you know what you’re working with.

Rich: There’s definitely a path forward. You just really have to take the step.

Stoya: Yeah, and if you’re feeling anxious about the phrasing—rehearse it beforehand, write it down on an index card.

Rich: He explained his situation to us; write your script from there. You just found yourself into this idiosyncratic masturbation technique. There is no moral failing or moral judgment required. It’s just what it is. It’s just how you do it. And you like what you do. No shame there.

More Advice From Slate

I got involved with an older married man a few months ago knowing that he was and had no intention of changing his situation. He told me he was looking for a female friend to fill the void in his sexual life because when his wife went through menopause eight years ago, she lost all interest in sexual activity of any kind. We eventually developed deep feelings for each other. He admitted it in a series of texts and conversations. It is now unspoken but obvious how we feel for each other. I broke off things with him at least three times since, knowing this situation was morally wrong, and that we are opposite in ways I probably would have considered deal-breakers before. Yet we would still talk daily and multiple times at that.

My question: Aside from him lying to his wife about his whereabouts when we are together, do you think he is lying to me too?