How to Do It

My Boyfriend Says His Sexual Fantasies Are Too “Weird” to Try With Me

He doesn’t find our sex all that hot.

Woman and man kissing with a floating question mark next to them.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by LightFieldStudios/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

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,

My boyfriend and I have been together for about a year. I have always enjoyed our sex, he’s passionate, patient, and has listened to what I like. In my opinion, it’s only gotten better with time. However, I have always felt like he doesn’t find it to be great sex. He never actually seems excited—just like it’s a task he has to get done. I know, because he has told me.

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I have introduced new positions and have shared with him numerous times that I am open to just about anything he wants to try (cosplay, dirty talk, toys, other positions, watching porn together, etc.). Recently, I found out he’s been watching porn and hiding it. This only upset me because 1. I’ve always been open to it and he’s always put up a facade that he wouldn’t do that if he were with me 2. he seems to be seeking this out, even on nights when he knows we’re going to be together. I have never turned him down for sex. He eventually shared that he intentionally seeks out the “kinkier” or “weird stuff” as he put it. He also added that our sex is just “sex” and is only good for him because he is in love with me (which obviously, I find this sweet but I want him to have a carnal passionate need). Otherwise, he doesn’t find our sex all that hot.

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This infuriated me. I feel like I am the one who has been open and adventurous and has suggested so many things, only for him to turn me down or seem uninterested. It makes me feel like crap that he is OK with settling for mediocre sex, and won’t even attempt to live out his fantasies with me. Am I not hot enough or worthy enough for him to try to have better sex with? Although this was crushing to hear, I did try to move on from these conversations since I am in love with him and I know he cares about me.

However, last night I initiated sex and was really enjoying it. On three different occasions, he looked disconnected or as if he just wanted it over (each time I saw this look was when I’d switch positions, to get my own head back in it and maybe help him return, too). At one point, I couldn’t anymore, and stopped and asked, “Are you into this?” He laughed, pushed me off of him, and said, “Sorry yeah, I just want you to finish already.” Does he just want to get it over and done with me? Why can’t he just be in the moment and enjoy what we’re doing together?

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—Concerned My Boyfriend Doesn’t Find Me Sexy

Dear Concerned,

Your first question, asking if your boyfriend just wants to get it over with, has already been answered by him when he said, “I just want you to finish already.” He told you, with his actions and with his literal words, that he wanted to wrap things up. He’s told you that he considers sex with you a task to complete, that he doesn’t find your sex all that hot outside of his emotional connection to you. Believe him.

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Once you’ve internalized the reality of your situation, you have some decisions to make. Is this enough for you? Can you enjoy sex that is a chore for your partner? Are you satisfied with a sex life without exploration and adventure? I think, since you’re writing into this column, that the answers to these questions are no, no, and no.

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As for why he can’t “just” be in the moment with you, only he can answer that question. I’m almost certain, though, that it isn’t about “just” focusing or “just” connecting. Also, the word “just” in this context has a way of minimizing the other person’s experience, needs, and capacities. If it was as simple as “just” doing the thing you want him to do, he’d probably be doing it. He might have focus issues, he might have a bit of the madonna/whore complex going on and see you as someone who shouldn’t be “tainted” by the “weird stuff” he watches, or has opened up about his kinks with a previous partner and had a negative experience. He might feel that asking for the sex he desires is inappropriate in some other way. He might love you so much that it makes him want to overcome a fundamental absence of sexual attraction toward you.

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Breaking up is absolutely an option. First, though, it seems like it’s worth an attempt to have a serious conversation about this. Make a list of questions, based on areas that you’re curious about. Maybe you’re wondering what his ideal sex life looks like. Maybe you’re curious about whether he’s ever gotten exploratory with a partner. You might express your affection and regard for him, before making it clear that your relationship cannot continue as it is, and tell him that you need—at the bare minimum—some more understanding of what’s going on on his end. If he’s willing and able to give you that, listen to what he has to say. Ask him to collaborate with you to find areas of overlap and compromise. If he can’t or won’t give you that, it’s time to move on.

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Dear How to Do It,

My partner and I are both big fans of cum play. However, we were both assigned female at birth and incapable of producing the gooey delight ourselves. We have cum lube, obviously, but is there another substance we can buy or make for edible purposes? Particularly one that could be on hand at short notice? I would like to experiment more with cumming on my partner’s food, down their throat, etc, and I don’t feel like silicone lubricant is the best option for their digestive health.

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—Sadly Semenless

Dear Semenless,

Silicone lubricant is considered edible, but I wasn’t able to find data on swallowing whole teaspoons of the stuff regularly. I was, however, able to consult with a nutritionist who suggested a mixture of lychee and cornstarch. I scoured my home city for fresh lychee, enlisting three other people in my search, and came up empty-handed. So I reached out to Ryan Keely, America’s favorite stepmom and adult industry superstar, for some help. Her first idea was to use canned lychees, which are much easier to acquire—and store—than the fresh fruit.

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Ryan compared three different options—XESSO water-based cum lube, a lychee syrup made from Dynasty canned lychees and cornstarch, and blended cream of coconut—and delivered a full report using a yellow bust of Ronald Reagan as a test subject.

The XESSO cum lube “tastes soapy, slightly sweet with a bitter finish. I always mix it with water when using a squirting dildo. I can personally attest that it is safe for both internal and external use. Will put in vagina.“

Keely’s lychee syrup “was the best tasting but requires the most prep. The flavor was light with a tropical sweetness.” And she does not recommend vaginal use. Lastly, the cream of coconut “was too sweet and had to be blended to go through the syringe. However, this piña colada mix had the most realistic texture and was variable in its viscosity. In places somewhat chunky, but still water-like.” She would not put it in her vagina, but would “mix it with rum and pineapple juice.”

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Ryan also sent over a few videos of the preparation, and the various concoctions in action. I’ve got some on my Instagram page and stories, and would rank them for visual realism as cream of coconut, lychee, and then cum lube. If you and your partner enjoy spending time in the kitchen together, you might come up with other possible substances and make a date night out of experimenting. Enjoy!

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Dear How to Do It,

Any advice surrounding orgasming on an SSRI? I (a cis woman) have been taking SSRIs for three years. This change to my meds coincided with a pretty big dry spell in my life—no partnered sex and a lot less masturbation. Now that I’m trying my hand again (pun intended), I’m suspicious that I’ve fallen prey to the orgasm-dampening side effects that SSRIs are known for. The last time I had partnered sex was nothing to write home about, and even masturbation doesn’t seem to do much. I’ll read erotica that really gets me going, pull out my favorite toys, lube up, and then, as soon as I physically engage, it’s like someone has turned the volume way down on my sensations and physical reactions. If I do manage to struggle my way to an orgasm, it’s supremely underwhelming. Obviously, I don’t want to change my meds (I like wanting to be alive more than I need to cum), but I feel like there’s a big itch I can’t scratch in my life. Is there any way to realign my physical reactions to get the release that my mind is craving?

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—The Mind Is Willing

Dear Willing Mind,

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You’ve got some options, but you’ll need to talk with a medical professional before you make any changes. Have a conversation with the doctor who prescribed your SSRI and, if they don’t bring it up themselves, ask about SSRIs that are thought to be less likely to cause sexual problems (some sites mention Bupropion). Other options can include reducing your dose or even pausing your SSRI usage for a day or two before a sex session, whether that’s solo or with a partner. To be clear, you should only change your medication schedule with the support of the doctor treating you. That said, if your doctor isn’t interested in helping you figure this out, it might be time to get a second opinion or switch providers.

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If adjusting your medication isn’t an option, you might try a vibrator with (cue Tim Allen’s voice from Home Improvement) more power. Your favorite toys were great before you started taking SSRIs, but they aren’t doing the job now. Even though the likely culprit here is your medication, bodies change and sexual needs shift over our lifetimes. For people with ovaries, whose hormones tend to cycle over the course of a few weeks, we often need different stimulation at different times.

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It might help to think of exploring your body all over again. Remember when you first discovered erotic pleasure? I imagine you tried several different sorts of stimulation before you settled on what works for you. Were there toys or sensations that were overwhelming before the SSRIs? If so, those would be at the top of my list to try now. The Magic Wand comes to mind, as do those sonic clit suckers. Consider experimenting with pain—what happens if you slap your vulva and clitoris? How about a paddle on your own butt cheeks? Sharp sensation has a way of putting us back in our bodies, which could help with the muffling or dampening you describe. Get creative and see what happens. Good luck.

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Dear How to Do It,

I’m a trans man in an open marriage with a cisgender woman. We’ve been together for about a decade and married for eight years. Our sex life has historically been … rocky, to say the least. We got married before I transitioned, and I struggled to enjoy sex (or engage in it at all) due mostly to dysphoria, so we spent a long time with a stop-and-start sexual dynamic. On the few occasions where I could pull it together and actually manage a session, I often found myself zoning out—and if I was tuned in, I often dealt with feelings of revulsion, which would then trigger guilt. Fortunately, I figured out that I’m a man, pursued transition, and the issue of sexually-triggered gender dysphoria dried up. But if all was well, I wouldn’t be writing in.

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Nowadays, we have more sexual intimacy than we ever did pre-transition: We cuddle, kiss, and enjoy great foreplay. But here’s the rub, if you’ll pardon the expression: I seem to be getting hung up on something when the time comes to fuck my wife. I’m non-op, as far as bottom surgeries go, and quite happy with that! But it does mean that if my wife wants me to penetrate her with my dick (which she always does), I have to put it on first. This shouldn’t be a big deal, right? Mechanically, it isn’t: the simple act of fetching the dick, situating it comfortably in the harness, and pulling it on me is a very easy set of steps to accomplish. The problem is that by the time I’ve actually done all this, I’ve lost my psychological hard-on. I can still put out, and apparently, it’s great for her, but I’ve noticed that when I perform when my head’s not in it, I feel emotions strikingly similar to those pre-transition blues: revulsion, anxiety, and a general sense of mental dislocation. I’ve tried shifting the way I think about putting the dick on, sharing a category with pausing to put on a condom, but no dice. It’s unfortunately reached a point where when I enter a room to try and come onto my wife, I get hit with anxiety the moment I pass the threshold.

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I mentioned the open marriage at the beginning of this letter because, prior to the pandemic, I’d enjoyed an array of casual sexual encounters with other cis women and never once ran into this problem! Sometimes I arrived packing, but that was rare: Most of the time, I had to take a moment to get my dick on before the party could proceed, and that was totally fine in those scenarios! I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what’s going on here. We’ve been seeing a couples therapist for some time, but every time we try to broach the topic of sex, we end up getting distracted by tangential topics. Do you have any suggestions for how to demystify this mess? Or ideas about how I can change the way I’m approaching the situation?

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—Selective Stage Fright

Dear Stage Fright,

You’ve got a foundation of love, and you’re both motivated to work through this issue, so I think there’s plenty of hope. I reached out to Lucie Fielding, PhD, MA, LMHCA, resident in counseling and author of Trans Sex. They had answers to both of your questions, and some advice on adjacent subjects, too. So strap in, and let’s dive into Lucie’s tips for staying in a sensual headspace when you’re strapping on.

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So many seemingly small aspects of sex make us think, “No big deal, right?” When it turns out they are. While not challenging per se, I do get the sense from your letter that the process of getting the strap ready takes you out of a playful/sexy headspace and kills the mood for you. Two suggestions come to mind here: first, what would it be to have the strap loaded and ready to go? This might be facilitated by a “pack and play” cock like those from New York Toy Collective, which can double as packers and insertables, along with an underwear-style harness that can be easier to slip on/off than more traditional strap harnesses. Second, with the harness/cock close at hand, I wonder about ways that you might make the process of strapping up sexier, perhaps by involving your wife in it. Make a sensuous and erotic ritual out of the process! Eye contact, dirty talk, and the application of playful, sultry energy can go a looooong way!

Building off of the second suggestion, it might help to engage one another in a discussion about fantasies y’all might each have or activities that you might want to try. Rediscovering your own and each other’s erotic fantasies provides material and dynamics that may also help to stay in sexy headspace when you play together. You might also consider changing up the energies and intentions that you are bringing to the sex you’re already having. There are so many ways to approach any given sex act. How do you each want the experiences you’re having with one another to feel? And, as a fellow trans person, I wonder in particular, if there are ways that you might want your wife to engage with your body that are particularly gender-pleasurable for you, which is to say, more affirming and gender euphoria-evoking. A place to start, here, might be to each fill out a yes-no-maybe (YNM) list. I’m a particular fan of one Bex Caputo put together that not only covers activities or fantasies but also words you might wish to use and energies/intentions you might wish to experience.

Finally, as a sex and relationship therapist, I find myself wanting to urge you to go into a future session with your therapist having agreed with your wife to explicitly make sex the focus. Just speculating here, but if you don’t have this issue with your other partners, I’d wonder if there’s some mental block specifically with strap-on sex with your wife, perhaps related to her being a partner dating back to pre-transition? If the therapist is subtly pulling you away from the topic, it might be a good time to raise this directly with them. Many therapists are not well trained when it comes to sex and that can lead to discomfort on their part about focusing on it in session. If they are uncomfortable talking about it, then it might be time to consider finding a therapist who isn’t. AASECT maintains a searchable list of sexuality professionals on its website and that can be a good place to start. And some of us are even trans ourselves!

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I’m also wondering if there’s a middle ground where you use your cock without strapping it on—handheld, as it were. I hope it works out well for you, and quickly. In the meantime, keep doing all that delightful foreplay and connecting in ways that do feel comfortable for you. I think you’ve got this.

—Stoya

More Advice From Slate

Sometimes my boyfriend smells bad. Not all the time, but enough days that I’ve found myself here. The funny thing is that he actually told me about this column. Anyway, I think it’s a point of pride for him. He was the stinky kid in middle school that didn’t get the deodorant hint and was subject to years of teasing followed by years of insecurity-driven meticulous grooming. That was until he reached a point of nirvana where he had fully accepted his body and all the smells that come with it, the present.

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