How to Do It

I Think My 15-Year Fantasy Might Be Borderline Creepy

I skeeved myself out.

Man holding his head in shock with a thought bubble by him.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by MangoStar_Studio/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,

I have an ethical question I would be interested in your opinion on (though I have a hunch what your answer will be). The question is, with all the discourse concerning consent and power around sexuality and age taking place right now, is it OK to fantasize about underage people if those fantasies are memories in which you were also underage and an active and enthusiastic participant? I say this as a person who was lucky enough to lose their virginity to a person who helped form the building blocks of my sexuality. I continued to be in a loving and sexy relationship with them for several years after that. They still occasionally pop up in the fantasy repertoire based on a couple of key memories, but had a moment the other day where it was like wait… I am technically having sexual thoughts about a 16-year-old as a person now in their 30s! I skeeved myself out for a second and it really killed the proverbial boner. What do you think?

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—Not That Kind of Hornball

Dear Hornball,

Taboo fantasies can be disturbing, and your discomfiture is understandable. But it is OK to fantasize, period. This is a platform I will never waver from. But my staunchness on this matter, as exercised in this column, at times sets me up to effectively cosign some thoughts that, if practiced, could have horrific, socially detrimental consequences. Still, I think that most people can distinguish fantasy from reality and that imagining something need not be a slippery slope to doing it. Like retweets, fantasies are not necessarily endorsements (which can, in fact, contribute directly to their erotic value).

Nonetheless, it feels weird sometimes to actually spell this advocacy out here, as I don’t want to affirm anyone’s behavior should they be the rare rider of said slippery slope. In your case, however, I feel no cognitive dissonance at all. What you are eroticizing, from what I can infer, is consensual sex that did not have the power differential then that it would now were you to choose an underage partner. You were contemporaries. It seems reasonable to assume that you are not even interested in the age factor at all, just the raw material of sexual experience that was shared ethically. You’re fine!

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Dear How to Do It,

My wife and I (cis male), both 43, have been together since high school and married for 15 years. We are the only sexual partner each other has ever had. Some years back, I realized that I had a fantasy developing of her getting with another man.

For a while, I felt ashamed of this and because of this, I kept it to myself. Then upon doing some research I realized this is not uncommon at all! A few years ago, after a couple of cocktails, I shared this fantasy with my wife. To my surprise, not only did she not judge me over it, the idea excited her too! She confided in me that she has long had a fantasy about being with other men, and/or multiple men. Ever since then, we’ve talked somewhat openly about this (usually with or after cocktails), but purely as a fantasy for both of us. My wife has said she has no plans to ever go through with anything like this.

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I 100 percent respect her boundaries and know that the choice to go through with something like this has to be a decision that sits right with both of us. Because of this, I’ve put zero pressure on her over the idea of actually doing it, and we’ve had fun just discussing it openly from time to time.

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But I actually do want to go through with it. I’ve never really gotten a solid answer from her as to why we always stop short of actually doing it. Some theories are that she is worried about what it would do to our relationship/family (we have three kids) or that I’d want to do something with another woman as a trade-off. I can assure you, having thought long and hard on this, I would not be jealous in the least bit, only incredibly excited were it to come to fruition. I also have absolutely zero desire to be with anyone other than her intimately.

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How can I advance our dialogue here without coming off as pressuring her? I’m very interested in how we can evolve this fantasy into something that can be on a path closer to becoming a reality. It also might be time for me to accept in my own head that it isn’t going to happen, but I fear that given both of our strong interests in this, we both may regret it later if we don’t explore it further.

—Ready to Share

Dear Ready to Share,

At the moment, you’re doing it right. I advise you to keep at it. “My wife has said she has no plans to ever go through with it” (your words) is pretty definitive to me. Whys are nice to know but they aren’t necessary for honoring someone else’s autonomy and consent. You aren’t entitled to any explanation beyond, “No.” Attempting to negotiate that points you in the direction of pressure/coercion, and this is especially so because the sex you’re pushing for would only involve her directly. This is entirely her shot to call.

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I don’t think you’d be a bad person for expressing the desire to realize your shared fantasy, but it seems like you already have your answer. Expanding the conversation could actually end up turning her off from sharing this fantasy with you at all, leaving you with absolutely no outlet for it. Still, wanting to eradicate ambiguity is understandable in the event that she doesn’t realize how serious you are.

It’s a risk, but if you attempt this you must tread lightly with something like, “I know you’ve said you don’t actually plan on going through with this, but I’d really like to make it happen if you’re interested.” And that’s it. Any further resistance from her must be respected if you are to maintain a peaceful relationship. I don’t really recommend saying that, even, but if you need to be told “no” one last time to get it absolutely out of your head, approaching the conversation that way (and with brevity) might be the way to do it. And who knows, she might surprise you.

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Dear How to Do It,

I (cis woman) recently reconnected with a man I knew when we were teens. Everything has been lovely: He’s kind, funny, smart, compassionate, loves animals, has similar goals, etc. He’s everything I remember him to be, but better!

He lives in one state over, but he’s supposed to come and visit next week. I finally got the dick pic, and… he’s maybe 4 inches fully erect? Maybe I’m being generous because he’s such a great guy otherwise. I’ve never been with a man who was anything less than 7 inches. I’m wondering what positions might be best for full penetration, and if you have any other advice for getting the most out of this… shortcoming? I’m nervous about being disappointed and showing it. I don’t want to hurt his feelings.

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—At Least the Blowjob Will Be Easy

Dear At Least,

Just because you’ve been spoiled by an abundance of inches in the past doesn’t mean that sex with a below-average guy has to be ruined for you. Your tentative willingness to work with what he’s got is great—hold onto that. (With the nubs of your fingertips if you have to!) There is more to like about a dick than its size (you can eroticize the stubborn stiffness an extremely aroused penis may present, for example). It’s also something of a good sign that he was open about his size ahead of time—that suggests healthy self-esteem, and perhaps confidence that could translate to sexual aptitude. This could be a sign he’s well prepared for the task at hand. It’s likely he already knows the positions that work best with his package, but in case he doesn’t, you’ll want to go for ones that maximize deep penetration—think doggy style or you on your back with your legs on his shoulders. Try being on top, as well. Ultimately, this will be a matter of trial and error, like most sex with a new partner is.

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Also, now that you’re adequately prepared, you can steel yourself against looking disappointed. Practice your poker face. Keep a positive attitude and a mind open to a dick’s ability to do more than just be big.

Dear How to Do It,

I’m a straight guy in my 50s with a bit of a challenge. Specifically, I enjoy lots of foreplay and sex before reaching climax. Lots and lots and lots of it. Like two-plus hours of it. I don’t have any issue getting or staying hard for the duration, but it does seem to take an abnormally long time to reach orgasm. Most partners—not surprisingly—are voicing “are we there yet??” by the 50-minute mark or so.

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For context, this is something I’ve dealt with my whole life and I also need a similar amount of time and fondling when masturbating. Any ideas on how I can reach the money shot a bit more quickly?

—Are We There Yet?

Dear Are We There Yet,

So-called “delayed ejaculation” is a tough one. Fixes are more complicated and holistic than those typically recommended for DE’s equally annoying (but for entirely different reasons) cousin, premature ejaculation. In his 2021 manual So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex, sex counselor Ian Kerner recommends “psychological insight with behavioral modifications” to manage DE. The former may involve understanding certain attitudes you have toward sex—for example, a feeling of pressure to perform—and dispelling them. Additionally, some guys essentially train themselves to hold back their orgasm and then have a hard time achieving it. A sex therapist may help facilitate your understanding of yourself if there are any mental blocks there. SSRIs may contribute to DE, as well (in case you’re on them). In terms of behavioral modifications, you could try taking a masturbation break and see if that affects your sensitivity.

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Try prostate stimulation if you haven’t. It can be really effective in getting the sperm flying. You may also want to try reframing this issue; I know it’s not ideal, but if you’re otherwise performing well and enjoying sex, don’t place so much importance on the orgasm. It’s something that sometimes happens during sex, but it doesn’t have to define it.

—Rich

More Advice From Slate

I adore my husband of 12 years. We have two kids, a great house, and are very close. The big catch: When we met I was very inexperienced and he failed to disclose a lot of information about his own sexual history, which included a boatload of gay sex and orgies and humiliation play. He lied to me for years before finally telling me he was bi. Over the last two years, we have tried a lot of new things to make him happy: We had an open marriage, used toys on each other, watched gay porn, and talked a lot about his fantasies. He stopped talking to his extended family during this time frame and told me one night that he probably would have identified as gay rather than bi if he had a more accepting family.

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