How to Do It

I Don’t Know How to Tell Men About My Mortifying Surprise in Bed

It’s never been a problem, until now.

Woman covering her nose and mouth with a poop emoji floating next to her.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by VladimirFLoyd/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,

This is embarrassing. I am a female in my 30s and am getting back into the sex-for-fun (safely) game. I’ve collected a few toys, and recently got one that has a bit of “suction” action going on. It’s the absolute best. It gets me there fast and hard with one serious issue: When I orgasm, I poop a little.

Advertisement

Thank goodness I’ve only ever used it by myself and the embarrassment stays hidden, but now I’ve got a partner that wants to go down on me, and I very much want him to. But I’m absolutely horrified that this might happen while he’s down there. If I ever did it in his face, I’d have to move and change my name. Outside of douching prior to solo-play, I’ve tried everything I can think of to stop this from happening. Even if I use the restroom beforehand, it still happens. How do I make this stop so I can actually enjoy sex without the stress?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

—Party Pooper

Dear Party Pooper,

I reached out to Dr. Evan Goldstein, anal surgeon, founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical, and friend of the column, for some insight into your options:

Advertisement
Advertisement

First off, this is more common than you’d think, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. That’s because the pelvic floor is all connected between your vagina or penis and the anus. Some people are able to isolate the vagina or penis versus the anus, while other people can’t (like in this writer’s situation). When someone can’t isolate the mechanisms and they experience an orgasm, the intense sensations from that orgasm activate the pelvic floor, which inadvertently relaxes their sphincter muscles, causing them to poop simultaneously. Believe it or not, one of the ways to help prevent this from happening is to start to learn how to separate the vaginal from anal mechanisms. You can do this by practicing with anal dilators and other small anal toys while you’re enjoying your clitoral suction toy (or really any toy vaginally). With enough practice, you should be able to learn how to control each part of the pelvic floor individually, which will eventually allow you to experience those same intense clitoral orgasms, without losing control of your bowels at the same time.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Douching, something you mention as a possibility, does have downsides though.

It really depends how someone is douching—and this rule applies to everyone. If you’re using water (tap, bottled, or even distilled), this can cause irritation and damage to the delicate cells within the rectum. Store-bought enemas can also cause harm to these cells, but includes an additional risk: enema dependency. That means, over time, someone becomes reliant on enemas to go to the bathroom. That’s because enemas’ sole purpose is for extreme cases of constipation and for preparation for a medical procedure (like a colonoscopy). What’s worse is that both of these liquids disrupt the anal microbiome, which is a group of good and bad bacteria that live harmoniously in your rectum. Maintaining the equilibrium of your anal microbiome is essential to a healthy body and comfortable sex. Many factors, including diet, penetration, lubricants, and douching may offset this balance, so choosing the right body-safe products and incorporating appropriate routines are paramount.

If you decide to douche anyway, “for an added sense of “security,” try to find an isotonic and iso-osmolar douching liquid, like the one Future Method developed (a company I co-founded). The new Anal Douche Powder Packs are uniquely formulated for maximum compatibility with your body’s natural chemistry, as well as containing panthenol for hydration and licorice root extra for comfort and calming.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Dr. Goldstein also leaves us with some knowledge about what kind of doctor to see if you feel like you want to see a professional. “I recommend seeing a proctologist for a comprehensive evaluation, both internally and externally, along with a specialized manometry test, which examines the entire musculature and its functionality in play here (no pun intended). From there, an evaluation by a pelvic floor therapist is key so that they can help develop a custom program for you to work and learn control, so that you can isolate everything pertinent for clitoral and anal play, but without the poop.”

Dear How to Do It,

I recently started seeing someone new and it’s going really well in pretty much every aspect. Except for one … sex. At first, it’s great because we have a clear understanding of what we like and I’m great when it comes to oral sex and using my hands. But it usually falls apart when I get to penetration. I try to do very typical sex positions but I can just never quite get the angle right. I try asking my partner to shift her position and I try moving in different ways myself but it’s hard to make insertion actually happen. We usually just stop after I try and even though my girlfriend is a saint and promises we’ll figure it out together I get very embarrassed about it. I want to have this experience with her but it never quite comes together. What should I do?

Advertisement
Advertisement

—Embarassed

Dear Embarassed,

I’m wondering whether you’re fully erect when you’re attempting penetration. Some people with penises go a little soft when they apply a condom. The first thing you should do is check that you’re using the correct size. Condoms do stretch, but they’re made for one range of dimensions and may not work optimally for someone larger (or smaller!) than the intended circumferences. Try a size up, and see if it’s still close-fitting—is completely in contact with your shaft, and snug enough at the base to stay in place—without being tight. Other times, some amount of anxiety about the act you’re anticipating causes a decrease in hardness. If that seems to be the case, speak with your doctor about erectile dysfunction medication to keep you rock solid while you try to navigate penetrative sex. Your general practitioner is a great place to start, and if you’re nervous about the conversation, remember that they specialize in the human body and have likely heard pretty much everything.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

I’m also wondering if your girlfriend is lubricated enough, or too much, when you’re trying to insert your penis. If she’s dry, you might be running into friction, and if that’s the case, I’m relieved that you aren’t pushing through. You can use any kind of water-based or silicone lubricant made for sex with condoms of any material, but oils can destroy latex condoms, so you’ll want to stay away from using vaseline, lotions—which really shouldn’t go inside a vagina anyway—and any kind of oil. Sometimes I hear the slogan: “There can never be too much lube!” Generally, this is true, but in some very specific situations, where the vulvar vestibule and vaginal opening are very slippery and also very tight, it’s akin to trying to catch a greased pig. If that’s what’s happening, or you overcorrect when you’re applying lubricant, wipe some of it off gently with a soft, clean, and damp cloth.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

As you’re experimenting, try framing your interaction as a game. You might set a timer—15 minutes?—and keep trying different angles and positions. You’ve given the typical ones a try. Do a web search for lists of sex positions, or challenge yourselves to come up with inventive options on your own. Once you choose something from a list, or come up with an arrangement, try all the possible small variations: tilting up, down, sideways, north-north-west. When your timer is up, or one of you is feeling frustrated, move on to something else, whether that’s digital and oral stimulation or a different activity entirely. Good luck.

Help us keep giving the advice you crave every week—and get an extra addition of How to Do It. Sign up for Slate Plus now.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Dear How to Do It,

I’m a 38-year-old mixed-race, queer, poly woman into kink. I can be quite switchy and assertive (mostly topping from the bottom) though I’m happiest in a submissive pet role. I am in love with one long-distance partner and satisfied with that relationship, as we’re both more solo-poly inclined. Mostly, I casually date other ethically non-monogamous people wherever I happen to be based.

Advertisement

My issue is that I find many ethically non-monogamous people have terrible etiquette around how to treat someone they are dating outside of a primary relationship—in fact, I am shocked by how many have never experienced being a third or non-primary person in a dynamic. The lack of common courtesy is astounding. I find myself having to explain over and over that while I do sincerely hope anyone I date is happy in their other relationships, fixing their other relationships or ensuring those other relationships never end is not the central reason that I’m on the date. If it were, I’d expect compensation for my time!

Advertisement

Of course, my racial background, sexual fluidity, and submissiveness mean that people often seek to secure me in monogamous/vanilla dating as well; but, I end up particularly furious at the self-righteousness with which many poly/kinky daters declare their openness while unable to see their own couples’ privilege, racist assumptions, biphobia, misogyny, etc. On the other hand, I don’t want to be the arbiter of who is practicing such diverse lifestyles in “right” versus “wrong” ways.

Since I’m committed to dating poly and kinky people well into the future, I guess I’m looking for a better script than “I am not a sex toy (outside of maybe a pre-agreed scene)… And stop touching my hair!” after my expressed boundaries are inevitably crossed. I’d especially love any screening questions for weeding out tedious people before meeting up in person. I know it can be somewhat trendy these days to identify as poly/queer/kinky, and I meet lots of people on apps or at munches who claim these words but haven’t interrogated their relationship to society in ways one might expect. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

—Not That Kind of Mistress

Dear Mistress,

I wanted to connect you to someone who could offer insight into your particular experience, so I reached out to adult content creator, poly person, and experienced BDSM player Ravyn Alexa for her thoughts. “First off, girl I really feel for you! The tokenization that being Black in the kink/poly scene can bring out of people is absolutely exhausting.”

Alexa continues: “I wish there was a more simple way to weed out potential bad partners, but sometimes I think we just need to say what we are looking for as bluntly as possible from the get-go. I don’t know that there’s a good script out there that will be a coverall for making sure people are being honest when they say they’re interested in pursuing a relationship with you, but when you say exactly what you need you can rest easy knowing that you at least tried!” In order to go ahead with an interaction, Alexa likes to exchange documents that ask about a potential partner’s amount of experience in these areas of sexuality, which also functions as a yes/no/maybe list with regards to kinks and types of physical touch.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Overall, Alexa advocates blunt and direct communication. “My advice would be to write yourself a script of what you want out of a kinky interaction/poly relationship and be as honest as possible. Maybe you don’t need to go into all of the gory details immediately but one of the great things about being poly to me is that we get to write our own rules about what we want our interactions with others to look like. That’s not to say that being blunt/honest will protect you from harmful situations (anyone can lie right?) but your boldness could possibly attract the types of people who are willing to express themselves with honesty and compassion too, and that’s pretty worth searching for I think.”

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

You might draft your script in positive terms, like “I come to sexual interactions as a whole person, with my whole self, and expect to be treated as such” and “Respect my boundaries around my hair as you would any other part of my body.”

Remember that dating is a process of sorting through people to see who you match well with. Move on when you aren’t getting the respect for boundaries that you need. If you’re feeling exhausted, it’s OK to take breaks and spend that time solo, with friends, or meeting people in a more platonic setting. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for why your interest has cooled—how much of an exit interview you give is at your discretion. And, one parting thought from Ravyn: “Wishing you all the safe, kinky sex and poly love your heart desires.”

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Did you write this or another letter we answered? Tell us what happened at howtodoit@slate.com.

Dear How to Do It,

I’ve been married for over 40 years to the same woman, who I love dearly. About three years ago, she had a mental health issue that resulted in us being separated and unable to have any kind of physical relations. (She is in the state mental hospital right now.) All that is, well, if not common, at least not unheard of. What is bothering me is that I just don’t have any urge to have sex, with anyone any longer. I mean, absolutely zero. Nada. Besides the issues of being faithful, it just seems like too much trouble.

Advertisement

I take care of our adult disabled daughter and faithfully growl and glare at any boys taking too much interest in her. I do admire the nice feminine shapes that abound at the grocery store, parks, and church. But hook up with any of them? No interest in pursuing any of the opportunities around me. Rather be friends than romantically entangled. I tried watching a bit of porn and just found it really boring. I even tried watching a bit of gay porn. That was even more boring. No excitement there at all.

Advertisement
Advertisement

So the question comes down to: Is there something wrong with me? Even when I go out to visit my wife, I don’t feel any physical attraction. Part of that is her experiences have aged her dramatically, and she sometimes comes off as innocent as my daughter. Can a man live out his remaining years (I am 64) without sex? I mean, off the top of my head that seems ridiculous. But when I look at my feelings and pause, I don’t have any desire to engage in an active sexual life. At least, not right now.

Advertisement

—A Worried Wyoming Guy

Dear Worried Wyoming Guy,

It’s worth speaking with your primary care physician to rule out any physical causes—better safe than sorry, and all of that. But presuming an absence of health issues, I think you’re absolutely fine.

One of the most stubborn and dominant narratives in our culture’s conceptions of sexuality is that men should always want sex. This isn’t true. Some people aren’t interested in sex at all, under any circumstances. Others aren’t interested at one or more points in their lives. Our sexualities, desires, and boundaries all shift and change over the course of our lifetimes. Your decrease in desire for sexual contact could be happening independently of everything you’re dealing with. It could be a result of stress. It could be that you’re only interested in sex with your wife when she has her full mental capacities, and without that possibility, you aren’t interested at all. Who knows? If you want to get to the bottom of it for your own self-understanding, a therapist might be a helpful guide. But I don’t think you need to embark on a counseling journey unless you want to.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

This is where you’re at in life right now, and that’s perfectly OK. There’s plenty more to life than sex. If something shifts again, that’ll be OK too.

—Stoya

More Advice From Slate

I am a 29-year-old gay man. I have been searching forever for a primary care provider that would listen to me and actually care about my health. I finally found one in Dr. Cee. Dr. Cee is gay, a little older than me, and a total babe! I thought that I would just crush on him, and that would be that. But recently, at an appointment, he hugged me at the end. I didn’t think anything of it until later that week, I saw him on Grindr.

Advertisement