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 recently had a threesome with my boyfriend, and he broke one of my rules. We all had sex and fell asleep. Then I woke up to him having sex with her and orgasming the next morning. I don’t know how to go about raising this with him. I felt very betrayed, because my first rule was no solo acts. What should I do?
Dear Pissed Girlfriend,
Betrayal stings and can absolutely derail an otherwise harmonious relationship, but if you can find it in your heart to forgive this one, I think it might be worth it. Unless otherwise specified, your boyfriend may have considered sex with all of you in the same bed to not count as a solo act. He may have figured, “Well, since we already did it, what harm could it bring to do it again?” I understand why feel the way you do and why these rules are essential for maintaining a sense of safety in an unpredictable situation, but I can imagine a scenario in which the air of permissiveness that allowed the threesome to happen in the first place fuels the following morning. Unless you previously said, “I have to be fully participating for anything to happen,” I think he has at least a bit of plausible deniability here that is, at minimum, not worth throwing the relationship away over. Just make sure that you underline these terms moving forward or cut out threesomes all together.
Dear How to Do It,
I jerk it maybe three to seven times a day depending on whether it’s the weekend or during the week. At a minimum, I do it as soon as I wake up and before I fall asleep. I definitely need to tone it down. Any suggestions on how I can achieve that?
Dear Manual Override,
Why do you definitely need to tone it down? If you’re that horny and without an outside sexual outlet, taking matters into your own hands seems like the thing to do. Loads: Shoot ’em if you got ’em. Clearly this amount of masturbation isn’t impeding your ability to perform if you’re jerking like clockwork, morning and night. I’d be more concerned about changing up my technique if I were you, so as not to fall into an idiosyncratic masturbation style that could make other forms of contact (like another person’s touch) less gratifying in comparison. Try doing it with your non-dominant hand or use a toy sometimes (a Fleshlight or even a vibrator under your dick’s head could give you some good variety). Keep your mind sharp by at least occasionally taking a break from porn and try masturbating to fantasies.
Otherwise, get a job or a hobby. Read more. Meditate and work out. Perform acts of charity. I’m not at this point convinced that you have an actual problem, but your prolific masturbating may be taking time away from other gratifying activities, and you seem stressed about it. Pursue some of those to round out your life and give your hands some variety.
Dear How to Do It,
My boyfriend, and soon-to-be fiancé, is my first for everything. We both come from fairly conservative backgrounds (i.e. no sex before marriage, so penetration hasn’t happened yet). A year and a half ago, we started having oral sex, something which I had no experience with but he did. By some miracle, I am surprisingly good at foreplay, and he was very vocal about my skills being the best he’d had.
So, it was frustrating for him (and me!) when it took me several months of practice to be successful at oral, which I didn’t absolutely love giving, but was happy to work on. Eventually, I was successful and even swallowed, and didn’t hate it. For several months, everything was fine. Then, about a year ago, I started to gag around the time he’s about to ejaculate. At first, we thought I was nauseous because of some medical stuff going on with me that summer and that everything would go back to normal. He’s been great and very supportive of me switching to hand jobs, and I have not felt pressured in any way to do or give more than I want to do. However, I would like to be able to go back to our oral sex life and be fine. There’s no STIs at play. I have no idea if this is psychological or physical or something that just happens. I was successful once this summer and I actually enjoyed it, but every time since then, the second he’s fully loaded, I get nauseous. Should I talk to my doctor? Should he? What should I even ask about? Should I just push through it?
—Gag Me Now
Dear Gag Me Now,
Because your gag reflex is triggered before he actually ejaculates and gives you something to gag on for real, my guess is that the gagging is psychogenic. Sometimes penises do grow a little right before ejaculation, and it’s possible that that small amount of growth is reaching somewhere in your throat that’s making all the difference, but your letter mostly reads to me like someone who has not entirely gotten over an aversion to oral sex (as made undeniably tangible in semen) or semen itself. You had beginner’s luck, and then reality set in.
You could certainly see a doctor. I recommend anyone who sees any kind of change in their body do so, as an overactive gag reflex could be a sign of something else. But what’s more likely is that you’re having a normal reaction to the blowjob, and it might require something like actively letting it go to move past it. At the same time, you really don’t have to do this mentally heavy lifting. If you’re bringing him that close, and you just jerk him off a few strokes to get him over the edge, that hardly seems like an absconding of duty. It’s totally acceptable, and if your boyfriend is fine with it, why push yourself past your comfort? You’ve come a long way. Oral sex is “successful” anytime both partners enjoy it, not just if you make him bust in your mouth.
Dear How to Do It,
I’ve been with the same girl for seven years. I loved her to death but my feelings for her have been fading for a year. I’m responsible for all the domestic labor, emotional labor, and romantic planning, whether it be vacation planning or date planning or gift-giving. Unfortunately, it feels like I’m not getting love or affection through any of the traditional love languages. We have talked about what I want out of a partner and what my needs are, but nothing seems to change. Date nights and scheduled sex always take a back seat to other things. But the reason I do all the labor is that she’s been through a lot in the past two years. Her best friend, who was like a sister, died in a car accident three years ago, which led to severe depression. She is also dealing with previously repressed memories of a college-aged rape coming back. Hence we’re not, understandably, intimate anymore, or if we are, it seems like a chore to her. I feel neglected but still love her as a friend and want to support her. I am just fatigued by doing what feels like a majority of the relationship work. Since all these events, it’s like she’s a different girl. Do I help her through this and wait for the old her to come back? Or do I end it? Does that make me a jerk?
Wanting a relationship to provide … something, anything does not make you a jerk. Stepping up to keep the relationship afloat while your partner struggles is further evidence that you are not. Your frustration is understandable. I think what should determine your path forward is whether you see change from her, or at least the impetus for her to get help. Is she in therapy working through her various traumas? Does she do anything to make up the date nights and scheduled sex that she cancels? Is she at least cognizant of the neglect of your needs as she tends to hers? Continuing to help her is the ethical thing to do, but putting your life aside for hers is not tenable. You are her partner, not her caretaker. Push will come to shove, and maybe it already has. Before you quit entirely, though, check for signs of growth, or at least a willingness to foster it.
More How to Do It
My husband and I are interested in exploring role play. We’ve been married for four years, have young children, and think it’s time to mix things up in the bedroom a bit. The problem is what he apparently expects to me to do.