The Simple Way to Have Better Sex After Marriage
S1: Warning this podcast contains explicit language.
S2: I’m Rich Juzwiak. I’m a writer who frequently focuses on sex and significant others.
S1: And I’m Stoya. I write, and I used to make video pornography.
S2: Welcome to the How to Do It podcast, where we try to help you with all of your sex and relationship issues twice a week. You can ask us anything about sex or your bodies or dating etiquette or whatever. We’re here to help. So Valentine’s Day is upon us. Does this mean anything to you?
S1: Stoya, you know, we’ve discussed and even gotten questions about how I am not particularly romantic and may in fact be what they call a romantic. Valentine’s Day is stressful to me when I am dating someone because they don’t have the like urge spontaneously to do the things that people expect.
S1: Nor do I enjoy the things that most people want in a Valentine’s. So it’s like both parties kind of like trying to do it correctly, which is never a good idea. But this year I have jury duty.
S2: Oh my god. Wow, what a Valentine’s Day to remember. That is a perfect activity for someone who might be a romantic.
S1: Yeah. So that’s that’s my Valentine’s Day this year.
S2: Well, congratulations. Well, a lot of actually even like non greeting card holidays, but especially greeting card holidays. I just use them as excuses to like do what I would do anyway. So like my boyfriend and I go out to dinner fairly frequently or order in dinner fairly frequently. More so in the pandemic. So like, we’ll do that. We’ll have a nice meal. I’ll buy him a present. It’ll probably be a fragrance, which is like something I would do anyway. You know what I mean, like with or without the holiday. So I have like Christmas as just an excuse to see my family. I don’t really have much investment in the religious underpinning of the holiday, much more the social one. But beyond all that is just this excuse is sometimes if you don’t have that formalized time that you’re supposed to take, you don’t end up taking it and time can pass without, you know, seeing people or whatever. So it’s just nice that we have built into our calendar these checkpoints where you take the time to give to someone or many people that you care about. And that’s what Valentine’s Day means to me. Nothing more, nothing less, really.
S1: That’s really awesome.
S2: Well, you know, it’s right. It’s beautiful to create beauty where I can.
S1: So speaking of not putting more pressure on ourselves than we need to our first letter?
S3: Dear, how to do it, my wife and I are in our mid-thirties and we have an amazing sex life. We are pretty much each other’s only consistent partner in our past history with two kids and 12 years of history. Feels like I need to do more to spice things up. We have added in a little anal is vibrators from time to time 69 regularly and with my work from home situation, we have fucked at new and fun times in multiple areas. But I feel like we need to do something more. What is a next step? We should try without messing up what we currently have going? Sound not in a rut, but could be doing better.
S2: So what this is giving me more than anything is this idea of like, I need to do this. I feel like I need to do more. And this seems to be coming from without as opposed to within this kind of expectation of what things are supposed to be as opposed to what they are. I think sex is best explored from within. I feel like I need to do something something anything. No, what do you want to do? I’ve taken to telling people to lead with their balls, which obviously can lead to selfishness. But I think a little bit of like leading with your balls can sometimes be in order because then you can like, said this, I need to do something and get to actually what you want to do.
S1: I’m actually reminded of our initial test. Questions are writing samples when we were initially hired for the How to Do It column. And one of them was from a member of a couple that was very vanilla. I remember this and they enjoyed their vanilla, and both of us were like, You’re fine. Vanilla ice cream is really popular.
S2: Yeah, it’s not better or worse, really. It’s just a flavor.
S1: And one of us went on this like a whole discussion of like and there’s also like there’s French vanilla and vanilla bean and Golden Vanilla. All these different kinds of vanilla is nuances to vanilla. And it’s a perennial thing. We had this question with three years ago. We’re having it again now. This like, should we be doing more? And I see not so much anymore. But I did see several years ago in the subgroup of sex positive people who were sex educators who were also pro pornography. I saw people expressing occasionally that they felt like maybe they should put their butt where their mouth is and like, actually perform in some porn. And there’s there’s this pressure of like, I’m sex positive, I’m liberated. So therefore I need to do all of the things. And that’s really not necessary.
S2: No, I think it is wise to understand that sometimes sustained connection with a long term partner requires sex to evolve, to keep things interesting, to keep feeding that novelty beast that we have inside of us that wants to keep trying new things, wants to keep pushing forward is living a life that is always evolving. But at the same time, if something’s working for you now, it’s working for you now. Like, maybe their thing is sixty nine and a little bit of anal and that’s like what they do. And that works. You know, there are people who can have very enjoyable sex that doesn’t vary that much over time. There’s kind of a almost like a script, you know, within the sex, just the A to B to C kind of thing that works for some people and some people it doesn’t. I would encourage this writer to kind of check in as to what exactly is causing this perceived need. I feel like we need to do more what is making them feel that way
S1: and what is the more? And with a phrasing like next step moving forward, I worry it might be a little like escalatory, right? Like you get on the escalator, you 69, you do a little bit of anal, you pull out the blindfold and really you want to think of it as like a two axis grid. Yes, or even a constellation where there’s all of these different things that you could do, and maybe some of them are similar in certain ways. And so if blindfolds is the direction you want to go cool, if matching breathing is the direction, it’s interesting. Like that’s also awesome or like dialing into the details of how these 69 together and optimizing it right?
S2: You know, with all that said, there does seem like some kind of, I don’t know, obvious or common territory that we see people branching out into as they kind of enhance and maybe even optimize what their sex lives are together in general, you know, as they kind of advance. You know, you mentioned blindfolds. There’s also role play, dressing up bondage later heavy and even it occurred to me and it made me think that like, maybe this is a dog whistle for a kind of opening up the relationship or kind of exploring some kind of ethical non-monogamy. So maybe you want to try a threesome, try a, you know, a swingers party. Do that kind of stuff. Is that what this person is asking permission to talk about with their partner? We don’t know. But it very well could be.
S1: There are several books that are like in a tizzy of sexuality, like it’ll have a specific about sex, a kink or fetish or a prop or gear or whatever it is, and then it’ll have a paragraph or two about that thing. One example that’s very like quirky and cute called curious pleasures and Gentlemen’s Collection of Beast Ness by Erasmus St. Jude Croom, which I am 100 percent certain is a pen name. That kind of tone of like posh Victorian artifact can also have a way of making things more comfortable because of humor, or there are more traditional like a to z encyclopedia of sexual specifics. But you can go through it together as a couple, and maybe you go through from A to Z. Maybe every night you randomly pick an entry and you’re like, Huh? Is this interesting to us? Like, what is a does it spark curiosity for either of us? If so, let’s pursue it and see where that goes.
S2: Yeah, like I said before, I think it’s very healthy to be thinking this way. You know, what can we do? Let’s keep this alive. I want to keep it going, keep moving forward, et cetera. But you don’t want to be so focused on that that you’re placing undue pressure on yourselves or the relationship to venture into territory that you just don’t need to and don’t actually have actual interest in you. Like I said before, this should be coming from within you explore where your gut leads you a lot of the times with sex, and if it’s not leading you into certain areas, you don’t really need to go there. You can check them out, but there’s there’s no necessity. You just need that you feel. I think it’s largely an invention of your imagination.
S1: All right. Let’s move on to the next letter.
S3: Dear, how to do it. I’ve been happily married to my wife for 15 years now and we have two kids. Before she was with me a guy, she lived her life basically as a lesbian. I started as an exception. During our marriage. She dated women from time to time, and I always supported it. I was never jealous. Half a year ago, she fell in love with one of her dates, and we are all in a really happy, closed polyamorous relationship together. It’s fun. My wife’s girlfriend and I get along. Great kids love her. So amazing. It’s a V structure, not a triad. The sex is separated. My wife and her girlfriend or my wife and me. I’m not interested in sex with her girlfriend, even when she’s hot. I’m just happy with my wife, and I never had the urge to sleep with someone else. And in my mind, the thought of making out with my wife’s girlfriend is weird. We are more like close friends, but after these months now, I really would like to establish a kind of sexual life for all of us. Three Together where my wife can enjoy us both at the same time and I can witness their love together. We’ve talked about it. Me and her girlfriend are on board, but it all comes down to my wife. She’s the connection between us all, and she’s insecure because she thinks that I could touch her girlfriend and then she would be hurt and jealous. I don’t know how we can assure her that she can trust us, and we’ll all be happy and fine with it. Is it so unbelievable that a man doesn’t want the classic threesome signed looking to try?
S2: OK. Well, what he’s describing is not the classic threesome, which would involve two women who are primarily there to serve a man. The relationship dynamic is such that that is not the case. This person’s wife is the hinge in the V, and so this service is primarily of her right. She’s the one with the two lovers that are now coming together.
S1: That does seem to be what he’s describing. He thinks it would be, but it also seems like the wife’s fear is that it would turn into this classic threesome. Yes. And I don’t know the wife’s back story. I don’t know what her experiences with men have been. But I can imagine that she’s had enough negative experiences with men where it makes sense that she would be worried that this would take a turn down Dudley Avenue and B not what she’s OK with. I’m wondering, could they tie him to a chair? Hmm.
S2: I mean, that’s a good idea. I think before they even get there, though, we should examine the power dynamic in the relationship. And obviously, I’m familiar with the V structure. I’ve never experienced it myself, but it seems very clear to me as an outsider that the hinge has the power. You know, if anybody does so because this is the person who has the two partners who has the distinct romantic relationships, a lot falls on her. And if she’s not on board with this situation, I don’t really understand what the point is, even in attempting to get her there. This is about her sex life with these two people. And those two people may have some idea, but the buck stops at her. I mean, wouldn’t you say, am I interpreting that properly?
S1: Yeah. You know, I’m looking at the sentence because she thinks that I could touch her girlfriend and then she would be hurt and jealous. And it was delivered with such certainty that I took it as like, Oh yeah, that’s the issue. How can we solve around it? But you’re correct. She may simply not want this, and she may have not even given a reason as to why she doesn’t want it. And our writer assumes that’s a possibility, and it’s also possible that she felt pressured to give a reason and gave. One thing that felt maybe right, but doesn’t quite understand it herself. You know, we will all be happy and fine with it. So what if she’s not happy or what if the husband and the girlfriend, one of them thinks they’ll be happy and then it happens and they’re not happy?
S2: The V is defined by a sense of rigidity, right? I mean, it’s not a kind of free for all. It’s not the kind of throuple triad situation where it’s like Person A and Person B have a relationship person A and Person C have a relationship person, be in person to have a relationship. Then they had their entire dynamic is a lot more rigid than that. There are two relationships that are connected and they are adjacent, but they’re not intersecting in another situation, let’s say like you’re you’re open with your boyfriend, you’re at a bar. And like, you meet somebody and somebody needs a kind of convincing, let’s say, not coercion. But just like, I’m not so sure about this. Oh, come on. But that’s a conversation, right? I don’t really see how, like the two points of a v that aren’t the hinge. I don’t see it working that way. I don’t know. Maybe it could, but it just seems like the hinge has to make a lot of those decisions. And if she’s not motivated to do this, I don’t really even understand how pushing forward with that respects the integrity of the organisation of the relationship
S1: and also this where I can witness their love together. Perhaps she doesn’t want to have exhibitionistic sex for his voyeuristic pleasure?
S2: Yeah. Or even, you know, I’ve read that as conversion, which is, you know, slightly different than voyeurism. But still, that is their thing, that they have the say on whether or not they share it and both people need to be on board with that. You know, even if it is this like beautiful, like, I want to get pleasure from your pleasure that has nothing to do with me. It can be a very kind of generous, benevolent expression of love that comparison, you know? But if everybody’s not on board, that’s not going to work. And I just think that this guy is kind of overstepping his role. I don’t think he gets to, like, make this decision.
S1: Yeah, and like your wife’s relationship with her girlfriend is not for you, it’s not for you to get off on. And I think that’s part of where the overstepping is happening. And also part of why this concern that it’s going to turn into a traditional male female female threesome is coming from because I know when a man that I’m dating makes my pleasure about that turn off, it usually goes a certain way.
S2: Yeah, totally. So it’s a very interesting, intricate issue superficially. But I think this question kind of boils down to the kind that we really are averse to, which is like, how can I convince A.K.A. coerce in this situation? I think this person into doing something that they don’t want to do. And I just don’t think beyond the ethics of of that very, you know, impulse. I don’t think it even makes sense within this arrangement to even try. You know, there’s nothing wrong talking. There’s nothing wrong with sharing. There’s nothing wrong with feeling so comfortable with your partner that you can feel like you can ask for something, but I don’t know, she said no.
S1: But I would say that there is something wrong with asking after a certain
S2: after a certain point. Yeah, no. I mean, I mean, introducing the subject, you know, talking about this, I don’t I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying, Look, I had this idea. You know, we have this unconventional structure as it is.
S1: No. But if she says no, she said no, then like continuing to ask, it’s badgering.
S2: So the ball is in her court. Basically, I would say at this point, you tried, you got the girlfriend on board, you gave a presentation. It was rejected. Now it’s up to her to call you back if she decides that she wants to do this.
S1: Yes. So good luck.
S2: OK. That’s all for now, but we’re not done this week, Slate Plus members get another episode of How to do it on Mondays, where we answer even more of your questions. In tomorrow’s episode, you’ll hear from a letter writer whose girlfriend has been avoiding him after she found out his secret sex pleasure.
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S1: Our show is produced by How to How to Do its editor is Jeffrey Bloomer. Our letter writers are Joshua Leonard and Benjamin Fresh. And if you’ve been loving the show, please rate and subscribe. Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you next time.