What Happens After I Fight With My Girlfriend Is … Worrisome

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S1: This podcast contains graphic, explicit and even sometimes a little bit vulgar discussions of sexuality. Hi, I’m Stoya. I’m a writer and pornographer,

S2: and I’m Rich Juzwiak, I’m a writer,

S1: we’re the authors of How to Do It. Slate’s sex advice column. This is our new podcast, where we answer brand new letters about all your sex and relationship issues twice a week. You can ask us anything about sex, anything we’re here to help.

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S2: When is the last time that you cried if you’re comfortable talking about it?

S1: Oh boy, I was shooting something with Steve the other week, maybe even last week. It was so hot in the studio and the air conditioner. Once we figured out how to turn it on was like taking such a long time to get going and then so ineffectual that we thought we were going to have to just cancel the shoot and be like, we got one very sweaty photo set. That’s it. Then it cooled off enough for us to function, so we kept going. But towards the end of the day, my nails kept falling off. And I really wanted to shoot everything we’d planned on. So we’re we’re hustling. And I pick up the skirt to, like, show my vulva and one nail pops off. And so I take the weight of the skirt with my other hand and all four nails pop off. And I’m just looking at all these nails in the floor and another one pops off and I start laughing hysterically and then like, crying, I’m

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S2: sitting here crying. I mean, to make you cry is not what I love to do.

S1: Just like so slapstick and also like, completely absurd. Like what is humanity that I have glued fake nails to my nails to stand in front of a camera, aggressively showing my vulva? This is absurd, and yet I’m so frustrated over it.

S2: Yeah. And then to add the added layer of tears on to that just kind of finishes it off.

S1: When’s the last time you cried?

S2: I think they got legitimate, like not just, you know, kind of superficial, fleeting tearing up was at my friend’s wedding. Her mom did one of the speeches, and her dad couldn’t make it because of mobility issues. And so she sort of talked about, like how much she wanted to be there. And, you know, they had his presence in her life in general. And she was crying. And so it was just like a really emotional moment and it was just like a really moving speech. It was a remarkable wedding in that all of the speeches were wonderful. That one really hit me the hardest. So but that’s that’s tough because I was like crying in public, essentially. You know, and yeah, I mean, I’m not on display there. Everybody’s looking at her. You can get away with it. But I hate to seem like I would be drawing any attention to myself during that moment at all. You know what I mean?

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S1: I feel like New York really normalizes crying in public. And I I realized that New York is different about that when I was crying in public in Belgrade. Yeah, and everyone was concerned and like, Do you need help? Can I do something? Are you OK? Do you need to talk like? Very nice. Yeah, sounds nice. But also like I just said, You have to cry. Everything’s OK.

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S2: Sorry, I’m from New York. Yeah. Like, who is what we do?

S1: We cry on the subway. We cry. The elevator? Yeah. Yeah.

S2: I do find it like, really? I don’t know if I wanna say transfixing. I don’t know. It kind of just becomes this thing that I can’t if I see somebody crying in public, especially on the subway, especially if it’s like a woman alone. I just feel a lot of compassion and bad, but I also feel like I would never want to kind of intervene and be like, Are you OK? Because, like minor in business or in New York?

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S1: Yeah. Well, I feel like you can tell when someone is open to connecting. Yes. New Yorkers are not all. Leave me alone 100 percent of the time, but you can tell when someone’s like their heads up, they’re looking around their maybe making eye contact.

S2: Yes, that’s that’s very true. And the fact of the matter is that we live on top of each other, so you will sometimes be privy to some of these private moment that is best left private. Yeah. Anyway, the reason I ask this question is because we have a question about tears and kind of fetishize tears or at least kinky tears. So you have. So to have any sense of what I’m talking about, let’s hear the actual question,

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S3: dear, how to do it. My girlfriend of almost a year and I tend to get into heated arguments. We never disrespect each other, but we are both stubborn and don’t back down in moments of disagreement. To be clear, this is not all the time, and I think we both tolerate this habit more than we would otherwise, because it often leads to very hot reconciliation sex. But lately, there has been another twist, my girlfriend has gotten very emotional when we fight. She cries easily and often I assume this is just normal hormones in a very stressful year, but I haven’t noticed to my concern that this turns me on even more. I can instantly get hard if she starts getting sniffly to say nothing of full on waterworks. I don’t think it’s her distress that is turning me on because my impulse is just to fix whatever’s wrong, preferably with immediate sex. But I have to say I’m a little concerned by this and what my girlfriend will think if she realizes what’s going on is there are some innocent explanation for what I’m experiencing signed. Bring on the waterworks.

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S1: So before we deal with the tears thing, which is fascinating and not a red herring, yeah, I want to make sure. So I think we both tolerate this habit more than we would otherwise because it often leads to very hot reconciliation sex. So they’re tolerating and engaging in an emotionally charged dynamic. Yes, that I don’t think is necessarily healthy, and I don’t think our writer necessarily thinks it’s healthy. And I think it would be useful to try to figure out what it is that leads to the hot sex. Mm hmm. And maybe that’s raising your voices and speaking with your full body, but not in an argument. Right, right. Yeah. I’m so excited that I love you. I don’t know. Like maybe some part of the reconciliation process is particularly intimacy, heightening in a way that contributes to sex, like if you can figure that out and figure out a different way to access it.

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S2: Right?

S1: That can prevent sliding into a big problem

S2: if in fact, this is all kind of a catharsis thing, right? I mean, I could see how like, you know, our dynamic is argumentative and that is not ideal, whatever. But that is like the base fact of our dynamic. And then the sex that comes after is a consequence of that. But what you’re suggesting is transforming that energy, taking out the argument and getting to the catharsis. Yeah, like the main dish, basically,

S1: if you’re doing it extra because it leads to heart sacrifice, like try to figure out a less aggressive fighting way to lead to that hot sex.

S2: And if you’re in a kind of warring dynamic, maybe rethink that dynamic or tackle those problems unless like you’re at a stage in your life where you’re like, I’m an arguer. That’s what I do. That’s who I am. That’s how every relationship will be. I felt this way when I was younger and then realized that it really didn’t have to be that way. I don’t have to be fighting with the person I’m with.

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S1: Sometimes I really like to fight do like I’m thinking in my family, one of my grandparents and one of my parents, you know, the child of that particular grandparent. They were always arguing with each other, and that was their way of relating. And I replicate that with that parent. Yeah, myself. And it’s, you know, it’s a valid but exhausting way of relating.

S2: Yeah. Yeah. There are more efficient ways probably of communicating with people than going through strife all the time.

S1: They’re less exhausting ways of initiating hot sex. Yes, but to the crying, which is fascinating.

S2: Yeah. That said, so what our writer is is describing is at least what it sounds like to me is something called decreased Ophelia, which as defined in one of the few papers written about it. This is by Richard Greenhill and Mark Griffiths and the paper’s called Compassion Dominance Submission and Curled Lips, a thematic analysis of Dukinfield Back Experience. The definition that they provide is that it’s a non normative sexual interest that involves enjoyment or arousal from tears and crying. And to date has never been researched empirically. Anyway, they ended up doing a kind of survey of people because there are online forums about crying, you know, about people who have the sexual interest in crying. And one might assume that it’s kind of all dominance submission or that there is a kind of a nefarious underpinning to all of this fetish, but instead or fetish. And you know, I say fetish kink, let’s say more broadly, but instead, like everything, there’s a kind of spectrum. There’s differentiation. People come at this interest from different perspectives as reflected in the title of this paper. And one of the things, in fact, the primary reason that people attribute to this being sexually interesting to them is that compassion aspects. Now, in the paper, it was mostly women or self-identified women who said the compassion is what turns me on. And because my male partner is crying, he’s subverting what society says a male should do. And this is what’s attractive to me. And you find this repeatedly in literature that is in fact that subverting of expectation that people eroticized so much. I read this case study of a guy with a fart fetish. The reason he said he liked women doing it is because they weren’t supposed to. Yeah, and it felt like a secret. It felt like more intimate, you know?

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S1: Yeah, I’m thinking back on like all the requests to like, pick my nose. Mm.

S2: Yeah. So they found kind of like. Different categories of what’s going on with people. One of them is the compassion it ignites. Another is in fact dominance submission, and people would say, Oh, I like crying as an erotic expression because it will give me more attention from the person that’s dominating me, right? It’s another way of like getting that attention and kind of keeping that wheel going. And then there was somebody who just really loved curled lips, and there was no real explanation beyond that, just like curled lips or what did it. And the compassion set, a lot of them were very explicit in the goodness and what set them apart from the dominant submissions set like we’re doing a good thing are crying. Interest is positive. Unlike those other people over there, it’s kind of like strife within the crying community, at least, you know, this is a very, very small kind of sample. Again, very few people filled out the survey, et cetera. Or I guess they were interviewed as well, because

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S1: what’s the point of being a group if you can’t speak to and judge each other?

S2: Exactly. Yeah. Although there is understanding that took her, Ophelia can be viewed as deriving pleasure from pain. One of the users the compassion uses places a clear emphasis on the comforting of pain. I do not take pleasure in the pain of others, which presents a contradiction at times. I love that he is crying and trust me enough to do so, but I wish the pain would go away, comforting as a big part of it for me. This contrasts compassionate interests with an interest in pain itself and displays the way in which these participants seek to ease pain rather than to gain direct pleasure from it.

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S1: So this line, my impulse is just to fix whatever’s wrong, preferably with immediate sex. Seems like this is our writer having the comforting arousal response.

S2: Yeah, yeah. And that’s why I find it so interesting, because the writer doesn’t seem to have any indication that this exists. This phenomenon exists. And yet they fall so decidedly into this one observed camp of people who are into it. So I think it’s we can pretty reasonably say that decry Ophelia is what this person is experiencing.

S1: Yeah. So to directly answer their question, there is some innocent erotic explanation for what they’re experiencing. And to address the part where they express some concern, specifically with the crying. If you want to achieve the same dynamic and specifics without the fighting onions.

S2: Yes. Right?

S1: Yes, sir. You can get to the tears. And if you speak with your girlfriend and tell her what’s going on, then you have a fellow collaborator. Most likely, yeah, who can help you come up with ways to get the tears that turn you on without making her feel terrible? Yes.

S2: And just as a side note, there’s this Australian movie called The Little Deaf. It’s vignettes about sex, and one of the plots is about Doctor Ophelia. So if you want to kind of see it illustrated on screen, this very funny movie that came out in 2014 called The Little Death, you should check that out. So that’s my pop culture tip.

S1: Nice. Yeah. Yeah. So let’s talk about this super curved phallus.

S2: OK.

S4: Dear, how to do it, my husband’s penis is on the shorter side, curves upward dramatically and when aroused, gets very hard. This means we spend a lot of time in missionary position, which isn’t a problem for me since we do plenty of foreplay and oral and I like missionary just fine. The actual problem is that my husband, who comes from a very conservative religious background that he’s been working hard to overcome, is finally starting to tap into his sexually adventurous side after dealing with a lot of sex hang ups in therapy. Yay. But there’s always a but or I wouldn’t be here. He’s channel that adventure into wanting to try a lot of different sex positions, and most of these positions just don’t work with his dick. We’ll try a new position starting slow, and then he gets into it and starts to go faster. His dick is at a weird angle. It pops out of my pussy and he ends up thrusting hard into my pelvis and it hurts, which kills the mood. I don’t want to discourage him, and I don’t want to undermine his fledgling confidence. But this can’t continue. Do you have some recommendations for sexual adventures that work with short, very upwardly curved dicks signed in a difficult position?

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S2: You can’t do everything.

S1: Well, I have a couple of ideas. OK. So you know, those things that you like put on the base of the penis for people that are too long

S2: like the owner?

S1: Yes, thank you. The owner, or maybe two doughnuts, depending on how much length there is between the pelvis and the curve, can give him something that kind of like forces him to deal with just the curved part I see.

S2: Right?

S1: Right. And so I imagine the owner still gives a sensation of being encircled. Mm hmm. So it’s not like his shaft is just like hanging in the breeze. But then he might be able to use the head and the portion down to the curb. Yes, in some more creative ways, yes.

S2: Although this will, the owner will further cut the length. Keep that in mind.

S1: Yeah, he’ll have a very short penis to work with a very short segment of a penis. But like our radar has a pussy, a lot of the fun stuff is really in the first couple of inches. Yeah, yeah. Or like way in the back, right up by the cervix for those who find that fun, right? Not really one of them.

S2: And that’s not happening here anyway.

S1: No, that’s the other thing is, it can be very hard for people with biological fallacies to control themselves. Yeah, when their penetration feels good. Yeah. So it might help, rather than set him an impossible task for him to lay on the bed and be pretty still, whether that’s on his back for cowgirl or on his side for spoon and let her do the actual movement because I think she’ll have an easier time controlling the vigorous A..

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S2: Yeah, my thing is that like, yes, he’s gaining his confidence, but without knowledge and like an understanding of his limitations and attributes. That’s just chaos. If he can only get into some positions by fucking her slowly, then that’s what he has to do. And he may have this ideal of like, Oh no, I’m supposed to be slamming. But if it’s just not working for you, all of your confidence is kind of misguided, overly confident. At that point, you have to know what you can do.

S1: Yeah, it’s tricky when cis head dudes start to grow. Yeah, because on the one hand, there is this deep desire to nurture it, right? Like, it’s like, Oh my god, this feels like a miracle that it’s even happening. Yeah, I want to encourage it. But on the other hand, there’s this really awkward period where there’s still a disaster. But because it’s such an act to begin working on themselves and they’re so sensitive about it, it’s very difficult to give constructive feedback. Yes, to improve on the disaster. Yeah. You know, working on yourself is like really a lifelong process. So as gently as possible in the way that he will most be able to hear, it may serve our reader well to make it clear to the husband that being hurt doesn’t feel good. Like do it like it’s great that you’re exploring sexually. Some of the ways that you’re exploring right now are now working for me. So let’s come up with other ways.

S2: Yes, because there are so many other ways. I mean, her being in control, like you mentioned, is one of them has to be aware of his limitations.

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S1: And like, even in pornography, I spent years performing in mainstream porn, mostly working with cisgender men, and we take turns. Yeah, right? Like in, let’s say, reverse cowgirl, which is the most popular position because it makes the body look the best. It’s also the least comfortable. Imagine that. Yeah, so generally speaking, in my scenes, first, like I get in reverse and I do what I can until my knees are like, Oh no, no, no, no, no, no. And I would already have my hands braced on the guy’s chest, and they take their hands and put them kind of on the bottom side of each butt cheek. Mm hmm. And they thrust. Right. But no matter how much experience, no matter how much sex you’ve had, both people thrusting at the same time is a very high chance of someone getting hurt. Yes.

S2: Yeah. And no matter how much you want to do that, that’s a perfect example of. You know, all the will in the world not making for a well-oiled process, so the human body has its limits. Some people have a more difficult hand dealt to them. At the same time, he has to kind of like understand his humanity.

S1: And, you know, as far as specific positions, really, if it curves upward, missionary is going to do all kinds of great things to the fun stuff in the front wall of the vagina. Yeah, doggy is going to press on your rectum from the inside, which can feel really uncomfortable, but also, for some people, is really cool. So it’s definitely worth a try. I would suggest evacuate your bowels shortly before so you’re not worried the whole time about pooping everywhere. No need to lick animal or anything, though, and it’s worth trying fully on the side positions and those sort of like three quarter profile spoon positions on both sides because they might enjoy stimulation on the sides of the vaginal canal. Or it might be boring to them. Mm-Hmm. If it’s boring, it might be painful, but it also may be boring but tolerable, which would give the husband some variety. Yes. And they or their husband can stimulate their clitoris to make it fun for them

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S2: when you present it like this. It seems like they have a lot of options in that. Actually getting this right is its own kind of fun process, so enjoy it while you feel it out. OK, that’s all for now, but we’re not done this week on this week’s second episode exclusively for Slate Plus members, we hear from a letter writer who thinks she’s got a solution for her and her husband’s mismatched libidos will debate whether it’s a good one. So you think that they are tourists, in other words?

S1: Oh gosh, yes.

S2: To hear that episode, sign up for Slate Plus for just one dollar at Slate.com. Slash HDI Plus

S1: If you’re in need of sex advice from Rich in Maine, you can write to how to do it at Slate.com. How to do it. Or you can leave us a voicemail at three four seven six four zero four zero two five and we may use it on the show. That’s three four seven six four zero four zero two five and Slate.com. How to do it? Remember, this is anonymous and nothing is too small or embarrassing.

S2: Our show is produced by child to how to do its editor is Jeffrey Bloomer. Are letter readers are Shasha Leonard and Benjamin Frisch. Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you next time.