Home Arts & Culture Alt.sex.column
  • No categories

Alt.sex.column

All tied up

0

Dear Andrea:

I’m from the Netherlands and stumbled on a Guardian column yours in which you say: “I don’t believe you can get ‘addicted’ to silk scarves and stilettos.” This struck me because I have an experience that might prove the opposite. I’ve been married many years. We have integrated my love for silk scarves in our sex life and everything was OK until I met this other beautiful woman. I fell hopelessly in love with her and we ended up in bed. No scarves around. I just couldn’t perform, It happened twice. The strange thing is that a vanilla fuck at home never was/is a problem….

Could I be addicted to silk scarves? And if so, do you think I should restrain myself from me fetish altogether?

Love,

Little Dutch Boy

Dear Boy:

Some of your confusion comes from my use of and your lack of idiom. If I did say “You can’t get addicted to silk scarves and stilettos,” I would have been using the S-words as shorthand for kinky, fetishy sex in general. I believe that one can get habituated to thrills and chills and — especially — to extreme sensation, after which the sweet and the subtle may come to seem not merely different but, unfairly, inferior. This can happen. I’d hate to think that anyone contemplating a walk on the wild side would shy away for fear of habituation, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on. But I don’t think such habituation can accurately be classified as an addiction.

But that’s not what has happened to you. Your scarves, whatever it is you do with them, are something of an end in themselves. You, sir, are a scarf-fancier.

Which is fine. I would say, though, that you may not be quite as dedicated a scarf fancier as you would have me believe. I mean, sure, there were no scarves on hand when you had your fling. And while that could have been the reason for your lack of performance, it probably wasn’t.

You do say, after all, that scarf-free “vanilla” sex with your wife is no problem. So what, besides the scarf, was missing? Could it have been your wife, or at least your wife’s consent, and perhaps your self-respect?

I suggest that you felt crappy about stepping out. I don’t believe for a second that you were or are “haunted” by scarves (“wooooo-oo-oo”) or the lack of same. You are haunted by your own behavior.

Clearly you feel conflicted about the scarf thing, so by all means try to proceed without them while you get your equilibrium back. You can get back to them later. I also can tell you that if you want to keep your wife, you need to get back with her. I am quite sure she has noted your absence and, by this point, she is either peeved, aggrieved, or both. Likely, she blames herself (she has gotten too old, she has gained weight, she is no longer exciting …). You’d better let her know that’s not at all what is going on with you.

I suggest cunnilingus.

Love,

Andrea

andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

 

alt.sex.column: A good fit

0

Dear Andrea:

I want to have anal sex with my boyfriend. I read that you can wear a butt plug beforehand to prepare. True?

Love,

Willing

Dear Will:

Good grief. What do you think people did before the advent of the novelty marital-aide industry? Sit on pinecones? You don’t need weeks of prep to achieve what may be in some senses an “unnatural act” (the rectum being far better at pushing things out than it is at taking things in) but is nevertheless performed regularly and pleasurably by normal people everywhere. I’d certainly suggest you try a smoothly manicured finger first to see if you even like this sort of thing. Use a bottle of lube. It may take time, but by time I mean minutes or hours, not weeks.

Honestly.

Love,

Andrea

 


Dear Andrea:

My boyfriend and I are planning to start having sex. I feel kind of silly saying this, but I am really scared! I’m afraid he won’t fit! Should I try stretching first with something? Or is that just ridiculous?

Love,

Tightly

Dear Tight:

First off, please stop using words like “silly” and “ridiculous” to describe yourself and/or your perfectly reasonable concerns. And second, yes, it would be pretty ridiculous to resort to something like vaginal sounds or graduated dildos to do what your very own vagina so cleverly evolved to do for itself. That said, it is far more likely to be successful when you are hot and bothered and ready to go. It will not, however, take weeks of preparatory homework and a specially-fitted case full of precision instruments.

Love,

Andrea

 


Dear Andrea:

I am just starting to date a new woman. I find her very attractive but frankly, she is BIG. Do I have to figure out some new positions or angles?

Love,

Skinny

Dear Skin:

You might, but I’m guessing she may know something about this herself. You may want to consult her when and if it comes to that. I enjoyed this summation of how not a problem your problem is likely to be, from the “Fat Sex” page of Dimensions Magazine’s website: “Those authorities who have taken the trouble to investigate the matter report that obesity is rarely, if ever, a barrier to intercourse.” … Or, as Marvin Grosswirth put it in “Fat Pride”: “To put it bluntly and squarely, no woman is so fat that her vagina is inaccessible.”

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? Email Andrea at andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

alt.sex.column: My sibling’s keeper

0

Dear Andrea:

I’m having a problem with my brother. He wants to become a priest, and even though I want to be happy for him I cannot help but worry because in high school he told me that he thought he might be gay.

I’m worried that his secret desire will drive him to molest alter boys and I would rather he be a normal gay person than a priest who has relations with young men. How can I get him to talk to me? Should I tell him not to be a priest?

Love,

Concerned Sister

Dear Sis:

You do not have “a problem with your brother.” You may be troubled about him, but it is not your problem. You’re really not your brother’s keeper and it would likely improve relations between the two of you if you stopped appointing yourself such. As he probably told you at some point in your mutual childhood, “Mind your own beeswax.”

I doubt you can “get” him to talk about any of this with you. I do hope, for his sake, that he’s not jumping into anything, and that he truly feels called to the priesthood and is not seeking it out as a place to hide from his sexuality. That, very obviously and very famously, does not work. Please, please, do not make the mistake of confusing gay men, who are attracted to, well, men, with the evil fucks whose molestation of young boys in their care has come to light in recent years. Decent human beings do not become predators merely out of convenience or lack of access to more acceptable choices. Your brother may end up unhappy (celibacy and service not being everyone’s cup of tea), but he will not become an abuser merely by virtue of taking up the collar.

As for you, an honest mistake here and there, born out of naiveté, is one thing, but if you make the mistake of conflating gay men and child abusers, not only will your brother not want to talk to you, neither will I or most other nice people.  

Love, Andrea

Dear Andrea:

My sister is a lesbian, which I think is fine. For her birthday, I got her a card that said “bitch.” I thought it was funny, but she got mad and won’t talk to me. Do lesbians not like the word “bitch” or is she just overreacting? Do I have to say I’m sorry? Love, Oops, Wrong Card

Dear Card:

Of course you should apologize. Whether or not your sister is displaying a certain stick-up-her-buttness about the (probably) harmless card (she is), you did offend her. You’re not children any more and you are not going to get into a “she started it” loop at this point. You’re just not.

Apologize, and when you do, do not tell her that its “just fine” that she’s a lesbian. That is not your call and will just piss her off more. And don’t ask her why lesbians don’t like the word “bitch.” Whether or not you think it’s fair, the word is best left to dog fanciers and ironic self-describers.  

Love, Andrea

Got a question? Email Andrea at andrea@mail.alsexcolumn.com

 

 

alt.sex.column: New is as new does

0

Dear Andrea:

We have been happily married five years and I think we’re kind of out of ideas for new things to do. I think we’re in a rut, and the weird thing is we’re not talking about it. We usually talk about everything, but we’re not talking about this! What are some new ideas for us, and how do I bring it up that I think we should try something new?

Love,

Almost Bored

Dear AB:

You won’t be surprised to hear that I have a theory about this. The conventional wisdom goes something like, you settle down and eventually sex gets kind of cozy and pleasantly predictable if you’re lucky, and just plain dull if you’re not. Eventually it just dries up, but if you’re very dedicated to the prospect of a stimulating sex life you can “spice it up.” Since familiarity is assumed to be the sex-killer here, maybe somebody should wear a fake mustache and everyone should pretend they’ve just met under slightly seedy circumstances.

But I’m not sure that’s it’s familiarity, precisely, that’s at fault when the Big Dull hits a few years into an otherwise excellent marriage, partnership, whatever. I think we get do bored and do crave novelty, but I think familiarity and comfort also breed something else and I don’t mean contempt.

Familiarity and comfort can breed, oddly, an sort of shyness — often it’s easier to be your kinkiest, least inhibited self with a barely trusted stranger than your nearest and dearest. We tend to cast ourselves and our partners in particular roles — nice roles, for the most part, but roles nonetheless — and stepping out to try new stuff just feels impossibly awkward, and like work. We come to think of ourselves as people who together do these things but not, you know, those. And it can be very hard to reimagine and redefine within an ongoing relationship.

So my proposal is not that you butch it up and suggest some crazy stuff to your spouse. I’m pretty well convinced that a couple needs, on occasion, to do something a little bit scary, challenging, ridiculous, or, at the very least, a little not-them like. What you need — what any couple needs — to retain and rekindle romance and its associated Really Hot Sex, is surprise, hilarity, adrenaline, and the admiration that comes from watching one’s partner reveal a new and unsuspected skill.

What you need is to do new things and start seeing each other in a new, different, and, one hopes, newly enticing light. Once you are both less certain of who you are and what you are capable of, you may be amazed how much less awkward it feels to say “Hey, let’s (blank) each other with a (blankety-blank) tonight, what do you say?

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? Email Andrea at andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

alt.sex.column: Mixed marriage

1

Dear Readers:

I was halfway through an answer to a reader’s very interesting question when said reader wrote back and asked me not to. Instead we’re discussing fetishes and how they do or don’t mesh well with regular partnered sex. The questioner had done everything a body could do to accommodate the partner’s special interests, yet the fetish was proving a more powerful draw than the willing, accommodating live body, and the questioner was wondering if there was really room in the relationship for two humans and an object.

Maybe. But moving on, can a person with a very powerful attraction to an inanimate object, a disembodied bodily characteristic, or a specific and inflexible role ever be happy in a relationship with someone who doesn’t feel the same way about swim-caps or dirty feet, or who is just going through the role-play motions?

Obviously, people do manage to include a unilateral fetish in bilateral sex. It’s no weirder or more difficult to negotiate than one partner liking any other activity more than the other one does: you compromise, you do a little of this and a little of that, you try to make each other happy.

It’s actually rare for two people to be independently equally and identically interested in something like rubber or latex or boots or what-have-you, even if they met at the Leather, Latex, and Boots Ball. But if you don’t have a fetish or fringe-y interest of your own, you’re never really going to get it or even completely believe a partner who insists s/he must have X present or deployed for sex to feel worthwhile or even doable.

I think of fetishes and strong attractions to scenes like BDSM, water sports, or cosplay as readily sharable but not entirely transferable. Some will give it a try out of curiosity or just to be nice and discover they’ve been carrying an inner submissive or a pirate wench around, corked up like a genie in a bottle. Yay for you if this happens; it is a rare and beautiful thing.

But more often you’re going to find a situation where a regular vanilla-type person is taken by surprise at the revelation that a new love interest requires a French maid’s uniform and a pair of rubber waders to get off, and is happy to oblige but something is … off. Gradually s/he realizes that there is a love triangle here and the older relationship is the stronger and more compelling one. Eventually she wonders if the other person would even notice her absence, provided she left the uniform and the waders. Meanwhile, the waders-lover suspects the new partner is only humoring him and thinks the waders are pretty silly or even mildly shameful. Bad feelings ensue.

Communication, of course, is the blah blah blah, but we must remember that ability to communicate one’s feelings is not, in and of itself, a cure-all. “I don’t want to do that and I think less of you for being so obsessed with it ” is, after all, a perfectly clear communication.

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? Email Andrea at andrea@altsexcolumn.com

alt.sex.column: Special goop

0

Dear Andrea:

Have you seen those commercial for the new K-Y product, with all the geysers going off and so on? They’re funny, but does the product work — and why? I have orgasms, but not always, Besides, anything that could make it even more fun …

Love,

Happy Shopper

Dear Shop:

It’s hard to miss those prim little couples with their giant expulsions of boiling fluids. They are pretty funny. But are they accurate?

Who knows. There are a lot of these products: warming, tingling, and INTENSE ( the geysers one) alike. All of a sudden we have aisles of female sexual enhancement products, right there across from the Preparation H and the Depends in your drugstore’s “mortifying conditions” section.

So what’s the deal with all these products? Mostly, no matter how they sell themselves, they are lube with a little Icy-Hot thrown in. The most active of the active ingredients in INTENSE appears to be niacin, a.k.a. vitamin B3, and yeah, that could work. Niacin gets a lot of press for its cholesterol- fighting properties, but it also causes an intense flushing/prickling/skin-on-fire sensation. The same capillary-dilating action that causes the flush ought to have a noticeable effect when applied to an organ that relies on plentiful blood flow to the surface to function properly. And according to the literature, it does, in about 75 percent of women who try it. But at least 25 percent feel nothing at all. My favorite of the Amazon reviews I read was titled “Special Goop for Her Whosis, But Not That Great, Again.”

Further along the gimmickiness spectrum, K-Y also offers a kit with two test tubes of special goop, one for his whosis, one for hers. The girl goop is Icy, the boy goop is Hot. Together you’d think they would achieve a nice “tepid,” but some people claim to really like it. At the same time, you can get a similar effect cheaper, more customizable, and without faintly suspect chemicals using an ice cube and a cup of hot water.

There are other, similar products out there, some of which contain L-arginine, an amino acid that regularly shows up in sex-enhancers and really does have a reasonable reason for maybe working. Whether it really works in whoopie creams, I do not know.

I can tell you what does work. All these products are meant to increase blood flow to the genitals (especially women’s). The other thing that increases blood flow to women’s genitals is a long session of light, teasing touch, alternating with more direct stimulation, applied attentively and with regard to the woman’s response. We could also call this “foreplay,” or “good sex.” I would strongly urge anyone interested in buying any of these tingle-nostrums to try the free, hypoallergenic alternative first.

I am, of course, not opposed or averse to better living through chemistry. But I’m a little irritated by these commercials for a) making women’s sexual response so cute and b) making it all seem so easy.

They seem pretty harmless, though. Go ahead and buy some but maybe look for a coupon first.

Love,

Andrea

 

alt.sex.column: Vanilla Shake

0

Dear Andrea:

My husband and I are in our early 40s. We have been together 15 years and married for nine. We have sex about once a week, which is all we can manage with two little kids, two full time jobs, and everything else.

For about the past five years much of our sex has centered around light B&D play. We both find this kind of play arousing. At first, my husband needed some encouragement, but now it’s all we do. Even though it is sometimes super-hot, I’m also, sometimes, a tiny bit bored. I sometimes wish he found me as sexy and irresistible as mySELF as he does when I am in my submissive, subservient role. However, I notice that on the rare occasions when we have non-B&D sex, it is not as exciting for either of us. And my master … er, I mean husband … is capable of very tender acts of lovemaking, but only, it seems, when I am blindfolded and tied to the bed. Is there any way to make non-B&D sex as arousing as our little games?

Thanks,

Sign me Mwlf

Dear Mwlf:

You’re actually doing fine in the “how often” department. Once a week may be few people’s fantasy, but it is something like most people’s reality. You are — surprise! — normal.

As for what you’re doing fine with … here are your kudos for branching out a good 10 years into your relationship. Despite constant exhortations to try! new! sex! tricks!, most couples tend to gradually contract their repertoires, not necessarily on purpose, but out of habit, lack of attention, and the sense that “good enough” is actually good enough. Don’t get me wrong, good enough actually is good enough, often enough. But just as often people stop exploring and then end up wondering why the surrounding territory looks so damned familiar and, dare we say it, dull.

You are hardly the first to find it hard to reacclimate to so-called vanilla sex after a sojourn in kinkland. I don’t believe you can get “addicted” to silk scarves and stilettos. Neither do I believe that our bodies/psyches/neurochemical receptors inevitably build tolerance to sexual sensation and require ever more extreme whatever-it-is to achieve the same response.

I am not sure that the answer for you lies in “making non-B&D sex as arousing as your little games.” Sure, that would be good, but remember how in all those columns about female libido it keeps coming back around to women responding strongly to feeling desired? Or, as you put it: “I sometimes wish he found me as sexy and irresistible as mySELF?”

You may well be a bit bored, of course, but I think you’re feeling a bit under-appreciated, a trifle invisible. You need him to see you, not just the damsel in distress he has tied to the railroad tracks. Tell him. And try not to think of BDSM and vanilla as opposites. This is, like practically everything else, more of a spectrum than an on/off switch. Try the S-M -inflected vanilla for a bit. At least it would be different.

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? Email Andrea at andrea@altsexcolumn.com

Oy-urveda

0

Dear Readers:

This week’s letter of greatest interest, a well-composed rant against my supposed blind devotion to Western medicine, ignorance of same, and lack of understanding of the holistic approach to complaints such as hyposexual desire disorder, is really, really long. Here is one of the good parts:

I am an ayurvedic practitioner (traditional Indian medicine) and am obliged to look at things holistically (meaning from the perspective of the WHOLE person, not just their vaginas.) From this perspective, "HSDD" is just a name given to the complaint of low libido that could be caused by anything from poor diet to bad relationship to hormonal imbalance to stressful work-life and everywhere in between. Drugs don’t cure these things, they just give temporary "help" that you pay for in side-effects, cardiac risks, and possible worsening of the condition over time. Take away the drug, and you still have the problem. There is a cure for HSDD. It’s called education, lifestyle, diet and emotional healing, not your beloved Flibanserin.

If you want to empower women, don’t push drugs; push health, self-acceptance, and self-love.

OK, hang on there. We misunderstand each other. Keep in mind that Flibanserin doesn’t work, hence is not beloved by me or anyone else. But what’s really important to restate is this: Female desire turns out to be rather complicated and often dependant on prerequisite (feeling desired in return, fr’instance) that there just isn’t going to be a pill for. Ever.

My ayurvedic friend is completely correct when she says that many physical and emotional stressors can affect a woman’s libido, few if any of which can be addressed by a simple rearrangement of neurotransmitters. BUT. If you truly believe in a holistic approach to sexual health, you have to add those neurotransmitters to the equation — because if they are not skipping merrily across the synapses the way they are supposed to, no amount of yoga and yogurt is going to make sex happen. That’s where a drug like Flibanserin (if it worked) could be useful.

Western medicine may often overlook the importance of well-being, self-acceptance, love, and fresh vegetables in its pursuit of mechanistic fixes for poorly understood problems. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, although it surely does have its limits — Prozac isn’t going to "make" you happy if your life sucks. If you’re lucky, it may allow you to get out of your own way enough to begin to address some of the suckage.

I am more than happy to concede that a more holistic approach would vastly improve Western medicine. Let’s have one! And while we’re at it, let’s have an end to misogyny and sexual double standards and the "second shift."

I do not expect a one-size-fits-all drug to fit all. But I do think a brain-chemistry drug could have a salutary effect on brain chemistry. And while I would expect an approach like yours to be more effective than any Flibberwhatsis for complaints of the soul, I am taking my infected toe to Dr. Western, MD. Ayurveda may be ancient and time-tested, but so is gangrene.

Love,

Andrea
Got a question? Email Andrea at andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

At your cervix

0

Dear Andrea: As long as I can remember, I’ve had a fascination with gyno play and playing doctor. I’ve grown more and more interested in the idea of cervical dilation/cervical insertions, but have been unable to find any literature on the subject. I understand that any cervical penetration has the possibility of causing cramps and/or other pain, but I am anxious and willing to experiment with this aspect of such play. Any advice?

Love, Stretch me

Dear Stretch: Questions like this always remind me of a kids’ science show I used to watch, starring Paul Zaloom and some guy in a rat costume. In one episode Paul was in the middle of explaining how to grow a particularly odoriferous bacteria colony in an old tennis shoe when he broke off mid-sentence and said, “Don’t even do this.” That’s how I feel when people ask me about certain extreme and possibly harmless but just a little bit potentially fatal practices.

It isn’t the pain that worries me. I understand that you’re up for that, and, you know, go crazy, although having been the recipient of several antepartum “internals” I can assure you that the sensation is … let’s call it “challenging.”

So yes, cervical stretching hurts like 12 kinds of mofo but that’s not our concern here. I’m afraid you may perforate something or introduce outside-world bacteria to your insides (or both). I don’t need to tell you how badly that could go for you, and only you can decide if it’s worth the risk.

It’s not true that there’s absolutely no information on this out there — there’s just very little of it. There’s probably something in BME, the “body modification e-zine.” A place called Eros Boutique carries every conceivable type of sound and catheter, and medical books and sites with instructions for inserting an IUD could walk you through the steps necessary to prepare for messing with your cervix. That’s all I’ve got.

This is very strange for me — up until now whenever someone has asked me about inserting things into the female urethra, I’ve said, in a word, “don’t,” and for good reason. The female urethra is only a few inches long and fragile. It’s a very short trip to the bladder, which really doesn’t want you dragging in dirt all over its nice clean floor. So while I generally counsel people, to leave the urethra alone and go play someplace safe, like the vagina, I’m going to take a flier and suggest the urethra as a slightly safer alternative if you absolutely must go poking in places where you’re not invited. At least you can sort-of resanitize it by peeing afterward. You may also feel free to be cranked open with a speculum and prodded about the cervix with a gloved finger. It is possible to create some intensely painful sensations in that region without ever attempting entry. But I can’t, in good conscience, support your playing doctor in the sanctum sanctorum there.

Love, Andrea

Andrea Nemerson is on vacation. This column ran last year.

Got a question? Email Andrea at andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

alt.sex.column: Don’t care

0

Dear Andrea:

I’m 41 and finally starting to wonder why sex has never been as big a deal for me as it seems to be for most people. Early on in a relationship it’s pretty interesting, but that fades pretty fast (for me, not the guy) and then … nothing. Am I dysfunctional? Or asexual? Is there a pill for this?

Love,

Dreary Doris

Dear Doris:

Sadly, no. I’m a big fan of the quick fix and if there were a pill I would be all over that sucker, but there is not.

Not that people aren’t trying. Female sexual dysfunction is a matter of some keen interest over there in Big Pharma and in the herbal remedies section of the Crunchy Mart. Hippie chick or desperate housewife, everyone wants that pill, and everyone else wants to sell it to them. It’s just, there’s no such thing and possibly never will be. Sigh.

We ‘re forever hearing that some 40 percent of women report some sort of dysfunction or major dissatisfaction. Most are desire disorders and anorgasmia, but true sexual aversion and physical pain are also players. None of these are anywhere near as well-understood as one might wish. There is even some controversy over whether low desire is even dysfunctional as much as just a regular point along the human spectrum. As ever, it’s only a problem if it’s a problem for you.

So, is it possible your low libido is hormonal or caused by a current situation like exhaustion or resentment or a partner’s perceived lack of affection or support? Is it a leftover from some earlier traumatic event or equally desire-snuffing history of bad sex? Where does anorgasmia leave off and lack of interest set in? Is it a woman’s duty to “fix” something she really doesn’t think is broken, just to please a partner? How about to save a marriage?

There is nothing yet available in the way of an “aphrodisiac” for women. Plus, needing to feel loved, respected, desired, and appreciated before the sexual response cycle can fire up is going to be pretty hard to “fix” with a pill. I’d like to own stock in the company that comes up with one, though.

There is no universal aphrodisiac out there. The closest thing we’ve got is testosterone, in that both female and male desire looks to be T-driven at some level. But supplemental hormones are tricky bastards and do weird stuff, and you can’t just throw extra T into the mix and expect it to neatly adjust one system without messing with another. This is serious see-your-doctor stuff.

All this is interesting but beside the point for you. You don’t sound all that dysfunctional; maybe on the cool end of the sexy-o-meter but by no means all the way to “cold fish.” You’re into it enough with a new guy. Are these the wrong guys? Or are you somehow shutting yourself down, or shutting them out? I think this is more about partner choice or relationship skills, yours or theirs, and I know for sure they don’t make a pill for those.

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? Email Andrea at andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

alt.sex.column: Clip show

0

Dear Readers:

Nah, I’m not really going to saddle you with a “clips” column — that would be cheesy. But I do happen to have a bunch of interestingish non-question stuff from my inbox, so bear with me.

First up, an article from The New York Times called “The Perils Of Sexual Roundelays,” which is kind of refreshing because, despite the title, it actually pokes some holes in the “ZOMG hooking up and friends with benefits will be the death of love and marriage as we know it” cultural panic usually expressed in articles called “the perils of sexual” whatever. Sort of. The article (www.nytimes.com/2010/05/09/fashion/09Studied.html) describes what may be the first major study of non-monogamous behavior among adults). The study sets out to examine whether what the researchers call “non-serious relationships,” (a.k.a. “hooking up”) lead to “concurrent partnerships” (hooking up with lots of people, a.k.a. being a big old’ slut”).

The writer, Pamela Paul, keeps her head better than most, but even so it’s interesting to note the way the article treats non-monogamy not as a risk factor for STDs or eventual loneliness and heartbreak, but as an unquestioned Big Bad all on its own, something to be avoided even by those who appear to want it.

Eventually, though, Paul does come around to the sensible conclusion that “all this doesn’t necessarily mean hooking up leads to non-monogamy.”

On to the next item, a press release that may be of interest to you job hunters who may be just a little bit curious about what it might be like to work in the sexual entertainment industry. As a code monkey.

The sex industry’s premier trade show — CyberNet Expo — takes place July 8-10 in San Francisco.

This year exhibitors are making a real effort to attract and meet with jobseekers who have Web design, programming, and technical skills.

The adult online industry is hiring! Hiring companies are meeting with professionals who have skills in Web designing, photo and video editing and encoding, Web hosting and billing, and technical programming of any online language (PHP, C++, Java, etc.). Consultant and freelancers are in demand, too. Bring your resume and receive 20 percent off admission fee

You’re welcome. Good luck.

My last item is more in the way of a question for you intrepid sex scouts. I got a come-on from one of my favorite independent sexe shoppes, Babeland, and was reminded that I haven’t had an opportunity to examine either the SaSi, the very expensive smart not-a-vibrator that was last year’s big sex-toy sensation, or the more recent, vaguely comical “Sqweel oral sex simulator.” The Sqweel is a disk-shaped apparatus that resembles a small, pornographic Ferris Wheel, or my asthma meds dispenser — if my asthma meds dispenser could perform cunnilingus. It’s a little wheel studded with cute little pink “tongues” and it’s so peculiar yet promising that I need to hear from someone who’s encountered one in real life. Does it work? Does it get, um, tangled? Can you use it without laughing?

Sorry for the clips show. See ya next week.

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? Email Andrea at andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

alt.sex.column: Eek! Eels in my …

3

Dear Andrea:

My girlfriend asked me to demonstrate my most unorthodox masturbation techniques, and one of my inventions is the Fly on the Island. Catch a small, lively fly. Carefully remove the wings and put it into a pill bottle. Draw a hot bath and get in.

Make your Johnson a bit hard and maneuver it so just the head rises above the surface of the water. Now is the time to introduce the fly to the island. The ideal fly has no wings so he can’t fly away but is small and sprightly enough to run franticly around the island looking for a way off. When I demonstrated this, my girlfriend said I was being mean to the fly. Is this masturbatorial creativity or animal cruelty?

Dear Readers:

Every once in a while I wonder why so few people write in anymore with ridiculous, Penthouse Forum-style stories or claims of extremely unusual fetishes or practices. Fewer jackasses seem to feel the need to try to trick what they hope are earnest or unwary advice-givers into accidentally granting the desired exposure. I kind of miss them. So I can’t blame this guy for trying. Plus, he did a really good job with the details. And — he got me to run it. At any rate, it’s not nearly as gross or horrible as the story about the Chinese eel that made the rounds of my sex-geek posse last week.

It seems a gentleman was brought in, dying, to a Sichuan hospital where it took the doctors a surprisingly long time to discover the eel lodged where no eel was meant to go. Though dead, it had been alive when inserted, and eels have teeth.

The likely cause was eventually established — he had apparently been drinking with friends and had passed out. His friends had decided it would be amusing to insert a live eel into his anus while he was comatose.

I suppose it’s churlish to chide the guy after his agonizing death and all, but it does occur to me that we do get to choose our friends and one criterion we might consider while doing so is this: does this individual seem like the kind of person who would wait for me to get plastered and then stick a live eel up my ass?

No, I don’t believe this really happened, any more than I believe the fly guy. The eel story has yet to show up on Snopes, but it bears all the hallmarks of an urban legend — no names, no dates, an exotic setting that renders it unverifiable, many uses of “apparently” and “it seems.” It seems one ought not to believe everything one reads, since, apparently, much of what one reads is nonsense.

I’d like to think I’ve done a sort of public service by passing these two disgusting stories on to you, my beloved readers. Anything else you’re likely to encounter today — stepped-in dog poop, a hair in your soup — will seem positively wholesome by comparison. No need to thank me!

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? Email Andrea at andrea@altsexcolumn.com

Slow man

0

Dear Andrea:

My male friend ( I’m a woman) and I have been together on and off for a little over a year. The problem is, it takes him a very long time to ejaculate. He is really turned on but it still takes a long time. Is it me or him?

Love,

Slowpoked

Dear Slow:

An eternal question, but a bad one. Do you really want to know whose “fault” it is, or how to fix it?

Your letter raises more questions than it asks. The big ones: Has this always been an issue for him? Is it true of all activities, or only intercourse? Did he happen to start taking antidepressants around the time this started? Oh, and one more: Who is this a big problem, you, him, or both? It would be great to hear that it’s a problem only for you, since then I could say (in the nicest way possible, of course,),”Get over it.”

Yes, it’s a problem if intercourse drags on way past your turn-on, past any orgasms that might have been achieved or are still achievable, and straight into “getting sore now, that was great, thanks, now get out.” But a dysfunction (not that there is one) isn’t one unless he says it is. One hopes he is not blithely sawing away while you lie there in increasing discomfort. But if he’s happy with the status quo, you’re kind of stuck.

So better for you if he’s also feeling frustrated. It would be great if we could blame Prozac or one of its relatives, and that he could easily switch to a different but equally effective medication. So make sure he isn’t taking anything that could cause delayed gratification, and then, assuming he isn’t, we move on.

Next: is he only a slow-poke when penises meet vaginas, or is it a universal thing? If it’s only intercourse, then we blame intercourse. It’s too something for him: too dry, too wet, too loose, too condom’d, too shameful, not shameful enough … who knows? Men are fragile creatures. If he easily gets off on hand jobs, blow jobs, or any other sort of jobs, then your job is to figure out what he likes about the other sensations and try to recreate them.

Now let’s say that it takes that long no matter what you’re doing. What about no matter what he’s doing? Like when you’re not there? Much as masturbation can be used to unlearn premature ejaculation, it can cause the post-mature kind. Some guys are so good at getting themselves off that, frankly, no partner can compete. People — male, female, and otherwise — can get habituated to a particular, usually very strong and very focused sort of stimulation and find it hard to respond to the more diffuse and occasionally off-target sensations another human is able to provide.

The cure for this, oddly, is also masturbation. But instead of doing it efficiently, like most people do, you take your time and learn to respond to slightly less exactly-the-way-I want-it-when-I want-it stimulation.

None of this is going to happen unless you two talk about it, though.

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? E-mail andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

alt.sex.column: I deserve a buzz

Dear Andrea:

How is it humanly possible that I, a 42 year old man, talented, accomplished, tall, and fit, cannot get laid to save his life? I have gone out on literally hundreds of dates, but nothing ever seems to go my way. I try not to act desperate, but women seem to smell it on me or something.

I have spent 12 years in therapy, tried whatever advice is thrown my way, but nothing seems to work. WTF?

Love,

42-Year-Old Etc.

Dear Etc:

Yikes. OK, you have legitimately got a problem. But do try to remember that while it may seem reasonable to feel that the universe owes you a boinking, any individual female owes you nothing of the kind. Forget this at your peril.

I won’t tell you that there is someone out there for you, although there may be. I will tell you, though, that it appears that the problem is not them, it’s you. Really, I am sorry. But a record like yours, well, I suppose it is technically possible that you are suffering the world’s most protracted streak of bad luck, scoring-wise, but it is simply not very likely.

I wonder what it is about all those dates that is “not going your way.” You do know you have to actually do something, right? Just waiting for things to go your way is a good way to end up a 42-year-old virgin.

Still, 42 is way old to still be a virgin, so I suggest quitting that. Seriously. Hire a pro or run a Craig’s List ad, looking not for luv and certainly not for anything as apocryphal as a soul-mate, but for some floozy who thinks the idea of contributing to the delinquency of a major sounds like hot dirty fun. In other words, just do it. Getting past the virginity element will dispel the stink of desperation (along with the fear of having to make an embarrassing confession), which ought to take some of the pressure off the next date.

Also, since I cannot see you or smell you or hear you laugh, you need some data I cannot provide. Do you know any women? Do you have female friends? Could you ask them if you seem, well, doable? Like if she weren’t married or not into men or whatever, could she imagine hooking up with you? If not, why not, and is there anything you can do about it?

At this point I’m assuming that you are stuck in a cycle of defeat and despair and that your dates can, in fact, smell it on you. But on the off chance that there is something else, some mannerism or failure of personal hygiene at work here, you really need to find out more about how people are perceiving you. You may not believe me, but it isn’t too late. Get yourself a nice, expensive escort and at least get some practice. She may even have some pointers — if there’s anyone who knows a helluva lot about what makes a man sexually unappealing, it will be her.

Love,

Andrea

Email your questions to andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

alt.sex.column: Rubber soul

0

Dear Andrea:

I have memories from early childhood onward of masturbating. (I’m a woman.) I’m talking when I was four years old or possibly even younger. I remember doing it in public too, like in front of family members.

It always took the form of rubbing myself against objects or the floor. I’m pretty sure I experienced orgasm too. Is it normal for a child to experiment sexually like this? And do you think it’s appropriate to discuss it with my boyfriend? I’m sure I wasn’t harmed by the experiences, but it seems like I started sexually expressing myself awfully young!

Love,

Rub It In

Dear Rub:

Pish tosh. Four-year-old (and younger) girls are well-known frotteurs, and often show an interest in ride-on toys, coin-operated bucking broncos, broomstick ponies, and the like keen enough to discomfit nearby adults. The fact that we, the adults, may be discomfited oughtn’t in any way imply that the kids are doing anything wrong. You certainly weren’t.

Every child develops on his own schedule, of course, but it’s well-documented that male fetuses can get erections in utero, and certainly infants produce them regularly (although infants are too busy learning where their feet are to bother much with genitals yet). Toddler and preschool boys, will proudly indicate theirs while crowing “Penis! Penis!” and they won’t stop without some sort of (gently diplomatic) intervention. With boys or girls, it’s best to show no emotional reaction but simply suggest that erections or frotting be achieved, displayed, and investigated in private. Adults are certainly entitled to their reactions (often amusement, sometimes shock or dismay) but in the interest of not scarring one’s children for life, it’s best to hide those.

What you were doing as a kid was perfectly normal and totally harmless and I’m really sorry you had to go through that whole guilt and repression phase. I’m kind of cheered, though, to see that it didn’t take. While it probably wouldn’t be great for either you or your boyfriend for you to have only one route to orgasm, and that rather solitary. Rubbing is a perfectly good addition to one’s repertoire.

So, yes, it was normal to do what you did when you were doing it, and many adult women continue the practice, and I can’t think of a single reason not to mention it to your boyfriend. I imagine he will counter with some similar confession and you will both laugh and yet find yourselves just a bit turned on as well. I can’t promise that either of you will be able to come up with a good, non-awkward way to incorporate rubbing against inanimate objects into your partnered sex, but have you by any chance considered adapting your formerly solitary practice to your current situation? That is to say, you have a perfectly good object for your rubbing right there next to you, provided he doesn’t mind being called an object. If he is anything like any other heterosexual male I have encountered either personally or professionally, he will not mind in the least having an attractive and in this case already beloved female grind her pelvis against him.

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? E-mail Andrea at andrea@altsexcolumn.com


alt.sex.column: No sex, please — we’re 40

0

Dear Andrea:

I’m 46 and seeking a hetro/bi woman my age who is authentically interested in a sexual relationship. I’ve heard many middle-aged women openly proclaim that they “don’t care about sex.” Since then, I’ve heard similar from many sources, including several female friends and countless craigslist meet-ups where it was volunteered without any prompting. I find this terribly depressing.

I thought a woman’s interest in sex increased as they got older. (Thanks, Anne Bancroft!). Now I’m honestly not sure what my options are. I haven’t had sex in two years.

Love,

46-Year-Old Man

Dear Old Man,

I’m surprised by the near-unanimity among your female age cohort. I wonder if you’re experiencing some sort of selection bias or selective hearing. It’s not an unusual story, but to hear it from every single woman you ask makes me wonder if you’re asking the right questions.

It’s true that what research there is often also based on the wrong questions — there’s a great deal of interest in libido-enhancing drugs for women, and a lot of statistics purporting to show an “epidemic” of female sexual desire disorders, but it’s very hard to figure out what’s really going on. Until recently, a 48-year-old woman was very likely to experience loss of libido due to being dead, or so worn-out and overworked that the best she could hope for was to be left alone.

Since a modern Western middle-class middle-aged woman now looks and feels like a 17th century 17-year-old and still has another 40-some years ahead of her, you better believe expectations have changed. They have changed so much that the slight diminishment of libido a woman might expect in her 40s is now considered a medical emergency.

In truth, many women do feel their libidos rushing back as soon as the last child earns her driver’s license. It isn’t only the temptingly empty house that does it — the role of mom, while deeply gratifying, does not produce a sense of oneself as irresistible object or roaring engine of desire. And while we should never forget that the glorious Bancroft was a wizened crone of 35 when she rolled down that famous stocking, many women in their 40s and 50s are still plenty interested in sex. Under the right circumstances.

Study after study indicates that most women require intimacy and emotional involvement even to get to the turn-on stage. Still others may have their sexuality tied up with a younger, thinner, or firmer self-image. There’s nothing like good sex to restore a sense of joy in and respect for one’s body. But again, it may take a lot of trust and a lot of affection to get there.

An interesting, attractive man of a certain age can totally get laid. But not, I suspect, if he even hints, upfront, at a need to know how many times he can expect it weekly once the deal is sealed. That’s no way to hook a lady who doesn’t even know you yet. I fear you are giving up too easily, and only hearing what you don’t want to hear.

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? E-mail Andrea at andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

alt.sex.column: The family that plays together

0

Dear Andrea:

This summer different members of my family will be going in together on big a beach house. There’s just one thing. “Heather” used to be married to my cousin, but after they split up, my cousin moved and Heather is still invited. She also is younger. The problem? I think she’s hot.

Very very hot. Am I allowed to ask her out? It’s really hard to be around her all weekend in bathing suits and beach clothes and share a bathroom. Is this too incesty a situation? Should I just not go?

Love,

Kissin’ Cousin

Dear Cuz:

Depends on what you call a “problem. There is no legal problem here. No biological one, and no moral one, either. There may be a slight social one, though — cousin marriage may be largely legal but it is still considered freakish most places.

Cousins actually have been coupling as long as there have been cousins; in the small bands and villages of our past there may have been no other choices available. Even brother/sister incest has had its proponents, although these are few and their most famous example, the Egyptian royal families, were remarkably weak and weedy specimens, not to mention all dead now. So we won’t do that.

Ideally, we won’t all hook up with our cousins, either. The occasional intramarriage is harmless, but for the race as a whole that good hybrid vigor seems a worthy goal. Mix it up, it’s good for us! Historically, we have had a nearly universal incest taboo (for first-degree relatives, cousins are third degree and have generally been a gimme) for a reason. And not only have we historically frowned upon congress between first-degrees (people with whom you share half your genes), very few humans even seem to want to.

Does any of this have anything to do with you and your situation? Certainly not. There is no incest taboo in your case because there is no incest, period.

This is not to say that your ex-cousin-in-law will welcome your attentions, and her possible rejection, if any, will have nothing to do with incest taboos or the relative turn-on-itude of exogamy. She may just not like you that way. She may think you are old and creepy and shouldn’t be looking at young women like that. You never know. Neither can I guarantee that your real relatives, who have welcomed this young woman into the bosom of the family, will not be somewhat disgusted by your behavior. These are risks one takes any time one approaches a potential partner, of course, and if you don’t accept the risk of rejection you never get any partners at all. But most of the time when you go out on a limb and risk looking foolish, you’re alone, or in the company of friends, who might rib you a bit and then drop it. Families, as anyone who has ever taken a summer vacation with theirs can attest, never drop anything. So proceed with caution, or go to Italy this year instead.

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? E-mail Andrea at andrea@altsexcolumn.com

alt.sex.column: Dizzy spell

0

Dear Andrea:

You’ve written occasionally about infatuation, but is it really such a bad thing? It has driven even logical, structure-loving me to be romantic and loopy. But isn’t it based on genuine attraction? Is it something to be wary of?

The object of my desire lives far away, and infrequent visits keep the natural relationship progression at bay. It’s always exciting to see each other, and many of the normal daily annoyances and issues of relationships don’t arise. Here’s the rub: While I’m convinced I’m in love and confident in his feelings as well, I fear that making huge decisions and life changes (he’s thinking about selling his house, for instance) may be rash and based on infatuation.

Love, Cloud Head

Dear Head:

I have written about infatuation, but never without mentioning the word’s etymology, which never fails to charm me, if not as deeply and enduringly as “Infatuation,” of course, means “to make foolish,” and shares a root with “fatuous.” Aren’t you glad you asked? What? You didn’t ask?

I assume you’re thinking of infatuation as the dizzy, dopey first flush of attraction that has no time for those aspects of love that take time, by which I don’t mean marriage and baby carriage as much as putting the other person’s needs and comfort first, or at least on a level with one’s own, and being made happy by the other’s happiness, plus trust, commitment, and mutual support.

This is not to be confused with limerence, a word that did not exist until the 70s, when psychologist Dorothy Tennov saw fit to coin it. Limerence seems fitting for that transcendent sensation, that sense that since you and your “limerent” object met or connected, the world has been utterly transformed.

Limerence is not love, it’s “being in love” (without infatuation’s connotations of foolishness and brevity): the intrusive thoughts to the point of obsession, the feeling of “walking on air,” the mad longing, the way that every touch, every word, every glance from the beloved is imbued with meaning, and the palpable pain (“heartache”) of separation or lack of reciprocity. Without limerence, all popular music would be either “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” or “Kill You,” nothing in-between.

Limerence does not become love as much as it can leave you and the limerant object ideally positioned to find love together. You ask, is this really love, or merely infatuation? I answer, it’s limerence, and better yet, requited limerence. Enjoy it. You ask, “But isn’t the attraction real?” and I say, of course it’s real. Limerence causes a certain type of temporary insanity but you still know what you feel. Finally, should you throw all caution to the winds and throw in together? Um. This is pretty wishy-washy but … sort of? How about you wait a year? How about traveling together first? Sharing a vacation house? Those situations are not real life but they do involve real stressors. Find out what he’s like when you’re lost and hot and cranky on a road trip. Head in the clouds? Easy. How about shaving scum in the sink?

Love, Andrea

Got a question? E-mail Andrea at andrea@altsexcolumn.com

alt.sex.column: Maresy dotes

0

Dear Andrea:

It’s spring! Even though I live in California, it’s exciting when spring comes. I mean literally exciting, as in, it makes me horny. All winter I was like “Eh, dating” and now I’m all like “OMG boys! Lemme at ’em.” This happens every year, whether I have a boyfriend or not.

I know everyone talks about spring fever and it’s hardly just me being weird, but is there something that actually happens to our brains in the spring? Are there spring hormones?

I’m a girl, by the way.

Love,

Spring Fever

Dear Feev:

Indeed there are, at least among the smaller, furrier mammals, and we separate ourselves from our smaller, furrier cousins at our peril.

It doesn’t take a modern laboratory to note that mammals and most other creatures, not to mention the entire plant kingdom respond to the lengthening days and the return of the sun by, depending on physiology, sprouting, producing warm juicy sap, nest-building, and/or taking off their clothes. That’s what spring is for.

We may not like to think of ourselves as programmed to quite the degree of, say, the famous Siberian hamsters who were found to have libidos entirely regulated by the cutely-named neuropeptide kisspeptin, production of which shuts off in the winter. But we kind of are. Obviously we also respond to things like warm sun on our shoulders, longer afternoons in which to build up sleek sexy muscle and vital endurance, and the relative nakedosity of our fellow humans as they shed bulky coats and long wooly trousers in favor of warm, visible, touchable, responsive skin.

If you think about it, springtime isn’t actually mating season for most creatures. Spring is for gamboling little lambsies, conceived in the fall and born once the worst of winter’s privations have passed. What peaks in the spring, it seems, is energy. What we do with all that energy is pretty much up to us.

“We may have more energy in springtime, but it won’t necessarily play itself out in the bedroom,” Michael Smolensky wrote in a WebMD article. “The peak [of sexual activity] is in the fall.”

Here’s what I think: yes, our hormones and neurowhatses respond to the seasons. Increased energy and optimism plus being outside more, where other people are also feeling happier and healthier, makes everyone feel hornier. If you live anywhere with a proper summer, you’ll want to get your oats sown now, though, because researchers have found that we start to feel sluggish again as soon as it gets much over room temperature out there. Maybe we are all meant to live in San Diego, or in shopping malls. But I don’t think so.

Now I have Julie Andrews singing “The Lusty Month of May” stuck in my head (“That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray”.) If there is anything less sexy than Julie Andrews singing Lerner and Loewe, I can’t think of it right now. But I’m quite certain that if you venture out in a cute outfit and kicky new sandals and gambol about like a little lambsy-divey, you will find some takers.

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? E-mail Andrea at andrea@altsexcolumn.com

alt.sex.column: Oh, grow up!

1

Dear Andrea:

My really sweet, nice new boyfriend is into S–M and I’m not sure I even understand the attraction. I can get behind the sensation aspect but I have some moral and feminist objections. He insists it’s just a way to play, but it doesn’t sound like play to me. From what I read, people seem to take it pretty seriously. Plus calling it play (“pain play” “play-dates,” “play partners”) doesn’t really convince me that it’s all in good fun. You’re going to think this is ridiculous, but honestly all the talk about “play” sounds immature to me. We are 30 and 33 years old! Do we really need to spend our free time “playing”? Convince me.

Love,

All Play And No Work …


Dear All:

Wow, I feel faintly reprimanded for ever calling anything “play” that wasn’t an organized sport or a dramatic presentation. Then again, I am kind of immature — it keeps us young, don’t you know — so what do I care?

In response to what I expect are your political and feminist objections, I think many nice, progressive, egalitarian types such as (I presume) yourself (and also myself) initially have this reaction when presented with S–M iconography and terminology. Isn’t it time to move beyond rigid hierarchies? Doesn’t all this black leather look a little SS-ish? Would we even have such a concept as “top” and “bottom,” let alone “master” and “slave,” if we didn’t have this wretched history of the strong subjugating the weak, century after century, culture after culture? Would people born on Planet Liberty and Justice for All ever come up with S–M? And if they wouldn’t, should we? And isn’t it unhealthy for both genders to have women kneeling at men’s feet, or recapitulating scenes that in real life would be examples of brute patriarchy at work (all those abused school girls, corrected parlor maids, and so on)? And I say unto you, what makes you think it’s always or even usually women doing the kneeling, or that all those parlor maids are female? In the absence of a Planet Liberty and Justice to use as a control, we have no idea if people would play power games or not.

As for your (implied) definition of maturity — taking responsibility for your actions, not whining, not blaming others for your own mistakes — there are many qualities I would ascribe to the mature human. But “doesn’t play” isn’t one of them. Humans are neotenic — hanging on to aspects of infancy long past physical maturity — and it’s entirely possible that our flexibility, creativity, and ability to learn and grow as adults is due to that built-in childishness. Mature adults play all the time — in sports, outdoor adventuring, Burning Man, and so on. None of these activities are necessary to our survival as grownups. We just do them for fun. And some of us do similarly with adults-only indoor sports.

If you don’t want to play, don’t. But if you do want to play, don’t sweat the semantics.

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? Email Andrea at andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

alt.sex.column: Ti-ming

0

Dear Andrea:

My boyfriend and I have been dating for three years and we have always had the same issue. It takes a long time for him to come, whether I am performing oral sex or we are having anal sex. We’ve talked about it, and I am always trying to understand what I can do to make him come. Since it takes so long, he always ends up finishing off himself. I would like to be the one who makes him come when I give him a blow job, but I don’t know what to do. Please help.

Love,

Spectator

Dear ‘Tator:

I understand that you want to be the one who “makes” him come. And if it’s blow-job-to-ejaculation you’re after and not getting, I also understand that there could be some considerable loss of sensation/pay-off/money shot for you, too. And I understand that we (that would be humans) often enjoy the giddy sense of accomplishment and mastery we get from creating and controlling an enjoyable experience for our partners. I don’t imagine, though, that this is the first time I have had to sing this old song to one of my correspondents: You really can’t always get what you want. However …

There may be something going on with your boyfriend physically or emotionally that can be addressed, but I actually kind of doubt it. I’d imagine that he would have come out with it by now or you would have sussed it out yourself. I’m going to assume that all of the “a little harder/softer/shallower/deeper/faster/slower/wetter/drier/firmer/softer/did I miss any? issues have already been addressed. Is he on any medication that could cause the unfortunately-named “retarded ejaculation?” One kind of hopes so, since a medication change can just wave the problem away like a magic wand.

If no such insta-fix is available, what are the quickish fixes, and what are the more gradual, therapy-based approaches, and are any of them likely to work? The answer is a resounding “maybe!” All I can do is throw suggestions at the wall and see what sticks.

It’s somewhat painful to admit that one’s partner is insufficiently aroused, but as long as you take care not to end that sentence with “by me” you should be able to work through this without too much ego-bruising. He does need something extra, so figure out together if there’s a fantasy component missing. Or maybe he has accustomed himself to some form of arousal or fantasy that you can’t reasonably imitate for him, and you will need to work together to replace that with something you can supply.

Maybe he has control issues — what often looks, to the frustrated partner, like an inability to give turns out to be, on closer inspection, an inability to take. Or maybe he just wants a hand job? That wasn’t on your list of things that aren’t working, so … ? And finally, have you tried just doing what you’re doing, then turning it over to him as though for the big finish, and then, on his signal, jumping back in? That isn’t cheating. That’s timing.

Love,

Andrea

Got a question? Write Andrea at andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

Urethra, frankly

0

Dear Andrea:

I have always had an interest in inserting thin objects into my urethra, and now manage a large-diameter pencil. It really feels thrilling, and depending on the mood, I tend to orgasm. My question is: how much can the urethra in a woman stretch? I have also inserted the same into my cervix; are there dangers in either?

Love,

Intrepid Explorer

Dear Ex:

There is no question that the urethra, or at least its surrounding tissue, is sexually sensitive.

Ernest Gräfenburg’s orginal break-out paper was called “The Role Of Urethra in Female Orgasm” and figured the locus of internal vaginal sensitivity (later called the G-spot) to be the area of nerve-rich erectile tissue wedged between the urethra and the upper wall of the vagina. You stimulate the paraurethral area though the vagina. There’s no reason it shouldn’t work from the other direction. Except for that pesky business about the vagina being thickly muscled, tough, flexible, and dead-ended, while the urethra is relatively inflexible and fragile and leads directly into the bladder, which leads to the kidneys, which you do not want to mess with. But assuming you are real and really female, you have already done this and lived to tell. Yay for you. Your job now is either to quit it (recommended) or find a very clean and safe way to do it.

I was intrigued to hear from a physician (this was 10 or so years back, but not, like, 40 years back) that little girls are routinely brought to emergency departments with hairpins in their urethras. Let’s say that “hairpin” was just shorthand for “small, easily accessible, and inappropriate random object” and consider why it’s a bad idea: small things get lost; easily accessible random objects are dirty; and small, dirty objects loose in your urinary tract will cause infection and may cause perforations. Either way, you would end up in the ER. The only appropriate object for urethral insertion is a urethral sound, or something as smooth, appropriately sized, long-handled, and sterilizable as a urethral sound. Does any of that say “Use a pencil!” to you?

As for the cervical insertion: I will admit that it ought to be technically possible. The cervix, even in a woman who’s never been pregnant, is closed-ish but not entirely closed, and it waxeth and waneth like the moon. You do hear of people doing cervix “play” or see pictures of such things on the Internet. But that does not mean you should do it.

For one thing, there’s pain. If you have never had a baby or a miscarriage (I have had both, and may I add OMG) or really horrible menstrual cramps, you have no idea how much having your uterus cranked open hurts. That muscular organ, inevitably referred to as “fist-sized,” is usually clenched down tight, and for a reason. Anything introduced in there can perforate, causing peritonitis and possible death, or just plain infect, causing peritonitis and possible death. If you do not want to risk peritonitis and possible death, please just leave your cervix alone. It has a job to do and does not need you interfering with it.

Love,

Andrea

See Andrea’s other column at carnalnation.com.

 

Urethra, frankly

0

andrea@mail.altsexcolumn.com

Dear Andrea:

I have always had an interest in inserting thin objects into my urethra, and now manage a large-diameter pencil. It really feels thrilling, and depending on the mood, I tend to orgasm. My question is: how much can the urethra in a woman stretch? I have also inserted the same into my cervix; are there dangers in either?

Love,

Intrepid Explorer

Dear Ex:

There is no question that the urethra, or at least its surrounding tissue, is sexually sensitive. Ernest Gräfenburg’s orginal break-out paper was called "The Role Of Urethra in Female Orgasm" and figured the locus of internal vaginal sensitivity (later called the G-spot) to be the area of nerve-rich erectile tissue wedged between the urethra and the upper wall of the vagina. You stimulate the paraurethral area though the vagina. There’s no reason it shouldn’t work from the other direction. Except for that pesky business about the vagina being thickly muscled, tough, flexible, and dead-ended, while the urethra is relatively inflexible and fragile and leads directly into the bladder, which leads to the kidneys, which you do not want to mess with. But assuming you are real and really female, you have already done this and lived to tell. Yay for you. Your job now is either to quit it (recommended) or find a very clean and safe way to do it.

I was intrigued to hear from a physician (this was 10 or so years back, but not, like, 40 years back) that little girls are routinely brought to emergency departments with hairpins in their urethras. Let’s say that "hairpin" was just shorthand for "small, easily accessible, and inappropriate random object" and consider why it’s a bad idea: small things get lost; easily accessible random objects are dirty; and small, dirty objects loose in your urinary tract will cause infection and may cause perforations. Either way, you would end up in the ER. The only appropriate object for urethral insertion is a urethral sound, or something as smooth, appropriately sized, long-handled, and sterilizable as a urethral sound. Does any of that say "Use a pencil!" to you?

As for the cervical insertion: I will admit that it ought to be technically possible. The cervix, even in a woman who’s never been pregnant, is closed-ish but not entirely closed, and it waxeth and waneth like the moon. You do hear of people doing cervix "play" or see pictures of such things on the Internet. But that does not mean you should do it.

For one thing, there’s pain. If you have never had a baby or a miscarriage (I have had both, and may I add OMG) or really horrible menstrual cramps, you have no idea how much having your uterus cranked open hurts. That muscular organ, inevitably referred to as "fist-sized," is usually clenched down tight, and for a reason. Anything introduced in there can perforate, causing peritonitis and possible death, or just plain infect, causing peritonitis and possible death. If you do not want to risk peritonitis and possible death, please just leave your cervix alone. It has a job to do and does not need you interfering with it.

Love,

Andrea

See Andrea’s other column at carnalnation.com.