Anatomy of a turn-on 

Q: On “The Sopranos,” a hunk went to the bathroom, where he died, and the camera caught the actor sitting with his pants and shorts down around his ankles. It made me so hot I whacked off immediately. Also, I found a picture of an opera staged in Barcelona where six men were sitting on the can with their pants and shorts around their ankles. I found that picture extremely hot. Why do I find these pictures so erotic? I’m just a garden-variety gay; I don’t find pleasure in pain and I don’t enjoy the sight or smell of shit. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds these images erotic. —Hot Pants

A: What makes you so sure? You’re the first person I’ve heard from who gets off merely at the sight of a guy sitting on the can with his pants around his ankles. That means you’re special. And why freaked-out stuff turns some people on is nearly impossible to determine. Perhaps it’s seeing a man at a moment of extreme vulnerability, a moment when very few men wish to be observed. Perhaps the subtle violation — the violation of a man’s privacy — turns your pervy crank. Maybe it’s something else entirely. Who knows?

What I do know, however, is this: There’s a scene in Johnny English — one of the worst movies ever made — where six or seven guys are sitting in a bathroom, pants around their ankles, taking a bizarre communal crap. Without a doubt, HP, you are the only person on earth besides A.O. Scott, a film critic for The New York Times, who will enjoy this movie. Scott gave Johnny English a mystifying rave, and Scott is the reason I found myself in a theater watching Rowan Atkinson, who was crawling up a sewer pipe, get shit on by six or seven men taking a bizarre communal crap. What Scott enjoyed about this film remains a mystery to me … unless …

Perhaps Mr. Scott enjoyed Johnny English for the same reasons you no doubt will, HP, which means that you aren’t the only one out there who finds images of men taking craps erotic. I mean, is there any other explanation for that review, Mr. Scott?

Q: My girlfriend and I have only had sex maybe three times in almost as many months. Last night as I was about to leave her apartment she noticed that the knickknack box on her nightstand was open. She keeps our condoms in that box. Then she noticed that there were only two condoms in it. There were three the last time we opened it. She asked me to empty my pockets to see if I had taken one to use on god only knows who. (I hadn’t.) I dutifully emptied my pockets and left without pressing the issue.

Why would there suddenly be one less condom if I hadn’t taken it and we haven’t used it? It would make no sense for her to bring up its absence if she’s the one who used it. Am I letting my fears run away with me? Do I have reason to believe that she’s being unfaithful? This wouldn’t be the first time that either has happened. —Insecure and Suspicious

A: Here are three theories: Your girlfriend cheated on you and accused you of cheating on her to escape suspicion (a common enough stratagem for cheaters); if your girlfriend has roommates, perhaps one borrowed the condom (without returning it — shocking!); maybe there were only two condoms in the fucking knickknack box to begin with.

But the only mystery I’m interested in solving is this: Why are you bothering with this woman? Between your insecurities, her history of cheating, and your piss-poor sex life, it’s not like either of you is getting anything out of this but grief. Tell your girlfriend to shove her suspicions in her little knickknack box, IAS, and end this farce already.

Q: My boyfriend likes ass sex, so I decided to let him have a go when I was drunk enough not to feel it too much. However, for the next week it hurt to shit and it hurt to sit. I have since let him try it three more times. Each time is just as painful. I don’t have the heart to tell him this, since he enjoys it so much. Should we use a different lube, or do I just have a freakishly small/sensitive anal opening? —Ass Sex Sucks

A: I doubt it, ASS. It’s more likely that you have a freakishly insensitive boyfriend. If you’re unable to shit or sit without pain for a week after he fucks your ass, ASS, then he’s not giving you enough anal foreplay — and kissing you and groping your ass doesn’t count. More lube might help, ASS, but it’s not the solution to your problem. He needs to get in there and rim your ass, finger it, and use small toys on it. Here’s your homework: Have “ass sex” this weekend — without alcohol or buttfucking. Tell him he can do whatever he likes to your ass, ASS, short of sticking his dick in there. He can use his tongue, his fingers, your vibrator, some small toys, and, for the big finish, slide his dick between your ass cheeks and hump your ass crack until he comes, but without actually penetrating you. While he humps away, work your clit with your own hand or a vibrator. Keep this routine up for a few weeks, ASS, and make sure he understands that you’re in no hurry to get his dick back into your ass. The goal is to get you to associate anal play with mind-blowing orgasms so that, one day soon, you’ll be so hot for actual ass sex that you’ll want to take another stab at it.

But he has to let you set the pace, ASS, and you need to tell him that what you’ve been doing up to now hurt like hell. Unless he wants to turn you off for ass sex forever, he can’t rush or pressure you. And when you want to give it a shot, ASS, do it sober. You’re likelier to get hurt if you’re “drunk enough not to feel it too much.” You should want to feel it, ASS, so that hopefully you can enjoy it or, if not, you can call a halt to the ass fucking before you wind up unable to shit or sit for another week.

Contact Dan Savage at mail@savagelove.net

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