Savage Love

Q: My wife is one of those women who need manual stimulation of her clit during sex to climax. Before meeting her, I had several long-term girlfriends, and not one needed to do this in order to climax. Before we got married, I explained that I wanted to explore and push the boundaries, and she promised me that would happen. But she has no fantasies, kinks, or fetishes, and she's not into any of the things I've proposed. Bringing this all together is that when we are having sex, she's so fixated on stimulating her clit, it's almost like we are in two different worlds. When she's working toward an orgasm, her eyes are shut and she's concentrating on the rubbing — whether she's doing it or I am — and I can't help but wonder if the work it takes to get her to orgasm is part of the reason she's not interested in exploring. I've talked to her several times about how I'm yearning to do more, but I haven't brought up my thoughts on how the way she comes may be affecting things.

—Come As You Are

A: My thoughts, in no particular order:

1. Three out of four women need direct, focused, and sometimes intense stimulation of their clit in order to climax — sailing a dick up the vaginal canal isn't going to do it for most women — so either you lucked out and all of your previous girlfriends were 25 percenters or many/most/all of your previous girlfriends were faking it.

2. I've never met a man who wasn't fixated on stimulating his dick during sex and/or having his dick stimulated for him during sex.

3. If your wife is picking up on your negativity about the way her pussy works, that could negatively impact her enthusiasm for sex in general and sex with you in particular.

4. Your wife is fantasizing about something when she closes her eyes and starts rubbing her clit. You might be able to have more productive conversations about your sex life — and your desire for a more adventurous one — if you drew her out about what's going on in her head when she's getting off. Tell her how sexy she looks, tell her you would love to know what she's thinking about, tell her how hot her fantasy is if she opens up about it (and don't freak out if she's not fantasizing about you), carefully build on her fantasy with some dirty talk. Once she opens up about whatever it is that's unspooling in her head, you can suggest realizing her fantasies in real life — and a few of yours as well.

5. And ... um ... lastly ... Your wife may need to block you out — she may need to clamp her eyes shut — in order to climax because ... um ... she may not be sexually attracted to you. That's harsh, I realize, and I hope that's not the case. But if marital sex for her is a joyless exercise — she gets you off then clamps her eyes shut and gets herself off — then this is a problem that can't be fixed, and spending the next five decades trying to fix it will be both futile and frustrating.

Here's hoping your wife's issue is something more common and something that can be fixed — she's sexually repressed but can work through it, this clamp-eyes-and-rub-clit routine was her masturbatory go-to for years but you two can find new and exciting ways to get her off. Those new and exciting ways to get her off will most likely require her to fixate on stimulating her clit — and that's OK.

Q: I'm a lesbian who has been pretty successful at online dating. Lately, however, I've had a few women contact me who turn out not to be cisgender. I've tried to remain open, but I have never been attracted to a trans woman. I don't rule out the possibility that it could happen. But one great thing about online dating is that you can express preferences before going on a date, and I'd rather not unknowingly walk into these potentially awkward and painful situations. Is there something I could put on my profile expressing my preference for cisgender women that is not offensive to trans people? It's important to me that I remain an ally.

—Can I Say?

A: You can put "not into trans women" in your online dating profile, CIS, but you'll have to hand in your Trans Ally card. Gay men are likewise free to put "no fats, no femmes" or "white guys only — just expressing my preference" on their profiles, and too many do (and not all of them are white guys), but gay men who do that have to hand in their Not an Asshole cards. Occasionally having coffee with someone you're not into — and having to tiptoe through the awkwardness — isn't something you can avoid in online dating. You would have to do that even if only cis lesbians responded to your ads, as you're presumably not attracted to all cis lesbians. Having a coffee now and then with a trans woman you most likely won't find attractive — but you never know — is a small price to pay to make the online dating world a less shitty place for trans people. It's what an ally would do.

Q: I'm a 29-year-old gay guy in a committed relationship. My boyfriend says he feels sexually inadequate, because I'm not the type of guy who needs to come in order to feel that I had great sex. Honestly, foreplay and receiving anal sex are much more pleasurable for me. If I want to come, I will, just not all the time. As long as there's plenty of kissing, touching, and licking — and all the other wonderful "ings" — I don't feel like ejaculation is a big deal. He thinks it means I'm not attracted enough to him. He's self-conscious since his dick is a bit on the small side, and my not coming seems to make it worse. I've told him that I find him utterly attractive — bless those legs, that chest, that ass — and I always try to make him have an orgasm. I've also tried to come more often for him, but sometimes I'm just not in the mood. I've also told him that he's not doing anything wrong and this is just the way I'm wired. He says he still feels inadequate. I don't know what else to do or say.

—Orgasms Reliably Great Although Sometimes Missed

A: You've done the reassuring thing (about his size), you've done the explaining thing (this is just the way you're wired), and you've done the meeting him halfway thing (coming more often to appease/mollify). Now it's time for the exasperated ultimatum thing. I've taken the liberty of scripting your ultimatum: "You have to stop obsessing about whether or not I come every time we fuck. I would never make you feel bad about your dick, but you're making me feel bad about my dick. So here's the deal: You're going to drop this. You're going to take 'Yes, I'm attracted to you' and 'This is how my dick works' for an answer. And you're not going to bring this up anymore. Sometimes I'll come, sometimes I won't. Putting up with that — and getting over your insecurities or at least shutting up about them — is the price of admission to be with me. If you can't pay that price, if me not coming every time we have sex is something you'll never get over, then we should break up."

Don't miss Sherman Alexie on the Savage Lovecast:

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