How to Do It

I Think My Boyfriend Is Lying to Me About a Major Part of Our Sex Life

The situation is making me feel gaslit and exquisite insecure.

A woman and a man look disconnected next to a neon X.
Photo illustration by using Media7. Photos via Ranta Images/Getty Images Plus and Antonio_Diaz/Getty Images Plus.

How to Do It is Media7’s sex recommendation column. Have a question? Send it to Stoya and Rich here. It’s nameless!

Dear How to Do It,

My boyfriend (23) won’t have penetrative sex with me and tells me you heterosexuals are too passionate about it” and that we suppose it's miles the only form of intercourse.” Despite this, he tells me he is very a whole lot interested in me and assures me he's crazy about me sexually. My boyfriend is bisexual and has told me that he has been in masses of relationships with different men that don’t encompass real penetration, and that it's far certainly more not unusual than you observed in gay relationships (in my boyfriend’s phrases). I’m skeptical however handiest have his word to move on. My boyfriend doesn’t like penetrating human beings” and tells me he prefers different types of sex, despite the fact that he doesn’t thoughts being sometimes penetrated himself (despite the fact that that’s no longer some thing I’m into; I don’t need to wear a strap on and am no longer into anal stuff).

At first, I thought perhaps he turned into simply mendacity to me and became genuinely gay but stringing me alongside, however he gives the pleasant oral sex ever—the nice I even have ever, ever had. Mind-blowing stage. And he’s happy to fool about within the bedroom and is brilliant with the stuff he can do. But I’m truly feeling like I’m lacking out on that one factor and like he’s shaming me by pronouncing it's miles puffed up and a hetro-obsession. He became along with his ex-boyfriend of years, and seemingly it wasn’t an difficulty. The reality he doesn’t mind being penetrated (but it isn't his go to”), but just refuses to even consider penetrating me, or any other individual, makes me think it's far a phobia or associated with a few repressed trauma.

I like this man, however I suppose I want this. And it is going to be a barrier if we want youngsters. He’s clever, humorous, actually fantastic to observe and what I would remember to be a really perfect trap … and pretty rattling precise in mattress. Am I wrong if this is a deal-breaker for me? Would or not it's awful and insensitive for me to broach the fact this can be trauma-related, and awful of me to indicate therapy? Or could my first hunch me proper—that he is more ”homosexual” at the bisexual spectrum, due to the fact having no trouble bottoming” but having issues having intercourse with your female friend seems like a red flag to me. And lastly, is it definitely proper that penetrative intercourse isn’t as massive of a deal” within the queer scene, or is my boyfriend gaslighting me? He’s making me sense insecure, but my ex-boyfriends usually made me feel appropriate and favored—and so does he in other methods, however I can’t help however sense this is a mirrored image on me. Another friend has recommended we try an open relationship so I can get what I experience I’m missing out on, but this isn't for me. I’m a one man at a time form of woman.

— No Entry

Dear No Entry,

For the sake of simplicity, permit’s take your partner at his phrase: He doesn’t want penetrative sex. You assume you need it. This is not the relationship for you. I am assuming you're around his age, which means that you have to have masses of time to find a greater suitable partner, possibly with relative ease. This is what your 20s are about. It truly appears to me like staying with him could mean settling. I recognize and propose your right to a deal-breaker.

Let’s positioned a pin on your armchair psychologizing, though—that’s my process! It doesn’t appear like you have any evidence that his flavor in nonpenetrative intercourse is rooted in phobia or related to “some repressed trauma.” I suppose that’s just you seeking to determine out why someone is deviating from a script you’ve been fed. This is another factor you need to use your 20s for: wrapping your head around the idea of version. It is certainly the most effective element. There isn't any preferred, there’s simply the illusion of one. Things ebb and go with the flow, human beings deviate and conform. To your boyfriend’s factor, vaginal intercourse is normative, however I don’t think it’s exactly honest to describe the considerable interest in it as an obsession or to even signify it as “overvalued.” Someone as precise as he's ought to too understand the concept of variation and that within the context of consent, said version is benign.

Regardless, keeping off vaginal/anal penetrative sex whilst engaging in different kinds is completely a component, and it even has a label—people who are into this are known as “aspects.” I’ve seen this maximum predominantly described in the context of men having sex with men, as an opportunity to the pinnacle/bottom labels. Here’s a prolonged thread on the /askgaybros reddit concerning facets. Settling into my armchair, I think a few matters are occurring right here. One is that anal intercourse is seen by using many as intense, in terms of sensation, practise necessities, and the capability for injury/STI transmission. (More broadly, anal intercourse’s function within the AIDS epidemic can also have something to do with this, as properly.) For a few human beings, even those who've intercourse with people with vaginas, oral sex is certainly less worrying and for this reason greater attractive. Also, lots of guys absolutely like blowjobs and lots men actually like giving them. Even for folks who embrace a label at the top/bottom spectrum, hook-usamay match no further than oral. This is especially so if the guys’ identities concerned aren’t like minded (inside the case of tops, as an example). I knew a pair who only had penetrative intercourse once they hooked up with different guys together; in any other case they’d blow every other while it turned into just the two of them. They appeared to like this simply great. People figure out what they’re into and they go together with it. There’s no cause to accept as true with that your boyfriend is misrepresenting himself, and there’s no use in attempting to convert him to the thrill of PIV intercourse. He knows what it's miles, and could do it if he desired. Simply circulate on and find a person else to paste it in you.

I Just Had the Sexual Experience Every Man Fears Most …

On the How to Do It podcast, a man writes: “I express regret earlier. This may make you wince.

Dear How to Do It,

My husband and I are in our overdue 30s and were collectively almost 15 years, i.e., most of our person lives up to now. While we've got a glad own family lifestyles and are good companions in terms of parenting our younger kids, I wouldn’t describe our marriage as satisfied, exactly.

To be blunt, I absolutely don’t ever need to have intercourse with him again. He thinks I just have a low intercourse power and that I’m tired from looking after our children. I am worn-out, but the larger problem is that I don’t experience that intimacy with him. I find him bodily attractive just as I did earlier in our courting. However, due to some conflicts in our past, I don’t experience assured approximately him touching me or seeing me bare or in any physically intimate context.

Right once we had our first child, he became every other character in a single day, behaving very coldly to me. We went to couples remedy, where he revealed that though he enjoyed my company, he’d never been in love with me and felt trapped in our marriage. I endured months of him repeating this and making poor remarks approximately my weight and look. Through remedy, we found out he changed into going through a melancholy, and our therapist burdened that the reality that I understood the basis of his coldness didn’t imply I needed to be given or forgive it. But I turned into determined to make our relationship work. I loved him, and we had a brand new infant. We stored going to therapy, and even though I wasn’t feeling it, we had intercourse semi-regularly. I thought, let me faux it till I make it, and it type of worked as I regularly have become extra snug having intercourse with him.

Eventually, my husband apologized. He said he was no longer depressed and took lower back all the suggest matters he stated. I attempted to forgive and forget about, we had our 2d child—after which my husband reverted to the same hurtful conduct. We repeated the manner again: couples remedy, his remedy for depression, mine for anxiety, tries at higher communique. However, this time around, I haven’t been capable of repair any enthusiasm for intercourse. We have a lot of fun with our kids, and whilst we spend time collectively as a pair, we still have a great rapport. But thru my own individual therapy, I’ve been running thru some of the stuff he said and did within the past. It is still painful, and I don’t believe that he gained’t say the ones matters again. I believe that the hurtful comments he makes while he’s depressed are actually how he feels. I want to be bodily intimate with a person who finds me attractive and exquisite, not a person who's settling for me or feels stuck with me. He says he does love me and doesn’t feel caught, but I don’t trust him and I’m no longer certain what he can do to persuade me in any other case. I informed him he could have a “hall bypass” till we figured this out, but he continually says no. Am I ridiculous for questioning we are able to have a marriage with out sex?

— How Not to Do It

Dear How Not to Do It,

Not ridiculous—in reality, there are numbers to back you up. Granted, these numbers range, a likely result of sexless marriage being “a grossly underreported statistic,” consistent with a therapist quoted in a 2003 Newsweek story on the matter. That piece predicted 15 to 20 percentage of marriages were “sexless” (using a metric of 10 times of intercourse a year or less), while extra lately, different experts have located the determine inside the 15 percentage range. In any occasion, this is not remarkable—for plenty couples maintaining a intercourse existence is an energetic method. Some people virtually don’t have the time or motivation to do so, however stay together for other reasons. You’d hardly ever be the primary.

Keep in mind, even though, that depression could make for unreliable narrators. When human beings are depressed, they every now and then enjoy cognitive distortions that bring about them questioning (and pronouncing) matters that surely aren’t real. I recognize the temptation to take a associate’s maximum terrible words as revelations and assuming that has been suppressing these feelings all alongside (believe me I’ve been there!), but that’s just no longer how this constantly works. In truth, buying into the matters he stated when he become depressed is its own form of cognitive distortion—it honestly ought to qualify as some (personalization, thoughts reading, mental filtering, and so forth.). You worked at once with a expert who helped diagnose his depression, which means it’s as a minimum conceivable that he did now not actually mean what he said in the course of his melancholy. I accept as true with your therapist, even though: You don’t must forgive them. Words can leave lasting ache, even whilst you rationally recognize they aren’t true, even whilst you understand the reasons they have been said. It’s now not something he can take again, and he's chargeable for that.

Staying on this relationship without accomplishing sex along with your husband is a valid choice, and which you’ve already mentioned methods to manipulate desire (like a “corridor bypass”) suggests you’re properly equipped to accomplish that. The question is, whilst it’s all spelled out that that is the manner it’s going to be, how nicely geared up will your husband prove to be and could he be inclined to continue below those terms?

Help us hold giving the recommendation you crave each week. Sign up for Media7 Plus now.

Dear How to Do It,

My husband and I lately opened our marriage. This is a good issue for us. We have mentioned it for years, but the timing changed into in no way right, especially while the kids have been younger. We are now seeing other humans and exploring what it manner to have a couple of partners. We don’t realize but if we are able to completely embody the idea of poly and multiple relationships, or if it’s just intercourse. Right now, we are just exploring and learning who we're on this new world.

With all of that said, my largest worry is my kids. At 7 and nine, they're able to see adjustments in the home. We don’t communicate approximately it round them, however they may be savvy. We are not bad or positive about intercourse. We typically simply don’t speak about sex. We are fantastic approximately our bodies and let them recognize that all our bodies are lovely. I need to be open with them. and I want them to reflect onconsideration on intercourse and their bodies in a advantageous way. This is in particular actual for me, because I turned into raised in a rigid evangelical domestic and am simply now exploring my sexuality at forty years antique. The hassle is that I simply haven't any idea a way to begin or technique this problem with my youngsters. Do you've got any advice or assets for those people who're new to polyamory and are raising children?

— New at This

Dear New at This,

Two crucial matters to preserve in mind, in keeping with a communication I had with Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, are framing and tone. Sheff has written extensively approximately polyamory and families (she maintains a Psychology Today weblog at the concern and her books include Stories From the Polycule: Real Life in Polyamorous Families and When Someone You Love Is Polyamorous: Understanding Poly People and Relationships). She advised no longer framing the conversation in phrases of intercourse, because: “Kids don’t need to listen approximately their dad and mom’ sexuality. They don’t need to hear about it, they’re now not interested by it. Especially at 7 and nine, children don’t even necessarily understand, simply, what sexuality is.” Instead, the children inside the sample of the 15-12 months ethnographic have a look at of polyamorous households with children that she mentioned in her 2013 ebook The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and Families, favored hearing about their dad and mom “putting out” with other humans. It’s essential to carry that that is something each parents recognize about, and that deception/cheating is not what’s taking place.

Also, Sheff suggests a positive rely-of-factness for your tone. “Present it as: ‘This is something we’re doing.’ It doesn’t should be this big deal. It can be mixed into verbal exchange,” she suggests. She said that a similar low-key technique to introducing your partners on your children, whilst the time comes, could also be useful. Have them over as pals for dinner or sport night, and after a few instances, test in on what your children consider your new pal. Many poly mother and father are cautious approximately this step, though—Sheff compared the manner to the manner divorced parents frequently take their time to introduce their new partner to their kids. “Make certain this person is an OK individual before you invite them into your home,” Sheff cautioned. “And certainly don’t ever leave your children alone with someone you don’t know very well.”

Sheff stated it’s crucial to be ask-able after introducing the subject. “Give some statistics. Less is more: ‘We’re placing out with other people. If you've got questions, please sense loose to invite us.’”

She also idea it became essential to word that you should be extraordinarily cautious with this statistics if there’s any risk custody can be challenged by means of a rich and judgmental grandparent (because you come from a religious heritage, you have to absolutely preserve this in mind). Depending on in which you are, own family courtroom isn’t always knowledge of polyamory, and polyamorous dad and mom have misplaced youngsters to spouse and children attributable to their relationship style. (Places inside the U.S. like California, Massachusetts, New York, and the Seattle and Portland regions, have a tendency to have extra knowledge circle of relatives court docket judges.) This may additionally assist you make a decision simply how lots duty you want to foist in your kids, if in truth, they may be going to need to preserve your mystery from grandma and grandpa.

That’s a darkish situation, so I’ll ship you out on a few precise information. In a 2020 New York Times article, Heath Schechinger, Ph.D., a co-chair of the American Psychological Association’s Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force said that inside the (admittedly constrained) data at the subject, “there’s nothing to indicate that kids in those situations are faring any better or any worse” than kids with (ostensibly) monogamous mother and father. Of direction, resulting societal prejudice may want to have an effect on pressure and melancholy, but hopefully this finding gives you a few peace of thoughts to head forward in your poly interests.

Did you write this or any other letter we answered? Tell us what occurred at howtodoit@media7.info.

Dear How to Do It,

I’m a straight guy in my early 30s and thankfully married. My hassle is that I come too fast from penis-in-vagina intercourse. Like, really quickly— now and again after some thrusts. This isn’t a hassle in any respect with oral sex, where I remaining so long that I generally don’t come (although it’s terrific and it’s by no means much less fulfilling). And it isn’t a problem with manual stimulation, both from my wife or throughout masturbation. It’s just at some point of PIV intercourse, though it is a trouble in all positions.

This isn’t a big issue. My wife commonly comes when I do, so all and sundry ends glad. And we make suitable use of foreplay. But it’s now not perfect both, and it appears avoidable given that it’s no longer a hassle with oral intercourse or masturbation. Also, I wanted to go off a few solutions that possibly aren’t right for us. I don’t tend which will cross a 2d round in an afternoon, so that isn’t going to work. And the only time we used any form of cream/gel-type product it in reality indignant my wife’s vagina, so she isn’t inquisitive about trying various products to put off ejaculation.

Really, I’m ordinarily curious about why there might be any such hole between penetration and everything else. Is it bodily? Psychological? What’s happening here?

—Minute Man

Dear Minute Man,

In his recent e-book So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex, psychotherapist/sexuality counselor Ian Kerner writes, “When a man most effective has [premature ejaculation] at some point of sex and has no trouble with other types of stimulation to his penis, it usually tells me that the PE is situational rather than chronic due to the fact he is able to preserve ejaculatory manipulate in contexts aside from intercourse.” That sounded like you, so I reached out to Kerner for a few more facts in this unique kind of PE. “I’ve labored with a number of guys who've PE best at some point of sex and experience this situational PE sporadically,” he wrote in an email. “In almost all cases, the motive is overall performance anxiety which is governed by means of our sympathetic nervous system that mediates fight or flight response.” He explained the ability evolutionary basis for this (tension prompting quick ejaculation would nonetheless allow for procreative capability in the face of ability chance). While it doesn’t sound like you’re experiencing overall performance tension, “if we dug deeper we might observe it,” Kerner wrote. “For example, he says it’s not an trouble due to the fact his wife usually orgasms whilst he does, but perhaps on a degree simply below consciousness he suspects this as being untrue. Or maybe he worries that he’s not as true at intercourse as different sports.”

For remedy, Kerner advocated mindfulness sporting events that could help mitigate tension, in addition to ensuring that your spouse orgasms first to make certain you don’t experience strain coming from that aspect. A low dose of an SSRI might help, as could a few type of disinhibiting substance like wine, CBD, or a sort of weed that has a calming effect on you (as an example, an indica pressure). Also, not all numbing sprays are at risk of stressful one’s partner—Kerner says that Promescent absorbs into the membrane of the penis and there commonly isn’t any transference to a female’s genitals.

Both he and the urologist I contacted concerning your question, Charles Welliver (director of men’s fitness at Albany Medical College), cautioned the forestall/begin technique that will help you ultimate longer during sex. (That is simply as it sounds—prevent whilst you method the factor of no return, wait some seconds, and then maintain till you near orgasm once more. Repeat as many times as you may.) Welliver pointed out that prevent/begin has the most robust statistics in the back of it of any PE-mitigating technique. “He ought to have a look at what it is about sex that makes him have an orgasm so speedy,” the doctor wrote in an electronic mail. “The listing right here is doubtlessly countless however if he can identify some thing about himself or in his history that perception is step one to resolving things. Insight is pretty lots constantly the key with sexual issue.”

Kerner and I agree that you’re already managing well. (In some other e book, the cunnilingus guide She Comes First, he describes how his personal PE led him to boning up on his oral craft.) Your sex ends happily and you’re conducting lots of foreplay. “I mean on a certain stage is it in reality PE if his partner orgasms with him?,” wrote Kerner. “I suspect that sex is over-emphasized in his thoughts as a defining hobby that he feels somewhat deficient in and that’s developing tension that’s leading to PE. But a penis in a vagina isn't necessarily any higher than a penis in a mouth, a hand on a penis, or a mouth or hand on a vulva. They’re all just behaviors that most effective take on that means whilst we ascribe meaning, and male sexuality is socially built to emphasize intercourse as a defining interest.” Amen!

—Rich

More How to Do It

About a yr and a half ago, my husband and I had our first child. Before we had youngsters, we preferred to interact in various types of breast play in the course of sex. I got loads of delight out of my breasts being touched and kissed. He were given a variety of delight out of gambling with them, even the use of them as a method to come. I have a huge chest and used to experience that my breasts had been certainly one of my “sexiest” functions. Since giving start and breastfeeding, although, my view of my breasts has modified absolutely. I see them as motherly, as remarkable, as a powerful and exquisite approach of bonding with my son. I don’t view them as “attractive” anymore. My husband and I resumed our intercourse life a while in the past, but I can’t appear to get lower back to an area wherein the involvement of my breasts in foreplay or intercourse does anything for me. Do you have any recommendation for how I can begin to revel in my breasts sexually once more?