Uneasy with Lovemaking

Friday, September 19, 2014

Question

Dear Patrick: I am a woman in her late twenties who does not enjoy receiving oral sex. Once in a while, I get in a special mood, and it’s very enjoyable. (My boyfriend has an agreement with me that he gets to do oral sex on our anniversary and on his birthday.) The truth is that I am actually put off by a lover who enjoys muff diving. I just feel like a man who gets off on eating a girl out is less masculine than a guy who refuses to do it. If he sort of playfully ”forces” me to suck his cock, I get more turned on and ready for intercourse than if there is a ton of foreplay and he does me with his tongue.

            I have been told that this is wrong, that I should be grateful to have a gentle, patient man who is into touching me a lot and getting me very aroused. But I find that I can actually get aroused pretty quickly if I have a lover who is very masculine and a little rough with my body. I like being handled in such a way that I can feel how strong he is. I don’t want to be hurt, I do not like pain at all, and I don’t see myself as submissive. In fact, I like to give as good as I get; if he is going to rough house with me, he needs to be prepared for me to wrestle and play-fight with him.

It’s more like a masculine versus feminine dynamic. With a lover who is “taking his time,” I actually get bored. I lose focus. My skin gets itchy or ticklish, and I just want out of bed. I want to escape. This has really hurt some guys’ feelings.

            As you might guess, the dynamic outside of bed with the guys who fulfill my needs between the sheets are not always that great. It’s the gentle, patient guys who are the best communicators and willing to make a commitment. The athletes, soldiers, and oil rig workers  who are down-and-dirty get me off really, really well, but I don’t know if I want them as life companions. Is there any way to resolve this paradox?

 

Answer

I wonder where this idea about masculinity being damaged by giving a woman oral sex came from. Did somebody actually say that to you, or did you read it in a book? Is there any room in this paradigm for a man who playfully “forces” you to go down on him, then wrestles you down, holds you to the bed, and “forces” you to accept oral sex? Would he be more masculine, less, or possess some third quality that is not on the masculine/feminine continuum?

            To some extent, our sexual responses seem to be hard-wired. I don’t know how successful any of us can be at extinguishing a strong response to a particular situation, type of stimulation, or person. But you are in the difficult situation of discovering that the kind of sex that you like does not always bring you the type of partner that you want. Fortunately, it is much easier to ADD a new response to the repertoire, and that may create a solution that can help you to have more options for sex and relationships in the future.

            The first thing I would suggest is getting some counseling to look at your attitudes about masculinity, femininity, and sexuality. Try to find a counselor who is comfortable discussing erotic behavior in explicit terms. It would also be important to find someone who won’t hand you stereotypes (like the idea that women love foreplay). The fact that your sexuality differs from the stereotype beloved by sex educators doesn’t mean it is invalid. Nor does it mean that you are traumatized, sexually abused, or damaged in any way. The counseling is not to “fix” you, but rather to open up some new connections—to see if you can think about masculinity and femininity in some different ways.

            I think any heterosexual woman wants to enjoy her male partner as a man, and so she looks for signs or symbols of his gender. In our culture, that means testing his strength, enjoying his confidence and assertiveness, and wanting to be receptive to him as a lover. With the right signals, you get turned on because you like his testosterone-inspired behavior, as long as it doesn’t cross the line into causing you pain or imposing an expectation that you become submissive. You have limits, which is healthy. So is refusing to pretend that you like sex which in fact bores you or irritates you.

            There are a few options here, which counseling might help you to figure out, test, and explore. One is to figure out how to identify a man who is a pirate in the bedroom and yet companion-worthy on the seas of your life. Just as there is a Madonna/whore dichotomy for women, there is a similar dynamic for men. If you want a guy who is throwing you a great, no-holds-barred fuck to know you see him as a potential partner (without leaving yourself open to getting laughed at by a creep), you have to be able to sort out who is available (and compatible) from who is not.

            Another option is to learn how to enjoy a slower pace of lovemaking, so that you can hook up with a guy who has the communication skills you crave.

Third option: Perhaps men are not divided up quite as rigidly as you imagine. There are some guys who hold back because they have been told that women need to be treated with great gentleness, refinement, and patience. They don’t follow their instincts in bed because they have been told (often by female partners) that this is bad behavior. So they try to be good guys and good lovers, and for you, this is bad news. If you can find one of those dudes, and let him know he doesn’t have to go all New Age on you, you could be the best news he ever heard in his life.

            There are probably other choices that I have not thought of in this reply. If you’ve got a good therapist, he or she can help you to craft your own solution. I hope this kind of coaching or therapy will be effective, and lead you to a more satisfying way of life. You deserve to have both good sex and a happy relationship.