Dear Patrick: I am not a masochist. But to a certain extent, I accept the fact that when you have really hot sex, you are going to get hurt. If you just have to get your tongue on her, and she loves it so much she has multiple orgasms, she is going to clap her legs together and split your ear drums. Or she will flip onto her side, dislocating your neck—if not bruising your spinal cord. If she lives to get fucked by you, she is going to rake her fingernails down your back and draw blood.
The problem is that my current favorite gets carried away for real. Twice now I have had to have her bandage up my back when we were done having sex. Otherwise I would have bled all over her sheets and ruined them. She has long fingernails that are strong and sharp, and she has no inhibitions when it comes to sinking them into my ass or shoulders. I don’t like it, so much so that the last time it happened, I lost my erection. And this is not a girl who will settle for being finished off with a hand job.
Since that happened, we have flirted on-line and she says she wants to see me again. But I’m doubtful. When we first met, I liked her so much. But I don’t want a set of real scars to go with the metaphorical ones my last breakup left on my heart.
How do you feel about her apart from the sex? I know this may be a novel concept, but walk through it with me. Do you think she is a good person? Do you share her value system? Do you like the way she keeps her living space? Do the two of you want similar things out of life? Do you make each other laugh? Since the last time you saw her, how many times have you thought about her? How much do you miss her? If a medical problem occurred which prevented the two of you from having sex for ten days, would you just wait to see her or would you still want to spend time together?
If your answer to all of these questions is a blank stare or a shrug, why bother writing me a letter? Lose her e-mail address and put a new profile on-line. If the vertical time together has almost as much to offer as the horizontal time, isn’t it worth at least one attempt to fix things?
Nobody likes to have their lovemaking technique criticized. All of us secretly suspect that we are crap in bed, and our lovers are kindly pretending to enjoy what we do. It’s best to go in with a fairly low level of feedback to avoid a volcanic reaction. Making up after a big fight about sex presents a well-nigh irresistible temptation to go back on your original message and deny that you ever meant to say such a thing. And that will make it ten times harder to bring the whole topic up again. If you whisper or murmur your complaint, and she still doesn’t get it, you can calibrate upward and increase the level of emotion in your voice or the intensity of your adjectives. Laying blame upon one’s self is a technique that women have used with men for millennia, but it works well for all genders. “I realized at a certain point that I just don’t like any pain at all in bed,” is one way to phrase it. “Women are a lot stronger than most women think they are,” you could add. “I don’t know if you realize how rough you get when you are really turned on.”
It may very well be that she is quite aware of that, thank you very much, and is in effect testing your masculinity (because only real men can deal with a rambunctious woman and keep fucking her). Or she may be angry about the fact that she gets fucked and feel entitled to retaliate. (She could feel this way even if getting fucked is exactly what she wants, and you are not hurting her at all. I believe this isn’t about being deliberately contrary as much as it is about recognizing and disliking the fact that our society condemns women and praises men for engaging in erotic contact.)
But if there is no hidden agenda, she may be surprised that her behavior was a turn-off. If so, she will join you in a search for solutions. At a certain point, sexual behavior becomes pretty automatic. She may lose control even if she doesn’t mean or want to assail you. But if you can recognize the moment at which she is going to stab you with her fingernails, you may be able to grab her hands and pin them down. If she likes things on the rough side, she may actually find this pretty exciting. You won’t know until you try it out.