DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’ve been dating this great guy for two months, and the whole time he’s been talking about toys and buttplay. As it turns out, he’s a sub and wants to be dominated.
Sex, for me, has gotten less and less pleasing for me; meanwhile, now he wants to get his beads out. I’m frustrated because he’s been having issues with erections the last couple times we had sex. I wanted to try and enjoy having sex with him but every time, he wants me to play with his ass. I can’t sleep and I’ve been crying about my feelings of inadequacy. I don’t want to disappoint my BF, just as I’m trying to tell him it’s been bad sex. I just want to have normal sex . And I usually do and it’s great.
Should I break up with this guy? Or is worth experimenting with anal beads and stuff? I feel bad but I just can’t do it.
Not Up for Butts
DEAR NOT UP FOR BUTTS: So there’s a concept that originated with Dan Savage called “good, giving and game”. The idea is that a sex partner should aspire to be good or skilled in bed, giving of pleasure and consideration and game for trying new things within reason. The last part is relevant to your situation, NUB; the idea here is that when your partner has a kink or an interest that turns their crank but doesn’t necessarily turn yours, it’s still worth giving it the old college try for their sake. A lot of times, partners may not get much from a particular activity but draw pleasure from the way it pleases the other person. You may not, to pull a random example, care much for foot-worship or black silk stockings, but if your partner does, the fact that it sets them off like a rocket can be a pleasure in and of itself.
And that last G can be pretty crucial. Researchers have actually found that being GGG is an important part of relationship satisfaction. When people feel heard and appreciated and that their partner understands and respects their needs – not to mention, y’know, getting to do whatever freaky thing they dig – they feel more loved and closer with their partner.
But there’s a critical part of that final G: “within reason”. While it’s good to be willing to do things that you may not be into because it makes your partner happy, doing things that you can’t stand or that’ll leave you curled up in the shower afterwards ain’t gonna help things no matter how much your beau got off.
Of course, every person has to draw the line where “within reason” falls. And while there’re some general guidelines – foot fetishism, for example, is pretty harmless, while scat is going to be well on the other side of the line for most – there will be places that some folks just can’t go that others don’t see as a big deal. Buttplay can occasionally be one of them.
Now, I’m someone who believes it’s a good idea to interrogate the whys and wherefores about one’s limits, especially if it’s something that’s relatively common. But interrogating those feelings sometimes just means that you come to the conclusion of “no sir, I don’t like it.” Which, hey, fair enough; you do you and get down how you prefer to get down. Just do your best to not harsh someone else’s squee.
However, it’s pretty clear that this is something that’s really important to your boyfriend, especially if he’s been rolling it out from the jump. While it’s kind of obnoxious of him to bring it up literally every single time you two talk about sex, it’s something that he obviously needs for a fulfilling sex life. That’s going to be an issue for the two of you going forward.
There are ways to get around the semi-soft issue; fingers and tongues never go limp. Neither do penetrative toys. Get yourself a nice dildo and your boy can go to town on you with that to your heart’s content, even when his junk is only at half mast. But if you aren’t enjoying the sex you’re having and he doesn’t feel like his needs are being met… well, then it sounds like you two just aren’t sexually compatible. And if you’re having these issues at only two months together? Then it’s probably better that the two of you go your separate ways, so you can find the partners you are compatible with.
DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: Long-time reader here and I’m looking for advice on something I don’t recall you ever writing about. About a month and a half ago, I started dating a woman who is a regular at the restaurant where I work. One night, I wrapped up my shift early and we started chatting while I enjoyed my shift drink; long story short, I ended up walking her home and we made out at every stop light (we live in a big city with a lot of stop lights). I didn’t go in, and we didn’t have sex, but she had given me her number and we decided to meet up the next time our schedules afforded; I’m 27, she’s 25, and we both have hectic work schedules with unorthodox hours.
We managed to meet up a few days later at a local bar, and during the conversation, she disclosed that she had recently broken up with her fiance. She had not, however, told her father about the break up and she was having dinner with him later, so she had her engagement ring on for the evening. On our next date, she informed me that she has a one year old son with her ex, which was part of why she hadn’t made the break up public yet. I took the news in stride and she thanked me for that and we arranged our next get together when we parted ways.
For the sake of full disclosure, I did know about the ex and baby after that first night because I had looked her up on Facebook and seen the pictures of her, her ex, and their son, so I wasn’t surprised by what she said. Essentially, even though I didn’t know the details, I had some idea of what her situation was before we started dating; it wasn’t a deal breaker then and it’s certainly not a deal breaker now.
The last month and a half has been wonderful, but it has also had its tribulations.We see each other as often as we can and the passion is always there; we’re very much in the honeymoon period of our relationship. However, the holidays were very difficult because her ex was with her and her family. He still wants them to get back together, so they were fighting for long periods, during which I wouldn’t hear from her. Also, this was when she finally decided to inform her family about the breakup, about which she was naturally very nervous. She got through all that, nevertheless, and when they got back, she completely moved out of her ex’s house and made it how clear how over it is between them.
Now that we’ve gotten through that rough patch, things have settled down and we’ve been able to see each other more regularly. I’ve hung out with her friends and we’ve had our first sleepover. We briefly had sex once, but she decided she wasn’t ready for that after a few minutes, so we’re taking our time with that step. Overall, I’m very happy with how the relationship is going, but I would like your advice on a few things.
First of all, this is my first serious relationship; I’ve had a good number of one night stands and a few short-term flings here and there, but this is the first relationship that really felt like it had legs. Part of the reason for that is that up until a couple of years ago, I had bad social anxiety that made me a miserable person. I got help through a psychiatrist while in grad school, and have had very few issues since then. However, I sometimes get nervous that I’m coming on too strong or that she’s going to get back together with her ex for the sake of their son and that this fantastic relationship we started is going to disappear; I know neither of these are true, but the thoughts keep coming back, mostly when she has to do things with her ex for work or for the baby.
Second, while my coworkers at the restaurant know we’re dating, she has told me that we have to be “just friends” when her coworkers and friends are around, since she doesn’t want them to know how quickly she’s moved on from the engagement. I’m fine with this as I understand how it could look at that she is very worried about a custody battle with her ex, but I really look forward to the day that we can be publicly a couple and hope it comes sooner rather than later.
Finally, she currently shares custody with her ex, trading days as their schedules permit. However, she doesn’t want me to meet the baby yet, so she and I don’t get to see each other the days she has him. I’ve made it clear to her that I completely understand, since he’s very young and often scared of strangers, and that I will meet him when she thinks that we are all ready. I’m willing to wait, of course, but it can be frustrating when we don’t get to see each other for three or more days in a row at this state of the relationships.
To conclude, I’m starting a very passionate and wonderful relationship with an amazing woman and we both care about each other very much, but it poses some unique challenges that I would like your advice on. Most of my family and friends know I’m dating someone, but only a few of the close ones know how complicated it is, and they tell me I’m doing everything right to make this relationship last. However, I would love to hear what you have to say on the subject, Doctor.
DEAR MAMA DRAMA: I… would not have advised dating a single mother for your first serious relationship, MD.
Dating someone who has a child – one who hasn’t left home, at least – has a whole host of challenges on top of the usual trials and tribulations of dating. One of them is understanding that you are, by necessity, going to be a lower priority than their child. This sounds cold but at the end of the day, you’re a grown ass adult and their kid isn’t. If a decision has to be made between the two of you, then the kid tends to take the tie. It’s part of being a good parent and putting him first is going to be the source of a lotof your girlfriend’s decisions… such as the fact that she doesn’t want you to meet her son yet. As much as it may suck for you right now, this is actually the right decision. It’s hard on children to be introduced to someone who they may bond with – someone who may become a parental-figure to them – only to have them suddenly disappear when the relationship ends. On the other end of the spectrum, kids can often feel like the new boyfriend or girlfriend is a rival for their parent’s affections, especially if the split between their parents was recent.
This is one reason why most experts recommend not introducing a partner to their children until the relationship is starting to get serious… and even then to do so very slowly.
Plus, there’s the fact that your girlfriend just left her fiancé. That’s a pretty major life change, and she may not be ready to dive into a relationship that’s as serious as what she just left. Keeping things compartmentalized right now – baby in one compartment, you in another, never the twain to meet – may well be part of how she keeps things from feeling overwhelming or like she’s moving too fast. Not to mention: she has a one year old, soon to be a toddler. That’s going to take a lot of her time, energy and attention – attention she really can’t spare for you. The last thing she wants is to run into a situation where you and your son are wanting time with her. Yeah, it sucks that you don’t get to see her on days when she has custody, but it’s the right choice for her and her son.
The other thing to keep in mind is that her ex is going to be a part of her life. If they’re co-parenting and sharing custody, then she can’t exactly cut him out of her life. They’re co-parenting, which means that there’s going to be a lot of interaction between the two of them. Now this doesn’t mean that she’s going to get back together with him for the sake of her son; he’s her ex for a reason after all. But it does mean that this is going to be something that you are going to have to contend with, if you’re going to be dating her. If her spending time with her ex, even in the context of taking care of their son, is going to stress you out, then you’re going to need to manage your anxiety and face down those intrusive thoughts.
(The “just friends around people I know” kind of makes me raise an eyebrow; it makes sense to an extent, but I’m still looking askance at it.)
I’m not gonna lie to you, my dude: you decided to start playing the game on Hard Mode right off the bat. This can be a rewarding experience, don’t get me wrong. But going into this, you’re going to have a lot of challenges from the jump that people in other relationships won’t face until much further down the line.
And one more thing: at the end of the day, MD, this relationship is going to have to be almost entirely at her pace. As much as you may want certain things from her – more time, more attention, what-have-you – you’re going to have to be ready to understand that she’s going to have a host of concerns above and beyond her relationship with you.
If you want this relationship to last, then you need to be cool with that.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, email@example.com)