DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’ve been dating my boyfriend for two years and our sex is amazing! Before I met him I used to have normal sex (nothing kinky and not many sexual partners), but with him, I became more advanced and now we both enjoy it.
Recently, we’ve been getting more experimental. Yesterday we went to the sex toys store for the first time and got some stuff including a 6-inch silicone dildo. My boyfriend likes incorporating toys, but yesterday he got really upset because as he stated the toy that we used was thicker/bigger in size than his own. I personally don’t wanna use that toy anymore, because I love my boyfriend and his penis and I don’t want him to feel uncomfortable. But now I feel we have an issue because of this incident.
I don’t know how to behave, how to make him feel better and I now I feel maybe it was too much to be so slutty.
Too Much Too Soon Too Fast?
DEAR TOO MUCH TOO SOON TOO FAST: On the one hand, it’s great that you and your boyfriend were finding some new ways to bring variety into your sex life, TMTSTF; that’s a core part of how you keep the spark alive in your relationship. On the other hand, it seems like your boyfriend has run head first into a surprisingly common issue: getting insecure about sex toys and penis size, especially if the sex toys in question are bigger than him.
A lot of dudes get hung up on the idea that bigger is better, particularly when it comes to penises. Straight cis dudes have a tendency to think that their junk aren’t big enough. In fact, according to a 2006 study found that only 55% of men were satisfied with the size of their penis… even though 85% of women were just fine with the size of their partner’s junk. This is thanks in no small part to a culture of restrictive and toxic ideas of what it means to be a man and what gives a man status or value. This has a tendency to get exacerbated by porn; porn made for straight cis men tends to fetishize the size of the performers’ dicks, with the implication that women need Dongzilla in order to be properly satisfied. This has the unfortunate tendency to leave a lot of men insecure in their own length and girth. After all, if they can’t compete with, say, Ron Jeremy, can they ever truly satisfy a woman the way they see in porn?
In reality, a survey of over 64,000 people found that women on average prefer a guy who’s got an average penis, instead of King Dong; larger dicks can be incredibly uncomfortable — hitting the cervix ain’t that fun — or cause injuries, including UTIs or internal tearing of the vaginal lining. Porn sex is to real sex like The Fast and The Furious movies is to your morning commute: fun to watch but not something to try to replicate in the real world.
But for a lot of guys, reality doesn’t matter. The fact that porn sex is nothing like sex in the real world never really factors into this equation — something that comes up again and again, in fact. Because despite what browsing PornHub will tell you, most women can’t and don’t get off from vaginal penetration alone. Women and folks with vaginas tend to need direct clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm, and penetrative sex, particularly penetrative sex in the missionary position, is the least effective way of achieving this. There’s rarely enough contact either with the external clitoral head or the internal wings to get them off.
This also tends to run headlong into the other reason why straight men often have issues with bringing sex toys into bed: because it takes away from the possibility that their penises are the only thing that are making their partners orgasm.
(Seriously: you will never find folks more obsessed with dicks than insecure straight dudes.)
Just as with penis size, men have been socialized to believe that penis-in-vagina sex is the only sex that actually “counts” — whether for losing one’s virginity or for “the main event”. Other forms of sex, including oral sex, masturbation and so on, is seen as “lesser” or a prelude to actual penetration. Just as importantly though is the idea that men can make their partners orgasm through penetration alone. If his wand by itself isn’t enough to make the magic happen, then something is “wrong”. For a lot of guys this means that the only orgasms that matter are the look-ma-no-hands types, where his pounding away like a jackhammer is what got her there. His partner touching herself means that he’s not doing it right. And using a sex toy means that he’s not “enough” or, worse, she won’t “need” him because her Silver Bullet or Hitachi or what-have-you can make her orgasm harder and faster than he ever could.
Combine those two together and you end up with someone who’s already worried that his dick isn’t enough and that he’s going to be replaced by the toys that he wanted you to use. Is it logical? No… but logic has nothing to do with this.
The issue here isn’t you or anything you did — certainly not being “too slutty”. The issue is his insecurities. And while there are things you can do to help give him some reassurance and walk him back from the edge… ultimately this is a HIM problem, not a YOU problem, no matter how much he tries to make it about you.
Now one thing that might help him start to get over this is to point out that sex toys are tools, not replacements for a boyfriend. The dildo isn’t going to do the job itself, any more than a hammer pounds nails without someone wielding it. It’s not the hammer doing the job; the hammer is just the method by which the job is accomplished. Similarly, it’s not a cop-out or substitute for him, regardless of how big it may or may not be compared to his bio dick. It’s doubtful that he’s going to be going around insisting that the only way to build a house is to cut the wood with his teeth and pound the nails with his bare hands. If he got you off using a toy, then it’s not the toy that got you off, it’s just the method by which he did it. And if it’s a case of you putting on a show with them while he watched… well, again, it was the whole event that made it hot, including his being part of it. Without him, it’s not the same.
Remind him of that and hopefully he can start to realize that toys — regardless of girth — aren’t a threat to him or his masculinity. But making you think that it’s somehow your fault that he gets weird about this is a threat alright…
To your relationship.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org