Advice – My girlfriend gets aroused when stressed.

To sum it up, stress makes my girlfriend horny. This could be work stress, family stress, or studying for finals. Now usually I don’t mind this at all, right? We’ve been together about 2 years.

Well, we’ve hit some bumps in our relationship lately and we’ve been having some pivotal conversations about where the relationship is headed, what we’re realistically going to be, what we want in the short and long term. It’s not like we’re breaking up, but it’s a possibility; and it has made both of us feel pressure and stress as we work through it.

The issue with the stress is that it makes her want to get it on really frequently. I mean, REALLY frequently. Four or five times a day, and usually she wants to have sex right after a tense conversation. But, I’m the exact opposite of her. Stress kills my libido, and after a hard conversation I don’t mind laying down with her but literally the last thing on my mind is having sex.

This difference is creating a new level of issues during the hard time we’ve hit because she feels like I’m pulling away or don’t find her attractive or like I actually want to end things, despite the whole conversation we just had where I said I wanted to be with her. I’ve tried to explain that the stress is shutting me off, and she says she understands, but it’s clear she is still feeling hurt about it.

Any advice on what we, or I, should do?

Anonymous, Reddit.

Dear Anonymous,

Think of your sexual “drive” as composed of two different parts – an accelerator and a brake. Some people have really sensitive sexual accelerators – Sexual Excitation System (SES) – while others have insensitive accelerators that require a lot more to be activated. In short, the accelerator is reflective how fast you get turned on by your turn ons. An example of someone with a really sensitive accelerator is a person who gets aroused very easily with minimal input. Sexual accelerator operates under a completely independent spectrum than a sexual brake – Sexual Inhibition System (SIS). In short, the brake is reflective of how fast you get turned off by your turn offs. So an example with someone with a really insensitive brake is a person who doesn’t get turned off by something that might turn others off.

Our goal here is to “turn off the offs” and “turn on the ons”. We do that by identifying what our ons and offs are, communicating the essential expectations, and then managing the contexts around our ons and offs.

So first let’s parse your situation into to different parts: one for you and another for your girlfriend. This will help us identify what are your and your girlfriend’s turn ons and offs. After we discuss each of your perspectives, then we will talk about what you can both do to have a more fulfilling sex life together by adjusting the context around your ons and offs.

Let’s first talk about your headspace around arousal.

According to the dual control model, arousal is really two processes: activating the accelerator and deactivating the brakes … [I]t’s also a product of how sensitive your brakes and accelerators are to that stimulation.

Dr. Emily Nagoski, Come As You Are.

Based on what you have shared, it sounds like stress – particularly relationship stress – presses on your sexual brakes. That is a very common response to stress. Even if the actual status of your relationship is not in jeopardy, the sense of attachment in your relationship certainly could be. So when your brakes get inevitably hit, your body needs more time to acknowledge that this is still a safe connection that you can be erotically vulnerable with through intimacy. That does not happen on its own. You need time to heal and recuperate before you can turn off the offs – the relationship conflict points.

You said that your girlfriend’s behavior hasn’t been a problem for you in the past. I wonder if that is because the conflict itself didn’t pertain to you or if it was because the NRE overshadowed the brakes that were already being pressed. Has this been an issue in your previous relationships where you felt turned off immediately following a heated discussion with your partners?

This problem gets further exacerbated when your girlfriend keeps initiating sex even though you are not yet aroused. For you, this means that your sexual brake remains pressed, as a new iteration of the ongoing relationship stress. That is a problem. And one that perpetuates the existing set of issues.

So what does this mean for you?

You need a basis and a foundation of trust and safety in order to be aroused. Being rushed or pressured is not going to work for you because it is going to add to the stress that you already feel about your relationship. Even if the stressors are justified, well-intentioned, and on their way to resolution, there needs to be more of a space between the stress-inducing experience (like heavy discussions about the state of your relationship) and the erotic reconnection.

Now let’s talk about your girlfriend’s headspace around arousal.

Physiologically, anger and arousal have a lot in common. Psychologically, too. In your case, I think the anger emboldens you. It relieves you of compliance, and leaves you feeling more entitled. Anger highlights separateness and is a counterpoint to dependence; this is why it can so powerfully stoke desire. It gives you the distance you need. As a habit it can be problematic, but there’s no denying that it’s a powerful stimulant.

Esther Perel, Mating in Captivity.

I have two theories on what your girlfriend’s erotic headspace is like. And they’re not mutually exclusive.

The first possibility is that she has a very insensitive brake that allows for her to overlook the relationship conflicts in her arousal. In this possibility, her state of arousal is unaffected (or less than affected) by the stressors surrounding her personal life. This might be the case with your girlfriend if her normal libido maintains through times of conflicts as well as times of happiness.

The other and more likely possibility is that she has a very sensitive accelerator that allows her to get aroused with ease with her innately spontaneous sexual desire. In this possibility, her arousal is an outward manifestation of her stress mitigation effort. This arousal can come from a couple different places. Maybe she is able to switch gears really fast and easily tap into her fountain of spontaneous desire for sex with you. Maybe her arousability is a reflection of self-value affirming practice. Maybe her sense of stress is the heavy foot on that rests on her accelerator.

And the issue is not with any of those rationale. Her sexuality and desire is just as valid as your sexuality and desire. The issue is in how that conflict is resolved (or not resolved).

We also have additional data points to consider. When you communicate your current disinterest in sex, it sounds like her responses to this rejection is also layered. Whether she fears her own attraction or the stability in her relationship with you, the meta-feelings that she has about the rejection also shines a light on what she feels the most insecure about. Even though the rejection had nothing to do with her, her internal narrative around rejection unfortunately rewrites your stated intentions and desire for her. That is not only painful for her to feel through, but also difficult for you to overwrite her internal rewriting. And this in turn brings your caretaking to the forefront, which is also not conducive to an erotic mindframe for you. For her, her reaction might come from a complicated but powerful concoction of her sexual upbringing, self-criticism, and relationship doubt. Her feelings are just as valid and real as yours.

Now that we’ve touched on each of your perspectives, let’s do a deeper dive on how to bring both of you together.

When we feel distressed, our attachment object is our safe haven. Even – or perhaps especially – if our attachment object is the source of our distress.

Dr. Emily Nagoski, Come As You Are.

So far, we’ve covered that your erotic headspace and your arousal cues might be very different from your girlfriend’s erotic headspace and her arousal cues. That is normal. You two have led completely different lives before you met each other. Also, you each contend with completely different social conditioning around your gender and sexuality. Our goal here isn’t to bring the other completely over to one side. Instead, we should aim to understand where you are each standing, find out what makes each of you feel safe & supported, and settle on a happy medium where neither of you are dealing with a crisis of faith in your relationship.

For you, your goal is to turn off your turn offs. I think it would be beneficial to communicate your headspace and the meta-feelings around your relationship conflict points. This will create space for her to also relate with you about her own headspace and her meta-feelings about the recent stressors. Then reflect on what you need to feel safe to engage in intimacy with your partner. That can look like a soft verbal reaffirmation that she is just. as committed to work through this with you. It can also look like a long, intimate cuddle to start physically reconnecting before sex even comes into play. Or it might look like her giving you five minutes on your own to process your feelings and meta-feelings about the heavy discussion you two just had. Whatever it is, be courageous and reassure her that you are not abandoning her and that you also want to keep working on this relationship with her.

For her, she’ll also need to come up with a way to interrupt her negative feedback cycle upon rejection. The knives that she wields are sharp and context-dependent. If she has to leave you alone for sometime while you recuperate, it’s going to feel exactly like the wrong thing to do. That just isn’t how her attachment muscle is set up. But consistently doing so even if for five minutes will allow her to build trust that you will keep coming back, that you are going to keep choosing her. And that five minute break will help you switch your mental gears and get back into your erotic headspace with the person you’ve been working so hard to maintain a relationship with.

For both of you, it might be mutually beneficial to look to what intimacy really means for both of you. Eroticism and intimacy goes far beyond just the act of penetrative intercourse. A skin-to-skin cuddle can be just as erotically charging as PIV in the right context.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at If you liked my advice for this post, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also subscribe below to get alerted when my next advice column is published!

Advice – My wife has high libido with other partners, but not me.

My wife [31F] and I [38M] have been together for 9 years, married for 2. We are best friends, communicate openly and honestly, make each other laugh, and are always physically affectionate. Our poly style is to date separately, and it’s worked brilliantly for us since we opened our relationship in 2017. We are both bisexual. My wife prefers to date women and has had tons of success. I am a man who prefers to date women and I’ve also experienced a lot of great things and success. Everything to everyone else looks, well, almost perfect!

Only one problem. I can’t for the life of me get her to have sex with me anymore! She always says she’s tired, or not feeling well. But when she visits her other partners (she dates two women separately) she’s a love-making machine! I would chalk it up to NRE versus ORE, but she’s been with these women for a while! I’ve even asked her honestly if she prefers women or if there is anything I can do to make her feel more comfortable being intimate with me – but she just apologizes and says “it’ll get better. we’re just going through a dry spell.” Well, this “dry spell” has lasted over a year now! We’ve made love maybe 8-10 times in the past 16 months. I do everything in my power to give my wife a comfortable life. I do most of the cooking, house cleaning, and rub her feet almost every night. I tell her how beautiful she is every day. Still nothing! I’d say maybe it’s all due to the crap couple of years we’ve had in the United States, but again, she’s getting down and dirty with her girlfriends regularly! I am starting to feel a little resentful because I am dating one other woman and I don’t get to see her as often. Maybe once every 6 weeks. And I have to “get in all of my sex” in the little one night only overnights we have. Help!

Fred, Reddit.

Dear Fred,

Learning to manage the surge of New Relationship Energy is one of the most critical skills to develop for any person exploring and engaging with ethical non-monogamy. Many of us learn to manage our NRE by channeling that initial burst of lust and desire back into our old relationships. That can look like harnessing the newfound sexual energy back into old relationships. Others prefer to manage their NRE by establishing proper boundaries around how much engagement they have with their new objects of sexual desire, as to not exhaust all relational energy in new relationships.

But one of the most common misconception is that there is a static timer on how long NRE lasts. The complicated truth of NRE is that it varies a lot from person to person. For some people, NRE is measured in months. Whereas for many others, NRE can last several years. Another complicating aspect of NRE is that its length and influence can vary from connection to connection as well. In many cases, the experience with NRE depends heavily on the context of that relationship. So for example, a comet-type relationship that might meet only once or twice a year might have a more drawn out expression of NRE, simply due to reduced exposure to the object of affection. Age can also play a significant role in how someone experiences NRE. So I think it is very important to keep these different factors in mind as it relates to your wife’s relationships with her other partners.

All of this is to say, it is very difficult to get to the root of your current sexual disconnect with your wife because there are multiple contributing factors to your disconnect.

And I think we need to elaborate on the degree of sexual disconnect and deconstruct the various “why’s”.

You say that you’ve picked up on the household chores as a way to lessen the emotional labor burden upon your wife, so that she may be enticed to be more intimate with you. While it is a wonderful thing you are doing, it might work better in a marriage where the imbalance in household chores manifests as a sexual brake in a relationship. In addition, if you dig deeper into your intentions you might find that you are doing those things with an implicit, unspoken intention for sex – that which your wife might be sensing through your actions as if your enthusiasm for household chores is contingent upon her enthusiasm for sex with you. In short, you might be trying to hard to address the problem by yourself when it should really take a collective effort.

I also want to touch on the dangers of keeping score. It is very easy to get in your own head if you keep tabs on the type of sex your partner is having with her other partners. This becomes a more fundamental problem if you end up comparing the dysfunctions within your sex life with your wife to the (assumed) vitality in her sex life with her two other partners. In reality, it might be more beneficial to ground yourself on the dysfunctions of your own sex life.

I also think that your wife bears some responsibility in the current sexual disconnect you are both experiencing with each other. While it is true that many couples do occasionally go through “dry spells”, it could be possible that your wife is less enthusiastic about sexually reconnecting with you because she has two other partners with whom she already has good sexual chemistry with. Dismissing the current sexual disconnect in your marriage as a temporary lapse unfortunately perpetuates the disconnect because that unintentional dismissal also dismisses your lived experience of erotic disconnection. In specific, I am really curious as to how your wife foresees her sexual relationship with you “getting better.”

So what does this all mean for bridging your erotic disconnect?

Esther Perel was once asked if it is difficult to be a partner to a relationship therapist as world-renowned as she is. She responded by saying that she has evolved over the thirty five years that she has been with Jack. She further elaborated that relationships constantly develop and change, and it takes an intentional effort on individuals to mind the inevitable disconnects, plan the reconnect, and celebrate the connection when you do reconnect.

It is clear that even though your wife acknowledges that there is a sexual disconnect, she doesn’t feel motivated to reconnect in the same way you want to. This leaves you with two viable options.

The first option is to address and reemphasize the importance of the reconnect. This might be the easiest to bring up if you can sit down with your wife in a monthly check-in like a RADAR where you can proactively establish action plans for the acknowledged problems. But it is important that you elaborate on the degree of disconnect you’ve experienced and ground yourself in the present pain. This will help your wife understand the gravity of the situation and be more conscientious about reconnecting with you in a more intentional, mindful way. This will also help each of you hold each other accountable in reconnecting with each other. This will allow you and your wife to get on the same page about not only what “getting better” really means, but also what each of you need to do to get better at being intimate with each other. Stated intentions are powerful!

The second option is to acknowledge that this disconnect will have to stand until your wife can independently acknowledge her own pain from this erotic disconnect without any further push. It takes two to tango. And if she really isn’t into bridging this gap, you need to work out a contingency plan to stay sane in your two relationships. You mentioned that you feel like your other partner that you meet once every month or so has to meet all of your sexual demands. And that is a lot of undue pressure filtering through one connection. If your needs are not being met by your current set of partners, it might be time for you to start looking outward to add new partners who can fill in that gap without adding any pressure on your existing partnerships.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at If you liked my advice for this post, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also subscribe below to get alerted when my next advice column is published!

Advice – I want to try anal, but cannot relax. [NSFW]

I’ll start this off by saying, my fiance is an ass lover. He is OBSESSED with my ass. It’s not large by any means but during sex he always compliments it, loves doggy because he loves to see my ass, likes when I wear leggings so he can rip them open and fuck me behind, told me that he loves when I sit on his face , etc.

He has been wanting to do serious anal for a long time, he has mentioned it before a lot and I am not opposed to it, I would love to be able to enjoy anal and be able to please him that way, however I cannot relax enough during it for it to feel good.

I like when he puts his fingers in my ass while doing PIV and it always feels good when he does it with a finger, but all the times we have attempted with his dick it just doesn’t feel good, it is painful as hell and I can’t relax. I don’t know why or how to make this better. We use TONS of lube when we try so lube is not the problem. I would love to be able to do anal with him and fulfill one of his fantasies but I just can’t do it.

I am looking for good tips to try and ease the process. We have talked about getting a butt plug and having him use his fingers and work a plug in and do PIV to see if it helps ease my butt, though I’m not sure if that will actually help? I think his size and being an anal “virgin” intimidates me.

I would also like to mention that I also can’t get over the feeling that it makes me feel like I need to poop, even after using the restroom beforehand and cleaning out I always have the “I need to poo sensation” when he puts his dick in.

Please leave me any advice, tips, or tricks.

Terry, Reddit.

Dear Terry,

A very common mistake among anal newbies is that you can go straight from little to no stimulation to penetration. This is a particularly dangerous myth because your sphincter is just not ready for that type of action without the proper warmup. When it comes to proper anal intercourse warmup, there are three major components.

The first component is lubrication. Some folks don’t know that an anus don’t self-lubricate the same way a vagina does. It sounds like this part you’ve already got down. But I think it’s also very important to consider multiple different types of lubes. Sex With Emily goes into great depths about the differences between silicone-, water-, and oil-based lubes that I think you should take a look at. In short, silicone-based lubes like Uberlube are more suitable for longer plays while water-based lubes like Lube Life are easier to clean up. If you find that you keep having to reapply lube, you might benefit from switching to a silicone-based lubes.

The second component is training. Not many folks know this, but sphincter is a muscle! And like any other muscle, you are going to need to work it out and stretch it out to make sure that you can have penetrative intercourse. You’ve already mentioned anal plugs, and I think that would be a great idea. But I would also suggest anal training sets like this set from Babeland or this set from Adam & Eve to start training your interior and exterior sphincter for penetrative play. These flared-base anal trainer sets are especially great because they vary in size. Depending on your fiance’s penis size, you should absolutely practice. It is also very important to keep in mind that silicone is not at all like flesh of the penis. So what I’ve found helpful is to warm up the trainer plugs in warm water or – even better – a partner’s mouth before lubing it up for penetrative play.

I’ll also mention here that you should never use an anal toy that doesn’t have a flared base. You wouldn’t want to have an awkward trip to the emergency room because you lost your plug in your butt, right?

The final and the most important component is play!

The more pressure you put on your anus to perform, the more difficult it is going to be to actually be in the mindset to have anal sex. If you find that anal sex is always in the context of PIV, it might be beneficial to temporarily dock PIV so that you can enjoy anal play that doesn’t immediately involve genital penetration. You mentioned that you’ve enjoyed digital stimulation from your partner. So incorporating more of that into your sex life without his penis being in the equation at all should help you get more comfortable with anal play in general.

Just take it a bit slower.

I also want to touch on being an anal virgin. Our culture already has such a weird and warped standards around virginity as is. And often times, it is incorrectly associated with purity and sanctity. We don’t need to take those toxic beliefs forward in our relationships today. A lot of folks misunderstand that virginity is not a physical aspect you lose when you have penetrative intercourse with your reproductive organs. Instead, it might be more beneficial for you to reflect on your virginity as a spectrum, rather than a binary. You’ve already had your fiance’s finger in your ass. And in that specific way, you are no longer an anal virgin in the same way that having anal sex as a “God’s Loophole” doesn’t make you a virgin either.

As for the “needing to poop” sensation, that is also natural! It’s your body’s way to expel that which don’t naturally belong in your rectum, which in your case is your fiance. For your fiance, that generally translates to a gripping sensation that should provide an intense pleasure for him through his penis. For you, that “needing to poop” sensation is one directional – out of your ass. But practicing with the trainers and his fingers should definitely help with managing that reflex in the context of anal sex. Your brain just needs a little help rewiring the sensation from anal stimulation as something other than poop-oriented, that’s all.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at If you liked my advice for this post, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also subscribe below to get alerted when my next advice column is published!

Advice – I just tested positive for chlamydia. Did my boyfriend cheat?

On December 16th, I got an STD test where I tested negative for chlamydia and gonorrhea. At that point, I had been in a monogamous relationship with my boyfriend since end of October. In September, he had his last STD test in which he tested negative for everything and he claims that he wasn’t with another girl between then and when we met. Anyways, I just now had another test after some symptoms and I tested positive for chlamydia. So my question is, is a result of infidelity? Is it possible that I got it before I met him and it didn’t show up in my results in December for some reason? Or that he has had it all this time and simply lied to me about getting tested, and I just now contracted it from him?

To add more background, we don’t use protection and have never used protection. I’m on birth control and trusted that he had gotten tested, and although we were both aware of the risks of pregnancy we choose to be stupid because we both enjoy it so much more without a condom.

Essentially, before I accuse him of lying or cheating I would like to know what all the possible solutions are. Thank you in advance.

Felicia, Reddit.
Photo by an_vision on Unsplash

Dear Felicia,

Let us first establish the timeline.

  • September: Your boyfriend gets tested negative for everything.
  • Between September & October: You two meet. He claims to not have slept with anyone in this timeframe.
  • End of October: You enter into an exclusive relationship with your boyfriend.
  • Mid December: You test negative for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • February: You test positive for chlamydia.

While CDC isn’t clear on the incubation period for chlamydia, this 2011 study indicates that the chlamydia can incubate between seven to twenty one days. If that is the case, then it is evident that you contracted chlamydia following your mid December test. If your boyfriend had contracted chlamydia prior to October, then you should have already started seeing signs of the infection about a month before the test. It just seems highly unlikely that he lied about his September STI screening and happened to have had asymptomatic chlamydia the entire five months you’ve been together.

With that said, it isn’t completely out of possibility that you somehow tested negative for chlamydia while carrying it back in December. But the likelihood of that seems highly improbable.

So in short, it does seem likely that he has cheated.

But this is really all just confetti.

Even if we establish that you contracted chlamydia through his sexual infidelity, we have a bigger issue with lack of proper safety precautions. While it is true that BC pills protect against unwanted pregnancy, it does nothing for unwanted STI transmission as you have discovered here. Furthermore, condoms do not protect against other skin-to-skin STIs like herpes or syphilis.

It is very important to keep in mind that there are multitudes of risk to be aware of. And while your chlamydia might do away with a single dose of azithromycin, the emotional harm that comes with contracting an STI has more profound implications. For one, it is apparent that your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend also had very different risk thresholds as it pertains to COVID transmission. After all, we are all currently in the middle of a serious global pandemic. Even outside of the pandemic circumstances, most folks have put dating on hold until the overall risk levels becomes more manageable. And each risk you take is a successive undertaking that you need to be conscientious of for not just yourself but for all people you come in contact with.

Please be mindful of the risks you are taking for not just this relationship but for all other relationships you might have in the future.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at If you liked my advice for this post, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also subscribe below to get alerted when my next advice column is published!

Advice – Our full-swap went wrong [NSFW].

The night was perfect. The other couple was great.

I couldn’t rise to the occasion at all and now I’m awake the next day and I’m just bitter at myself.

This is not how I was planning for my morning to be. We were meant to be excited together. Instead I feel like I’ve just dampened the whole mood because I am so angry with myself.

What am I supposed to do? What was I meant to do? Just considering organizing another night makes me cringe to my core.

Jeremy, Reddit.

Dear Jeremy,

I hear your anger, frustration, and disappointment. Your disappointment lives in the gap between anticipation and reality.

It could be possible that you indeed had a very specific idea of how that swinging experience was going to go. Whether it was from a previous successful experience or it was a proactive planning on this one, it is clear that your feelings of disappointment and frustration overwhelmed you.

There could be a couple different contributing factors here. So we’ll take some time to elaborate on them, talk a little about where they might come from, and then find a way to manage those feelings in a productive & healthy way.

I also think we need to talk about sexual performance.

A lot of guys are too stubbornly wound up in their own internalized ideas about masculinity. In specific, a lot of guys attribute their sexuality entire to the hardness of their penis. This is problematic for three different reasons.

Let’s first talk about the misconception around arousal non-concordance. Arousal non-concordance is a fancy way to say your erotic headspace is aroused, but it isn’t reflected in physical arousal. This phenomenon is much more common among women than men. According to this 2010 study, around 74% of women and only 34% of men had experienced similar arousal non-concordance. That means that roughly a third of the male population that have experienced arousal non-concordance according to this research. So it is that even though you were aroused mentally, it just wasn’t being reflected physically.

Another important aspect for you to consider is that your sexuality is more than just your penis. Your perineum (area between your scrotum and anus), prostate (the gland that produces your seminal fluid), and sacrum (the small of your back) are all erogenous zones that can be incredibly sexual and sensitive. So even if your arousal does not manifest in a diamond hard penis, there are ways for you to be intimate with your partners that doesn’t involve your penis at all that is more centered around sexual pleasure rather than anyone’s orgasmic release.

More importantly, your partner’s erogenous zones extend beyond their genitals too. It might be worthwhile to expand upon your sexual repertoire beyond just penetrative intercourse. If you do want to have a penetrative intercourse but cannot maintain an erection, you might want to consider using your fingers, your tongue, or even a strap-on to simulate PIV intercourse. Do your part to close the orgasm gap.

Now let’s talk about what it might look like to successfully manage those feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.

According to this study, Chadwick et al (2017) theorize that “men felt more masculine and reported higher sexual esteem when they imagined that a woman orgasmed during sexual encounters with them.” So it is possible that you might consider reframing or broadening your idea of “rising to the occasion.” For some partners, that image of you rising to the occasion can look like a masterful wielding of a diamond-hard cock. But for others, rising to the occasion can look like a sensitive wielding of a delicate tongue. I just think it’ll continue to be problematic for you to use your genital response as the only measure for your sexuality; you are far more than just your penis.

Another aspect to consider is to communicate this insecurity with your partner and engage in a more thoughtful & proactive dialogue about your vulnerabilities. In this, you don’t need to do anything or make any immediate changes to your swinging experience. Instead, you can use this experience to relate to your partner about being more mindful in your next full swap attempts.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at If you liked my advice for this post, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also subscribe below to get alerted when my next advice column is published!

Advice – Dad hired a female sex worker for me even though he knew I was a gay man [NSFW].

A year ago I (20M) made the decision to tell my parents I’m gay. A week ago my dad made the decision to surprise me with a female sex worker (25F) for my birthday. If that sounds weird to you, you’re normal. If it doesn’t, welcome to my world. My old man gave me the whole “nothing beats pussy” speech before leaving me alone in the house with a random stranger. I was so embarrassed and awkward I didn’t know how to react. The sex worker introduced herself as “Zoey” and encouraged me to relax. Without wasting time I apologized and made it clear that I’m not interested in girls. Zoey asked me a bunch of questions about my sexuality. Questions I never had to answer out loud before. Her attitude seemed really sincere. Like she genuinely just wanted to learn about my life. The two of us ended up having a good time talking. However, talking turned into touching, and touching turned into my first sexual experience with another person.

As soon as we were both naked, Zoey wrestled me onto my stomach and started humping my butt. She humped me harder and harder without slowing down. Even though nothing was penetrating me, the feeling off getting pounded from behind was enough to send me over the edge. I came from that alone. Nothing touched my penis. Didn’t even know that was possible! It wasn’t over though. I wanted to be inside Zoey. I’ll be honest, it felt amazing. It made me question everything I thought I knew about my sexual orientation. It’s been a week and I still have no idea what to make of it. My dad is now convinced I was never actually gay and that all I needed was the right woman to remind me I’m as straight as they come.

Is my dad right?

Can you be gay and still enjoy sex with girls?

Even now I don’t feel any sexual attraction towards other girls, but when I think about Zoey it makes me excited. Is she a unique case?

I’m lost.

Chris, Reddit.
Photo by Oleg Ivanov on Unsplash

Dear Chris,

Let’s first talk about sexuality.

For many, sexual expression and sexual orientation exists on a plane or a spectrum. It is the easiest to explain this complex concept by first visualizing a triangle. In this case, the first point of the triangle represents a homosexual sexual response, the second point a heterosexual sexual response, and the last point an asexual sexual response. And somewhere in that triangular plane – between each of the extreme endpoints – lies your true sexual orientation as a simple point on a plane. Many people decide to use the endpoint labels (gay, straight, or asexual) to describe their sexuality even though they actually don’t lie in the extreme ends of the sexual orientation plane.

It is so wild how much power we lend to the words we created ourselves.

It appears that for you your sexual orientation also exists somewhere in that plane of sexual expression; not all the way at the gay end of the plane nor all the way at the straight end off the plane (like your father appears to believe), but somewhere in between. If it is comfortable for you to hear, I am connected with many self-identified gay men who have had semi-successful long-term relationships with opposite sex partners in the past. They still identify as gay. So it could be possible that this particular experience need not alter your self-identity as a gay man, but represents a minor blip in the radar that is your sexual orientation. Or this experience could be more than an incidental point of data that might help you question where specifically you belong on that plane. Perhaps homoflexible or queer might be better words to describe your sexuality if you decide that gay no longer represents your sexual orientation.

And the fun part is that you are never static in your sexual expression. Sexual orientation is often flexible and grow as life circumstances change. You are never beholden to the label itself. In fact, it’s the other way around. So even if you believe that you were more homoflexible now, your sexual expression and orientation can lean back towards identifying again as a gay man sometime in the future. Part of the fun in life is in wading through the unknown and figuring out what does and doesn’t work for you. So keep an open mind and don’t feel hurried to shed your previous sexual orientation just because of this one experience.

I do think that there is a different, more profound conversation to be had about your relationship with your father.

What your father did was really awkward and inappropriate. It is very difficult to look past the negative intentions imbedded in not just the words he shared with you but the actions behind his decisions.

It is possible that your father had good intentions when he hired a sex worker that he knew to be incompatible with your sexual orientation. But I do not get the sense that his decision was framed in a compassionate way to allow you to expand upon your sexual expression. However, it is much more likely that he thought you might change your mind “about the whole gay thing” if you had a successful sexual encounter with an opposite sex partner. The truth is that your father just happened to hire a really great, professional sex worker who worked with your sexual expression to help you to experience sexual pleasure in an otherwise very unsexy sexual context. And digging deeper into his decision reveals a more dangerous and scary thought – that he is willfully ignoring your gay identity.

I think it is important to be in a place of mind where you can be both appreciative of his decision which allowed you to more holistically experience a wider range of sexual expression but also apprehensive about your father’s obvious boundary violations.

It could be that your current inability to rationalize what just happened to you is tied up behind how upsetting and humiliating it was to have your father boil your entire identity down to your sexuality. As such, you lack the proper resource to accurately gather data about what happened, to internalize what this experience means to you, and to externalize what changes you need to make. And until that stressor – your father in this case – has been acknowledged and addressed, this can’t move forward.

Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

Your father is not entitled to know anything about your sex life.

There really needs to be a healthier set of boundaries around how much influence your father has on your sexual orientation. That could mean that the next time he asks you about your sexual orientation, you remind him how weird and awkward that experience was. And keep mentioning until he understands how weird it made you feel. Do note that this doesn’t reflect on what your actual sexual orientation is or even what specifically happened with Zoey. It only calls into light that it is weird to talk about it with your dad who is weirdly engrossed in ensuring that his son is straight. The goal of this approach is for him to acknowledge and understand that what he did was not acceptable and that your sexual orientation is for you to validate, not him.

If you are currently living with your father, this would also be a great time to start looking outward for a new place to live. I’m not sure what other weird things your father might do to keep encroaching on your boundaries. But I am willing to guess that this won’t be the last time he disregards your boundaries or willfully ignores your sexual orientation. You mentioned parents in plural form, so you might also want to check in with your mom about how weird your dad has been about this. Perhaps she can address this in a more productive manner, especially if the message is clear from two of his family members.

And if your father keeps pushing, you have my permission to lean into his boundaries and tell him all about the gay porn you masturbate to and the sexual scenarios you fantasize about. Two can play at that game.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at If you liked my advice for this post, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also subscribe below to get alerted when my next advice column is published!

Advice – How do you stand monogamy?

I have (33F) been with my partner (33M) for 14 years and I am horrified at the thought of never, ever having sex with another person for as long as I live. I’ve struggled with it for years. And yes, we talk to each other about what we like and don’t like, we experiment together to find new ways of making each other feel good, etc. The sex still isn’t the best, and maybe that’s part of the problem. But we are still working on ways to make it feel better for both of us. However, I feel so stifled by the thought that this is it, he’s the only one I get for the next 50 years or so, until we die. I honestly feel so anxious, depressed, and angry.

I’ve talked to him about this struggle, so he is aware. But he is unwilling to experiment with any form of non-monogamy. Outside of the sex issue our marriage is good, we both think we’d have a very difficult time finding a new love as good as what we have now. So how do I deal with my struggle with monogamy? How do I stay content with one partner?

Just to clarify, I was not a virgin when we got together, I had a few partners before him. He wasn’t a virgin either. Also, there was a very unfortunate miscommunication around the non-monogamy issue when we married. But this is the situation and I’m trying to make the best of it.

Anonymous, Reddit.

Dear Anonymous,

Monogamy is a discipline.

Monogamy is a constant dedication, everyday practice, and a relationship-binding promise. Monogamy is by far the most popular and most socially accepted relationship orientation. For many, monogamy is not only the de facto standard model for relationships, but the only model for relationships. The few who do question the standard and take the lesser beaten paths often face criticism, rejection, and shunning. And because the consequences of rejection is so severe, even those who are aware of non-monogamy stick to monogamy for the simplicity’s sake.

Fourteen years is a long time. That means that for almost the entirety of your adult life, your sexual experience has revolved around the context of your and your husband’s respective sexualities. And you say that both you and your husband had other partners before you met each other. But the type of sex that you have when you are twenty one is very different from the type of sex you might have when you are twenty five. And it can be very different from the type of sex you might have when you are thirty or thirty five.

And sex is a lot like cooking; you work with the ingredients you have available.

Even with limited ingredients, you can still make many great dishes. And with limited sexual context, you can still have great sex. There are multiple different uses and preparation methods for even one ingredient plate. But just like it takes very creative cooks to make otherwise dull ingredients really sing with well-established recipe, it takes two very creative monogamous people to make the sex in long-term monogamous relationship work over the duration of their relationship.

You are currently stuck between an impossibly hard rock – sexual stagnation – and an impossibly hard place – monogamous agreement.

Before you are crushed between the rock and the hard place, you can choose to either work on the stagnated sex life or renegotiate on the monogamous agreement. For many, working on innovating their sex life can be a creative endeavor that holds off exhaustion regarding monogamy. For many others – and I’ll include myself here – reworking or renegotiating the original monogamy agreement is a fundamental relationship saving strategy. And for all others, they endure as long as they can until they break.

And it sounds like you have worked very hard to keep your sex life with your husband afloat and upbeat in the fourteen years that you have been together. But I feel a deep and fundamental sense of exhaustion from how you feel about the sexual aspect of your connection to your monogamous husband. That exhaustion is manifesting in anxiety, depression, and anger.

The anxiety comes from the vast expanse of your erotic future ahead of you. Much of it you can already project based on the fourteen-year erotic history. Like I said, limited ingredients. And even if both cooks are working to creatively approach a recipe, if the ingredients aren’t pristine to begin with, the final plate was never going to be great. In the same way, if your and your husband’s erotic foundations never had the fundamental chemistry it needs for long-term survival, then there was always going to be a limit in terms of the sexual experience you can have with your husband.

The depression comes from acknowledgement of that projection. The state of your current sexual headspace is already not great. And it just disappoints you more to think about how much more stagnated your sex life can get. Part of it could even extend into the dread as you foresee how much more you’ll have to endure in order to have, not just the sex you want to have, but the sex you find acceptable.

The anger comes from the difference between the realistic projection of your future erotic life and the idealistic vision of your erotic future. The larger the gap, the more it makes you angry. It is in part due to the miscommunication that you had about non-monogamy. It could also be in part that you imagine yourself having missed out on an erotic revolution that you could have had in your twenties but didn’t. It could even be placed upon your spouse’s unrelenting resolution around strict monogamy.

One thing is clear. As they stand, status quo is not okay.

And it is okay to admit that the status quo is not okay. And if indeed status is not quo, then it is time to figure out what your next steps are.

First step is to communicate the urgency and the degree of your unhappiness. It doesn’t matter if 95% of your relationship is great. If sex is important to you and the sex sucks, then it is 95% of the problem. Then at that juncture, you can both talk about how you can keep working on introducing new and innovative ways to keep your sex life energized. There are more kinks and erotic fantasies than you and your partner can reasonably keep up with. The sex toy industry will keep churning out more innovative ways to be erotically connected to your partner. The possibilities there are endless. You and your partner just need to be enthusiastic and open-minded about those endless possibilities.

Or you can both talk about renegotiating on the initial monogamy agreement. You mentioned that your husband is pretty firm on where he stands about monogamy, but that you haven’t had a serious conversation with him about non-monogamy since about seven years ago. Now would be a great time to revisit that conversation and figure out if there are any brand of non-monogamy that might be available to you.

In a later comment, you said that your husband was open to an emotional non-monogamy, as long as sex was off the table. That is not a bad start. It actually reminds me of one of my first steps into non-monogamy. At the time, I was unfulfilled in a long distance monogamous relationship. My partner at the time and I had an agreement that we can engage in romantic / sexual flirtations or conversations with others as long as there was a hard boundary on meeting that person. That relationship didn’t end up working out, but it allowed me to make a more informed decision for the next partner I dated with whom I pursued a more explicitly non-monogamous arrangement with.

We will also have to consider the possibility of this as an irreconcilable difference.

You can’t make yourself not feel bad feelings in the same way you can’t make yourself force good feelings. Feelings are moment-to-moment manifestations of your perceived headspace. And if you are anxious, depressed, or angry all the time, maybe it is because you are not and will not be happy in this relationship. And that is okay.

It could also be possible that your husband would not consider opening up as a spouse retention strategy, then subsequently decide to end the relationship. And that too is okay. Each one of us has a rightful say in what happens in our relationships, especially if it deviates too far from the type of relationship we truly aim to have.

Fourteen years is a remarkably long time for any relationship. Just because this relationship didn’t go all the way to the end of your life did not mean that it wasn’t meaningful or successful in its own way. Some of the best relationships I have ever had were measured in months. And one of the most memorable conversations I had with someone else was with a person I only met that one night. What I am trying to say is that longevity of a relationship is a great measure for the work you’ve already put in. But it is not a sound argument for why you should continue to be in an unfulfilling relationship.

I will leave you off with another personal story.

As someone who is polyamorous, I will tell you that sex with one specific person will always plateau. And that too is okay. Managing that erotic plateau is the main conflict point for almost all the long-term relationships I’ve been a part of, read about, and witnessed second hand. Even the polyamorous ones.

“How can we spice up our sex life” is the most common relationship and sex advice I see online. And the common advice to that question is to question the very elements we find comfortable, and step into that discomfort to find “spice.” By that, I mean if you are only having sex at night in bed, your erotic headspace is limited to what you can do at night in that bed. Of course your sex life is going to plateau if that is all you have to work with. Have sex in the morning. Have sex in the car. Have sex without a penis involved. Have sex without a vagina involved. Have sex watching the porn you like. Have sex watching the porn he likes. Have sex where the other person is penetrated. Just learn to step away from the accepted erotic norms and dare to be creative in how you and your husband approach your shared erotic space.

What is important is to make different aspects of sex a challenge and then accomplish that challenge.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at If you liked my advice for this post, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also subscribe below to get alerted when my next advice column is published!

Advice – I have difficulty staying hard. (NSFW)

“I started dating this girl a little bit ago and I’m having some sexual frustrations with everything. I’m insanely attracted to her and she is the the most attractive woman I’ve ever been with. Yet, when we try to have sex, my body doesn’t want to cooperate. I can get hard and she can make me hard very easily, Sometimes we’ll get it in, and then I’ll pop out and start to lose my erection trying to get it back in. She can get me hard again and she’ll be successful at that, then I try again and the same thing happens. We’ve really only been successful completely a few times. She will also try to make me finish with a blowjob or handjob and my body just doesn’t want to unless I self stimulate (that one isn’t new though) She tells me not to worry about it and tries to make me feel better by saying it’s not just me it’s her. I really want to please this girl but for whatever reason my body just isn’t cooperating and it’s not a problem I’ve ever faced before with my other partners. Any sort of advice would be really appreciated. Getting really frustrated and annoyed at this point.”

Tempted Sword Staker on /r/sex.

Photo by Ray Piedra on

Dear Tempted Sword Staker,

Repeat after me. You are not just a body attached to a penis.

As a cis man, I see a lot of other cis men equate the hardness of their penis to their libido and sexual performance. I also see a lot of cis men, like you, take it upon themselves to make the hardness of their penis the crux of their sexuality. And I have always wondered why a lot of men allow themselves to minimize the entirety of the erotic imagination and boil it all the way down to one specific body part. This immense fascination with penis is the reason why the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer made $28.5 billion revenue since 2003 on Viagra alone. And the fascination with ejaculation is why folks who experience premature ejaculations are often shunned.

The way you envision your penis and anchor it as the only manifestation of your sexuality does much more harm than good. It is time for you to expand your sexual repertoire much wider than just your penis.

Mainstream sex advice has done a good job of expanding female erogenous zones to more than just the clitoris, and we need to do the same with male erogenous zones. Contrary to common beliefs, male erogenous zones are more numerous than just your penis; your penis just happens to be the most obvious one. Mouth, lips, scrotum, ears, neck, and nipples are all really sensitive areas that are linked to sexual arousal.

So next time you and your partner participate in foreplay, take your penis completely out of the equation and instead stimulate your other erogenous zones either by yourself or with the assistance of your partner.

And take the time to enjoy each other’s bodies in this meantime. Get real familiar with the parts you and your partner like and the sensations both of you are comfortable with. You are allowed to enjoy kisses and licks on parts of your body that isn’t just the shaft or the head of your penis. You are allowed to enjoy sexual sensations that do not always lead to ejaculation.

Photo by Eli Verenich on

Only 18% of women reliably orgasm from vaginal penetration alone, and 37% require clitoral stimulation in order to orgasm. You say that you would really like to please your partner. So what is stopping you from pleasing your partner with your tongue, lips, fingers, or sex toys? Why are you so intent on relying only on your penis to please your partner? I know this sounds wild. But have you ever considered wearing a strap on or using a dildo to penetrate your partner instead of your penis?

This isn’t all to say that your partner does not personally enjoy the sensation of your penis in her vagina. What I am trying to say is that that doesn’t have to be all of the kind of sex that you two have.

I bet that your partner would happily settle for you orally pleasing her while you self-stimulate yourself to completion. Part of what could be happening in your erotic headspace is that your mind hasn’t fully linked your own personal erotic headspace with enjoying a sexual connection with this particular partner in this specific way quite yet. It could be very possible that you need to intentionally wire your brain to associate your partner as a channel through which your body is allowed to vent your erotic energy towards. You do this by masturbating to each other and touching each other first. Until then, your body and your mind will be disconnected. In fancier terms, this is called arousal non-concordance, that while you are erotically charged and mentally desiring your partner, your body doesn’t necessarily show the physical arousal that matches your libido. A lot of women who take a lot of time to get lubricated even though they’re “turned on” mentally experience the same type of arousal non-concordance as men feel when they are “turned on” but not hard.

I also want to add a couple words about the word “success.”

Don’t think of a vaginal intercourse or even orgasm as a success. The landscape of our human sexual pleasure is wider in vision and deeper in scope than any amount of orgasm can fully capture. You aren’t successful for orgasming, much less orgasming through vaginal penetration. Both your and your partner’s bodies deserve more and better than just the same-old vaginal intercourse. If you get away from sex as a step-by-step guide to your own personal sexual pleasure, you’ll enjoy the process of sexual inter- and outercourse much more. And the more things you enjoy, the less pressure there will be to be and stay erect. And the less pressure there is, the easier it will feel to be and stay erect.

So next time you are tempted to stake your sword in your partner, consider priming and sharpening your sword first. Your sword deserves love too.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at If you liked my advice for this post, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also subscribe below to get alerted when my next advice column is published!

Advice – How can I suck better? (NSFW)

“How do I get my husband’s cock down my throat? I’ve been blowing him for 16 years, and have yet to master this skill. It’s time. His cock needs to be down my throat before the stroke of midnight. How the fuck do I defeat my gag reflex, and shove a massive dick into my airway, without dying or turning him off from the wet gagging and coughing?!”

Wango Wango Wango on /r/sex.

Photo by Sarah Trummer on

Dear Wango Wango Wango,

Let’s start with this. Deepthroating is not a skill that everyone can master. Due to the wildly variable sizes and shapes of our mouths, tongues, and throats as well as the sizes and shapes of our partners’ penises, not everyone can comfortably deepthroat without the gag reflex ruining the experience. It’s like not every couple can have a deeply satisfying anal intercourse with minimal preparation. Sometimes, some sexual acts are just out of the cards. You can’t just force what doesn’t work.

With that said, if you are really dedicated to making deepthroating work for both of you, first think about what kind of sensations your husband has appeared to enjoy in the sixteen years you’ve enjoyed oral sex together. Different folks like different sensations; so one person’s deepthroat methods might look very different from another. Do take some time to think about how you can implement those sensations into deepthroating.

Once you’ve done the mental homework, now is the time to put it into practice. You need to start off real slow. I’m not sure where your own personal gag reflex point is, but start at about 3/4th of the depth you think would initially trigger your gag reflex and slowly allow to go deeper, maybe 1/8 or 1/4 inch at a time. Once the head of his penis starts pressing into your uvula (that’s the bell-like flesh at the back of your throat, normally where folks get gag reflexes), stop with the back and forth motion and slowly inch in. Keep that depth in mind. That’s the maximum depth he can go, at least for tonight.

If that depth doesn’t cover the full length of his penis, there are other ways to simulate or augment the same sensation he would get from your mouth. The best way is to use your hand(s). If you generously lubricate your fingers and palm(s) with your saliva and grip loosely, I can guarantee that your husband would not know the difference in sensations only using the base of his penis. Have your hands follow along with the overall direction of your mouth, as if your hands are an extension of your lips.

If your husband thinks that you using your fingers or hands is “cheating”, fuck that. And tell him to be a good boy, close his eyes, and enjoy the sensation.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at If you liked my advice for this post, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter. You can also subscribe below to get alerted when my next advice column is published!

Advice – How do I have better sex? (NSFW)

“Every man I’ve ever been with sexually (especially my husband, who I can barely tell when he is in) thinks sex ends when they cum. I am barely warmed up when they do, due to lack of foreplay. My husband cums within 5 minutes, and it’s completely over. When we first got together 5 ish years ago, he was still a virgin, so I let it pass, thinking it would get better over time. It didn’t. He also likes to wait an hour minimum before even considering a round 2. I admit that it is very hard for me to cum, especially because I have a very hooded clit.

My husband agreed to open the marriage so I could supposedly get better sex. I do in the fact that he does last a decent amount longer, but once again, no foreplay. My boyfriend doesn’t like doing any kind of foreplay with me because he doesn’t know what to do. He doesn’t do oral because he can’t find my clit to mess with at the same time like he used to do with past girlfriends. He also doesn’t like fingering me because I’m too tight for him to get 2 fingers in. I feel awful because those were his favorite things to do until he got with me. I keep telling him I love it when he does, but he refuses.

My gyno says it’s very impressive that after close to 15 years of sex, that I still feel like a virgin (even to her, and she’s used to having her hands in vaginas). I’m wondering what I can do to enhance the sexual experience for me so that myself and my SO can also enjoy it with me.

Only one guy has ever gotten me to orgasm, and that was only twice, and several years ago. We did not stay together long because my mother was a bitch and hated him. My husband thinks he has gotten me once, maybe twice, which he views as an accomplishment, but he never has. I just let him think he did so I don’t hurt his feelings.

I have been considering finding a new partner for sex only. I’ve tried to do self love in the past, but I can’t bring myself to actually do it. I got this bill to you every time I even think about trying it, let alone actually trying to do it. It’s most likely because I was brought up in a very Christian home that told you anything like that was bad. They brought me up to think that self-love is a sin, and you should get your sexual satisfaction from men, but only after marriage. There are against any kind of relationship other than one woman being with one man forever. They do not believe in divorce, open marriage, or living together before getting married. I’m very open to the idea of sleeping with the female to try and spice things up, but there’s not really anyone around here that I know of that would do that. Most want a relationship and the men are not really supportive of that. I’m guessing because they’re afraid the woman will be able to bring sexual pleasure, where they can’t. I will have to talk to them about it again.

I appreciate any suggestions you may have for them, or myself. You may also pm me if you have any questions or answers. Thanks in advance!”

Audrey Lover on /r/nonmonogamy.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

Dear Audrey Lover,

I’ve heard from so many other partners of cis men that their ejaculation always ends the sexual encounter. And as one particular cis man, I am personally astounded at how completely out of touch that sounds. It’s almost like people forgot that their penis isn’t the only sexual appendage they can use. Just because a penile ejaculation means they can no longer have satisfying penis-in-vagina intercourse does not mean that they can’t use their tongues, their lips, and their fingers to please you.

First things first, you need to come clean with both your husband and your boyfriend that you are not having very satisfying sex lives with either of them, and make timely and sensible adjustments to improve your sex lives. Doing anything less than honestly communicating your sexual headspace is doing disservice to your own self and to them who might think they’re doing a great job. This doesn’t mean that you are critiquing their style of lovemaking. What you are aiming to do is:

  1. To assess the type of stimulation you personally enjoy (by playing alone first),
  2. To evaluate how you can implement those sensations into your sexual routines with your respective partners,
  3. To communicate what you learned with your partners,
  4. Then to hold your partners accountable to have the level of intimacy that works for both of you.

Each of those steps are admitted a lot easier said than done. So I’ll focus on the individual steps in this post.

Assess the type of stimulation you personally enjoy

As someone who was also raised Christian, I hear you when you say that the church has indoctrinated you to think that self-love is a sin. It is also really interesting to hear you say that you feel like your sexual pleasure is entirely dependent on your husband’s performance because…

  1. That is not at all true for lesbian couples comprised of two cis AFAB women;
  2. It directly implies that you are not entitled to your own pleasure if you are born a woman.

Both of those ideas are incredibly toxic and damaging. Let’s make this loud and clear for everyone to hear.

You are in charge of seeking your own sexual pleasure.

We don’t currently have the kind of brain-linking technology where your sexual partners can also directly experience the sexual pleasure you feel. In the meantime, you will have to communicate the kind of sensations you do enjoy and the sensations you don’t enjoy. So you’ll have to first figure out what you personally like and enjoy. And the best way to do so is to explore what you like through porn and masturbation. If you haven’t already invested in a vibrator, I strongly suggest you to do so. There are different types of vibrators that you should try out. There are the bullet vibrators that pinpoint the vibration directly onto your clitoris. Then there are larger bulb-shaped “massagers” that envelop most of your vulva – clitoris, labias majora, and minora – to provide a more pressure-sensitive vibration. And there are g-spot vibrators that you insert to stimulate the g-spot that is right inside the vaginal entrance long before you get to the cervix. I’ve also heard of many cis women who enjoy using their showerhead for their pleasure as well as that provides a very intense sensation on their clitoris if aimed correctly. So you will have to try out a couple different kinds to make sure you can find a vibrator that works for you.

Remember, there are a thousand different ways to feel sexual pleasure and no one person is going to have the same exact set of sensations they enjoy as another. You are perfectly normal the way you are and this is just an adventure to discover that which you and your body is entitled to.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Evaluate how you can implement those sensations

After you’ve figured out the kind of sensation you like, the next thing to do is to figure out how you can make those sensations a part of your sexual routine. You’ve had five years of history to know what your husband is and isn’t capable of in the bedroom. But do your best to overlay what you’ve discovered in your self-exploration phase onto the kinds of sex you would like to have with your husband and your boyfriend, respectively.

If you really liked the pressure-based stimulation, your partners should be able to grind their hips – regardless of the hardness of their penises – directly onto your vulva without the insertion. If not, it can be very pleasurable for your partners to thrust their thighs or palms into vulva for that same pressure-sensation.

If you strongly preferred the clitoral stimulation, your partners have tongues and fingers. I hate the idea that foreplay needs to come before intercourse because it really should be the farthest thing from the truth for the most sexually compatible couples. Your partners can definitely use their tongues, their lips, and their tongue before, in between, and after ejaculation. So for example, if your husband usually cums in five minutes, you can pause the PIV intercourse at the two or three minute mark where he needs to eat you out for two or three minutes.

If you prefer the g-spot stimulation, do I have a video for you. Watch that video a couple times. Not everyone will squirt from a g-spot stimulation, and that kind of stimulation can be very intense without the proper warm up. And if you struggle with even two fingers in, you’ll have to go really slow at first until you are properly lubricated for such stimulation on your most sensitive spots of your body.

Communicate what you’ve learned

After you finished doing the projection work, now is the time to communicate your findings with your partners. Share with them what you’ve found through masturbation and share with them what you think your discovery means for each of your partners respectively.

If your partners are worth their weight and not just looking to get their dicks wet, they will hear what you have to say and celebrate your decision to figure out the kind of sex you want to have with them.

There are a couple ways you can communicate your needs. Sharing what you learned is already a great start. But I strongly recommend establishing a boundary to get your needs met. If it oral stimulation you want more of, you can establish a personal boundary that says, “I will not have penis-in-vagina intercourse with a partner who will not perform oral sex on me for X amount of time.” Another productive way to communicate would be to outline the kind of sex you want to have long before you two even get in a sexual space together. I call it proactive consent, where you preemptively gather consent by discussing the kind of sexual acts you’d like to do onto yourself, to do upon each other’s bodies, and/or to experience together. After you are both out of your sexual headspace, be prepared to openly discuss what worked and what didn’t work for you. Acknowledge and provide positive feedback for the things that worked for both of you while calling into light things that didn’t work for both of you.

Another way to approach this phase is to take their penises out of the sexual equation entirely. Contrary to common beliefs, men’s erogenous zones are not only defined by their penis. Some men can orgasm reliably from stimulating their own g-spots through prostate stimulation. So communicate with your partners that while you personally enjoy their penises, it is not absolutely necessary for your sexual pleasure. If your orgasm track record is of any indication, their penises are in fact TERRIBLE for helping you get to orgasm. So work with them to learn how to please you.

I also want to point out here that it is NOT a big ask for them to go down on you. Don’t accept baseless excuses such as, “I don’t like the taste”, “This is taking too long”, “You have too much pubic hair”, or even “My neck is too tired”. Yeah. That last one is a legitimate excuse someone has used before.

You do not have to settle for substandard sex life. You accept the love you think you deserve. So imagine you accepting a greater love. The kind that will reciprocate.

Like I said, you are in charge of your own sexual pleasure. But that doesn’t mean that that particular journey has to be solitary.

Photo by DSD on

Hold your partners accountable

If you do decide to establish a boundary, get real comfortable saying no when your need are not met. A lot of cis women are socially conditioned to defer, to not say no, and to acquiesce / appease their partners. So it isn’t going to be easy enforcing this particular boundary. Your partners might get upset about this sudden glass wall on which they’ve smacked their faces against. But you need to be strong and stand by the reason you had to implement this boundary: in pursuit of a more satisfying sex life.

Your partners can each choose to come along with you as you continue to discover the kind of sex you like to have – extended oral, intense clitoral stimulation, and/or really drawn-out lovemaking. And if they don’t, they’ll be left behind to fend for themselves.

After all, isn’t it in their mutual best interest to make sure the partner they love so much is having the best sex?

If your partners continue to disregard your sexual boundaries, be prepared to de-escalate your sexual or romantic connections with each or both of your partners. Trust is built, not granted. And it requires trust to know that your boundaries will be respected and appreciated in your relationships. Partners who constantly do not honor your personal boundaries should not be partners for much longer.


And the last thing I want to talk about is orgasm.

Yours specifically.

You mentioned that your husband thinks that he was able to give you one or two orgasms even though he hasn’t. Let’s do some math. Assuming that you two have intercourse once a week, five years of history means that you two have had 250ish intercourses. According to this 2016 study, 95% of cis het men report that they orgasm reliably from PIV intercourse. So that means your husband has orgasmed around 237ish times in the past five years. And you haven’t even orgasmed once. In the industry, we call this the orgasm gap.

I would venture to say that your husband would be very upset if you halted sex before he was able to orgasm. Why aren’t you just as upset when he halts sex before you are able to orgasm? You are just as entitled to your orgasms just as much as he is. And just because he can reliably orgasm through a five minute PIV intercourse with you does not mean that he cannot take five or ten minutes to orally or digitally stimulate you to orgasm.

I’ve long been a proponent of the concept that orgasms are not absolutely necessary to healthy and happy sex lives. And some folks experience ejaculation without orgasm and vice versa. Sometimes, orgasms are just a great bonus on top of great sex. And really, sexual pleasure and sexual satisfaction are the only truly necessarily components to a good sex life. But if you feel that orgasms are necessary for you to enjoy your own personal sex life, stand by it.

Remember, you are in charge of seeking your own sexual pleasure. And you do not have to settle for substandard sex life.

Good luck!

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

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