By myself, I can have an orgasm in thirty seconds, but with my boyfriend, it's hopeless!
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Dear Miss Info,
I’m twenty-five years old and I’ve happily been with my boyfriend for the last six years. We moved in together last February and took on a third roommate. (Originally, it was going to just be my partner and me, but the third needed some roommates.) I knew she was a lonely character before we signed our leases, but we had a lot in common and got along great. Things have changed (surprise). She is very needy and has formed a dependency on my boyfriend that has strained our relationship. Before this, most of our arguments consisted of minor bickering, but we were pretty open with one another. What can I do? I’ve tried speaking to him but it usually turns into a shouting match in which he accuses me of jealousy and insecurity. Please help. I’m beginning to feel like the third wheel in my own relationship.
— Not the Jealous Type
Dear Not the Jealous Type,
Wow, six years together by age twenty-five! That’s a lot of formative years spent in a committed relationship. Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that — but your boyfriend’s behavior suggests that he’s missed out on some of those critical growing-like-a-weed years. Though this other girl’s involvement is, no doubt, upsetting, I think she’s just a distraction from the real issue: that your boyfriend is using her to leverage distance in the relationship. His refusal to listen to your concerns or engage with you on a respectful level just confirms this. It sounds like he needs to hike the Andes, or go through a Tarantino phase, or build a car out of lawnmower parts, or whatever the young-straight-male equivalent of Eat, Pray, Love is. My point is, Not the Jealous Type, it’s not you. It’s not about him choosing this other girl over you; it’s about him choosing himself over you both, and not (yet) being man enough to put words to his feelings.
So what to do? You tried talking, and he screeched and flailed and threw his sippy cup from his high chair. Now it sounds like some distance is in order. This may mean that one of you moves out; this may mean that you stay together, but both make an effort to get out more, make your own friends, and establish your own identities separate from this relationship. Frankly, Not the Jealous Type, I think you’re better off giving him plenty of distance — like enough distance that you get to explore the idea of other guys. You two may be meant for each other, and you may find yourselves back together soon. But it’s not a relationship worth fighting for when one of the partners is this self-centered, this nakedly confused, and still grumpy that he didn’t get his afternoon nap.
Dear Miss Information,
I grew up in a pretty sexually open environment; sex was never "dirty" to me, and I cultivated the impressive ability to make myself come almost anywhere, any time, in under thirty seconds. I never understood when people told me that sex isn't that interesting, that for girls it just "isn't the same." But now, at eighteen, I find myself in my first serious relationship and with an awful understanding of what it means to "fake it."
Before this boyfriend, whom I'll call C., the only sexual experience I had with another person was with my female best friend the summer before high school, so I'm relatively and technically inexperienced. Naturally, as a newcomer, I believed that since I could come so easily by myself, I would be able to do the same with another person. I've been with C. for seven months and I have not had one orgasm (with him, that is).
At first I thought it was because his fingering technique was similar to that of an overeager jackhammer, but even after I specified what I like and what I don't like and he made accommodations, I haven't even gotten close. He's gone down on me, we've tried nearly every position, we've utilized every room in my house, but still, nothing. The clencher: I get really vocal during sex, hoping that it'll turn me on a little more, so C. thinks I'm enjoying every second of our barely legal sex-capades. I can't bring myself to tell him that all this time I've been drowning in a pool of sexual dissatisfaction, afraid that I'll shatter his already fragile ego. I'm starting to feel all kinds of incompetent, even though I hear Betty Friedan's voice commanding SPEAK UP, YOU DESERVE SATISFACTION.
With each month that passes, he falls more in love with me, despite me having broken up with him twice already and warning him that I don't believe in monogamy. In fact, just this last week he suggested we move in together. With each month that passes, I find myself resenting him more, turning to my 3 a.m. lesbian fantasies when I want mind-altering, earth-shattering, ground-shaking orgasms.
Basically, what I want to know:
1. Will I ever have an orgasm with another person? Because I'm losing hope.
2. Is it possible that I'm just not sexually attracted to C.?
3. Should I just break up with C. once and for all and go live out my bacchanalian fantasies before I'm too old?
4. If I do break up with him, on what grounds do I explain my decision to him? Should I be brutally honest? Or should I use the "I think I might be a lesbian now" cop-out?
— Desperately Seeking Satisfaction
Dear Desperately Seeking Satisfaction,
Any eighteen-year-old who writes like this and hears Betty Friedan in her head commanding her not to fake it is destined for great things. Don’t settle for mediocre, soul-sucking relationships, sister. You’ve got so many hearts to break, boundaries to challenge, and bras to burn.
First and foremost, let me just point out that you essentially answered your own question. You said not one good thing about C., and your inner conflict seems far less like “should I break up with him?” and far more like “what should I wear when I break up with him?” So yes, I think you should break up with him, because you’re clearly not getting what you need here.
To your question, “Is it possible I’m just not attracted to C.?” Oh, it’s probable that you’re not sexually attracted to him. That being said, that doesn’t mean that you’re not attracted to all men; give the gray area a chance. (That’s the title of a little-known Beatles B-side, by the way.) Along those lines, “Uh, I think I’m gay now” is only a cop-out if it isn’t true, or if you’re using it to avoid having to say something more honest. It is edgy territory, though, so tread lightly with it.
Just like you know that faking orgasms does you (or your partner, or his next partner, or women at large, or men at large) no good, neither does faking affection. It’s curious that you’re pulling away and he’s proposing that you move in. Have you been employing the same “fake it ‘til you make it” strategy to your fully-clothed relationship, too? No wonder you’re on different pages — because all he’s hearing are moans of pleasure, while all you’re hearing is a voice in your head going, “Ah, shit, I need to finish that pre-calc homework.”
So, yes, Desperately Seeking, break it off, be honest, but be gentle. He deserves to leave this relationship with his dignity intact, so avoid going too far into sexual politics (“It’s just that dicks disgust me, yaknowwhatImean?”), or to the details of your sex life at all (“Oh, by the way, I was lying to you the whole time. But I did get a lot of pre-calc done.”) Keep it abstract, keep it clean, and wish him well.
In summary, Desperately Seeking, you seem like a pretty kick-ass girl who’s got a good sense of what she wants. You will find people — maybe male, maybe female, maybe somewhere in between — who rock your world. I’m not concerned.