Heads up, Sparklers: Today’s letter contains some frank and honest sex talk. If you don’t like that sort of thing, here are some Shakespeare Snapchats instead; otherwise, carry on!
Dear Auntie SparkNotes,
My boyfriend of a year just revealed to me that I do not physically satisfy him (in bed, for clarity—he finds me attractive). He said this doesn’t matter, that he has other outlets (running, mainly), and I make him very happy otherwise.
I love having sex with him and he says it I am “a lot of fun”, but lack certain physical characteristics that really get him going (i.e. I’m not “tight”). He usually does not orgasm during sex.
We are exclusive and I am not interested in an open relationship (I don’t think he is either). This seems like a huge issue, though: at some point he’s going to want to find someone that does make him physically happy, right? I was pretty confident in my skills in bed until this revelation, but now I’m nervous about even initiating anything because I know I’ll never be good enough.
How do I accept this and move on? Should I even move on?
Allow me to answer your question with a question, Sparkler. When your boyfriend says you aren’t physically equipped to satisfy him in bed, what is his point of comparison?
Because here’s the thing: with a couple of caveats (i.e. you were born with a bizarrely wide-set vagina, or you’ve recently given birth to a wide-set baby), it is unlikely to the point of statistical insignificance that your anatomy is the problem here. Not to be crude, but if your vagina is snug enough to hold a tampon in place, it’s certainly snug enough to apply enjoyable pressure to the average (or even below-average) wiener.
What’s far more likely—and what Auntie would guess is the issue, if she were in the guessing business—is that your boyfriend has given himself (and more importantly, his wiener) some weird ideas about how “tight” a vagina should be… which can be the result of prior sexual experience with an anatomically unique partner, but which is usually the result of an ill-advised masturbatory technique known as the White-Knuckled Chokehold of Death. Not even the world’s teensiest vagina can exert the same pressure as a human hand, and when guys grip themselves too hard during DIY sex, especially if they do it a lot over the course of several years, they can basically end up training their junk not to respond to anything lighter than a death-grip.
Which is why I’d like to ask your BF just what he’s comparing your ladyparts to when he describes them as insufficiently tight… and just where he gets off (no pun intended) telling you that your body is the problem, which is a super-uncool thing to do in a relationship under any circumstances.
Of course, all of this is somewhat tangential to your question; I just want to be clear first and foremost that the problem is not your body. There is nothing wrong with your body. And when you say that you’re afraid to initiate sexytimes because you know you’ll never be good enough, I want to gently flick you in the forehead and tell you to stop saying crazy self-loathing things that make no sense. The actual problem here, first and foremost, is that telling your partner that their body is inadequate is an awful thing to do — and that your boyfriend doesn’t seem to recognize how dumb and mean it was to dump the responsibility for his lack of sexual gratification in your lap. (Or, y’know, another body part.)
But if you guys can get past that (i.e. if he apologizes, which he really should), then the secondary problem of your sexual incompatibility is almost certainly fixable… that is, as long your boyfriend is telling the truth about why he’s having trouble being satisfied by your sex life. (I admit, part of me does wonder if he laid the blame on you because he was looking for a way to write off your sex life, because the real issue is something embarrassing about him that he’d rather not admit.) But assuming that he’s being honest, then there’s no reason why you guys can’t change up your sex life to incorporate things he would find physically satisfying—and if he’s physically insensitive down there for the aforementioned reasons, it’s usually possible to reverse that state of affairs. (For further advice on that front, I’ll leave you in the capable hands of sex columnist Dan Savage, with a warning that this link contains sexually explicit language.)
In short, you don’t have to accept as inevitable that your boyfriend will never be satisfied in your relationship, and you definitely should not blame yourself for not being good enough. You just need to communicate, honestly and lovingly and imaginatively, to see if there’s a way to make things better.
That is, after he apologizes for being a doink. Which he should. I hope he did.
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