How to Do It is Slate’s sex advice column. Have a question? Send it to Stoya and Rich here. It’s anonymous.
Dear How to Do It,
My ex was very addicted to porn and hardly ever climaxed with me. He would masturbate downstairs and leave me upstairs waiting for him. He wanted to see other women online instead of carrying out his fantasies with me. Always.
The guy I’m with now is starting to look like he’s the same. The only difference is that he does climax with me sometimes. He’s 46 and I’m 35, and we haven’t been together long. I know he’s masturbating on his own rather than finish with me. Should I be concerned? Or wait it out to see if he starts to never climax with me like my ex? I understand we don’t always have to climax when we are intimate, I just feel unsure right now.
It seems like you’re past the “should I be…” stage and are just concerned. That is, after all, why you’re drawing connections to your past fraught relationship and writing in to an advice column, right?
Your concern is understandable, but not necessarily warranted. This guy is “starting to look the same” as your ex, but I’m not clear on whether that just means he’s not orgasming every time you have sex or is exhibiting signs of a problematic relationship with porn, which may contribute to issues with sex and desire. If we take porn out of the equation for now, there are a host of factors that may contribute to the condition known as delayed ejaculation, including depression, performance anxiety, medication, and health issues. It might also be that your new guy has an idiosyncratic masturbation technique that he’s grown so accustomed to that other stimulation pales in comparison.
I think you should try to get more information on this—you can start by asking, “Did you want to come?,” when it’s clear that he’s wrapping up after not having done so, but before the sex act is decidedly over. That will give him the opportunity to explain, if he so chooses, but it leaves things open enough to avoid shaming him. Instead of relying on your past negative experience, get more clarity in your current one and evaluate from there.
Dear How to Do It,
So I just … don’t really enjoy sex. I don’t find it actively gross or anything, and orgasms help me relax and sleep, but I could definitely go the rest of my life without sex and just think nothing of it. I never really had a horny, hormonal teenager phase, but I did sleep around a little bit in college chasing the elusive “great sex” people always talked about, but I just always found it to be kind of boring. It seems like a chore and it’s just the same basic set of moves in different orders (foreplay, oral sex, penetration, switch positions, orgasm, rinse, repeat).
I ended up marrying a man who has medical issues and takes a lot of medication, so he’s only down for sex about once a month, which is great for me. Practically speaking, I don’t have an issue since I married someone who doesn’t want to have sex constantly. But mentally, I really freak myself out wondering if there’s something wrong with me. I don’t have any medical issues or take any medicine, and I am definitely physically affectionate (hugs, kissing, snuggling etc.) Every time I’ve confided this in someone, they’ve been nice about it but kind of dumbfounded. Is this really something people feel like they absolutely need, or is it just something people enjoy for intimacy and relaxation? And is this something I can be OK with, or should I see a doctor because it’s a sign of something wrong with my hormones?
—Just Not That Into It
Dear Just Not That Into It,
“Is this something I can be OK with?” you ask. Yes, you may. That’s that. Now, wasn’t that easy?
If only! That’s a question that you have to answer…
Read More: he doesn’t know that I know what he’s doing.