Tits for Tat 

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Dear Audrey, I’ve been dating this guy for six months or so (I’m a woman). We get along great, and the sex has been good, except that he has this completely bizarre need for fairness. Like, everything has to be perfectly equal. So if he goes down on me, I have to go down on him or else I got “free” head. If we do one of my favorite positions, we have to do one of his. He’s especially pushy about getting anal in “return” for giving me lots of foreplay and orgasms. It’s weird because obviously our bodies are different: I don’t come from most penetrative sex, vaginal or anal, so if I’m going to come, it has to be from foreplay. How do I get him to see that it’s not about keeping score?

Ha, let me guess, is he a middle child? If he’s not like that about non-sexual things (which I assume he’s not, because I can’t imagine “getting along great” with someone who is constantly counting the ravioli in your bowl to make sure he got the same amount), I’m willing to bet this is a remnant of a not-so-great previous sexual relationship.

So you’re definitely going to want to have several conversations about that, of both the “let’s talk about our sexual past” variety and the “let’s talk about our sexual present” kind. One of the things that is awesome about sex, and I truly believe this is an evolutionary adaptation, is that for humans, everyone has fun when everyone has fun. There are apes that use sexual pleasure as a way to bond the community together, and I think that’s what we’re meant to do, too.

When your partner is turned on, it turns you on. When you are feeling pleasure, it makes sex more pleasurable for you partner. Of course there are exciting ways that this is not true: sadism and sadomasochism, rape play, etc. But even those, at their cores, are predicated on the idea that one person’s fun is everyone’s fun. Getting him to understand that will be a big part of fixing this problem. Once you see your pleasure not as a zero-sum game but as something that grows exponentially with your partner’s pleasure, it’s much easier to enjoy things (like giving head) that don’t directly affect your genitals. I think, though, that he also has some worry that he’s not going to get “enough” out of sex, and it’s making him miserly with his affections.

Combat this by having conversations about what he wants and what would make him happy. Obviously, if there are things you’re not into, don’t do those. But make it clear that you’re into the same things he is, and that you’re more than happy to try whatever it is that will get him off. He just needs to see that there’s no “shortage” of “his” things just because he’s doing “your” things.

I bet there is a big pool of stuff that both of you really enjoy. Talk through what you both like and want and what you don’t like, and then make an effort when you’re having sex to communicate. If he feels taken care of, and feels like he can ask for what he wants and get more than enough, there will no longer be this perceived scarcity of pleasure, and he will be able to just relax and enjoy.



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