09/24/2014 4:00 AM |

Dear Audrey, I’m a boring straight guy. I’m dating the most amazing woman who I am continually surprised is into me. She’s younger, hotter, bi, and way more sexually liberated than I am. I think she enjoys opening my mind to the possibilities of sex. Recently she told me she had a present for me, and I’m thinking some kind of cool toy or restraint or something—she has a war chest like you would not believe. It was a Fleshlight. I was insulted and told her so. Her argument was that she has all these vibrators and dildos, and she knows I masturbate, so why not give me something just for me? I said only losers and sad men have fake vaginas. She said I was close-minded and a prude. We had a big fight about it. What am I supposed to do here?

Get down on your knees and thank your lucky stars they’ve delivered you such a quality lady willing to sex you and learn you at the same time. Then while on knees apologize and also do sex stuff of your choosing.

Like okay, Cornelius Bear, I get that you’re an old-fashioned gentleman who jac ks it like the framers intended, with whale tallow and a monogrammed hanky. But you have to admit that there’s a weird double standard when it comes to sex toys: Women get to use whatever fun stuff they want, but we snicker at guys who enjoy masturbatory aids. Why? Lots of reasons that boil down to the patriarchy hurting men too (P.S. SMASH THE PATRIARCHY).

Whether you’ll ever evolve to the point of accepting Fleshlights (or we’ll ever, as a society, since I admit to finding Fleshlights pretty funny but it’s the “hiding your pocket pussy as a flashlight/beer can” that gets me), the mistake you are making is focusing on the gift in particular and not on the situation in general, from a manners perspective.

Imagine if instead of a sex toy, she had surprised you with a piece of jewelry that was both expensive and not particularly to your taste. You might feel a mild twinge of “She thinks I would like this? Does she even know me? Or does my style not come across like I think it does?” but you would never open the package and throw an immediate fit that she’d gotten you something you didn’t like. That would be unimaginably rude. And yet that’s what you’ve done here!

She bought you something as a love gift that wasn’t exactly what you’d get yourself and instead of thanking her profusely and putting it in a special drawer and never using it but still having it for her to find if she ever happens to be looking in your drawer for some reason, so that she feels flattered that you’re keeping her gift close, you’ve thrown her thoughtfulness back in her face. Not only not said thank you, but complained that her nice gesture has insulted you. Plus, if she sees no difference between Fleshlights and vibrators, you’ve made it seem as though you find HER masturbatory aids tasteless and yucky.

Masturbation, like jewelry, tends to be a pretty personal thing and it’s hard to buy stuff for someone you haven’t known forever. She took a risk, and is probably questioning whether your difference in worldview is too much. So surprise her with a nice gesture and heartfelt apology in your style, and be grateful for what you’ve got.


09/10/2014 4:00 AM |

Dear Audrey, I feel like a total asshole. I (a woman) am married to a guy I’ve been with for almost ten years. I felt like our sex life was getting a little routine, so I asked him to think of stuff we might enjoy that’s a little edgier. I guess he’s always been really into this one thing (not gonna name it cause he might read this) that he was scared to share with me. So, asshole that I am, I pestered him into trying it, and not only did I really not like it, I can’t look at him the same way anymore. It’s nothing gross, but now I have trouble seeing him as sexually attractive at all. I don’t know what to do because I know it’s not sex-positive or whatever to feel this way, and I’m the one that pushed this whole thing and promised I’d be cool. I thought I would! Now I feel stuck between faking it for the rest of my life or admitting what happened and ending our marriage, I guess? I wish I had just left it alone. Tell me how to fix this.

Okay, well, two things. The first is that even though, yes, on paper this makes you seem a little asshole-y, I understand that you can’t control how you feel. Or especially, who you are attracted to. This thing happened, you can’t take it back, so stop feeling so guilty and let’s just try to move forward from where you are.

The second thing is that either this kink is a huge part of who he is sexually, or it’s not. If it is, then it was going to come out at some point anyway. If he was hiding a big chunk of what makes him sexually happy for ten years, no wonder your sex life was suffering. So if this fetish is essential to his being, and you can’t hang with it, you guys were already sexually incompatible, whether you nudged him into trying it with you or not. Better that you not go another ten years being unhappy.

If this isn’t a big part of who he is, but just some random thing he wanted to try and enjoyed but that you did not enjoy, then I don’t really think it could possibly change your view of him forever and ever. I don’t really see how any single kinky encounter could erase your attraction—go and have good sex a few times and see if it doesn’t recede in your memory. You could even talk to him about how you weren’t into whatever it was and suggesting something else to try.

It’s kind of an either/or thing: Either it’s a big part of him and a big deal, or a nothing thing and forget it. The only other option that really makes any sense is that you were already feeling not attracted to him (which can happen slowly after ten years) and this encounter just galvanized what you were already feeling. In which case, fine, but deal with your real feelings that had been building up and talk to him about them, and leave this part out. It’s just what made you see what had been there all along, and it’s nicer not to make him feel bad about it. I refuse to believe that one little encounter could change your mind forever, if it wasn’t already 99 percent changed.


08/27/2014 4:00 AM |

Illustration by Sarah Lutkenhaus

Dear Audrey, I have a group of friends from college that are super tight-knit, and over the course of time (we’re in our late 20s now) many of us have hooked up, so we all know about each other’s sex lives. For a long time, I was with one guy. Let’s call him Joe. We were a good match, but the sex was never great. He was fixated on anal. We tried it once and it hurt and I hated it. He always resented that I didn’t want to do it very often, and I resented that he didn’t care about hurting me. We finally broke up six months ago.

Recently, I met a new guy (not from our group) who is great at sex. And, rather than act like I owed him my ass, he went out of his way to take it slow and make anal pleasurable for me and— guess what?—now I love it. It’s gotten back to Joe that new guy and I are all about anal, and he’s mad and acting childish whenever we get together as a group. He’s hostile and weird to my new boyfriend, and if he ever brought up what his problem was, my new guy would be very embarrassed—he doesn’t know how open my friend group is about sex. I don’t know how to handle Joe. At first I was mad but now he just seems pathetic, but some of my friends are on his side. All I want is peace in the kingdom and great sex with the new guy.

Wow, hmm, to be perfectly honest, your friends sound like kind of a nightmare. Like, it’s great that you’re all so open about sex, and that you can (kind of) be friends with your ex, but you have to ask yourself if what you do and do not put in your butt is a public issue to this degree.

Also, it might help Joe to hear some hard truth about how bad at sex he is. Why certain men think wheedling and guilt is a better plan for getting what they want than making what they want equally pleasurable for their partner I’ll never know. Laziness, I guess. But that doesn’t really lead to peace in the kingdom. So maybe you need to get out of the kingdom a little? Perhaps some time away from the nest would be good. It might be that you’ve outgrown these friendships. Take stock of what other friends you have that might be more your current speed.

I do have to wonder a little about your motives. It sounds like you pretty much knew this info would instantly get back to Joe and would upset him. You might want to do some soul-searching about to what extent you are angry with him and want to humiliate him in front of your friends. If that’s what you’re doing, and you’re aware of it, fine, do what you need to do, though maybe that’s not the most useful way of processing your anger?

Or I dunno, some people (like your friend group, perhaps) thrive on drama. If that’s you, okay, but don’t be surprised if your excellent new lover isn’t thrilled about being a pawn in your weird ex-boyfriend vendetta.•

08/13/2014 4:00 AM |

Dear Audrey, I’m a guy in my late 20s. I’m coming up on a year of not having had sex, though not on purpose, really. A long-term relationship ended about a year and a half ago, and I went on a bunch of Tinder dates because I was excited to have sex again (part of the reason the relationship ended was the sex was nonexistent). I think I just got unlucky or something, but most of the women were mismatches, and the three I ended up sleeping with, the sex just wasn’t good at all. The last one was not good to the point that I took a break (she insisted on doing some kind of role-play and then got mad and started crying when I wouldn’t slap her face, which is just not my thing). So anyway, I guess I just kind of gave up and focused on other things and somehow the time went by and now here I am almost 30 and I feel like I have no sex game at all. Even if I did find someone I was into, I have a feeling I’d be terrible at sex since I haven’t done it in so long. How do I get over this? Am I depressed?

I don’t mean this to sound cruel, I promise, but have you considered the fact that maybe you were never very good at sex? I mean this as a positive! Like, you don’t give the details of your relationship, but perhaps your sex game has always been a little lacking? And now here is your big chance to start over fresh and get good at sex. It’s exciting and wonderful!

Even if you feel totally sure your previous moves were winners, why not take this as an opportunity to really relearn the fundamentals and emerge a rare NYC single dude in his 30s with no obvious issues (I’m assuming) and is great in bed? Trust me that this combination is sought-after one.

As to whether you are depressed, it’s not outside the realm of possibility. If you think you have a low sex drive from brain chemicals, or could just use someone to talk to about your former relationship, or for any reason, really, find a therapist, if you can afford one. If you have health insurance that covers some therapy, then why not?

From the sex angle, though, I think what you need is a kind and caring friend with benefits who will help you relearn the ropes. One night stands are fun, but the sex can vary extremely in quality, and you’re almost guaranteed not to get real feedback from your partner about what you are doing. Plus dating is lots of work. You’re out of shape. You need the sex version of a Couch to 5k.

Find an FWB and tell them you’re trying to totally relearn your sex techniques and that you want honest feedback, and then just try a bunch of things out. She’ll help you refine your moves and gain confidence. Don’t just do things in a certain order because that’s how you’ve always done it or that’s how your former girlfriend preferred it—really give the process some thought.

You are going to come out of this stronger than ever, and ready to fuck at a championship level. You just have to train for it.

07/30/2014 4:00 AM |

Dear Audrey, I’m pretty sure my boyfriend is looking at porn on my iPad. That’s fine, I guess, except that I have reason to believe he’s been cumming onto it! Yuck! I have sex with him, so I’m not worried about diseases, but I am concerned that he can mess up the iPad, for one, and for two, it’s just not cool, you know? I don’t care what he does with his alone time, but come on, it’s my iPad. How do I get this across to him without making him feel bad or turning it into a thing?

Hmm. It is definitely rude to jizz on electronics that don’t belong to you. Everybody? Listen up, let’s gather ‘round. We all need to agree that as we move forward into to our bright and shiny digital future, all watched over by machines of loving grace, that it is bad manners to bust a nut on any device that you do not actually own, especially one with a touchscreen interface, even if the owner is someone in/on whom you often bust nuts. I feel like with Smart Homes and Wearables and The Internet of Things coming over the horizon, the opportunities for sticking our dicks in our partners’/roommates’/parents’ robot butlers/cyborg arm panels/programmable thermostats increases exponentially. Let’s go ahead and create these boundaries, as a species, before it becomes a
real problem.

That said, from a strictly utilitarian point of view, I don’t see how he could really hurt it, unless the fluids somehow worm their way into the little bottom button and get it gummed up? I’m no Genius, but as long as it’s getting wiped off promptly I don’t think you have to worry all that much about hurting your iPad. Keyboards seem like the real risk with this sort of thing.

Still, it’s a problem that should be addressed, if only to keep you from forever harboring resentment about his misuse of your things. That’s what it’s mostly about, right? Using your stuff without asking in a way that is sort of personal? You make out with this guy, I’m sure, but him casually licking all of your silverware probably wouldn’t sit well either.

Masturbation is a funny thing. Most everyone does it, and most everyone agrees we oughtn’t be ashamed of doing it. And yet, it’s often a private thing, between you and whatever body parts you use. Not out of shame, necessarily, but, especially in a relationship, out of some sense of preserving a sexual and fantasy life outside of your partner.

If you are monogamous, this might be your only separate sexual space. I think a lot of people are very protective of that. And also a lot of people feel just the tiniest twinge of left-out-ness, that their partner has this rich fantasy life with whatever kind of porn they like. So even though we all swear up and down that we’re totally cool with our partner’s masturbatory habits—and expect that they are with ours—and mostly in the actual non-lizard brain part of ourselves, ARE totally cool with it—there can just be a certain tetchiness when it comes to talking to your partner about their jerk off routines.

So given all of that, I honestly think saying, “Have you been using my iPad?” accompanied by a pointed look, followed by saying, “Seriously, could you not, dude?” should do the trick.

07/16/2014 4:00 AM |

Dear Audrey, recently I mentioned to a new friend that I’m bi. She’d only ever known me to date men. Her reaction has been… weird. She’s in a serious relationship with a man and has started pestering me to have a threesome with them. I am not attracted to them at all. I’ve been politely telling her no, and she’s started taking it as an insult. She even said that if I didn’t want to sleep with her that meant I didn’t really like her. What? I don’t think she’s ever been with women, and I don’t think her and her boyfriend have an open relationship. On top of all this, I met her through a friend at work, and I don’t want this all over the office. I’m very uncomfortable—she texts every day about some aspect of my or her sex life. I’m not sure how to get my no across in a way that sticks, and I don’t want to lose my work friend. Have I violated some weird straight girl code or what? What should I do?

Ugghhhhh. This definitely has aspects of the whole “straight girls make out to turn on men” phenomenon, with a hearty dash of narcissistic insecurity. There are definitely people in the world who believe that all friends want to fuck each other, and that you would not be friends with someone you don’t find attractive.

You and I, I think, have similar outlooks, which is that you can recognize that a friend is beautiful, smart, attractive, etc. without actually being attracted to them. This woman’s behavior is completely inappropriate. She is treating you in a way that I can’t imagine she would tolerate a man treating her. That is, perhaps, a straight girl thing: thinking things that are blatantly uncool man-to-woman are fine woman-to-woman. Which, yeah, the cultural power structure is different, but it is still shitty and awful.

Don’t get me started on the people who think inviting an attractive woman into their hetero relationship’s bed is doing the lady a favor. Come on guys.

That is all to say that it sounds to me like this woman is a self-centered asshole, but I think she would be shocked to find out how rude her behavior actually is. I suspect she is very insecure and for whatever reason has decided sleeping with you will fix that. I think she probably thinks she is being charming and flirtatious, not inappropriate and aggressive.

Which unfortunately means if you were to make her understand how her actions made you feel, she would be embarrassed and probably lash out. You are certainly well within your rights to sit her down and explain to her what a dick she’s being, but if you want to preserve the relationship with your work friend, I would say the easiest course of action is to completely stop communication with her—don’t answer texts and don’t pick up the phone—and let your work friend vaguely know what is going on. Maybe she could speak to your unwanted suitor, since she knows her better. I get that that sounds like copping out, but honestly, I have dealt with a lot of these drama-oriented personalities and confrontation is something they flourish on. You’ll never ever walk away feeling better about your life. I’m sorry that you’re in this position. Hopefully this question will help some other straight girl out there learn how to act.


07/02/2014 4:00 AM |

Dear Audrey, I’m a guy in my mid-20s. I got married to my girlfriend right out of college. Our sex life has always been fine, but lately edging toward not-so-great. I thought it was just normal “being married” stuff mixed in with her getting more and more eager to have kids. But. I have recently realized (though realized doesn’t feel like the right word) that I’m attracted to men.

I told my wife and understandably, she is upset. I think she mostly just doesn’t get it—we went to a liberal college, my family isn’t religious, how did I just realize it now? I don’t know what to tell her. I am still attracted to women, too, but exploring this part of myself is really important to me. She suggested opening up our marriage for a while. I know she wants me to “get it out of my system” then come back to her and get on with our marriage but I don’t see that happening. Three-part question: 1) Is it even possible that I am suddenly attracted to men? 2) Is it stupid to throw away our marriage (I do love her)? 3) Am I being a completely selfish asshole?

1) Even within my relatively limited study, I have learned that when it comes to human sexuality, literally anything is possible. 

2) Stepping outside the question of your bisexuality, it sounds to me like you don’t want to be married.  You say you love your wife, but the sex is lousy and even after a period of open marriage, you think monogamy with her isn’t in the cards. That doesn’t really sound like a marriage that’s succeeding, to me. 

Loving someone isn’t always enough to make it work. Especially since you have no religious qualms, getting divorced sounds like a really good option. I have always been of the opinion that it’s normal for relationships not to last your entire life.

3) Yes, you are being completely selfish. You need to be selfish. Selfishness is good sometimes—sometimes it’s the only path to real happiness. Whether or not you are an asshole depends entirely on how you handle the rest of this situation. Your wife is understandably shocked and devastated. She thought you were going to be the father of her kids, and now you want to divorce her and fuck a bunch of dudes. I think if you put yourself in her shoes, you can imagine why she is suggesting an open marriage, and hoping that this is just a phase.

The kindest thing you can do for her in the long run is to gently but firmly tell her it’s over, and move on with your life. I know you want to protect her from being angry and hurt, but you can’t. She is already angry and hurt. It’s not your “fault,” but you are the cause, so be as kind to her as you can. Perhaps in time she’ll be able to see all the ways your relationship was not working aside from your revelation. But either way, you’re allowing her to move on a find the right guy for her. It would be way meaner to let her spend years waiting for you, only to slowly realize you’re never coming back. Let her go find the father of her kids and let yourself go find some hot guy in the back room of the bar.

by |
06/18/2014 4:00 AM |

Dear Audrey,

I’m a woman in my mid-to-late-ish 30s. In the past year or so, I’ve started to notice A LOT of gray pubes. No marker of aging has upset me this way. I have a few gray head hairs, but I dye my hair anyway because I like the look. I use a medium-expensive wrinkle cream, but I’m not botoxing or anything. I feel like I am accepting my age and aging gracefully. Except these pubes just make me cry. I’ve started waxing it all off, but that’s so much work and also feels a little silly. And my husband just sort of shrugged at the wax job. So I don’t know what to do. Dye it? Keep waxing even though I kind of hate having my labia hanging around naked like two pieces of hamachi sushi? And speaking of sushi, I could put that wax money to better use, you know? What should I do here? Am I just being a vain nutjob?

You never know what part of aging is suddenly going to make you go apeshit with vanity. When you’re 24 and it’s all theoretical, it’s super easy to be like, “I’m not going to fight time, I’ll just be a hot lady who ages naturally—tada, feminism!” Then SOMETHING happens and you’re ready to call up the Kardashian/Jenner’s surgeon and beg him to make you into a smooth mask of a human facsimile.

For me it was the first time my lipstick wandered into a little crease in my lip. And like suddenly I was losing it about how old I am and what I’m going to look like in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, etc. I spent an imprudent amount of time and money trying to fix the problem, which cannot be fixed because, duh, we are decaying corpses marching irrevocably to the grave. No amount of salt scrub is going to Benjamin Button
anybody’s wrinklepuss.

Luckily for you, hair color is something that is easily and permanently fixed. Your upset-about-aging thing is totally manageable, even if you continue to pursue the wild denial tactic well into your 80s. So if you like having pubes, then fuck yeah, dye ‘em. Why not? Why not just correct something that bugs you?

Your husband, bless him, seems not to notice or care either way, so do what makes you happy. I understand that it’s difficult from a self-regard perspective to be that person hanging around nude but unable to sit on the furniture because you are waiting for your black pube dye to set and don’t want to get stains on any of the couches. I get that. That’s not what any of us pictured ourselves being in our near-40s.

But that’s because what we pictured were women who did all that artificial shit but claimed not to, so that real live human beings were left to feel like decrepit wads of garbage when their bodies acted like nature intended. I think the flip side of not letting the patriarchy pressure you into doing beauty nonsense that you don’t want to do is to not let your shame about vanity or your perception that caring about what you look like is sad or unfeminist keep you from doing what you want to look a way that makes you happy.


06/04/2014 4:00 AM |

Dear Audrey, a few months ago, I went to a new gyno on the recommendation of a friend. Her doctor wasn’t there, but I saw another doc in the practice. The first time I went was just for a checkup, and I found her exam to be rough and painful. I said something, and she brushed it off. After that I was having some weird symptoms, so I went back and she was incredibly rude. She berated me for how many partners I’d had, said I probably made the problem worse by waxing (what?) and generally implied that I was a total slut. Then she ordered a ton of STD tests, even though the issue was not sexually transmitted, and gave me a prescription for the drugs I needed. I left the office in tears. I have since found a new doctor who confirms that the problem I had was totally unrelated to my hair or my number of sexual partners, and that that doctor behaved inappropriately. I just can’t seem to let it go. I wrote a bad review online, but every time I think about what happened I get upset. I know it’s irrational—it wasn’t even that big of a deal! How do I move past this?

Going to any doctor puts you in a vulnerable position. They’re just people, and some of them are bad at their jobs. You’re trusting a stranger to keep you safe and well. That goes triple for gynecologists, who are also examining you in a very intimate way and being told the really real truth about your sex life. A pox on insensitive gynos because even fearless people sometimes need a little tenderness from them. Not that your doctor was merely insensitive. She sounds like she’s actually not practicing medicine right. That’s not just awful for you—that’s dangerous. So definitely write as many bad reviews as you can and spread the word, though that’s more for the next person than it is for you.

For you, what’s happened already happened. You had a rough exam. She yelled at you and shamed you. She didn’t take your word for what was going on with you, and made you feel bad for living your life. That is 100 percent not ok and a violation of your trust, so it makes sense that you’re having trouble shaking it off. It’s extremely hard to confront doctors behaving inappropriately because we’re taught that they know best. Now you’ve been treated badly and there’s no real recourse.

I don’t think she did anything actionable; she was just a shithead, so writing bad reviews on the Internet is kind of all you can do, unless you feel like you’re up for confronting her about what happened. (I question how constructive that would be.) I would suggest maybe finding a therapist to talk to. Fear of going to the doctor can have serious health consequences for your future. He or she might be able to help you find constructive ways to move forward, or at least give you space to talk without being, like, god, get over it already. It’s possible this could be linked to something you’ve forgotten in your past? Even if not, your therapist can help you develop strategies for talking to doctors and being assertive in the moment, which is so, so hard, but which can make you feel less helpless the next time you’re in a weird medical situation.


05/21/2014 4:00 AM |

Dear Audrey, my ex and I were together for eight years. At the end of our relationship, we had an amazing sex life. I learned that I can squirt. It was a very aggressive and rough kind of stimulation that triggered my “geyser.” Now I’m in a relationship, and it’s full of passion and amazing sex, but it’s different. He’s very soft and gentle. Extremely loving and sensual. There’s nothing wrong with that, except… I don’t think I’ve had an orgasm yet. Is it the change from the aggression that’s causing my lack of orgasm? Has my orgasm changed? Is that even possible? Am I too nervous to actually come? I can’t figure out the reason why I’m not getting mine! My man has amazing stamina, and though he’s not super kinky, he definitely gets me going. He’s not as talkative as I am though, especially in bed. I honestly have no idea why or what could be causing my lack of release. We’ve talked about things that turn us both on, but communication with my squeeze is a bit challenging. I’m an East Coast girl, very blunt and honest, whereas he’s a Midwest man: very quiet and shy. Is it actually possible to have “Viking sex on a burning ship” with my stoic Viking? Please help!

I’m not sure I’ve ever helped someone achieve burning-ship Viking sex specifically, but you go ahead and put on your good-time horn hat because I think your problem is an easy fix. I doubt your orgasm has changed, just your partner. I am very familiar with these shy/stoic/quiet (grouchy?) Midwesterners. They work differently than us loudmouths. They might be all like, “Uh, gosh, I never have thought of my penis as a Viking exactly,” but they will listen to what you’re saying and be game for whatever, as long as you’re willing to take the lead (at first). Unwilling to talk does not equal unwilling to perform.

So step one is just go ahead and lay all your cards on the table as nicely as possible. Explain that you want him to make you squirt, and tell him you’re going to teach him how to do it. It will be important to be direct without making him feel like he was doing a bad job. Step two is to tell him exactly—EXACTLY—what to do as he goes along. You’ll have to do this only once, maybe twice, and then he’ll get it. It won’t feel sexy; it’ll feel bossy and boring. But just push through because, once he learns, he’ll do a great job forever.

This is more necessary than most women think even for non-Midwestern men, because (a) every woman really and truly is very different in their preferences, and what feels stupid and awful to you very well might have been his ex’s A+ extra-juice sex routine, and (b) I think most men are hesitant to be as rough as some women need. Like, you can say, “I like it rough,” but unless you are very specific, most men will err on the side of not hurting you (which is good) and it won’t be rough enough. I also think lots of guys overestimate the vagina’s delicateness, not really understanding the beating those things are designed to take in childbirth. If you can tough it out through this awkward learning phase, you can Viking it as much as you please.