Question: I’m a 29-year-old male and I feel like my sexual relationship with my boyfriend of six months has hit a plateau. I’m pretty kinky, but he seems to be very vanilla. One of my favorite activities with previous partners is urinating on each other, but I’m nervous that he would think I’m a “pervert” if I even mention that. I really like this guy and do not want to push him away, but I also feel like my sex life is lacking without this. Suggestions?

Are you excited you may have found the love of your life, but worried you’ll never get to cultivate that love by peeing on him?  While there may not be a Hallmark card that can express your specific interest to your boyfriend, there are plenty of strategies you can utilize to assertively and sensitively communicate your desires.

Urophilia (also known as urolagnia, watersports, piss play, and golden showers) is a perfectly normal and healthy sexual interest and behavior.  But as you seem to already know, not everyone is going to be down for getting spritzed with liquid human waste.  Cultural etiquette surrounding the urination experience involves being in a private space, wiping the toilet rim clean of splashes (and floor if your stream resembled a snake’s tongue), and washing your hands of any urine molecules that now call your knuckles home.  So it’s understandable how it may be difficult for someone to chuck all of the etiquette and be comfortable, let alone aroused, with piss dripping down his forehead.

Nevertheless, my first challenge for you is to explore the perceived kink discrepancy in the relationship.  You describe yourself as kinky and him as vanilla, but what led you to this conclusion?  Have the two of you thoroughly shared sexual interests, preferences, and needs?  Or are you interpreting his lack of initiation of kinky behavior as disinterest?  Often the latter is true and couples find themselves in a good ol’ fashioned kink standoff.  Neither partner wants to disclose his fantasies out of fear of being oft-putting.  Who knows, your boyfriend may have sent me a similar message asking what he can do to persuade his partner to wash his hair with some freshly filtered bladder juice.

As I say in most of my articles, this conversation can be approached delicately by sharing a host of sexual interests and fantasies.  Start slow.  Do not lay down the urine card on the first hand.  Share more common interests first, like blindfolding and toe sucking, before raising the ante.  This will help both of you build a tolerance to the vulnerability.  It’s a fun game, back and forth, slowly testing each other’s acceptance before someone plays the trump card and discloses he wants to role-play eating your brain.

See, sharing your interest in urophilia seems pretty simple and vanilla when I compare it to Hannibal Lecter fantasies.

However, even after explicit dialogue around sexual fantasies has taken place, he may object to the behavior.  You may plead and inform him that urine is a non-toxic waste product that really only poses a health hazard if you have a urethral infection, but he still may simply say, “Dude, don’t pee on me.”

The last piece of negotiation will involve not looking at this, or any, sexual behavior as all-or-nothing.  Would he be comfortable with peeing in the shower instead of on the living room floor covered with plastic drop cloths?  Hosing on feet instead of the face?  Sprinkling on the legs instead of the larynx?

What about pissing in the afternoon after consuming plenty of water instead of excreting the highly concentrated amber pulp in the morning?  Can you just watch each other urinate?  Pee into cups and splash it on yourself?  How about filling up squirt guns and having some backyard summertime fun?

It’s your sex life; get creative with it.

But despite the negotiating, he has a right to place any type of boundary on the behavior, including a strict “pee goes in the potty” policy.  And he should not feel ashamed or guilty for asserting these boundaries.

Conversely, you need to explore your needs and be honest with yourself.  How important is this behavior to you?  Is it a deal breaker for the relationship if the boundary is too conservative for your taste?  Not being honest with yourself will only build resentment, which may manifest unhealthily in symbolic fights at Home Depot over which shade of yellow paint best accents the bathroom.

But initiating a simple conversation about sexual fantasies can skirt the potential resentment, as well as alleviate the anxiety and trepidation you are currently experiencing.  Go slow.  Listen and be empathic.  And hopefully with good communication and negotiation, you’ll soon be enjoying the pee party you crave.

Yellow Handerkerchief

Not everyone is going to wear a yellow handkerchief in their right pocket. Communication is  required.

 

Question: I recently caught my boyfriend of three years masturbating while wearing a pair of my panties.  He did not see me and I haven’t mentioned anything to him.  I’m shocked and turned off by this and wonder if he’s gay.  I’m also debating whether I should confront him about this.  What do you think I should do?

It is understandable that you were shocked by your boyfriend’s behavior, as it would be shocking to get an intimate glimpse into most people’s solo sexcapades.  But before you create a masturbatory tribunal to confront him and his panty-loving ways, let’s first explore possible motives behind his behavior and how this may have affected your response.

As far as wondering whether your boyfriend is gay, was he looking at the latest issue of Leather Daddy?  Was he moaning the names of One Direction during climax?  Was he thrusting into a cardboard cutout of Ryan Gosling?  As I addressed in “One Drop of Gayness,” even if a northern Minnesota lumberjack was teabagging him, it would be inappropriate to label his sexual orientation based on observable behavior.

In fact, it would be inappropriate to label any aspect of his sexual identity based on one observable behavior.  We do not know if the underwear allowed him to feel more congruent with his gender expression, role, and identity (trans*).  We do not know if he was aroused by the thought of being a woman (autogynephilia).  We do not know if he was aroused from wearing female clothing (transvestic fetishism).  We do not know if he was aroused by the underwear as a sexual object (fetishism).  We do not know if he ran out of pairs of his own underwear and just needed something to absorb his semen (laziness).

It’s also important to know that even if one of the aforementioned scenarios is true, it doesn’t mean a problem exists.  Even though many of those arousal patterns would be considered a “paraphilia,” there is nothing inherently unhealthy about them.  Pathology only exists if the arousal or behavior causes him significant distress, interferes with his functioning, or violates the sexual rights of others (e.g., masturbating in panties by the fireplace at Panera Bread).

With this in mind, explore your thoughts and feelings since witnessing the behavior.  Are you distressed solely because you assume this means he’s gay?  Did it turn you off because it challenged traditional masculine gender norms?  Were you concerned he was stretching out a really good pair of your underwear?

Reflect on your response before bringing this up to him.  And since directly confronting him will likely be embarrassing (and possibly shaming), I’d address this topic slowly and more implicitly.  Maybe start with a conversation exploring and discussing sexual fantasies, including your own.  This will start the process of increasing comfort with sexual vulnerability and sharing.

Also, while this is likely a very sensitive topic for him, do not lose sight of your own sexual rights and preferences throughout this process of reflection and sharing.  We don’t control what turns us on, so if this is still a significant turn off for you even after better insight, what do you want to do?  Is it a deal breaker for the relationship?  Would it be okay if he did this in private since it is no longer a secret?  Would you prefer he not use your underwear and purchase a pair of his own?  Would you be okay with it as long as he doesn’t endlessly discuss it at holiday gatherings with your family?

For the health of both of you, as well as the health of relationship, it is crucial that you two are authentic with your feelings and communicate them in a compassionate way.  And who knows, maybe after some exploration and sharing of sexual feelings and fantasies, both of you may desire to have sex while being watched by a cardboard cutout of Ryan Gosling.

Women's panties or knickers

Underwear: More uses than just preventing denim-on-genital chafing.

Question: I’m a lady in her twenties who has recently become interested in vaginal fisting. I’ve done some research on my own regarding the how-to, but doing that research also has made me nervous about possible side effects (the internet is a scary place). Can you please help me sort out the fact from fiction? What should I legitimately be concerned about?

You’re right, the Internet is scary and can easily convince you that a nosebleed is the Ebola virus (thanks, WebMD), the Incredible Hulk is real, and Michelle Bachmann was created from the tears of child laborers (this may have some validity).

And I applaud your interest in venturing beyond the typical one or two fingers of sexual stimulation and wanting a partner’s entire hand inserted into your vagina.  But in order to avoid an embarrassing trip to the emergency room explaining how you became a human hand puppet, there are healthy suggestions you should be aware of before sitting on a fist.

Therefore, let’s start separating fact from scare tactic.  Curious what the medical field has studied on this topic, I conducted a PubMed search for “fisting,” and although I subsequently had my computer seized by the IT department on campus, I did find a few articles on colorectal injuries from anal fisting, but nothing on vaginal fisting.  That either means physicians are not interested in your vaginal recreational activities, or no one is showing up in the ER from handballing disasters that are worth writing an article about.  Let’s hope it’s the latter.

Nevertheless, there are several things to keep in mind before a partner goes wrist-deep.  First, it is important to understand the elasticity of your vagina.  Theoretically, if an infant can pass through the vagina, it can certainly accommodate a fist.  Yes, but if you recall those “Miracle of Birth” videos from high school, the amazing demonstration of vaginal elasticity is often accompanied by narcotics, screams, blood, and the occasional bowel movement.  I’m assuming this is not the fisting adventure you crave.

To avoid a birthing experience, I’m sure you recognize the importance of relaxation during your attempt at sexual ventriloquism.  However, it is healthiest to relax the pelvic floor muscles naturally through deep breathing and Kegel exercises.  Alcohol, tranquilizers like ketamine, benzodiazepines like Xanax, and “poppers” may cause relaxation, but they also decrease sensation, which can lead to significant injury by not perceiving pain.  Remind yourself of the 1980s anti-drug campaign: “Just Say No – If you’re going to put a fist up your vag.”

Nancy Reagan would be proud her legacy is continuing to a new generation.

Since you’ve already researched the “how to,” I’ll just reiterate the important factors of patience and communication.  No one starts a fisting sexual encounter by dismounting off the bed, completing two forward rolls, and landing vagina first onto the fist of her partner.  While that would earn a score of 10 from the judges, that is an unrealistic expectation of the process.

Go slow.  Incorporate the fisting experience into other forms of sexual behaviors to heighten arousal (but still use plenty of artificial lube).  If you’re only able to insert three fingers to the second knuckle on your first try, consider that a success.  Pay attention to how your body responded so you can learn from the experience and try again later when your friend’s dinner party is getting mind-numbingly boring.

Also understand that low estrogen levels and scar tissue in the pelvic area can make fisting difficult, painful, or even impossible due to a lack of vaginal elasticity.  Know your limits.  The experience will be novel and intense, but it shouldn’t be painful.  Communicate immediately to your partner if you experience discomfort.  Slow down, change positions, or stop.  The dangerous mentality of “no pain, no gain” will only result in you writing your bestselling memoir, The Woman with the Punctured Vagina.

If you avoid substances, focus on relaxation and how your body is responding, go slow, communicate your needs, and set realistic expectations (or no expectations at all), vaginal fisting can be a highly arousing and sensual experience for both you and your partner.  It may leave you with intense, pleasurable, tingly sensations that I encourage you to just enjoy in the moment.  Because if you rush off to the Internet, WebMD will tell you tingly sensations are a sign of a brain tumor.

Despite your love for the Hulk or Tina Fey, do not sexualize this photo. Your vagina will not accommodate those fists.

Question: I’m a polyamorous, bisexual woman who’s having trouble with her primary partner. My (male) partner and I have been together for nearly a decade and I have had ongoing issues initiating sex with him, as well as accepting his sexual advances. I freeze up when he initiates because I feel uncomfortable, pressured, and anxious (when no real pressure is present or intended). Thinking about my partner trying to initiate sex with me often fills me with dread, even though the sex (when we have it) is fantastic. Even when I want to have sex, I find myself incapable of initiating because I can never seem to find the “right moment.” Because of this we often go weeks or months without having sex, which only increases the pressure and anxiety I feel about the issue.  I’m not sure this is relevant, but I’ve only had this issue with my male partner, never with my female partners.

Initiating and receiving sexual advances are often the source of anxiety and frustration.  Television and movies make initiating sex appear seamless that requires no verbal communication:

CUT TO: A dark bedroom in a million-dollar estate. As moonlight shines over the lovers’ faces, their genitals immediately begin to engorge under silk lingerie. This is the signal to embrace and to begin an acrobatic dance that makes Cirque du Soleil look like an elementary school gymnastics team.  The couple doesn’t say a word, but moans in delight from orgasm after orgasm as their bodies meet all of their sensuous and carnal needs.

However, the reality is more like:

CUT TO: A dark bedroom in a 1,200 square-foot home. As the glow of a Glee rerun shines over the lovers’ faces, their genitals lie limply under their Kohl’s-bought pajamas.  One partner leans over for a goodnight kiss and passively lingers to see if the advance will materialize into anything more.  The other partner does not detect this subtle cue as sexual initiation and turns over to go to sleep.  Feeling rejected, the kissing partner quietly masturbates trying not to focus on the nocturnal farts emitting less than a foot away.

Whereas this is a common problem faced by many couples (I address general sexual anxiety in Insecurity Barriers), the difficulty is often compounded by the additional communication necessary in polyamorous relationships with bisexual partners.  And while the complex nature of these problems may need to be processed in therapy, and I will certainly raise more questions than answer, I can at least start opening some lines of communication.

First, has this problem existed for the entirety of your relationship with your primary partner or was there a period of satisfying sex?  If there was a period where you felt more comfortable initiating and receiving, what has changed?  Any changes in the environment like home or financial stability?  Have there been any changes in physical appearance for you or him?  Was he once a svelte, Rob Lowe-esque sex god, but now more closely resembles Rob Reiner?  What about changes in personality or behavior?  Did the two of you once support the same political causes, but recently he started donating money to Pat Robertson’s ministry?  These changes may lead to changes in sexual desire, which may inhibit initiation and reception.

Second, you questioned whether the gender of your partners is relevant, considering you do not experience this difficulty with your female partners.  Ask yourself similar questions as I posited above, but I wonder if the “sexual script” is implicated here.  Often with male-female sexual play, the behavior is very goal-oriented and has historically surrounded male functioning: kiss, stroke, lick, suck (erection achieved), penetrate, thrust, ejaculate (intercourse stops), eat leftovers, watch TV.  When everything is based around the rigidity of his penis and the timing of when he will start spraying semen everywhere, it can create a lot of pressure and anxiety.  Generally, female-female sexual play is more flexible and may not be associated with pressure demands, allowing the focus to shift from the goals to the pleasure.

Lastly, being polyamorous is a wonderful and fitting relationship structure for many individuals.  As with monogamous couples, though, polyamorous individuals can become sexually dissatisfied with their primary partner.  For the poly person, this is more noticeable because of the contrasting satisfying sex he or she is having with other partners.  Especially if you are cohabitating with your primary partner and sharing financial responsibilities, it is important to keep a healthy perspective on the emotions that are involved in the different relationships.

Your primary relationship is attractive because of its stability, but that stability is also its downfall in the form of over-familiarity.  The minutia of everyday living can desexualize someone quickly.  You become roommates more than lovers, and you just find yourself building with resentment after finding his pubic hair sprinkled around the toilet rim after his latest haphazard trimming.  This doesn’t necessarily occur with other partners, where the time spent together is limited and allocated for more playful activities and not spent bickering over which shower curtain hooks to buy at IKEA.

As you can see, there are a lot of factors that may be contributing to your distress (and this is likely just scratching the surface).  If you haven’t already, it’s important to begin sharing your concerns and needs with your primary partner directly.  And as with initiating sex, there is no “right moment” to do this.  The timing will never be perfect and there will always be excuses to use to prevent initiation.  All you need to do is take a baby step (e.g., address only a small concern at first) and see how he responds.  If he’s not responsive or the conversations are not productive, getting a therapist involved may be beneficial.  But with insight into your distress, asserting your needs, and enforcing your boundaries surrounding your needs, you’ll soon be able to initiate satisfying sex with a primary partner and have a pube-free toilet rim.

I think I hear a goal-oriented penis in the bedroom; I’m going to watch “The Walking Dead.”

Question: I’m a young woman in my early twenties. My concern is that throughout the month, my sexual desire and even thoughts fluctuate so significantly. Around days when I would be ovulating, my sex drive is up to levels of sex addiction vs sometimes, it’s the furthest thing I could want, in fact – I am incapable of enjoying it then. Is that normal? I realize that this probably has a lot to do with hormones, but should I be concerned and deal with it?

Does your sexual desire cause you to retreat to a 12th century monastery on some weeks, but has you compulsively grinding your genitals onto your friends’ furniture on other weeks?  Do not despair, because many who are plagued and confused by drastically fluctuating levels of sexual desire share your experience.

Since this may be a biological issue, it may be necessary to speak with your primary care physician if these extreme fluctuations are creating significant distress, are interfering with your life, or are changing your sexual behavior where you are playing herpes roulette with strangers behind your neighborhood Denny’s.

But short of these extreme scenarios, I’d like to focus on restructuring the distress caused by the normal waxing and waning of our libidos.

From a clinical perspective, there are not absolute guidelines for what constitutes low desire or high desire.  Nowhere in my clinical psychology book of wizardry exists criteria that states, “If you desire touching hard and wet parts less than three times a month you are frigid; and if you desire touching wobbly bits more than three times a day you are pervy.”

There aren’t specific criteria because so many factors can influence desire, such as recent breakups, work or school stress, certain medications, sleep quality, and the amount of cookie crumbs in your partner’s pubic hair.

When these environmental tides take away your sexual desire, the last thing that is helpful is to feel like you should be interested in having sex.  Your desire will return as these environmental factors begin to wane.  Simply recognize you’re still a sexual person, give yourself permission to take a break from sexual behavior if you don’t desire it, and ride out the stressor.  You’ll be back desiring to feel engorged purple parts in no time.

Conversely, these environmental tides may also increase desire, sometimes significantly so.  Similarly, this is only temporary and only a response.  There are many motivations for sexual desire and sexual behavior.  As long as you give yourself permission to be sexual and maintain healthy boundaries (e.g., try to avoid feltching strangers), distress should be minimal and desire will eventually decrease.

Fluctuations in sexual desire are normal.  Your desire will fluctuate throughout the course of the day, week, month, year, and lifetime.  Distress will likely result if we have a certain expectation of what our desire ought to be.  It’s important to recognize that you are a sexual person regardless of your current level of desire and give yourself permission to abstain or indulge in sexual behavior.  Unless, of course, your sexual indulgence elevates to where you’re dry humping the fur off of your pet chinchilla.  In that case, see your physician.

"If your vulva gets one step closer, I'm calling the ASPCA."

“If your vulva gets one step closer, I’m calling the ASPCA.”