Q: Here’s the thing. My boyfriend has a medical condition, a blood disorder, the result of which is occasional ED. I’d like to be able to say that it doesn’t matter… but it does. I like very traditional sex. And I’m not sure that’s an option. Getting him off is complicated, and it’s not easy for him to get ME off–there are SSRIs involved. And… I just don’t like that kind of sex. I want to be fucked in the classical sense. I’m not sure how to broach the subject with him. I think he’s very open to talking about things, but this is not an easy thing for ME to talk about. HELP. -A Traditionalist
A: While we do think that talking to your boyfriend about this is a good way to go, you will probably need to be more specific and/or explicit when you discuss this with him. You referred to “traditional sex” and being fucked “in the classical sense,” and we both inferred that you probably mean penis-in-vagina sex, but it’s interesting – what “traditional sex” is can vary widely from person to person and couple to couple. Does oral sex figure into the picture for you, either as an opening number leading up to PIV sex, or all by itself? Do either of you give each other a hand while having PIV sex? And what about anal stimulation during PIV sex, during other acts, or as the sole event? Are toys ever a part of all of this?
What we’re trying to get at is that one way to approach this might be to try to expand your definition of sex to include a wider range of activities (if you enjoy those activities). We couldn’t tell from your letter if you’ve tried this and were unhappy with your explorations or if the idea didn’t really appeal to or hadn’t occurred to you (you said “I just don’t like that kind of sex” but we weren’t certain what kind you were referring to and were trying not to make assumptions). And we definitely don’t want to impose our standards of ordinary or frequent components of sex onto you, but this could be worth considering.
If you and he are open to incorporating some accessories into your sex life, that might help you get closer to the kind of sex you’re wanting. If your boyfriend sometimes loses his erection, a cock ring could help him sustain one (and they come in all sorts of varieties, so if you think some additional external stimulation for you might help you get off, that’s an option). There are also hollow strap-ons that can be worn over the penis; it may or may not do much for him, but it would allow you to enjoy some PIV fucking and you could focus on him in return before or after.
Additionally, a penis pump might be worth investigating, though we want to add the big disclaimer that we know they’re sometimes not recommended for people with certain blood disorders, so if this is something that appeals to you both, you’d want to do a lot of research to make sure that it’s safe for him to use it. From what we’ve read from men who have used pumps, it might not lend itself to spontaneity and setting the mood, but with some practice it can be a good resource. (As with anything, opinions and experiences vary widely, with some people loving the pumps they’ve used and other people hating them.)
If anything we’ve suggested appeals to you, you could mention it to him and see if he’s willing to give it a try as well. You could blame it on us, if you like (“So I was reading a fantastic sex column on this one awesome blog, and…”). Or you could be tactful but honest – “I know there are factors that make sex a little more complicated for each of us, and lately it’s been getting me down.” If you’ve never talked about this with him, it’s important for both of you to be able to share how you feel about it and what interests each of you, sex-wise. It might be hard to initiate, and maybe you’ll feel a little awkward at first, but from our experience it’s often those conversations that are difficult at first that end up being the most productive and the most enlightening. Remember, you’re both on the same side – you care about each other and you’re in it together, and talking about it is the first step in figuring out how to make sex as awesome as possible for both of you.
Keep the great questions coming! (Hee.) Got a question to ask, subject you’d like us to discuss, or myth you’d like us to bust? You can e-mail us at FriskyFeminist@persephonemagazine.com or send us an anonymous message via the spiffy new Ask Us! feature here.