You know how public pools post lists of unacceptable behaviour? Don’t run, don’t dive, don’t vomit a New York strip steak and a bottle of cabernet franc into our brand-new filtration system. Be assured that this is the last time I will ever liken my vagina to a public pool, but I’ve always thought how great it would be to post something similar in my own bedroom.
Look, we love that you love having sex with us, and we love having sex with you, too. But sometimes you do things that we don’t like. Weird things. Things that you think are going to make us groan with gratitude and pleasure but really make us want to roll over and turn on the TV.
Luckily, these mistakes generally result not from lack of skill but from wrong information. You can easily unlearn them. Remember: I probably know what I like better than you do.
And if I had a bedroom sign, this is how it might read.
Don’t Ask, “What Do You Like?”
. . . the first time we have sex. It’s our third date. Okay, so maybe it’s only the second, or maybe we just met in an elevator. At any rate, we’re making out. Pants are coming off, eyes are smoldering. You ask this question and, bam . . . the magic is gone.
First, I am embarrassed. I may have been ready to have sex, but not so up for talking about it! Second, I feel pressured to provide a provocative answer, something involving toys or systematic humiliation, but the only thing I can think of to say is, “Well, Steve, I suppose I like manual and oral stimulation followed by intercourse resulting in my eventual orgasm.” Finally, I am annoyed. Are you trying to sound sexy, wild, open to anything? Because if you are, won’t I eventually discover that?
Do . . . ask questions later. Questions help an ongoing sexual relationship move forward. They slow a new one down.
Don’t Put Your Tongue in My Ear
The innocent, unfortunate ear a) is a semidiscreet spot, b) is a hole, and c) has folds. For these reasons, it has been ill-defined as a major erogenous zone. This is one of the great misperceptions in the history of Western civilization. Too many men work according to the metaphor that her ear is the fragrant soil of the French forest, and you are a truffle hound. Put yourself on a short leash.
Do . . . tread lightly. I’m not saying never go for the ear. Just not every time. When you do, the ear is to be kissed gently, maybe licked on the edges, or nibbled with restraint. Then you can leave it alone. It’s an ear.
Don’t Be Too Eager
Do not try to stuff your semihard penis into my vagina. I understand: You’re hoping it will get harder once it’s in. Or you’re thinking that if you act like everything’s fine, then everything will be fine. Or maybe you’re treating your penis like a stubborn teenager—you’re going to show him who’s boss and send him to his room.
The only thing more humiliating than stuffing a flaccid penis inside someone is being stuffed by a flaccid penis. In this one wretched act, we can feel all of your fear, desperation, and insecurity, concentrated in the precise place where you want us to feel something else. Add to this the odd sensation that we are getting a gynecological exam from a teddy bear.
Do . . . anything but this. Kiss. Watch The O.C. Order a pizza. Unless it’s a recurring problem requiring medical or psychiatric attention, it’s not a big deal. Really.
Don’t Reach for My Clitoris
. . . if you are in a position that is unsuitable for such a connection. Like when I’m clearly enjoying whatever we’re doing. Or, say, if you’re in the den watching TV and I’m in the kitchen making brisket. Such persistence is not admirable; it’s annoying. It’s good that you know clitoral stimulation is important. Now you need to know that if it’s not done right—the right angle and pressure, the right motion—then it doesn’t feel good, and it may even hurt.
Do . . . ask. It might help to take her hand and say, “Show me what you like here.” Then you can follow the motion of her hand, or she can guide yours until you’ve figured it out. In certain positions, a woman just doesn’t want stimulation there, or prefers to do it herself.
Don’t Shave Your Balls
Having sex with a guy who shaves his balls is like riding a horse with a saddle made of broken glass. If you are going to shave, you’re going to have to do it regularly. Say, every half hour.
Do . . . embrace your hairiness. Unless you come up with a dignified solution—and they are expensive—try to accept your body hair. You’re a guy. Your great-great-etc.-grandfather was a gorilla. No one blames you.
Don’t Have a Nervous Breakdown
. . . about ejaculating too fast, losing your erection, or not being able to get one. An occasionally temperamental penis is no cause for alarm—but a guy who freaks out about it is. (If you make a big deal about it, we’ll start to think maybe it really is a big deal, one we’ll have to worry about.) Conversely, it’s also not a good idea to act as if nothing happened, because, well, that is just bull, and that never flies.
Do . . . acknowledge it, then laugh it off. The guy who says, “Wow, I usually only last for 5 seconds, so that was a record,” or, “Gee, I guess those amazing anti-erection pills I got online are working”—that’s the kind of guy who makes us want to try again. Later. After a movie. And possibly a chicken sandwich.