No matter how many Reddit threads or WebMD sites you might browse in the attempt to find answers to your most burning personal sex and health questions, nothing beats a real, live expert for straightforward, no-bullshit solutions. Clinical sexologist and couple’s therapist Dr. Eve, author of the bestselling book Cyber Infidelity: The New Seduction, is STYLECASTER’s “WTF” columnist and go-to resource for bedroom conundrums of all kinds. Whether it’s clashing with a partner over how often to have sex, wanting to finally get off from oral sex, or figuring out how to bring strap-ons into your relationship, Dr. Eve has answers. (To submit a question for next month, email WTF@stylecaster.com.)
Q: I have a much higher sex drive than my partner—advice?
A: The fact is, difference in desire exists in every couple, irrespective of gender or sexual preference. There’s almost always going to be one person more interested in sex than the other. This is not the problem. The problem is the mismanagement thereof. Stereotypes, like that men are always horny and women are rarely so, are damaging myths that set people up for feeling sexual shame, which in turn lowers libido. But there are some things you can do.
Once the spark of a new relationship wears off, and it becomes obvious that one partner—in your case, you—is more interested in frequent sex, talk about it. It might be time to redefine what you consider sex: Perhaps hugging, masturbating a partner, masturbating alone in front of a partner, or consensual non-monogamy are options to consider. (Cheating is not a healthy solution.) Remember that private masturbation can also be an important way to make up the difference between sex drives in partners—you can get off alone, with porn, on the nights that your partner isn’t interested; that way, you’re getting off and he or she doesn’t have to fake interest when they’re not feeling it. On that topic, by the way, resist the urge to fake interest or excitement if you’re not feeling it. That’s unsustainable, unsatisfying, and can eventually become insulting. By talking about what you each want out of a sex life, you can both reset expectations and find ways to make sure you’re both getting off to your satisfaction, without compromising your relationship or your sex life.
Q: What does it mean if I’ve never come during oral sex?
A: There could be a few different things going on. Many women are genitally averse and self-conscious about their lady parts. Our culture doesn’t encourage women to embrace this part of themselves, so it’s no wonder that women are driven to trim, clean, and wax them in the hopes of “taming” them. If you fall into the self-shaming category, it’s likely that oral sex will fill you with dread, making orgasm very difficult. Your task is to spend time examining and exploring your genitals until you’re comfortably able to smell, taste, and look at them without shying away. The power of first bringing yourself to orgasm through masturbation will give you the much-needed confidence to allow another person to do the same.
As for the genitally self-accepting, masturbating women who don’t come from oral sex: To that I say, so what?! Oral sex may simply not be your thing. Perhaps you enjoy getting off with other sexual touches, bites, and squeezes, and it may not have to be in your vulva area. You may prefer to be masturbated with a partner’s fingers or a sex toy more than oral sex. Still, every woman has the capacity for clitoral orgasms, so if you’re determined to come from oral, have your partner stimulate the nerve-enriched clitoral complex (essentially, the entire vulva area). I invite you to be brave enough to give your partner guidance, focus on your own genital sensations, forget trying the distracting sixty-nine position, stop fearing it will take too long, or that your partner will grow bored. See what happens—you might just come for the first time. And if not, you can always go back to the vibrator or penis—or whatever else you like—if they work better for you.
Q: Any tips for helping my male partner bounce back after coming?
A: Well done on wanting to enjoy multiple orgasms in a single session! Physiologically, men are pretty wasted after they ejaculate. Prolactin is released during orgasm, which makes them sleepy. Post-orgasm, there’s also a rush of oxytocin and vasopressin hormones that makes them want to cuddle. Still, there are ways to overcome those challenges.
First things first: Make round one count. If you’re not satisfied after the first session, it makes me wonder if it’s because you’re not getting off. Whether that’s because your man doesn’t last long enough for you to come or because he’s not giving your clitoris enough attention, put yourself first if need be, and don’t depend on him going another round to get satisfied. Slowing everything down will help delay his ejaculation. Take him to the point of orgasm and back again—that’s called edging—and you’ll get longer penetration, while he enjoys the feeling of orgasm without actually ejaculating.
Once he has ejaculated, let him rest for a few minutes. Then, start kissing, talking, and caressing him until he rouses. Let him know you’re not pressurizing him into round two, but merely want to keep playing. Invite him to participate by using a vibrator or dildo to penetrate you, or masturbate next to him. Most likely, he’ll be turned on by your initiative and horniness for him, and will rise to the occasion again.
Q: Any tips for how to ease my partner into strap-on play?
A: For newbies, strap-ons (essentially dildos with straps or harnesses attached) can be daunting. The key is to introduce them to your partner gently. Be sure to reassure him or her that it’s about trying something new and exciting—not you trying to disclose a secret about yourself (i.e. that you’re into men, if your partner is a woman, or that your partner isn’t enough, if he’s a man). Try to remove all judgments and discriminations about people who use strap-ons: It’s not a statement about gender or sexual orientation—it’s about pushing boundaries.
If your partner is male, reassure him that you adore his dick just as it is. It’s just fun to try different dicks with the same person, so encourage him to strap it on, and then he’s relieved of pressure to perform. Let him know what a turn on it is for you to strap it on and penetrate him. Soften his anus by inserting gloved fingers before you penetrate with the strap-on.
For female partners, reassure her that desiring penetration does not mean you’re a closet straight person—you’re a sexually fluid woman who loves to penetrate and be penetrated by a woman. Use a high end strap on—never compromise on quality. Always use lube on the strap-on and at the vaginal entrance (and anal lube for anal penetration). Never insert the strap-on into the vagina after being in the anus—you don’t want to transfer bacteria. And most importantly of all, if your partner decides he or she ultimately doesn’t like strap-on play, respect his or her NO. Sexual consent is always the priority, especially with new kinds of play.
Q: If I’m prone to yeast infections, should I get an IUD instead of birth control?
A: Estrogen does increase your susceptibility to yeast infections. However, this only applies to certain oral contraceptives that happen to be high in estrogen. The newer oral contraceptives tend to be low in estrogen, so don’t necessarily worsen your vulnerability. However, I’m always in favor of considering a non-hormonal IUD, which doesn’t cause yeast infections or increase your vulnerability to getting them. You’ll endure some discomfort when it’s inserted, and then forget about it for five years (ideally, assuming there aren’t any issues or complications, which are unlikely). Ultimately, talking about your birth control options with your doctor is the best way to ensure that you’re choosing the one that’s the best fit for your personal disposition and health concerns.
In terms of avoiding the dreaded yeast infection in general (which 75 percent of women get), you can lower your risk by following a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a balanced diet, cleaning your genitals daily with warm, soapy water, avoiding over-the-counter douching products that can destroy your vagina’s healthy bacteria, and wearing breathable underwear. And if you do end up with one anyway, here are a few natural ways to fight the itch.
Submit your questions for next month at WTF@stylecaster.com.