I’ve been having trouble getting an erection when I’m fooling around with my new girl. I don’t know why, because I have no trouble getting hard while fantasizing about her when I’m alone. Could it be stage fright? S.S., Georgia
Yes, you’re getting stage fright. It can be really scary to mess around with a girl for the first time. Getting naked in front of a stranger is an intense experience, and performance anxiety, while totally normal, can kill an erection. However, there are a lot of things you can do with a naked woman without putting your penis inside her. Work on your oral skills, your finger skills and, most importantly, your communication skills. Tell your partner that while you want to be inside her, your body won’t necessarily cooperate the first few times you’re together. Experiment with erotic massage, mutual masturbation, cunnilingus. . . .
There are so many deeply gratifying sexual experiences that don’t involve a penis going in a vagina. Holding, kissing and cuddling are very important too, and can lead to feelings of closeness and comfort with your partner. This should help your mind relax and your penis go rigid. So don’t stress. Intercourse will happen when the time is right and your body is ready.
A married male friend is constantly hitting on me. He says he’s in an open relationship and that his wife is okay with the two of us hooking up, but I don’t buy it. Won’t his wife just get jealous after he and I fool around? Open relationships don’t sound very plausible to me, but should I take my chances with this guy? J.S., Florida
Are you truly interested in getting involved with him? If so, discuss your reservations with him, and ask to speak to his wife. If it’s truly an open relationship, then not only is it polite to ask permission to date her husband, it’s also great to sit down with both of them and talk about your feelings and concerns.
While I have no numbers to support this, I feel that flexible relationships are becoming more and more common. Back home in Seattle, a close childhood friend lives in a house full of people who define themselves as polyamorous, meaning they have more than one intimate relationship at the same time with the knowledge of all parties involved. I know another couple where the male is allowed to have sexual relationships with other women as long as those encounters are strictly sexual. No sleeping over, no cuddling, no romantic dates. I also know many couples who swing. Some swinging couples will only bring another woman into their sex lives, while others do full swaps.
Sexual flexibility in relationships is here to stay, and having a frank, honest conversation with this man and his wife will let you know what their boundaries are. Until you know what he’s allowed to do in his secondary relationship, you really can’t make an informed decision about having your own relationship with him. Some women love being the piece on the side all of the pleasure, very little of the work. Some women resent being the secondary relationship and will undermine the primary relationship, causing drama and bad vibes.
Talk to these people, and then take time to reflect on your feelings and thoughts. Only you know if getting into this situation will work for you. Get informed, and go with your gut.
My boyfriend and I were browsing a sex shop for new toys and he got interested in the cockrings. We’ve read about how they help a guy last longer, but neither of us have ever used one. We’d really like some tips on what to buy and how to use it without him ending up injured. K.M., South Dakota
Cockrings are great because they restrict the blood flow to the genital region, keeping the cock hard and making the balls more sensitive. The pressure of the ring against the perineum is considered to be a highly pleasurable sensation and can sometimes lead to more intense orgasms.
The beauty of cockrings is their simplicity and effectiveness. While there are many different types on the market, my favorite thing to use is the humble hair tie. It’s cheap, stretchy and you probably already have one around your wrist. Stretch the band and bring it around the entire package, so it encircles the base of the cock and both balls. Be careful not to snap it, and remove it if there is any discomfort before or after orgasm.
If you want to get something fancier, head over to your local sex shop and check out what they have for sale. Cockrings are made in a huge variety of colors, materials and styles. As a novice cockring user, I recommend that you stay away from any rings made out of metal, wood or stiff plastic. If you purchase the wrong size, it can get stuck, necessitating a very embarrassing trip to the ER, so keep it stretchy or adjustable.
More fun than a regular cockring is a vibrating cockring. While you can find high end vibrating rings, they tend to be bulky and uncomfortable to use. The best ones are cheap and disposable. They’re made of stretchy silicone with a mini vibe built in, and they’re a great way to spice up your sex life for under $10. There are many brands of disposable vibrating cockrings, and they’re pretty interchangeable. Adult boutiques will have a larger selection, but a number of condom manufacturers also make vibrating rings, and these can be found in your local drugstore alongside your preferred brand of condoms.
I’m a larger lady, and my boyfriend is on the slim side. He always wants me to fuck him cowgirl style, but I’m worried that it’s going to be uncomfortable for him, and it makes me feel a little bit self conscious. Are there any positions that won’t leave me feeling so exposed but will still give my guy some more adventure than the missionary position? L.O., Arizona
While there are lots of positions other than missionary, I’d recommend giving cowgirl a shot. Turn the lights down low, wear something you feel sexy in, and climb on board. You won’t know it’s uncomfortable until you try it. Who knows, it may be a position you both end up loving. If cowgirl doesn’t do it for you, there are dozens of sex books that have tons of positions to try.
A healthy sexual relationship needs communication and a spirit of adventure. Sometimes you’ll try things in bed that have zero appeal for you. Maybe you’ll like them, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll love how much your partner loves them and indulge in them from time to time. Sex and relationship expert Dan Savage calls this “GGG,” which stands for “Good, Giving, and Game.” This is what we should all strive to be for our sex partners. Think “good in bed, giving equal time and equal pleasure, and game for anything within reason.”