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Expert, Schmexpert

December 16, 2004

My girlfriend and I have been together for two years but we are not sexually compatible. Her ideal amount of sex would be twice a month. For me the number is closer to once a day. We've reached a compromise that usually comes out to three times a week, but that number leaves her feeling oversexed and me feeling undersexed. The reason she claims to not like sex is because she is usually unable to climax without fantasizing that she is being drugged and taken advantage of by evil research scientists. I have offered to buy props (lab coat, clipboard, drug paraphernalia, etc.) and role-play this fantasy with her, but she has asked me not to, saying that she feels "broken" for having this fantasy and doesn't want to make things worse. I've finally persuaded her to agree to try it, but only if I can get an expert's assurance that going through with it is not likely to make things worse.

Undersexed Because of Evil Scientists

P.S. She says she doesn't count a sex-advice columnist as an "expert," but might be persuaded if you got an actual sex therapist to comment.

Hopefully the long string of letters, periods, commas, and parentheses after Yvonne K. Fulbright's name--MS Ed., Ph.D. (c)--will impress your girlfriend. Fulbright is the author of The Hot Guide to Safer Sex (Hunter House, 2003), and according to her website, she's "...a media darling often described as the Dr. Ruth of Generation Y." Yvonne's website lists every publication she's ever graced with a quote--which seems a bit desperate to me but, hey, I'm no expert--and she's got a few choice quotes for your girlfriend. Unfortunately they're probably not what you want her to hear, UBOES:

"Sexual compatibility isn't the problem here. Your girlfriend is the 'victim' of a much larger issue--the guilty complex your girlfriend has for engaging in sex. Her fantasy reeks of sexual inhibition, most likely due to negative messages about sex growing up or perhaps sexual abuse. Furthermore, its elements of force and being overpowered scream taboo rape fantasy, which is fairly common in both sexes... Such fantasies can be great fun and healthy forms of sexual expression if they're acted out in safe, secure, consensual sexual relationships. It is important to keep in mind, however, that studies on rape fantasies have found that women whose sexual fantasies involve men using force rate themselves as feeling more frightened, guilty, and disgusted. They also report being less happy and less likely to act on their fantasies.

"Acting out this fantasy is not going to solve the problem at hand," i.e., the amount of sex you're having. "It may get her off, [but] she's still going to have her complex with sex and feel oversexed. In addressing this issue, your first step is to reassure your girlfriend that it's okay to have such fantasies--that there is nothing wrong with them and she has nothing to feel guilty about. Second, don't push acting out the fantasy unless she wants to. A lot of people would rather not act out their fantasies for fear that actualization could taint erotic reactions and diminish arousal. (Plus, in some cases fantasies can scare the crap out of us and acting them out may simply cause further trauma.) Third, work with your girlfriend on identifying a professional who can help her with her issues, with the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists ( being a great place to start."

I hope that helped, UBOES, but I kind of doubt it. Like a lot of advice proffered by "sex experts," Yvonne's advice seems designed to drive your poor girlfriend out of her mind. "There is nothing wrong with [her fantasies] and she has nothing to feel guilty about," Yvonne says, "[but] actualization could taint erotic reactions and diminish arousal [and] may simply cause further trauma." Rape fantasies, says Yvonne, can be "great fun and healthy forms of sexual expression," but women who have them are "frightened, guilty, and disgusted... less happy and less likely to act on their fantasies." If this is expert advice--"Your fantasies are normal, you disgusting freak, and they can lead to wonderful sexual experiences unless, of course, they ruin your sex life forever..."--I'll stick with the amateur variety, thanks.

Our expert can't even bring herself to answer the question: What should you do? Instead, she recommends--didn't see that one coming!--counseling. Like a lot of sex experts, Yvonne has probably never met a kink that didn't qualify someone for therapy. I don't mean to be an ungracious host--Yvonne is my guest expert--but she's the kind of sex expert who gets on my nerves. She presents herself as hip and sex-positive, but she peddles the same old fear and repression that sex "experts" have trafficked in since they were telling us that masturbation kills. Dr. Ruth? More like Dr. No.

Since Yvonne won't answer the question, let me: Should you go through with it? Is it likely to make things worse?

Yes, UBOES' girlfriend, you should go for it. No, it's not likely to make things worse. It's been my experience--personally, professionally (and I've been at this a lot longer than Yvonne)--that when people "actualize" long-suppressed fantasies with a caring partner, they not only get off, they also feel a tremendous sense of relief. That feeling of relief is usually followed in quick succession by feelings of "Why the fuck did I wait so long?" "What was I so afraid of?" and finally, "When can we do it again?"

The fact of the matter, young miss, is that your fantasies are not going to go away, and besides the blazingly obvious--no shit: your fantasies have something to do with overcoming your sexual inhibitions through eroticized helplessness--you're not going to get much out of therapy. And far from making matters worse, acting on harmless sexual fantasies, however bizarre, frequently diminishes their relative importance to your sexual inner life. Forbidding yourself to act on a sexual fantasy is like forbidding yourself to think about bananas--it makes it hard to think of anything else. If you would just relax and appreciate the goldmine you're sitting on in the form of a dreamy GGG boyfriend, you'll be a much happier and more sexually fulfilled person. You may even be able to climax thinking of something else, i.e., you'll feel less "broken," not more, once you give yourself permission to act on these fantasies.

But, hey, don't take my word for it. I've got a couple of bonus guest experts for you: Sebastian and Laurel Wood of, "the largest provider of medical toys, products, and apparel for the medical fetish, nurse fetish, and medical BDSM scene on the web." Like Yvonne, they're experts--only the Woods are experts, authors, and lecturers on medical fetish, which is the proper name for your kink.

"We founded to give adults like this man's girlfriend the opportunity to understand that this is a very common fetish and desire," says Sebastian. The first thing the Woods wanted you to know, UBOES' girlfriend, is that you're not a freak: "We have thousands of customers, all of whom have similar desires."

Like me, Laurel and Sebastian thought you should give your evil-scientist fetish a whirl. "It is healthy to explore these fantasies in a safe environment," says Laurel, "and it is healthier than suppressing these thoughts. If it does not produce the expected fireworks, maybe it will inspire them to try another fantasy."


Commenting was not available when this article was originally published.

Comments (13) RSS

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Fulbright is a great sex expert and you're a real ass for taking these unfair jabs at her. It would do you and your column a world of good to have her qualifications. Your column exemplifies nothing more than an inferiority complex on your part.
Posted by DAO on October 24, 2008 at 3:00 AM · Report this
WOW- I just read this old article for a project I'm doing on medicine and the media and hope, sincerely, that this poor woman didn't take your advice! The idea that you'd consider your anecdotal experience about kink & taboo better than current medical standards & perspectives about the lives of people with fetishes is absoutely absurd! Then, to top it off, you quote advice from people who make money selling medical kink paraphernalia? Are you really trying to help or just schmoozing your way to a quick buck by taking advantage of people who don't know where to get real help? I say stick with people who can back their words up with facts, and don't be afraid to use health professionals to help you with your health, after all, it's what they're there for!! In continuing with your theme of quasi-diagnostic pseudo pop medicine, I agree with DAO about your inferiority complex.
Posted by DrS on January 10, 2009 at 8:52 AM · Report this
Yvonne is no more a sex expert than God himself. God created us to enjoy sex naturally. You don't need idiot advisers who look like Hollywood babes, abusing the public by selling sex toys and perversions which is no different than legalized pornography.

I mean Yvonne Fulbright with all the stupid dotted letters after her name. Who cares???? She is just a site to attract men to buy her sex toys and books, thinking somehow that there is something actually wrong with their sex life. I'll bet she is frigid. For one thing, she is too young and just a kid herself, not an expert!!!!!! Experts have many years of knowledge, but many years of experience, as well. Yet, she draws people to her by projecting herself to be like the typical Fox News loose whorish looking women who appear to have it altogether, but are probably a worse screw-ups sexually than those she advises. Take my advice. You will only become a sex addict if you listen to her advice and will probably become involved in heavy pornography before long and sin against God, yourself, and your partner. God and sex go together. He will help you and your partner, really. Just start forgiving one another and see what happens!

My advice to anyone would be, just let it happen. Sex is natural and doesn't have to be taught or read up on. Look at the animals and the birds and the bees. They don't take classes, so then, why are you?

Believe me, it you just let it flow and happen, it will be the greatest sex experience you ever had. Just get over your own personal body hangups or even body egos and let God do the rest, but only if you are married!

Posted by Suzy on February 24, 2009 at 9:03 PM · Report this
Suzy, you're a fucking moron!
Posted by DollyHaze on May 12, 2009 at 11:46 AM · Report this
Medical and psychology professionals have a vested interest in conning the public into thinking that they know that they're talking about.

In my experience indulging in a fantasy in a safe, loving context gives it less, not more, power over you.

Hope you did it and hope you were fine. Hope you didn't end up spending shit-loads of money with some chin-stroking know-nothing who thinks maybe you should start coming three times a week - for your own good of course.
Posted by Come Puppy on May 21, 2009 at 9:20 AM · Report this
Oh, gosh yes Suzy, let's prove we're sexually open by insulting someone with 'frigid'. If sex is natural, why do we have to get married? Birds and bees aren't. If we have to get married because God created us in his image or something - uh, that's a hell of an ego trip. Body ego, even?

But yes, yes someone who spent at *least* 8 -10 years at university doesn't know that much. Hell, you can put letters after your name too. You probably even know how to read.

In conclusion, if pornography disgusts you why are you reading this site, you're a fucking moron and your breath smells.
Posted by Tamina on August 6, 2009 at 4:57 AM · Report this
Lots of bad karma here, eh? Being myself an academic specialist (though in a totally different area -- linguistics), I can say that experts do know a thing or two, but they also often think they know more than they do.

And let's examine the advice a little bit. Did Ms Fullbright, Ph.D., with all her wonderful knowledge, actually say that it would be bad for UBOES' girlfriend to realize her fantasy? No, she didn't -- she just said it wouldn't solve her problem (though it might get her off). And what is Dan saying? That in his experience, acting out fantasies actually helps.

So -- the "academic" expert is saying "OK, but it won't have the effect you hope for", and Dan says "try it -- I think it works"... Sounds to me like trying is a good idea. Worst case scenario, nothing changes. What has UBOES got to lose?

As for therapy... I do think therapy (especially in America) is overrated. Oh yes, please go to a therapist and talk to him/her; but if you think therapists are like computer technicians who can fix your PC and then send you the bill, you're quite wrong. Lots of people have had less than good experiences with therapists -- they are no panacea. I'm not saying they're worthless -- they do help. UBOES' girlfriend should certainly see one. But please -- the era of miracles is over, if it ever existed.
Posted by ankylosaur on August 26, 2009 at 6:21 PM · Report this
I know that this is really late and all but I wanted to add my two cents here.
While I don't have the medical aspect of UBOES gf's fantasy, I do have the force/helplessness part - which is the part that the expert focused on. I know that this expert has had years of schooling and all but I think some of the things she said are shit. I was raised in a sex-positive environment, have never been sexually abused and do not like being told that this sort of kink "reeks of sexual inhibition".
UBOES gf should have gone for it (I dunno if she did or not) while she had such a GGG bf. What's the worse that can happen? she works out that the reality doesn't quite live up? is that going to fuck up their sex life any more than it already sounds?
As long as your kink doesn't leave the safe/sane/concensual zone I think you should go for it.
Posted by the SSC zone on October 27, 2009 at 8:42 PM · Report this
Studying sex in a university setting is about as useful as learning to play the guitar simply by listening to rock music. You may understand it a bit more, but it isn't going to help much in any real world setting. Some things you need to experience (including fetishes and fantasies) before you can pretend to be an expert.
Posted by Experience trumps doctorate on April 8, 2010 at 8:36 PM · Report this
Allen Gilliam 10
A rape fantasy and low interest in sex are strong indicators of sexual repression: guilt and/or fear connected to sex. Specifically, the rape fantasy is a way to avoid triggering guilt and/or fear of wanting and enjoying sex. If she's being forced, then she doesn't have to admit that she wants or likes sex. That admission would make her feel negative emotions. Indulging in the fantasy may increase UBOES's girlfriend's enjoyment of sex, but will not address the deeper problem: bad emotional programming. Dr. Fulbright is right, she would benefit from sex counseling, but she could also educate herself about therapy for sexual inhibitions. Her enjoyment of sex will be hampered as long as she needs fantasy tricks to get around bad emotions connected to sex.
Posted by Allen Gilliam on January 9, 2011 at 9:21 PM · Report this
@Allen -- I wholeheartedly disagree. I have both rape fantasies and a low sex drive, yet I have never, ever felt guilt or fear toward sex. Although I might not have it as frequently as some, I love sex, I am open with my partners and friends about my sexuality and am willing to try (almost) anything. The idea of being overpowered and handled roughly is exciting and dramatic to me and adds to the experience. It turns up the volume and makes everything else feel more exhilirating. It has nothing to do with shame, insecurity, or having to trick myself into being allowed to feel pleasure. I've been more than comfortable with my body and sexuality since I started masturbating in my teens. I just like being dominated.

I think, for the most part, fantasies are less "tricks" that you need to get around some psychological hangup and more personal quirks that add to the fun. The real hangups are with people who think they can't have fun in bed because any given thing is weird or wrong or gross or gay or whatever. The most boring partners I've had are the ones who shun kink and say things like, "Why can't we just do it?"

Granted, not everyone with a rape fantasy has a healthy sexual outlook (not everyone period has a healthy sexual outlook), but A doesn't necessarily equal B. I think that blame is wildly misplaced.
Posted by jennocide on February 9, 2011 at 1:05 PM · Report this
Allen Gilliam 12
Jennocide, my purpose in pointing out sexual repression is to help people get over it, not to assign blame.

There's a difference between a rape fantasy and enjoying being handled roughly or being dominated. In a rape fantasy, a person actually imagines that they do not want to be having sex with this person.

UBOES's girlfriend describing herself as "broken" supports my view of it. This is not a fun kink for her but a disturbing fantasy that she dislikes but needs in order to reach climax. She needs to work on letting herself enjoy sex and enjoy being overwhelmed with an understanding partner who can encourage her verbally during sex to change her emotional reactions.
Posted by Allen Gilliam on June 23, 2013 at 3:30 PM · Report this
Allen Gilliam 13
Jennocide, I've thought about it some more and I wonder if being "overpowered and handled roughly" enhances your enjoyment of sex because you have some amount of shame about sex. Perhaps if that shame were removed, you'd enjoy sex without the kink just as much as you enjoy it now with the kink. (UBOES's girlfriend obviously has more shame.)

I'm not saying that kinks are unhealthy or that people with them should be shunned or feel bad about themselves. I place the blame on religion-motivated sexual repression. I'm considering the possibility that kinks, perversions, whatever you call them, are ways to circumvent repression and should be seen as stages in healing oneself of sexual repression.
Posted by Allen Gilliam on June 28, 2013 at 10:43 AM · Report this

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