Columns Nov 9, 2011 at 4:00 am

Sexually Combatible

Comments

1
Lazy column this week Dan. TWO previously posted, though quite brilliant, diatribes!
2
Wow. Three bombs in a row. Good one, Doorknob Danny.
3
Thanks a bunch, Dan. I haven't seen Inglourious Basterds yet--probably the only one left in America who hasn't--and it's been waiting for me on my DVR patiently for when I have time to watch it. Now, why should I bother? (I travel for business, if you readers out there were wondering why I don't have time to watch fucking TV.)

I didn't get around to seeing Avatar until two weeks ago, either.

As for HMW, I vote lucky. And for all she knows, that massive shit isn't off the table yet.
4
Yeah! *rabble rabble rabble*
5
HSF has a choice of approaches of about equal legitimacy depending on her desired outcome. So - the hammer or the popsicle? And if anyone gets this reference, I shall be impressed.
6
@3 You're not going to watch a movie with multiple intersecting storylines because you know a of single action performed in said movie? That was a quote of a minute long sequence in a movie that's over two hours long and you are throwing a hissy fit over it. Seriously, if that's the type of 'synopsis' that ruins a movie for you, then don't engage in any form of communication before you've gone through your DVR.
7
The attractive couple in HAWT's letter may have incurable STDs... Or their shared exhibitionism may be their fetish. Or they may just be shy. In any event, there's more to be gained by going over and having a conversation with them during the clothed part of the evening, than by sitting back and grousing about how they won't put out for you.
8
As I said on Slog, the one couple in my sexual counselling practice whom I HATE to meet is the wait-until-marriage couple for whom that shit did not go well, because they are very difficult to help. I am BEYOND glad that wait-until-marriage worked for this lady, because it is NOT my experience that it works. At all, For the vast majority.
9
RE hmw, I'm no psychiatrist, but I detect an element of gloating with self importance in her diatribe.
10
Dan's example was pretty stupid though.
I mean, you can TALK about sex: likes/dislikes, fetishes/turnons/desires without HAVING sex.
Sounds like that's a conversation they could've theoretically had before the wedding night.

Assuming the hubby isn't a giant douche.
But that's something that you also hope to know before the wedding day.
11
Who knows, the couple could be strictly monogamous whose kink is exhibitionism and the sex club provides them with a safe venue in which to practice it. Given what DS says about the sex club, the couples behavior conforms with the club's stated policy on participation.

HAWT's complaint seems to be rather boorish. Perhaps he and his wife should try a sex club that requires every one play together if they are so offended by the couple's lack of group participation.
12
Re HSF -- "accidentally" isn't even important. WTF, G? You don't own this guy. You already have a boyfriend of your own. You have no business telling anybody that they can or can't sleep with him, period, end of story.

...okay, actually, "accidentally" is important after all -- in that G gave HSF zero clue that G even wanted her to keep her distance. Not that such a clue would have been legitimate, had G actually provided it -- again, G doesn't own the guy, and I suspect G's actual boyfriend wouldn't be very pleased to hear G getting all proprietary about him -- but she didn't provide it. And now she's mad at HSF for not reading her fucking mind in order to respect a boundary that G had no business imposing?

G, you are in the wrong twice over. Apologize to HSF for being a complete shithead.
13
Re: HAWT -- Would you honestly prefer that they stayed home and you didn't get to even look at their very attractive naked bodies? Because that is what the alternative would be, if you made an issue out of it and they weren't comfortable with what you would like to coerce them into.

Seriously, duh. Some people don't know how to enjoy what's handed to them on a silver platter.
14
Avast: totally! I was reading that third letter like, wow, way to put a bad cast on a free show, wot..?

@ 5, Mr. Vennominon - I found this delicious make your own popsicle site: http://thehammerandpopsicle.wordpress.co…

Is it some reference to the Soviet/communist hammer & sickle?

To the first LW, HMW - I get to freaking vexed when anyone, on any stripe of the ideological or belief spectrum, just assumes that their way is the right way - because it works for them. Your faith, & not hooking up before marriage, works for you? Fabulous, good for you. Doesn't mean it'll work for someone else. This is true whether one is religious or atheist. Stop projecting your beliefs onto others.

Both sides of that type of debate get pretty damned obnoxious. Not as bad as vegetarians vs carnivores, but close.

15
Oh HMW, don't be absurd. You've given us your anecdote, so here's one of mine. My college boyfriend's very Christian aunt warned him never to marry anyone with whom he hadn't had sex at least once. Why? Because she was on the point of divorcing her husband. They had both been virgins when they married and were both Christian. It turned out that they were so incompatible (she never specified in what way) that the relationship had become unbearable to her.
16
@6 I think 3 was joking... I think. Either that or they just wanted to talk about their own movie-watching habits.

Personally, when I read Dan's anecdote, I thought, "Damn, I really need to see that fucking movie." Incidentally, that's the same thing I think every time I remember that Michael Fassbender is in it.

...Did I just do the same thing 3 did? Shit.
17
My wife and I didn't know each other. Didn't really like each other. We were bored in grad school and fucked like bunnies. Eventually, we fell in love and got married. Twenty years now. Two kids and we still fuck like bunnies. Good thing we made sure we were sexually compatible. Can I gloat now?
18
I think Dan is being quite unfair to HMW. I don't see her claiming that her happiness was "guaranteed by waiting or by God." On the contrary, other people would say that her choices were "reckless", and so she is asking why. How many times does she have to have sex before marriage in order to avoid being reckless? If it's just once or twice, as Dan suggests, then she still might marry in ignorance of her husband's desires for poop, since after all he's a virgin too. Why is he accusing her of being smug and un-Christian? Just because she can't understand a criticism that other people often make of her personal choice?

Bottom line, it seems like doing your own thing and loving it is great for everyone BUT the Christians, or the abstinent, or the monogamous, or people who save it all for marriage. Those choices, for some reason, are the only illegitimate ones. Why is that?
20
@18: It's because she made such a point about her being an evangelist (evangelism being basically a synonym for "hey everybody, my way is the right way") and about her atheist friends supposedly wanting what she had, as if her evangelistic choices were responsible for what the atheist friends wanted and their atheistic choices were what they were perhaps regretting.

There's a massive non-sequitur there, where she seems to credit her never having even kissed before marriage as how she and her husband get along so well. Between the logic fail and her smugness about it, she deserves to get her nose whapped with the proverbial rolled-up newspaper.
21
Spot on again, Dan!! Thanks for yet another great column!

@20 avast2006: Nuts. You beat me to it!
22
Wow, HSF, your roommate is a nutbar. She has a claim to ONE guy: her boyfriend. She has no right to cockblock her roommate from hooking up with her friend, and her unjustified anger that you and he had a little unf-unf together suggests that she has some control issues.
Tell her that if she wants to put her friends off limits to you, she needs to tell you first, and she needs to give you a damn good reason. Fuck sake.
23
Maybe G wanted to hook up with the guy again, but was turned down and got jealous when HSF hooked up with him.
24
Jeez Dan. Tough column. Can't understand why you gave the religious nutter space. They need to be cast out and ostrasi.. ostrisic.. made fun of.
25
About letter 2, HSF-- For once I would have liked some evolutionary psychology that I've complained before is a non-sequitor. What's going on when people continue to feel possessive about those they've had a committed relationship with in the past but have now broken up with, or people they've slept with previously but no longer do. It's not enough to say that those people are idiots; the feeling is so common as to make me think there's something global afoot.

Or a more specific question for HSF-- When you say that your housemate is making you feel like crap, what exactly is she doing? I could understand if HSF said the housemate was giving her grief or doing things that are annoying. It would make sense if she said she was banging on pots while she was trying to sleep in retaliation, but people can't make you feel guilty unless there's some feeling in place originally that you have something to feel guilty about. What is the housemate saying?
26
I hope the smug jesus lady writes back in a few years once the novelty has worn off her relationship.
Also: How in the world can an evangelical xian be a physician? I understand that in theory a god bagger could put aside his/her beliefs and treat a patient objectively...But I have yet to meet an evangelical xian who was willing to set aside his superstitions for anything.
I hope that she at least tells prospective patients that her religion precludes her from believing in some very basic science--That way potential patients can make an informed decision.
27
Someone who's never had sex before is unlikely to be able to tell you, on your wedding night, "I can't orgasm without taking a dump on your chest." How would they even know that? (And, like Mydriasis pointed out in #10, that's the sort of thing that could hopefully be resolved with a conversation prior to the wedding night.)

The bigger concern for people in HMW's situation should be that after you and your completely inexperienced new husband have started having a sex life, he'll come to realize that he can't orgasm without taking a dump on your chest.
28
I'm still stuck on in which country being an evangelical christian is not a political statement. Not the U.S., where?
29
Ms Hopkins - I was unaware of that site, though it doesn't surprise me. I don't want to reveal all so soon, and the original reference may have had something to do with what you suggest, but my share of it stems from when I used to give people as a present a hand-calligraphed calendar with a song line quotation for each day. Specifics to follow in due course.
30
Is there anything you could have learned about each other that would have changed your minds? HMW, come on. You are being willfully dumb. 'Changed your minds' is, first of all, needlessly dramatic. How about 'would have made one or both or you quietly miserable for many years of your lives.' You want a possible problem?

How about you have sex with him, and everything goes fine. And then he does not want sex again. Not for, like, three months. And this goes on forever. Surprise slow sex drive. And say after the first time you have sex, you want it twice a day. Forever. Surprise, high sex drive.

Congratulations. You two will fight about this for the rest of your natural lives together. You, with the low sex drive? Yeah, you're going to feel pressured and frigid and nagged and deeply annoyed and guilted into having sex when you really don't want to. You, with the high sex drive? Yeah, you're going to feel unloved and unattractive and slutty and frustrated and like no one could ever want you, ever. Both of the people in this mismatched relationship will be very sad and will fight a lot, only because of sex.

They would both be much better served by finding someone a little more sexually compatible. I dunno quite what to call it. 'Within their range'? Something like that. And this is only something you can find out by having sex, and finding out what you want/need.
31
Is there anything you could have learned about each other that would have changed your minds? HMW, come on. You are being willfully dumb. 'Changed your minds' is, first of all, needlessly dramatic. How about 'would have made one or both or you quietly miserable for many years of your lives.' You want a possible problem?

How about you have sex with him, and everything goes fine. And then he does not want sex again. Not for, like, three months. And this goes on forever. Surprise slow sex drive. And say after the first time you have sex, you want it twice a day. Forever. Surprise, high sex drive.

Congratulations. You two will fight about this for the rest of your natural lives together. You, with the low sex drive? Yeah, you're going to feel pressured and frigid and nagged and deeply annoyed and guilted into having sex when you really don't want to. You, with the high sex drive? Yeah, you're going to feel unloved and unattractive and slutty and frustrated and like no one could ever want you, ever. Both of the people in this mismatched relationship will be very sad and will fight a lot, only because of sex.

They would both be much better served by finding someone a little more sexually compatible. I dunno quite what to call it. 'Within their range'? Something like that. And this is only something you can find out by having sex, and finding out what you want/need.
32
Dan, born-again Christian men never ask their wives to shit on their chest.

They go to prostitutes for that.
33
A couple years ago, at a get-together of friends from high school, a girl (I'll call her Beth) began to relate a story about another girl we had been classmates with, whom I'll call Anne. Beth had been a bridesmaid in Anne's wedding in the most recent summer. Anne was attending a strict Christian college when she met "Andy." They date, they wait, get engaged, still wait, are virgins on their wedding night. About two months after the wedding, Beth the bridesmaid goes to visit them at their new apartment of conjugal bliss. Anne goes to the bathroom or something, Beth makes a joke about finally getting Biblical, and Andy, miserable fellow, reveals that they have not yet had sex. He doesn't know what to do about it, and quickly shushes Beth and clams up when Anne reenters the room.

Now, Beth could have been exaggerating for the effect of her story (although I found it funny in a schadenfreude way, I felt embarrassed for Anne that a group of people who had just happened to be in the same school district as her now knew the details, or, more precisely, the nonexistence, of her sex life), or Andy could have just been being sarcastic because he thought it was none of Beth's business. But if this issue was not resolved, how long do you think their marriage would realistically last? In a worst case scenario, I can imagine a husband, who waited so patiently, stewing in his resentment, feeling that his wife owes him, and is supposed to obey him, so he'll have sex with her no matter what she thinks. True for these people or not, this situation is entirely plausible.

Even in popular culture, where religious influence may be present but tacit, woman especially are made to feel shame about their bodies and sexuality. When you place children or teens into a religious environment, with the explicit message that sex, or even desire for it, is sinful, dirty, perverted, etc., is it any wonder that they might grow up to have many psychological issues about it? Go read "On Chesil Beach" by Ian McEwan or the part in Stephen King's "Carrie" where the mother explains how Carrie was conceived.

So, good for you, Happily Married Woman, in your apolitically Christian paradise (although, arguably, the word "evangelical," with its emphasis on the hope for world-wide conversion and crusading zeal, is, by definition, a political statement regardless of location), but not everyone is as lucky as you purport to be. In the US, there's the subculture of promise rings, and creepy daddy-daughter dances where the fathers of pubescent girls swear to guard their daughter's chastity. Unfortunately, these girls are raised in families where that's considered natural, I guess?

It might not be particularly rational or healthy for a person to treat his or her virginity like the golden idol at the beginning of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." If you don't touch it at just the right time, and just the right way, the floor will fall out from under you (for religious people, literally, since they're going...to Hell!), a boulder might crush you, and you'll be chased and bludgeoned and blow-darted by a bunch of stereotypical natives. But if Professor Jones had just been content to sit in his office, make lesson plans, play academic politics until he achieved tenure, and only think about fabulous treasure in the abstract and the research papers he wrote, the movie would have been pretty boring and Nazis would have eventually taken over the world. Of course, we also would have avoided "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," but that's a story for another day.
34
The people that said hsf's roommate G is a nutjob are right. At first glance you might think that it's not that big of a deal if she's a little possessive or controlling, but trust me it is. Her attitude says she's that she's got issues.

Had a friend just like her who got jealous and crazy over this random sleazy hot guy we both slept with- he even had a girlfriend back home, so obviously neither one of us had a claim on him. My former friend turned out to be a psycho bunny-boiler who eventually tried to manipulate me into sexual situations I didn't want.

I'm not saying that G will turn out to be some fatal attraction crazy bunny-boiler psycho- what happened with my former bff/roommate was a very extreme situation. It's unlikely G is a fatal attraction crazy bitch. But what I'm saying that she's definitely a huge drama queen who will cause lots of problems and if hsf can move soon then please do.

G is a huge control freak! She doesn't want to fuck this dude anymore, clearly, but she doesn't want for him to fuck anyone else either. If she's not even sleeping with him anymore then it's none of her business who he sleeps with. And it's certainly not her place to say who hsf should sleep with.

HSF: From the voice of experience- keep your distance from your crazy controlling possessive drama queen pal and then move asap. Protect what's yours or she'll claw her way into every part of your life like she owns you or something. Maintain only the most superficial of connections with her, b/c if you open up like you would with a normal person, she'll use it against you. Try to keep your social life separate from hers, b/c she'll no doubt try to control other people that you socialize with. Possessive, jealous people like her can be very manipulative and destructive.
35
I wish Dan had given an answer like #30 (jennysparking) did to HMW. Yes, indeed, she's using her evangelical Christianity politically, as the whole point of her letter is to influence social and cultural behavior (be like me!). While it's unlikely that a person who wrote that letter would listen to anything a depraved, gay sex advice columnist might say, it would still be nice if his response was to point out a more realistic example of sexual incompatibility. Most men don't need to take a dump on their wives' chests to reach orgasm. Some smug, preachy types would write that whole scenario off to secular perversion, anyway.
Although, sadly, a couple can have had sex before marriage for the very dynamic that jennysparking mentions to reveal itself not in a couple of months but after several years.

36
Really? Nothing about Mississippi's Personhood Amendment & its attempt to make women 2nd class citizens?
37
AND its Resounding Defeat!
38
For HSF, invite the guy over and have really loud sex while your roomate is home. Afterwards go out and tell her "Thanks for introducing us".

Repeat until she says "You're welcome."
39
For the woman who thinks it’s just dandy to expect people to wait until after the wedding to kiss: that’s not evangelical Christianity, that’s fundamentalist Christianity — which is a somewhat different animal.

Passionate blog posts from women raised in the fundie purity culture:

http://lovejoyfeminism.blogspot.com/2011…

http://johnshore.com/2011/11/02/when-the…
40
HMW and her husband may just not know any better. If you have no point of comparison, of course you're going to think your sex is great. Because, let's face it, unless someone DOES want to drop a deuce on someone else's chest (and the other person isn't into that) or you miss and hit the wrong hole (and the other person isn't into that) it's kind of hard to fuck up sex in the eyes of someone who doesn't know any better. Hell, there are probably a lot of evangelical christian women who actually believe the female orgasm is a myth, and I'm sure the church would consider personal research to prove otherwise to be "sinful."

Now, is that an argument to say waiting IS better, because then no matter how crappy you are, the other person will be none the wiser? Or is it proof the prudes who made that rule 2000 years ago all knew they didn't know how to please a woman, or couldn't be bothered to even try to learn how, and they wanted to make sure no one showed their future wife how it's supposed to be done? I'm thinking option B...
41
Being an attractive couple at a sex club probably makes this couple more of an anomaly than not having sex with others at the club.
42
I just love it when people say stuff like "Excellent column, Dan!" like he actually reads these fucking comments.
43
This woman says being an evangelical Christian is "not a politĂ­cal statement" but then includes her government (1?!) on the list of entities she has pledged her marriage vows to--right up there with her husband!

There is NO country where being an evenagelical Christian is not a making a political statement. The religion doesn't recognize or respect the distinctions between church and State--it's political in nature.

I don't care if she's a physician, which is after all nothing but a glorified meat-plumber--she is DUMB.
44
I just re-read the article, and I noticed HAWT mentions how attractive the other couple is, but does not mention how attractive they are, or even how attractive his own wife is.

My experience with places where people get naked suggests that 100% of the people there want to see attractive people naked, but only 10% of them are, themselves, attractive. Me and my then 21 year old wife had to leave a nude beach because of the amount of eye sex people were having with her. And she is VERY open and not shy at all about her body. It's just different when the attention you are getting is from people your dad's age, who you would never, ever, be interested in. We had a similar experience in a certain "dome" at Burning Man in the early morning hours.
45
40: "If you have no point of comparison, of course you're going to think your sex is great."

How many points of comparison do you need to avoid being considered "reckless" by marrying? Judging from what I hear, it's pretty easy to have sex once, twice, or even a half a dozen times with different people without ever experiencing "great" sex. So if you marry without ever having had great sex, is that reckless? This is the basic challenge of HMW's letter, which Dan and many others have completely missed.
46
I have a good friend who is very religious. She and her husband waited for the wedding night to have sex; she was 27, he was 35 when they got married, both virgins. And it's worth noting, they dated for exactly 5 months before getting engaged, married less than a year after meeting (they were clearly ready to get on to the fucking). And they are blissfully happy.

My theory as to why they are so happy, and why this happiness was not the huge risk it seems to sluts like us: sex plays a very different role in their life. For them, sex is about commitment, family, communing with God, and sustaining their bond to each other.

For me, sex is about fun, trying new things, getting to know someone, stress relief, hedonism and autonomy. I would be foolish to commit my life to someone without knowing how well we worked sexually. But sex doesn't mean any of those things to my friend and her husband. And what it does mean is exactly what they committed to on their wedding day.
47
I'm not so much talking about the riskiness. I'm just saying she doesn't really have solid ground to stand on to suggest it is better than other sex, because she has nothing to compare it to. If I just fed you steak for the first time, sure, you could say "this tastes good." But if you try to tell me "This is better than any other steak ever, and you should be envious of what just went into my mouth!" Yeah...I'm going to point out the fact that until you try ANOTHER steak, you might just like beef in any damn form, and the steak you just had may be mediocre at best.

Like I said in my original post, maybe ignorance is bliss. I'm not judging here, I'm just saying when someone says their sex is great, and it's the only sex they've had, you kind of have to take it with a grain of salt.
48
"slept together"

Why is this euphemism for having sex still so commonly used? Is "We had sex" really more jarring than "We slept together"? Perhaps it's just the postmodernist in me, but there seems to be a subtext of sex being dirty and shameful when using the euphemism. I understand it's good manners to be conservative in unfamiliar company, but it seems the Savage Love crowd would be beyond that.
49
30/31: having one test drive before marriage is unlikely to reveal those differences. So, how many tests does she have to have? And how many different people does she need to try, in order to come to an appropriate self-understanding of her sexual needs?

I have sexual interests at my age that I never had 20 or even 10 years ago. It's sheer luck, to some extent, that my spouse satisfies these needs, but it's also, and more importantly, a function of two other causes: a) I find him very attractive in general, which I knew long before ever having sex with him, and b) we've built a strong relationship and communication which allows us to have better sex, and we knew we had that kind of relationship long before we had sex.
50
@42: Yeah, that annoys me too.
51
@20: You seem to be reading a lot of things into her letter that aren't there. Evangelism just means gospel or "good news"-based Christianity. I don't think she implied that "her evangelistic choices were responsible for what the atheist friends wanted and their atheistic choices were what they were perhaps regretting." Her point is pretty simple: her "secular" friends would say that it's a bad choice to save sex for marriage, and yet, without knowing that she did so, they look at her marriage and consider it good or desirable. So, why was her choice such a bad one? That's her point.
52
5. She must have sex with no fewer then 5 guys. And 2 girls. Ya know...just to make sure. :P

I'm not going to get you to understand my point, so I'm not going to keep reiterating it. I respect your opinion, and above all else I want everyone to have a happy, healthy relationship. What path they take to get there is their business, and I wish them all well.
53
Thanks a bunch, Dan. I haven't seen Inglourious Basterds yet


Don't bother, it sucks.
54
@48 I agree. I hate "slept with" as a euphemism (though not as much as 'made love'). Also it can seriously confuse things.
Conversation I had with my best friend after my first date with my now-husband:
Me: "I slept with him!!!!!!"
Her: "So? You sleep with every guy you go out with."
Me: "NO, I mean after we fucked, I stayed in the bed and slept with him, all night, instead of claiming my contacts hurt and driving home. I SLEPT with him!!!!"
55
HAWT's letter had that awful "sex is something I am owed" flavor to it. They're not mad this couple isn't swinging, they're mad the couple isn't swinging with THEM.
Sorry, HAWT, doesn't matter where they hang out, they're still not obligated to fuck you.

Also, I didn't think I could hate the phrase 'prick tease' more, but adding 'twat' to it really does make it worse.
57
My wife and I were virgins when we met. We were 25 and 22 respectively, and we weren't virgins by choice. We were both just shy and geeky. We did have sex before marriage, so I am wholly supportive of those saying that it's better to take a test run before committing to buy. However, looking back, the sex we had before marriage wasn't anything spectacular. Not to sound self-deprecating, but if my wife had had other sexual partners in her life, and she based her decision to commit to me on my sexual prowess, she probably would have dumped me after the first couple times. I like to believe I became a better lover after she "broke me in", and I'm glad she didn't let the test run decide our future. My point is, there are no general rules applicable to all sexual situations, as the Evangelist Christian LW would have us believe. Nor is sexual compatibility a zero sum game, as Dan Savage seems to believe--either you have it, or you don't. I don't believe my wife and I were (or are) 100% sexually compatible, but we keep trying to make it work because we loved other things about each other as well as sex. Personally, I think sexual compatibility has more to do with the willingness to play with someone whose sex drive or kinks are different than our own, rather than some mystical matchmaking of two people whose sex drives and interests are miraculously exactly the same.
58
Thanks, Dan, for saying this: "There are plenty of people out there who made the same choices you did—they waited, they made a solemn promise before God, family, friends, etc.—and their marriages fell apart due to issues of basic sexual incompatibility."

Indeed. My first husband was a virgin, and I had been celibate for five years, and we "waited"

It was a disaster.

DISASTER.

Sexually incompatible is an understatement, and it's more devastating than people realize. It's hard to live with a man that doesn't want you.

boo on that lady.
59
Thank you, Dan, for saying this: "There are plenty of people out there who made the same choices you did—they waited, they made a solemn promise before God, family, friends, etc.—and their marriages fell apart due to issues of basic sexual incompatibility."

My first husband was a virgin, and I, a "convert", had been celibate five years. We waited.

Disaster.

Horrible.

It's hard living with a man that doesn't want you.

Boo on that lady.
60
@3:

IT'S A SLED!

There. ruined another one for you.
61
I don't personally think that someone is wrong to wait for marriage if they honestly think that it's right. I don't think that the point was so much that HMW did it wrong, but that she's stating she doesn't understand why someone could want a "test drive" before marriage. Of course you learn things about someone after having sex with them. And you continue to learn things throughout the course of that relationship.
Did I learn everything my boyfriend liked the first time we had sex? Hell no. We were lucky enough to have been friends first, so we had some idea of basic turn-ons, but even after 10 months, we're still learning new things. He's finding out he's much more dominant than he once thought (yay!) and I've come to enjoy things that I never tried with other people,initially just because he enjoyed it, and after a bit, realized I did too.
I don't know that it's possible to be perfectly sexually compatible with another person. If possible, I'm sure it's pretty rare. If it was "normal" there would be no need for people to be GGG, just find their perfect match.

While, yes, people who choose to remain virgins until marriage could have a conversation about sex prior to having it, how much will they really know about their sexuality? I suppose that could be debated. I had a good sense of the basics of what I was into before I ever had sex. But, I also would consider myself to have had a fairly active solo sex life. While I may be off base, I'd imagine that someone who was remaining a virgin for religious reasons probably would not be. And even though I consider myself to have had a good idea, I don't like exactly what I thought I would exactly the way I thought I would.
62
Until my husband met me at 38, he was a virgin. Not religious, just very shy and not interested in having sex for the sake of sex - he was cute enough he could have, but didn't. He's also as kinky as can be - being a virgin doesn't mean no porn, even for the christian question writer's husband - and has a really high sex drive.

We match up well. And my sordid past :) makes it so he wasn't as nervous about either the sex or kink part. It's the best sex I've ever had but I don't attribute it to anything other than our desires complementing one another, which is hard enough to know and predict without waiting until you're married. I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt if the people marrying are in their late 30s, but before then, not a chance, and it can bite you!

We got married within 5 months of meeting one another, but it could have gone really poorly if neither of us knew where the other's desires lay (thankfully they complement one another).
63
Christian lady: "My husband and I opted out of the sexual market economy."

Dan: "You're not allowed to opt out of the sexual market economy! You're damn lucky you didn't get stuck with a lemon!"

Maybe if one ignores all the stimulation out there, one doesn't develop a taste for it, and plain vanilla is OK? Our grandparents didn't see the need for oral, let alone butt play, threesomes, etc...
64
Christian lady: "My husband and I opted out of the sexual market economy."

Dan: "You're not allowed to opt out of the sexual market economy! You're damn lucky you didn't get stuck with a lemon!"

Maybe if one ignores all the stimulation out there, one doesn't develop a taste for it, and plain vanilla is OK? Our grandparents didn't see the need for oral, let alone butt play, threesomes, etc...
65
Dave,

Sorry for this - it's not related specifically to this column but I know you're a supporter. The Human Rights Campaign is bringing a petition TODAY Nov. 9 to the senate and we need more signature. This is a petition to repeal DOMA, which prevents same-sex couples from marrying. Please sign, anyone who sees this, and SHARE. But quickly!

https://secure3.convio.net/hrc/site/Advo…

I'm sorry if this type of comment isn't allowed. Thank you.
66
Sorry, me again. That whole link didn't show up. The link to the petition is on HRC's main page too:

http://www.hrc.org/
67
It's kind of like Pascal's Wager, spelled sideways.

There are a whole lot of possible ways to be sexually incompatible. You won't discover the one that applies to your situation through waiting, but you will discover it through experience. (Some of them may be discovered through talking, but nowhere near all of them. And anything you might discover through conversation you definitely will discover through action.) In as much as you don't want to be married to someone with whom you are incompatible, the preferable course of action is to find out before marrying them. And the way to find out is through experience, rather than to wait and hope for the best.

Conversely, if you discover that you are sexually compatible, then all you have lost by waiting is several months of good sex. You haven't forestalled any disasters by waiting, and you have forgone a bunch of good sex. (Which of course God didn't want you to have. [rolls eyes]) Again, the course of action yielding the better result is not to wait.

In both cases, there is little to nothing to be gained by waiting, and everything to be gained (or every disaster to be forestalled) by not waiting.
68
@63: Just cause grandma doesn't talk about oral & buttplay, doesn't mean it didn't happen.
69
@63, Everybody with common sense knows that oral and anal were invented in the 60s, threesomes were invented in the 90s and lady orgasms are an urban legend.
70
Re HMW, I'm going to come down on her side, her self-righteousness and religious illusions aside, because I'd say two fucks before marriage might provide a superficial "compatibility" preview, but with both of them being virgins, the real problem is the lack of experience to even know what compatibility looks like. The cleveland steamer example is funny, but compatibility lies in the subtle difference that take time to emerge and can't be predicted without knowing one's true sexual preferences by experience. Many young couples marry without deep knowledge of themselves, and grow up together in the marriage, so sex before the wedding or not is really just a matter of timing and may mean little in the long term. And any one who has been married for long enough knows that a couple who fuck like rodents at the beginning may not be compatible at all after 7 or 10 years. What is so in the beginning predicts nothing about the future.
71
I chimed in on HMW and her agit-prop "look at me" silliness in the SLLOTD but just to reiterate: I can't wait to hear her new tune when they get past the seven year itch.
72
@63 CorporateMofo Those are some pretty rosy glass you have on there! Maybe the realization is too "sqick" for you, but for as long as humans have noticed the holes we have, they have been sticking things in them. Including grandparents. And ancestors from much farther back! Kama sutra, murals in ancient bath houses, ancient scrolls from Japan...

There's nothing wrong with so-called vanilla if thats what works for you and your partner; however! back before reliable birth control oral and anal were the best way to prevent pregnancy (because not having sex wasn't an option), so of course they indulged, even if the religious dogma called it bad.

Don't bother assuming what your grandparents did or didn't do.
73
@63: Plenty of those ways to be incompatible don't involve developing a taste for something out in the market. Ignorance-is-bliss won't save you from any of the following:

He's too small. He's too big. She's too small. She's too big. She has vaginismus/vulvodynia. He has erectile dysfunction. He's closeted and hoping to pray away the gay in holy matrimony with you. She only wants it once a quarter. He is premature. Her religion has her convinced that anything done for pleasure is sinful. The list goes on...

Lots of these can be worked through. But again, if you are committed to this person, what is the point of waiting to get started?
74
@Suzy

Oh please, you, like HMW (whom I suspect are the same person, but that's neither here nor there), are being willfully blind to her smug insinuations.

If she wasn't trying to insinuate that her Evangelical Christian ways are better than atheist ways, she wouldn't devote an entire paragraph to how she's an EC who was wholly pure (a concept her atheist friends can't possibly have guessed) before signing a life-long contract legally binding her to her husband, and that even her atheist friends want what she has. What, her EC friends don't? What about her Asian friends? Her middle-aged friends? No, that would be irrelevant, she means people who don't wait to have sex until after they've signed a life-long contract forbidding them from having sex with anyone else. They envy what a wonderful marriage she has, never guessing that purity before marriage was the key.

This is what might be considered reckless about it - they didn't know if they were going to enjoy having sex with each other. Yes, good communication and a healthy relationship would stack the odds in their favor, but it was by no means guaranteed. Maybe, after having had vaginal intercourse, he finds out that it is painful for him no matter what they try to make it better for him. Maybe he can only orgasm from oral sex, but they find out that she simply can't stand the taste of cock and semen in her mouth, no matter how many therapists they go to. Maybe she can't orgasm unless he's pretending to be a rapist (a common enough ailment for good Christian girls), but he is too disgusted by the idea to enjoy it even a little. Maybe one of them simply doesn't feel the need for sex except once a month, while the other one wants it twice a day.

These are things that can't be found out without them having had sex. What might be reckless is that they're disregarding the very real possibility that one or both of them will be condemned to a miserable sex life with no alternative. Sure, even people who have a lot of sex before marriage may become sexually incompatible after marriage, but at least they tried to look for possible hazards before they leaped off that edge, as opposed to jumping off with their eyes squeezed shut because they believe that opening their eyes would mean they didn't trust God.

So there, that's one perspective that causes some 'secular folks' to consider it 'reckless' not to make sure they're sexually compatible. Interestingly enough, all the secular folks I know wouldn't use 'reckless' to describe not having sex before marriage. As someone who practiced abstinence, my friends, be they Evangelical Christians who were having sex or not, have never recommended that I have sex before I commit. They have no desire to make me feel bad about not having sex because I have never believed myself superior simply because I had a religious conviction to not have sex - I'm still a sinner like any other. Not having sex didn't make me a 'holier' sinner.

Personally, I wouldn't call it reckless, so long as the couple actually understood the risks they were taking - marriage isn't quite the death-sentence as it once was - there's always divorce, or the couple could come to a non-monogamous understanding. It is reckless, however, to tell people that sexual incompatibility wouldn't happen if they played by certain holier-than-thou rules - because it is not true, and it encourages gullible people to take the risk of trapping themselves in unsatisfying marriages that ultimately end in resentment, divorce, and crying children caught between bitter parents.
75
Sorry for the double post, I just want my comment to show up - here it is again.

@Suzy

Oh please, you, like HMW (whom I suspect are the same person, but that's neither here nor there), are being willfully blind to her smug insinuations.

If she wasn't trying to insinuate that her Evangelical Christian ways are better than atheist ways, she wouldn't devote an entire paragraph to how she's an EC who was wholly pure (a concept her atheist friends can't possibly have guessed) before signing a life-long contract legally binding her to her husband, and that even her atheist friends want what she has. What, her EC friends don't? What about her Asian friends? Her middle-aged friends? No, that would be irrelevant, she means people who don't wait to have sex until after they've signed a life-long contract forbidding them from having sex with anyone else. They envy what a wonderful marriage she has, never guessing that purity before marriage was the key.

This is what might be considered reckless about it - they didn't know if they were going to enjoy having sex with each other. Yes, good communication and a healthy relationship would stack the odds in their favor, but it was by no means guaranteed. Maybe, after having had vaginal intercourse, he finds out that it is painful for him no matter what they try to make it better for him. Maybe he can only orgasm from oral sex, but they find out that she simply can't stand the taste of cock and semen in her mouth, no matter how many therapists they go to. Maybe she can't orgasm unless he's pretending to be a rapist (a common enough ailment for good Christian girls), but he is too disgusted by the idea to enjoy it even a little. Maybe one of them simply doesn't feel the need for sex except once a month, while the other one wants it twice a day.

These are things that can't be found out without them having had sex. What might be reckless is that they're disregarding the very real possibility that one or both of them will be condemned to a miserable sex life with no alternative. Sure, even people who have a lot of sex before marriage may become sexually incompatible after marriage, but at least they tried to look for possible hazards before they leaped off that edge, as opposed to jumping off with their eyes squeezed shut because they believe that opening their eyes would mean they didn't trust God.

So there, that's one perspective that causes some 'secular folks' to consider it 'reckless' not to make sure they're sexually compatible. Interestingly enough, all the secular folks I know wouldn't use 'reckless' to describe not having sex before marriage. As someone who practiced abstinence, my friends, be they Evangelical Christians who were having sex or not, have never recommended that I have sex before I commit. They have no desire to make me feel bad about not having sex because I have never believed myself superior simply because I had a religious conviction to not have sex - I'm still a sinner like any other. Not having sex didn't make me a 'holier' sinner.

Personally, I wouldn't call it reckless, so long as the couple actually understood the risks they were taking - marriage isn't quite the death-sentence as it once was - there's always divorce, or the couple could come to a non-monogamous understanding. It is reckless, however, to tell people that sexual incompatibility wouldn't happen if they played by certain holier-than-thou rules - because it is not true, and it encourages gullible people to take the risk of trapping themselves in unsatisfying marriages that ultimately end in resentment, divorce, and crying children caught between bitter parents.
76
@72 (Mogile): Thanks for the image of people in previous generations sticking my grandparents in their various holes. ("Maybe the realization is too "sqick" for you, but for as long as humans have noticed the holes we have, they have been sticking things in them. Including grandparents.")
I'd kind of like to use this in my freshman composition classes to illustrate the phenomenon of "dangling" , but I'd need your permission first.
77
@18 Suzy, I would echo what avast said in @20.

I would add that I still think that you're missing the tone of this woman's letter--i.e. that she has something to prove and that she is smug in both her self-righteousness and her need to convince "atheists" she is sexually satisfied.

You're imagining these atheists the judgmental and smug ones, which just happens to also be a very handy and common character assassination against atheists that dodges the questions atheists raise about science and reason and evidence.

I personally find it very hard to believe that any "atheist" in her midst really gives a flying fuck whether or not this woman is truly sexually satisfied because most atheists simply don't believe there's enough evidence to prove that God (or gods) exist. They don't by and large have to prove anything having to do with sexual experience and satisfaction, which means her characterization of all of these people who question her as "atheists" should call her motives and her credibility into question.

Along similar lines, I highly doubt that this woman only hears this incredulity or disagreement from only her "atheist friends." Many a religious person will say that sexual experience and compatibility matter to the success of a marriage. The way she dubs herself a victim of supposed atheist intolerance strikes me as not that different from the folks who insist that you're "waging a war on Christmas" if you say "Happy Holidays." It's not REAL oppression--it's using an imagined victim status to demand that other people agree with you, to silence those who don't, and to convince yourself of your righteousness against the evil hordes you need to imagine around you for your own ego validation.

The tone in her letter is sufficiently self-incriminating that I really don't care one way or the other whether or not she's deluding herself. It strikes me as another example of the classic kind of conservative projection in which conservatives don't consider that non-conservatives genuinely don't get themselves twisted into knots about the sex other people may or may not be having and don't insist that others see everything exactly as they do.
78
@68 Wrong
79
@Suzy(45 et alii)

as I see it, your point is simple: there is no reason to suppose that, just because you did test something, it still will be good (how many points of comparison do you have, do you really know what 'good sex' is, don't your tastes change through time so it's ultimately going to be a lottery anyway, etc).

In principle, good points. But I notice one important thing: your doubts are valid not only for sex, but in fact for any decision you make.

If you buy a house, they say it's a good idea to check the plumbing, the electrical part, the stability of the roof, etc. to avoid future headaches and unexpected expenses. Yet even if you do check, still you may miss something (you, or the person you paid to do the checking, may not have that much experience -- 'enough points of comparison' -- to notice some of the problems; or maybe the previous owner hid things in ways you didn't know how to see through; or... or...). Or also, even if everything seems OK, maybe there is something that will lead to a future problem -- the pipes may be OK, but maybe they're made of a material that only looks good but will deteriorate relatively quickly ('changes in 10 years so that it is different from what it is now') so later on it will be a huge headache...

So, in a certain sense, buying a house is also a lottery, right? You may think you did everything you could to make sure you're buying a good house, and still end up wishing you never had bought it a few years later on.

And you may also have a friend who checked absolutely nothing -- just took the previous owner's word for it, and believed that the house was perfect. There was a good vibe, the house 'spoke' to your friend, his/her feelings were 'wonderful' and s/he had fantasies about growing old and eventually dying in that house. But no, no reality checks about plumbing, electrial installation, sewage, the roof, isolation during winter, nothing. And yet, ten years later, your friend is still happy and satisfied with the house s/he bought.

These things are possible, they do happen in real life (I can think of at least one example).

And yet nobody is going to claim that it is better, or even equally good, to do no checks and trial runs with a house before you buy it. In fact, every single pragmatic, reality-oriented person I know would call me crazy if I bought a house just because I liked it and the current owner tells me "everything is all right".

Because the probability that the house will be a problem is indeed lower if you check everything -- you'll avoid the obvious problems, the obvious attempts at hide broken pipes and wires, the things the previous owner conveniently forgot to mention... There are sufficiently many obvious and near-obvious cases out there to make it a good idea indeed to check a house before you buy it, even though it's true that you might still be disappointed while your reckless friend who bought a house without checking anything is still blissfully happy.

Because we all realize that this friend (like HMW) is the analogous of that old uncle we all have who has smoked like a choo-choo train for decades and still has no signs of lung cancer whatsoever.

Likewise for the 'sexual test drives' in relationships. Yes, an element of chance remains regardless, and yes, things will change through time. Just as was the case with the house. But still, it is better to do it because you will be able eliminate obviously problematic cases at an early stage that you might otherwise have been trapped in.

And I even find it difficult to understand that people would have doubts about that. I mean, nobody says you should marry someone without having spent some time with him/her before, right? We all talk about 'getting to know each other' before getting married. To me, this is the same as test-driving: test-driving your cooking skills, your relationship skills, test-driving the topics you like to talk about, the things you like to do together... Why is it that people used to have long courtships and spend at least a year engaged before finally getting married?

Isn't "getting to know each other well" all about finding out whether the initial strong attraction does indeed remain and flourish when all other aspects of the personality -- including the ones the partners-to-be aren't really proud of -- come to the fore?

And hasn't this always been considered a good idea? Don't we think that people who get married a week after they meet are reckless -- 'you don't even know each other yet, how do you know what you have is going to last?'

The only reason I can see why people would be in favor of "getting to know each other well" before marriage but wouldn't include having sex as part of this getting-to-know-each-other-well process is that our society still views sex as this strange thing, good but bad, healthy but sick, an expression of love but also of our most animalistic side, something to be proud of but not to talk about, etc. etc. etc. Sex is 'dangerous.' Sex is 'stange,' it is not 'like everything else,' it is not 'normal.'

Other than that, all the arguments that support the idea that people should get to know each other before tying the knot also apply for having sex with each other. If someone can see any important difference, please let me know; I would be sincerely interested.
80
@69, 72: Yes, it's true, there's nothing new under the Sun. That doesn't mean that oral/anal/whatever sex are as common now as they were 50 years ago or will be 50 years in the future. Porn showing oral and anal sex was nontrivial to get when I was in my late teens (at least it seemed so to a teenager), let alone when my parents were coming of age - and when I was with girlfriends, I did oral and considered doing anal because I'd seen them in porn. If you think the changing availability of porn hasn't changed the proportion of people who practice oral sex/anal sex/lots of other sexual practices, over time scales of decades, well, you're welcome to your beliefs.
81
@CorporateMofo(63), who wrote:
Maybe if one ignores all the stimulation out there, one doesn't develop a taste for it, and plain vanilla is OK? Our grandparents didn't see the need for oral, let alone butt play, threesomes, etc...


Well, first of all, non-vanilla desires are an old, old thing, as any look at old literature will show you. Maybe your grandparents didn't do it, and maybe they did -- how can you know for sure?

But still, you talk as if the only problem couples have with sex were avoiding your occasional foot fetish. Do you really think so?

Unhappy marriages have existed since the very beginning of the institution of marriage. In many epochs, unhappy marriages were the dominant kind of marriage. Classical writers from Shakespeare to Proust have written about the unhappy marriages they saw around them. Remember Tolstoy's famous "happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way"? Do you think none of the "unhappy families" Tolstoy mentioned (in his beloved, and ultra-conservative, 19th century) were unhappy for sexual reasons?

Sexual unhappiness in marriage has always existed. Taking steps to prevent it in your life before you get married is not selling out to the sexual market economy: it's simply good old common sense, finally applied to the area of sex (which conservatives still want to treat as if it were different from everything else in life, which it is not).
82
@79: "Other than that, all the arguments that support the idea that people should get to know each other before tying the knot also apply for having sex with each other.If someone can see any important difference, please let me know; I would be sincerely interested."

Historically, back before we had effective antibiotics, the possibility of getting incurable bacterial STD's was a pretty good argument for not having sex before marriage. This isn't particularly material any more, of course. But back in the Victorian era Victorian morality arguably improved one's evolutionary fitness, in that it made one less likely to die of syphilis before your kids were self-supporting.
83
@76(nocutename), I'd call that a case of structural ambiguity, depending on which node on the tree dominates "Including grandparents" (or, in other words, what its antecedent is). I've been told "dangling" is the common name, though. Deliciously pragmatic, in the old Anglo-Saxon tradition :-)

But frankly, English being the way it is (almost no case marking and a near-fetishistic dependence on ordering restrictions to assign roles to participants in various intricate constructions), it's actually sorta difficult to have a complex thought in this language that doesn't lead to dangling or other similar structural ambiguity...
84
@3 no one gives a shit why you dont watch tv. inglourious basterds is an awesome movie even though a minor detail was given away
85
@82(Old Crow), but presumably, STDs are like one of the things people should check for in the new house they're buying -- in the case of STD, preferably via talking. Of course, people will lie about it (just like the previous owner of the house will lie, or 'conventiently forget to mention' the one pipe in the bathroom he had replaced with a low-quality one...), but it's part of what you should be checking for.

The Victorian situation would be analogous to one in which houses so often have plumbing problems that you basically don't even lose time checking first, you assume it's there and start figuring out how much it will cost you to get it repaired before you buy the house (and add it to the house price).

So, in the end, I don't see that as really different from all the 'getting to know each other' activities. For each of them, there are also potential dangers, health-related or otherwise, that you could in principle avoid by never engaging in courtship; and yet people did. The fact that STDs were much more of a threat in the olden days is not much different from the fact that eating in a restaurant or tavern was much more of a health threat in the olden days than it is now: not something specific to sex, simply part of the general health situation of those days. Again, sex ends up being an activity like all others, with its potential dangers and hazards, of course -- like all others.
86
Oh, dear. our HAWT couple is all out of sorts because the fresh meat - oops, sorry, I meant to say new visitors ::rolls eyes:: - aren't putting themselves out to be pawed over by the regulars. HAWT are NOT entitled to swing with the newcomers, even if the new couple were swinging. And, wow, do I sense a distasteful stalkery vibe.
87
Dan's answer to the first letter? BRAVO, sir, bravo!!
88
@80(Old Crow), the media (of which porn is but one form) have of course changed our expectations and influenced our ideas. If we didn't have TV and books showing us what other countries are really like, we'd probably have a lot more xenophobic stereotypes about foreigners than we do. Of course the media have influenced our attitudes.

What I don't think is that it's necessarily bad.

To put it in other words: the inaccessibility of porn (or, as you put it, its 'nontrivial' accessibility) was also an influence on your perception of sex. Indeed: the absence of porn was as much an influence as its presence is: both change things (just like the presence or absence of sun, and the respective amounts, can influence the way a plant grows).

There is no escape from 'influence', because there are no neutral surroundings as far as human beings and their growth is concerned.

Personally, a consequence I like and that I associate with porn (as part of a generally more sex-friendly media, including also literature, poetry, cinematography, etc.), is that there are more people aware that sex is something interesting, worth knowing more about, and that it is OK to experiment with it till you find what works for you.

On the other hand, a consequence I don't like is that there are more people now obsessing about sex, how to do it 'right' and whether or not they are 'normal' or 'obsessed' or 'frigid' or 'straight' or 'gay' or 'bi' or... or... apparently afraid that some danger might befall them unless they have the 'best' kind of sex (whatever that is). Too many people having sexual anxiety, from thinking they either have to be like porn actors or then the exact opposite. That is a consequence I don't like.

All in all, like everything else in the media, and in art: good and bad consequences. :-)
89
You're a little rough on HMW, don't you think, Dan? After all, she didn't really have a question... just wanted to state that she had found happiness without sleeping together first.
Some people do that. And some people settle for whatever they get, too...
90
Let's assume that some of our grandparents were involved with oral sex, anal sex, and threesomes, but that most of them them weren't in the numbers as compared to today. How does the meme spread to the culture at large? The first man I had sex with (we were both teenagers) might have done some heavier petting than I, but we were both virgins. Yet he considered going down on me to be ordinary, a sort of 4th base before the home run. I've often wondered where he learned that. Not being in a position to ask him, I'm asking all of you. PIV sex seems like something that would be in our collective psyche (for straight people) even if we didn't get it in some sort of sex ed (even if it's just the where babies come from talk). What about everything else? Is there anything besides PIV sex that you didn't learn from someone in person?
91
Dan, would you please make sure you aren't posting erroneous information in your column. No business in Sanford, Maine, was destroyed. The banquet hall was told it couldn't rent the place to swingers for health and safety reasons (they serve food and alcohol and rent the hall to many events) on top of not having a license to operate an adult business. The police even said that had the parties been held in a private home then they would have been perfectly okay.

The owner of the banquet hall's business license was up for renewal and the town council approved it. The timing of the police investigation is certainly suspicious and I'm sure someone in town was hoping their license wouldn't be renewed, that's pretty typical small town politics and backstabbing.
93
@83 (ankylosaur): See, I always liked the descriptor "dangling," because it gives me the image of a phrase trying to attach itself to a previous phrase without enough authority, so it ends up hanging in thin air. The correct antecedent isn't there to support it.

But I disagree with your statement that "t's actually sorta difficult to have a complex thought in this language that doesn't lead to dangling or other similar structural ambiguity..." You give perfectly clear voice to all kinds of complex thoughts, as do a lot of others right here in this thread. They just need to be given the proper amount of room to spread out and articulate the nuances of the thought.
94
@37: AMEN to that!!!
96
@HMW: You want an example of something you could have learned about each other through sex that would have changed your mind? Here's are some things my college boyfriend and I - both virgins going in and thinking about marriage - discovered about each other.

- His penis is bigger than I'd expected, and all my orifices are smaller than he'd expected. The fit was a struggle, even after extensive practice. If we had woken up one morning to discover his penis was half its usual size, I would have been thrilled.

- As a teen, he'd been utterly obsessed with the idea of cunnilingus and had been waiting for years for the opportunity to try it out. Sounded good to me! Turned out he didn't like it nearly as much as he thought he would.

- I discovered I can only orgasm if I'm lying down, which ruled out any of the positions where we could reasonably get his penis into my vagina.

- He discovered that he found looking at my buttocks far more stimulated than he'd expected, and developed an interest in anal sex. The idea of putting something that barely fits in my vagina into my anus is rather terrifying. We experimented with some milder anal play, and it did absolutely nothing for me. I was watching the clock and wondering how long this was going to take, not even able to enjoy his pleasure because he was behind me where I couldn't see him.

We worked on it for years, but it ended up that there was nothing sexual that we were both actively interested in and physically capable of doing. Unless we'd both been content to spend the rest of our lives without mutually pleasurable and satisfying sex, it couldn't be made to work.
97
I think that it's quite possible HMW thinks their sex is great, and will learn a lot more about herself as time goes on. It's also possible she thinks it's great and doesn't realize he is not so content, because he thinks about dirty things he never tells her about. Sometimes it takes a long time to get to know yourself sexually. Or maybe they both are just basically vanilla, and there aren't any creepy crawlys lurking.

I do believe its possible to recognize sexual compatible just using intuition, and bodily response. Chemistry can sometimes be felt from across a room, without even meeting or talking to the other person.
98
Jesus, Dan - why not just regurgitate your blog every week and call it a column? It's really fucking annoying to wait all week to read the same thing I've been reading while waiting all week.
99
Austensplaining:

"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."
100
Thanks, Mr. Venominon, for forever associating Pride and Prejudice with sex in my mind.
101
Evangelism is a political statement in every country, HMW. Yes, Suzy, the etymology of 'evangelism' breaks down to 'good news', but the actual definition is different. Evangelical Christians are Christians whose faith dictates they must actively try to convert others. Attempting to convince others to practice your religious faith is an inherently political act. This seems to be another point on which you, HMW, choose to 'play dumb'.
102
Ha ha, no, I am not HMW! I didn't wait for marriage to have sex, much less kiss anyone. However, perhaps because of that experience, I can easily see why her question arises. It's tricky to track each individual response, so let me lump a bunch together into one. First, I don't think HMW is being smug at all! It is a very frequently encountered opinion "out there" that people should try having sex before marriage to see if they're compatible. HMW, who may run mostly in circles with other Christians like herself, may not hear that point of view expressed except by her non-religious friends. However, nowhere in her letter does she imply that her strict choices are the cause of her current happiness, and thus are to be emulated by anyone else. Rather, her point is that some people think you need a test drive to have a happy sex life in marriage, and they also think she, HMW, seems to have a happy sex life in marriage, but what they may not realize is that she took no test drive of even a minimal kind. So, why is that test drive supposed to be so darn important, then? In a way, people are reading her point here exactly backwards, by imputing to her the claim that other people should NOT have a test drive, or that the lack of one is what caused her success! She's not saying that--or if she would, it's not in this letter. That's being read into her words.

Why is sex before marriage not like checking out a home before buying it? Well, keep going with the analogy: sometimes you find out that the house has hidden toxic mold, and sometimes you find out that your fiance is a liar who already has a spouse! But sometimes, after the home inspection you find out there's a leaky pipe and a window that needs replacing, but you're still going to buy the house anyway. I think HMW's point is that her other reasons for marriage were so overwhelmingly important that she would have treated any initially discovered sexual incompatibility as a lower level problem of those kinds. Is she wrong or naive to think the problem is lower-level? Perhaps, but then again, many BIG problems take a long time either to emerge or to be handled until you're sure they have no solution. Consider #96 above, who thinks her letter stands as a counterexample, but really it proves HMW's point. It took "years" of work to conclude that the relationship wasn't worth the trouble. However, if the sex gets off to a slow start in a relationship, that doesn't mean it's always going to be bad, particularly when the parties involved are deeply committed. So... how much test driving is prudent, and how little is reckless? Now we're back to HMW's serious question, still with no clear answer.

Another reason premarital sex is not like a home inspection is that the types of risks and rewards are totally different. The experience of sex before marriage is not like the experience of sex when you're both virgins and already married, and maybe the latter is something you value a lot. Not everyone will or should, but if you do, then you'd be rightly reluctant to give that up. My mom was a virgin when she married (and I believe her, because she has always been extremely frank and open about these issues), and she believes it was enormously special and important. That wasn't the right path for me, but I can see why it was very valuable to her. I would never think her choice of that value was reckless; people differ. Live and let live, eh?

If comparative sexual experience is demanded before marriage, as some here have suggested, then there's an even more difficult risk/reward situation. Not only are you exposing yourself to potential STIs and pregnancies, in situations where you're likely not with the partner you hope to remain with for life, but the breakups can be much more difficult. Not always, of course, but when you're in a sexual relationship that can make moving on much more difficult and messy. Yet you'll have to do this to gain the "non-reckless" experience you need to be sure that the person you're totally in love with is really right for you? I don't know. Ultimately, it comes down to this: if you think it's wise to take some test drives, or many test drives, then do it! But why must we judge other people as lacking when they don't want to do it? Maybe they know everything they needed to know about each other, and if they didn't, maybe that test drive wasn't really the best or only way of finding it out.

Now that I've written a treatise I might as well have one last word: it is VERY rare, in my experience, not to be able to tell whether sex with someone is going to be fun before actually having the sex. Any type of foreplay usually makes it clear whether you're going to like this. In the ONE case I can think of that was different, the guy had a premature ejaculation problem that I didn't know about until we actually tried to do that deed. However, if I had loved him and thought he was the right husband, I would never have let that problem stop me from marrying him. So, test drive would have been superfluous.
103
Hey HAWT, it's too many encounters with entitled stalkerish asshats like you, that have turned me off public sex altogether. Whatever happened to "safe, sane and CONSENSUAL?" Or is that just the talk you use to lure people in and then abuse? Unfortunately, that entitled attitude is not the sole domain of opposite sex couples. And while I have had men ruin my encounters in mixed clubs with unwanted attention and interruptions, women do it too. HAWT is just a straight version that is all too familiar to me. Gender doesn't matter. Gross entitled behaviour is just plain gross no matter the package (gender) in which it is wrapped. Just because I am a Top butch doesn't make me desperate, nor available to every offer. Especially from other Tops hellbent on trying to Top me. It appears too many of the experienced sex clubbers, like "HAWT", need a boundaries refresher course. Because that couple paid the entrance fee, the only thing they owe, and they don't owe you a fucking (pun intended) thing. Not now. Not ever. Get over yourselves, HAWT. You can't force attractions or desires. It's a huge turn off.
104
Hmm, HMW was quite respectful and shared her experience and point of view in a sex column. She is obviously cool with sexual variety, otherwise, why read it at all?
Dan, I think your response was rude and unnecessarily antagonistic simply because she described herself as an evangelical Christian -you need to get over your obvious prejudice towards them if you ever expect them to get over theirs towards you and by extension the rest of us (gays). Your hateful attitude towards born-agains is not at all helpful, and just makes you look like the gay liberal version of Jerry Falwell. Not all evangelicals are at war with homosexuals/homosexuality, so live the tolerance and acceptance that you so rightly demand of others.

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