Savage Love Letter of the Day: What Does “Vanilla” Even Mean?


I got a bit confused by Dan's response, as I understood HALP to be a straight woman who enjoys stroking her partners while they rub her clit, who in addition enjoys getting spanking and hearing dirty talk. Somewhere along the way, Dan had HALP stroking their own body part.

Asking a partner to do any of these things is certainly a reasonable request. But I would note two things, not every guy is going to be comfortable spanking his partner. Yes, spanking is a comparatively low-stakes form of power exchange, but striking a partner (even though it is consensual) isn't for everyone. If these guys respectfully decline, HALP should be gracious in the moment, and then decide later whether or not to continue a physical relationship with a guy who won't spank her. Here, it sounds like they're objecting in a way that makes HALP feel like what she wants is outre, which it is not.

Asking a new partner to talk dirty can be a bit tricky. No one wants to say something that is going to turn their partner off, particularly a new casual sex partner, who might not want a repeat engagement thereafter. If HALP has no-go words or subjects, she needs to convey that to her partners. HALP can also encourage her partners by giving positive feedback in the moment and thereafter.

That all said, lots of guys would enjoy spanking their partner while talking dirty, so HALP should go looking for one of those guys before getting into bed.
@1 mutual masturbation can mean both things. 1. you masturbate in front of your partner while they do the same 2. you masturbate each other together.
@1 and 2, I assumed the same thing that Dan did. "Mutual masturbation" can be used for either, but I think it primarily applies when both people are actually masturbating, not when one is providing a hand job and is getting fingered by the other in return. Also, as a straight but not purely vanilla man, I've masturbated in front of women (mostly when I was having trouble getting off) and I've had women masturbate in front of me (usually as part of foreplay), but I can't remember ever combining the two at the same time. So, based on a sample size of one man and a not terribly large group of women, my guess is that mutual masturbation in the way Dan and I understood it isn't nearly as common among straight couples as is it is for gays.

And, while Dan's right that spanking is not technically vanilla, it's about as vanilla a kink as you'll ever find. Dirty talk is also pretty routine, but of course it depends a lot on what the dirty talk is about. If you're into rape-murder-necrophilia fantasies (please note: I'm not), don't be surprised if some partners consider that a tad kinky. On the other hand, if it's all "OMG, you're so huge/tight. My God, I'm going to come so hard, etc." well, that's not any kinkier than oral sex, which I hear comes standard.
@1: "I got a bit confused by Dan's response"


"The problem isn't that straight men are delicate sex flowers, but that you've obviously been fucking the straight guys."

Didn't help any.
WHO THE FUCK ARE THESE GUYS?? Like, note that I quiz the world on this, but I've never heard a guy talk about his preferences as anything other than "vanilla with a little weirdness" (which is basically the new vanilla).

What constitutes being "made to feel weird" about something as basically tame as dirty talk and handjobs? I sometimes wonder if this isn't an issue of someone trying to make you feel weird but the general culture of sexual guilt and female socialization that leads to anything besides immediate, enthusiastic consent being interpreted as weirding.
"Both have made me feel weird about what I want in bed."

I wish HALP had gone into more detail on exactly what these men did to make her feel weird. I can imagine anything from a guy saying sincerely "I've never been into that" to a guy saying "you must be sick" to a guy pasting pictures all over the internet with captions reading "look at this sick weirdo."

Naturally it still comes down to dating enough until you find someone you're compatible with.
It's always very frustrating, as someone who has sex (with other people) far, far less than I would like, to read these letters describing guys hooking up and being dicks to women. Did they need the lights turned out before taking off their clothes, too?
I think the guru deal might've come from the image/text featured here:
I feel like I've seen it used by multiple publications and I definitely remember thinking "There's just no way Dan signed off on that." Love guru? Blechhh.
It's impossible to make an accurate analysis with such scanty information. How did the guys make her feel weird? Did they actually say "that's weird?" Did they lose their erections? Maybe just get an uncomfortable look on their face and giggle nervously? Strikes me that the most likely explanation is the pretty common "straight guy slightly intimidated by forthright, assertive woman" scenario. It's been many years since I fucked somebody for the first time (long term married) but I think I'd leave the commentary for at least the second "date." Obviously this doesn't mean she should suffer in silence if the sex is really bad, but maybe leave the verbal instructions for a later date.
I have had men ask me about my relationship with my father and sadly lament my damaged self-esteem and suggest I need psychiatric help because I wanted them to call me a "dirty slut" while having sex.
Gonna agree with #1, SublimeAfterglow. While spanking is pretty common, it's not for everyone, and people have the right to decline. Although seriously, a slap on the ass or two seems reasonable in most circumstances.

Also, not everyone is comfortable with dirty talk - a lot of the time it's not even squeamishness, just that not everyone can bust out a Shakespearian soliloquy of filth on command. You're like: "OMG, they want a speech? I didn't prepare a speech! That is not what I thought was going to happen when I heard 'Oral Exam!' I don't even have notes! Let's see... um... dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to... no? Okay, ... I'd like to thank the academy - no, that's wrong... fourscore and twenty dicks ago... wait, where are you going? Come back!"
Sportlandia: There are more replies to you on this thread:…

I too thought "mutual masturbation" meant "handjobs." But I think HALP must mean "masturbating oneself in one's partner's presence," because nothing is more vanilla than stroking one's partner's genitals.

Given that interpretation, I would say that yeah, all of the things she listed -- spanking, dirty talk, wanking off in front of your lover -- are not things to spring on a person the first time you go to bed with them. If you can't stick to basics the first time, tell your partner that you're kinky -- specify dom or sub -- so that they're prepared. Do NOT just spank someone or lie across their lap. Do NOT just say "you're/I'm such a dirty slut!" as that can be a turn-off to many people. Do NOT just whack off without asking if your partner minds. DO just "ask for what you want within the first couple of times (read: second time onwards)." Ideally before the clothes come off and the hormones get raging. No one wants to be blindsided with requests they are too horny to feel able to turn down. I'd turn the tables and say, isn't it worth putting off your kinks for one shag in order to make a new partner feel comfortable?
Every Slog poster's favorite fantasy:
'...most likely explanation is the pretty common "straight guy slightly intimidated by forthright, assertive woman" scenario.'

Part of the fun of a new relationship (for me) is turning the other person on by saying what you're into in a fun, flirty, and healthy way. Maybe just talk about it ahead of time instead of in the moment. Also, sexting is nice. It puts forward some ideas of what the other likes and allows the person to take time and craft a response, too. If they're not good at coming up with hot scenarios and that's your thing, then you don't have to have sex with them.
Is it wrong for me to ask for what I want within the first couple of times having sex...

It is never wrong to ask for what you want, but you might want to cool your jets a bit on those first dates. Go with the flow and get to know each other a bit. The problem may lie in your approach. If you are issuing orders, "sit over there, do this, do that, talk this way" it would turn me off. But if it was just part of the fun, "oh baby spank my ass" or if you were just talking dirty without an edict that I had to return the favor I would be totally into that, pick up that you like dirty talk and reciprocate. The mutual masturbation thing is pretty vanilla, wouldn't throw me off at all, but in my book that is something that I probably wouldn't get into until a few dates down the line. I want a sex partner not a drill sergeant.
Eh, I like spanking and mutual masturbation (dirty talk makes me giggle, and not in a good way), but I might react "weirdly" if someone started insisting on it the first 1-2 times we hooked up. I think there's a difference between laying things out early and laying them out the first time you hook up. The first time, I think a lot of people are probably interested in the basics to see if there's basic chemistry and compatibility--does this person kiss well, do they try to please me of just jackhammer/lie there like a dead fish, etc. They might be fine spanking you a couple months into the relationships, but not the first time.
@2/Akbar Fazil and @3/dcp123: My confusion wasn't about whether HALP wanted to masturbate with a partner side-by-side each touching only themselves, or whether they would be touching each other. Rather, HALP appears to be a straight woman and having sex with straight men, but Dan wrote: "It's that their assholes who shamed you for wanting to jerk off next to them, which is itself a totally vanilla sexual activity..."

There are a few problematic things with this sentence, but presumably the "you" in this sentence is HALP, a person I thought was a straight woman, yet Dan describes her as "wanting to jerk off," which isn't how I would describe female masturbation. So was I wrong about HALP's identity and what sex act she wanted, was Dan typing while impaired, or is everyone now jerking-off?

So things started going off the rails at about the point that @4/undead ayn rand noted, and then derailed.
@12 Traffic Spiral: Haha! That dialogue was hilarious!
@13 I think that thread has basically run its course, I'm not sure what else to add, unless you have a specific question.

Note to Dan and other commentors: Made to feel weird != Shamed.

To me, mutual masturbation should be... more common. Everyone gets off in different ways, and on a first-time basis it's not uncommon that your partner wont know the ins and outs of how you orgasm - but i bet both of you still want to get off!
SA @18: "Jerk off" is acceptable unisex slang for masturbating.
Agreed, though, that while masturbating oneself in one's partner's presence may be quite common for gay men (I'll take Dan's word), it's not really something opposite-sex people or same-female-sex people do very often, in my experience. It's a rare exception, reserved for when your partner is just too tired or you require something very specific.

Sportlandia @13: I added what I needed to add, as did a few others. No reply (other than "gee, I guess a lot of people do know their sexual orientations at a very young age, interesting") necessary.
NoCute @11, I will literally NEVER understand men like that.
Sportlandia @20: Agree that "made to feel weird" does not necessarily mean "shamed." As the comments show, HALP appears to be the exception in wanting to jump right into light kink on the first date. These guys are probably just thrown off by such unexpected requests, and then HALP feels awkward for having made them. No shame involved, just mismatched styles.

Interesting suggestion re: mutual masturbation. Agreed, a new partner won't know what you need in order to orgasm. The obvious solution is "tell them," but I suppose that does run the risk of coming across like a "drill sergeant," as DonnyK @16 says. I think I'd prefer that my partners give me some gentle instruction, rather than take things into their own hands. But for those people who find it difficult to come with a new partner regardless of what they do, it makes sense that finishing oneself off could be an acceptable option, not an insult to the partner's sex skills.
Just realized that "drill sergeant" in this context is a funny Freudian slip.
Sublime @18, Oh. I get you.

You're right about that, but I was so traumatized by Dan's use of the word "their" when he meant "they're" that I was barely even perturbed by the use of the term "jerk off" to apply to masturbation by a straight cis woman. I agree that usage is odd, but I've also hear people refer to men giving women blow jobs. Again, unless that woman has a penis, she can't receive a "blow job" as I use the term.

Why don't we just face it: The grammatical errors, odd choices of terminology, and the incomplete sentence quoted by Undead @4 all suggest that Dan may have been tipsy when he wrote this one. My guess is that he wrote it in an airport bar somewhere. I wasn't confused by it, other than briefly by the incomplete sentence, but it is all a bit odd.
Confession after further thought: As a dominant straight guy, I do get put off by a lot specific stage management. Make noises to let me know if I'm doing something good, say "ouch" if something hurts (and not in a good way) and I'll try to figure out how to get you off. If it doesn't work tell me what does, but not while wer're having sex. If I get a whole lot of specific instruction during the act, I guess I can be one of those straight guys who loses interest because it distracts from my self-image as the dominant manly man ravishing the innocent, but excited, maiden and Mr. Happy starts to fantasize about Rosey Palm and her five friends. There have certainly been first-time hookups where I very quickly realized that there would be no second time because my partner was too controlling/demanding/into inflicting pain on men or whatever to be compatible with me. Not her fault, just an issue of different preferences.

I've always tried to be polite, non-shaming, and finish in those circumstances, except one time with a woman who was a friend with many overlapping friends where I thought it would be better not to finish the consummation, so I sorta faked passing out. I guess I should have realized that, once I penetrated her, the Rubicon had been crossed and I should have finished because I later was led to believe by mutual friends that she was pretty weirded out by that experience. Oh well, I was younger and even stupider back then.
@23 well, put the emphasis on "Mutual" - I don't recommend simply laying there getting yourself off - the goal is to still cum "with" the other person, even if it isn't their physical sensation doing the job.

@26 Sounds more like an opportunity to, euphamistically, put someone in their place. If they're down with your dominance in general, they'll probably appreciate you placing arbitrary restrictions on them, as long as it's done sexily.
I used to flip through Cosmopolitan magazine while at the neighborhood nail salon. This can be tricky with wet nails, yet can be done if you’re careful enough and have already opened the magazine on the sex pages prior to application.
In one of the issues they advised young women to tell their new bf’s to masturbate in front of them on their very first sexy time together, in order to “get a feel” of what they like.
While I did like the idea and started feeling a bit ticklish down my left testicle buried deep inside my snuggly satin panties, I got the feeling that it’s there mostly as a sexy shock value idea rather than a real life suggestion.
I would probably go on with it, show and tell was always a favorite of mine, but can see how some would get a bit shy on one of those still-awkward first time/s.

DK @ 24
Is this “Freudian” full or half-slip?
DCP @26: So does this mean you'd rather run the fuck with someone who didn't come, and then got herself off afterwards?

Sportlandia @27: What if the other person has already come?
@29 Leg out a double?
FWIW, Dan, I suspect in this case the letter writer meant "Guru" the way we refer to knowledgable technology people as "tech gurus" - that is, you're something of an expert on the topic at hand. You may still feel not worthy of that title, but I don't think she meant anything like transcendence or beads.
Weird. I've been sexually active on the West Coast for decades and have only met one guy like the LW describes. I would guess LW just had a run of bad luck.
Some last thoughts for HALP. Unexpectedly breaking out your kinks, during sex, puts your partner in an uncomfortable position, particularly if they are not experienced kinksters. I think the most obvious thing to do is to seek partners who have complementary kinks, and will happily engage with you. The other option for HALP is to reveal a kink or two when inviting a man over to her place or accepting an invitation to his home (e.g., "Sure, going to your place would be great, but would mind spanking me? I find that really exciting.") when there can be a bit of time for negotiation as to exactly what you're looking to do.

As for the type of men @11/nocute meets: I'm always surprised that some people think it's better to pathologize and deny a partners' harmless erotic fantasies than to satisfy them.
@21: I have had numerous partners who wanted to watch me masturbate and I love watching my partner masturbate. I would never bark orders or anything, but I find it very, very sexy to mutually masturbate and it's not something I do just because I am "too tired" or want something "very specific."

To each her own.

I also always assume that the phrase "mutual masturbation," or indeed any use of the words "masturbate" or "masturbation" refer to one's touching oneself. Otherwise, it's not masturbation but giving a hand job, touching each other, fingering, what-have-you. To me, the word has a built-in suggestion of self-pleasuring.

But I don't find it so "self"-y, when it's done in the presence of another person and the other person is turned on by it. Then, to me, it becomes just one more item on the whole sexy smorgasbord.
I can't imagine what "made to feel weird about" could mean other than "shamed."
"Oh, you want that? Oh . . . Oooo-kay. Why do you want to do that?"
This would seem to be the very definition of being shamed, unless if by "shamed" you are referring to being put in the public stockade (which would be a turn-on for some of us).

For the record, I don't come in with a list of orders or requirements like a Nazi Commandant in some B movie ("you vill call me ze filthy names, now, ja?"). I don't insist. I don't give men a script to follow. But I will say, during flirty times, that I love dirty talk, and during sex, I will do it myself. Then I might call myself a dirty slut or say something along those lines, and it makes me very happy if my partner takes the cue (of course, I love it if he naturally already wants to talk dirty). If it doesn't happen after a couple of encounters and we're seriously dating, I may ask him to please talk dirty to me. Some men won't. Some say that they feel too ridiculous or that they are too self conscious. Some try and just can't do it well. But occasionally they act as if I have a major psychological problem because it turns me on--and I think that's a dick move.
It's wonderful the LW tells her lovers what she wants; and all the things she wants are great, too. As for asking for them, the time may be later in their interactions than it has been, and the place not in bed itself.... It seems brusque to me to spring the instruction e.g., 'say you want to fuck my pussy' on someone; I'd find it reasonable in those circumstances to be put off, and, in extremis, to withdraw from sex. (Fucking a pussy isn't something I'd ordinarily want to do, but I'm not sure I'm being over-delicately compunctious here).
BDF @29, I'm nut sure I understood the question. Does it relate to people I've realized I'm not compatible with or me learning how to fuck people I feel compatible with, but don't want them telling me exactly what to do to get them off?
Nocute @35, Your comments show you to be a shameful trollop. The things you want men to do are dirty and vile. Your naughty ass should be locked in the stocks for all to see what a filthy slut you are and spank, abuse and ravish you like the slut you are. Shame on you, you bad, bad girl. But, yeah, I'm not seeing anything unhealthy here.

Really all you should have to do to get a guy to call you dirty names is say something about being naughty. Then he should start experimenting with how far and in what direction (whore, debauched schoolgirl, female prisoner, or whatever) you want to see it go. Figuring it out should be more fun and sexier than being given (or giving) instructions. Heck, you might even find an interest in a kind of dirty talk you haven't tried before.
@38: I agree! Beats me what some people won't do.
I have tried so many things in the interest of being ggg (which I think of as being sexually generous), and virtually all of them have been things I have found I like quite a lot. My sexual repertoire has expanded and I have a lot more fun--and some of it has asked a lot more of me than saying a few dirty words.
Add me to the list of people who has always assumed "mutual masturbation" means, well, each person masturbating, not manual stimulation of each other. Touching themselves, self-pleasuring, you know, *masturbation*.
BDF @29, dcp @37: I understood the question to be: so you would rather she not get off than tell you what she wants, correct? And then are you ok with her getting herself off afterwards? "Make noises to let me know if I'm doing something good, say 'ouch' if something hurts (and not in a good way) and I'll try to figure out how to get you off. If it doesn't work tell me what does, but not while we're having sex". If what she wants isn't exactly what you want to do, it sounds like a lot of first time encounters don't have orgasms for her.
I'm a bit late in the game here, but in response to @2 and @3 I definitely think mutual masturbation means each partner is masturbating themselves with the other present. As a long time married straight woman, it usually happens when one or both of us are tired or if we've tried PIV and it just isn't feeling right, or if I have my period and we don't feel like cleaning up after period sex. But it does sometimes just seem hot to watch someone else masturbate while I am too.
Are there certain sexual acts that are region specific? The LW insinuates her difficulties finding men who want to do what she's interested in are related to being on the West Coast and not just that she's met some guys who don't want to do what she wants. I wouldn't be surprised that what 'comes standard' varies from country to country, but within the US? That seems a bit far fetched. I think Dan was hinting at that in his response, but have others found regional differences in sexual behaviors in different parts of the US?
I have had two heterosexual partners (second one in a bad marital relationship) and am still trying to relate. After 52 years, I identify as asexual; it seems to be my best fit. My struggle is society's views, acceptance--or not--of asexuality.
@11 nocutename: I truly feel for you, and, like dcp123 (@22), will never understand men like that either. I'm in therapy and still trying to figure it out.
First, a word from my inner grammar & spelling martinet: The problem is they're assholes, not their assholes. (Unless they like don't wash them or something.)

Also, vanilla-est, not -ist.

Sorry about that, but sometimes I just can't help myself.

Anyway, to chime in (late as usual):

• I always thought mutual masturbation meant using your hands on each other. But hands-on-self-while-other-does-the-same is fun too.
• My eyes glazed over before I could finish all 44 previous comments, but why are we all assuming that HALP wants to be spanked? I thought she might want to be the one doing the spanking.
FutureCat @32: I wouldn't call two guys "a run." I'd call it a coincidence.

NoCute @34: I was speaking in the context of new/casual relationships. With an established partner I accept that things may be different, that you'd be relaxed enough to do that in front of each other. To each her own, indeed.
My interpretation of "mutual masturbation" comes from those purity tests we used to take for fun before the internet. The questions were whether you'd engaged in "sex, oral sex or mutual masturbation" in a vehicle, in a boat, etc. In that context it had to have meant pleasuring each other.

NoCute @35: "I can't imagine what 'made to feel weird about' could mean other than 'shamed.'"
You can't imagine, "You want me to... uh, I don't really know how, I haven't really done that before... it's not really my thing"? Or, as you say, "I feel ridiculous/self-conscious doing that"? That's not "shaming" but it might make a person feel weird.
I agree that reacting as if something is wrong with you is a dick move. People are different. There's no right or wrong about preferences.

DCP @37: It relates to my exchange with Sportlandia @20/@23. He advocated more mutual masturbation as a way to ensure both partners come. My usual tactic if my partner hasn't discovered the route to my orgasm is to give helpful hints; Sportlandia's suggestion seemed an alternative. You seemed to be saying that you disliked the idea of a partner saying "harder, and to the left a bit"; I'm asking if you'd prefer they didn't give the helpful hint, and instead masturbated afterwards. So, the latter. (Ankylosaurus @41: yes, you've got it.)

This Guy @45: To your second question, sexist generalisations. The exact same thing occurred in the weekly column comments. (My comment @13 is of course an exception.)
@45/this guy and @BiDanFan: Asking your partner to spanking you is an easy ask, and fulfilling that request is a low threshold to being GGG. Asking to top a new partner, with whom you have not yet had any conversations about kink, during sex, at the least is very bad form for a dominant. There is just a big difference for a sub asking for D/s play and a dominant asking to do those same things. I think that is why everyone assumes HALP is interested in exploring her submissive side.
SA @47: I've had people spank me without asking. Apparently, it's not that difficult. :(
But your logic chimes with why I think WHIP from the weekly column may want to dominate her husband, but wants him to tell her what he'd like. So thank you for that indirect vote of confidence.
@19 aeros66: thanks.

@26 dcp123: so basically, you do what you like and if she gets off on it, fine, but if she's not enjoying it she'd just better accept that you won't be satisfying her this time around, but maybe there's a chance you'll do better next time around? Wow. My condolences to every woman you disappointed in bed - which I'm guessing was most of them.
@49 I get the impression that dcp likes to see himself as someone who knows how to please a woman, so he wants the guidance in that department to be indirect. I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of that personally, but I guess if he finds someone whose needs he guesses correctly then it would be a great match. I've met guys who talk about sex the same way - they want to get their partners off, but their egos are involved. It's like sex is playing two roles for them - feeding their egos and satisfying their sexual needs at the same time.

I do wish (like many others) we get could clarity on what LW means by being made to feel weird. Also, how is she asking for these things? It's hard to imagine a woman telling me (or any other guy I know) that she wanted to watch me masturbate and not feel flattered.

Doesn't pretty much everyone start talking about things they want to do in bed with each other after a couple of regular ol' fucks? You lay in bed, say something like "I really liked it when you ____, next time let's ____!" I would assume that anyone who isn't capable of that kind of basic conversation about sex is throwing some poor communication flags earlier on. Maybe LW just needs to screen better.
TS @49/Liberal @50: Thank you, I was wondering whether I was alone in interpreting DCP123's sexual style somewhat uncharitably. Why on earth would I know that if a partner just did X, it would make me come, and not say that, and not come, and then afterwards say "hey, next time you should do X?" If a guy is more concerned with stroking his male ego than me, then yeah, definitely not compatible.

Liberal @50: "It's hard to imagine a woman telling me (or any other guy I know) that she wanted to watch me masturbate and not feel flattered."
I interpreted that as she started masturbating during/after the sex session and the men thought that was weird.

"Doesn't pretty much everyone start talking about things they want to do in bed with each other after a couple of regular ol' fucks?"
Not HALP, apparently she goes right for the kinky jugular on fuck one!
Less cheekily, if HALP's ex-husband and FWB were kinky, I can see how she'd get into a "kinky is normal" mindset. I think she just needs to cool her jets and ease her lovers into it. Agreed that what she's talking about is pretty low-key -- once you get to know someone a bit!
Another thought re: DCP123's post @26: In case anyone was mystified as to why women fake orgasms, now you know.
@51 kinky jugular made me lol ... I'm using that.
@41, There have certainly been first-time encounters where the woman I was with did not have an orgasm. There have also been first-time encounters in which I did. I dated at least one woman (an abuse victim) who has never had an orgasm with a partner in the room. I never managed to make her come and she just wanted me to stop trying, so I did.

I have not tortured myself with guilt or feelings of inadequacy over any of these. I do my best to ensure that my partners have a good time, I'm usually successful. I am not committed to any principal of orgasm equity and nobody has ever broken up with me because I didn't make her come enough. (Maybe I just gave them too many other reasons?)
@48/BiDanFan: I take no position on whether WHIP is a budding Dom or sub, just a belief that requesting a partner top you is not an unreasonable request (and one that a GGG partner should fulfill), whereas asking a partner to sub is a significant request that can be reasonably declined (and odds are will be declined).

If WHIP is interested in exploring her dominant side, I'm guessing that she is going to be disappointed. Most people aren't interested in being whipped, spanked, flogged, or bound and submitting to that to make you're partner happy is well beyond being GGG. But if that's really what WHIP would like to try, then she needs to ask, while making clear that she understands if her husband isn't interest in playing along.

She knows her husband better than we do, but personally, I would be reluctant to ask a partner to engage in D/s as a sub without their having expressed an interest in submission, and it wasn't clear that he had such interests.
BDF @29 and Ankyl @41, To answer BDF's question, if I came before a partner and she wanted me to keep trying to get her off, I would. If she wanted to try to get herself off, I'd do what I could to help, but I don't recall the latter actually happening. When women have masturbated in front of me, to my best recollection, it's always been foreplay.

BDF @46, Honestly, a bit of subtle direction (a gentle hand directing me, a shift by her, or a request to change position) is fine with me. It's the precise instructions and they way they can be delivered that can be off-putting. It has also not been my experience that giving a lot of precise instructions typically results in the woman getting the desired results. There are other ways of communicating that - in my experience - work better than saying "no, no, no, do it like this."

BDF @52, Not sure how faking an orgasm is going to help teach anyone how to make you come, but whatever works for you.

Traffic @49, I'm sorry you've had shitty experiences with the men in your life, but that's not what I said or what I've done. If it gives you pleasure to vent at me as the paragon of shitty male lays, by all means have at it.

Liberal @50, There's no such thing as knowing how to please (every) woman in bed. Different women are different and like any sensible person I try to learn what each of my partners likes. There are also different means of communicating besides barking specific stage directions at a partner. Most of them work better than that. If you don't realize that, all of your partners of whatever gender have my condolences.

And Liberal, where did you get the idea I don't like to talk about what gets someone off? You talk about discussing it post-coitally and I literally said the same damn thing! Specific stage direction during the act can be off-putting. Subtler means of communication during are a-OK. More detailed discussion at other times? Also very helpful. But if you want to keep on griping about a bunch of shit I didn't say, I don't want to ruin your fun for you.
me @54, "There have also been first-time encounters in which I did." was intended to mean "There have also been first-time encounters in which I did (not have an orgasm)."
I'm hesitant to equate 'dirty talk' with 'guidance on how to give me pleasure' or 'to make me come'. 'Tease my clit' or 'stick your tongue in' seem to me franker and more in the spirit of the moment than more tonelessly anatomical directions, 'up a bit', 'down a bit', which could leave sex partners feeling at a loss or ill-sorted. What would the LW mean by 'dirty talk'? Language that roleplays with stereotypes of gender, with tropes of dominance and innocence, e.g. 'say 'you're not Daddy's little girl', are perhaps not things to put in a lover's mouth precipitately. But I could have got the wrong end of the stick here; she could even be praising the guy's body in salty terms.
DCP @56: "To answer BDF's question, if I came before a partner and she wanted me to keep trying to get her off, I would"

That wasn't my question, but good to know.

"BDF @52, Not sure how faking an orgasm is going to help teach anyone how to make you come, but whatever works for you."

What works for me is telling my partners what works for me.

Faking an orgasm isn't going to teach anyone how to make someone come. Faking an orgasm is going to get at least one person, the guy, his desired result, namely the continued belief that he's a studly stud with a magic penis who doesn't need any direction at all because he's also a skillful mind reader. It won't get the woman her desired result*, but it will get the result of her partner (a) feeling free to finish what for her is mediocre sex and (b) not sulking for the rest of the night because she failed to perform to his standards. For women who still buy into the socialised paradigm that the man's pleasure is paramount, these are positive results.

*Many women don't come from PIV regardless, but many men refuse to accept this.
@dcp123: That's a lot of assumptions about my gender, sexual orientation, sexual partners, and sexual activity, all to justify your unwillingness to please a woman in bed if it involves her doing anything that breaks your illusion of being a magical sex god. In reality there's probably a lot more faking it going on with your sex-partners, for the reasons BiDanFan @59 said.
Mutual pleasure is not a video game. It's perfectly fine to rely on the cheat codes. :)
BDF @59, I value your opinions here and, while I think you've misunderstood me, perhaps I wasn't clear. The answer to your question was probably more in the sentence following the one that included "to answer bdf's question," but perhaps I still didn't understand the question. I'm reading it differently now, so maybe my earlier efforts at answers were directed to the wrong question.

BDF @61, I think your perspective on this may come from you actually having a "cheat code." If there was a single trick/cheat code that worked to get a partner off almost every time and worked noticeably better than anything else, of course I'd want to know about it, even during the act if directed in a polite manner. But, I've never had sex with you or anybody else in my entire life who was anything like that. Taking my wife as an example, there are certain things that have a higher chance of success than others, but it's not just one thing and none of them works every single time. I'm happy to know about these things, some figured out on my own, others told to me during sex and/or at other times, but they're not remotely a cheat code. All of the things that work well for her involve piv in a way that maximizes clitoral stimulation or piv with manual clitoral stimulation at the same time. She doesn't like other stimulation separate from piv except during foreplay (but maybe that's because I suck at it). So, she's different from you.

Yeah, so if I was with someone who-apparently like you-had a true "cheat code" and she told me about this one thing that works for her almost every time, I'd be all over knowing that. Because I'm not actually a selfish asshole.

I've been with women who can't come with another person in the room, can't come from piv, but can come from other stimulation, can come from a combination of piv and other stimulation, and can come from piv alone. Heck, I've even been with women who could come from pia alone. Different women are different and I try to learn how to get them off. However, I have also been with women who came close to barking out a series of demands (none of which was a true cheat code) and I'm not ashamed to say that's a huge turn off for me, which is the only point I was making here.

Traffic Spiral @60, Unlike BDF, I don't know the first thing about you. If you've ever offered anything of any use on this site, it has escaped my notice. For you to criticize me for making assumptions about you is pretty ironic since you're assuming things about me that are directly contrary to what I've said, so please kindly go fuck yourself, asshole. I don't give a flying fuck what you thing about me since it's based entirely on false assumptions.