Hello hello! Welcome back to AMA (Ask Me Anything), the regular series where anonymous people submit anonymous questions about love, life, and relationships. Necessary disclaimer: I’m no more qualified to give life advice than any other person, so all responses are my opinion and should be considered thus. Now, onto the good stuff!
Should I break up with my boyfriend for no other reason than I want to explore others?
I suppose it depends on how much you’re wanting to explore, and what this exploration entails. Have you felt like this for a long time? Or has this desire come about in a short, sudden burst and its disruption to normal service is what’s making you doubt your relationship?
In my opinion, temporary bouts of ‘what if’ are normal. I think it’s naive to expect two people to engage in a meaningful long-term relationship without there ever being questions or temptations, although that’s not to say the temptations should be acted upon. But if you’ve been together for a long time, and you find yourself thinking “I don’t want to live the rest of my life without shagging someone else”, then don’t panic. The prospect of forever is fucking terrifying when you start to consider its reality, but that’s not to say that you aren’t able to explore as part of a couple or able to communicate this desire into something beneficial to your relationship.
There are threesomes, hall passes, sex parties - you could even go on a Ross and Rachel break, but with much better defined parameters. I know a lot of people believe it’s not possible to go on a break and return to a healthy relationship, but I don’t think that’s the case. Every relationship is unique to the individuals involved and evolving as quickly as they are. I think we need to get rid of this conventional view of relationships as linear and only monogamous in order to benefit from more dynamic and rewarding partnerships (*TED Talk over*).
With that being said, you don’t need another reason to end the relationship if you know you no longer want to be together. Wanting to have experiences with other people is totally valid and doesn’t mean you’re the big bad wolf - you’re just being honest about what you need as a person right now in order to make yourself happy. If this temptation to be with others is coupled with the yearning to not be with your boyfriend, then you need to take responsibility for how you feel and respect his right to be with someone who truly wants to be with him. If it were the other way round, what would you want him to do? How would you want him to handle the situation? Think about the connection and experiences you’ve shared thus far and treat him with kindness. And don’t feel bad about it - you can’t help how you feel, but you can help how you deal with it.
My boyfriend is less experienced sexually and gets really inside his own head. How can I help?
Mental blocks can have such a huge impact on sexual pleasure and performance. I know for myself personally, if I feel like I’m taking too long to orgasm then I’ll stop whatever we’re doing because the pressure that builds up in my head makes me almost want to cry (lol - sexy sex crying!! Really turns other people on). I need to feel totally safe and relaxed in order to have the best sex possible, and when I’m not relaxed or I feel under pressure, then it becomes really difficult for me to be present in the moment and enjoy the sensation in my own body.
What is it about him being less sexually experienced that causes him to get inside his own head? Is it because he’s comparing himself to your former partners, or because he feels he’s not performing in the way you would want him to? Getting to the root of issue will help you break it down together. What I would suggest, however, is doing something new together. Your first time, his first time - it’s something shared with no history or background for either of you. This puts you both on a level playing field, and will also afford you the opportunity to bond over something new and fun.
Also, just inflate his ego. Make him feel good. Make positive noises when you’re giving head. Tell him you like the way things feel. Let him know when you’re turned on and what it is he does specifically that makes you feel that way. Ask for nudes. Tell him he looks fit. Say you can’t wait until you have sex again. Touch each other for the sake of touching each other, and not to reach orgasm (this takes the pressure off, and also allows you to become more accustomed and relaxed touching each other for the pleasure of the feeling). Tell him some things you’ve never done before and would look to try with him. Ask about his fantasies and see if there’s anything you can share from there.
Try not to talk too much about the mental block. I think over-discussing it often fuels the issue and feeds it into becoming something bigger and harder to shift, and telling someone not to worry when they’re obviously worried can sometimes come across as patronising. Show your genuine interest in him and make sure you’re creating relaxing situations within which to do sexy stuff. Take the pressure off as much as you can, and make him feel desired. These things take time, but I know plenty of people who’ve had a mental barrier up before which they’ve slowly been able to work down.
If it’s starting to upset him more seriously, then consider counselling or heading to your GP. There is no shame in asking for help when it comes to sex, and a healthy sex life (if you want one) is important to your wellbeing as a person so it deserves to be taken seriously. Let him move at his own pace and be supportive, but bear in mind that if this block is negatively affecting your relationship, then he does have a responsibility to try and do something about it.
How can I spice up masturbation? I’ve not had sex in a year, but don’t want to just sleep around.
Girl, you need to upgrade your arsenal of toys! Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all bullet; now we have a vibrator for every occasion, every scenario and every preference. And not only vibrators! There are vaginal beads, dildos, stuff you can put in your butt (and you should be paying the butt some attention, by the way). My current favourites are the LELO Sona, the Smile Makers Fireman, and the Ann Summers The Aqua One.
You’ve mentioned that you don’t want to sleep around (although there’s nothing wrong with that, and having someone guide you to orgasm is always a little different to getting there yourself!), but would you consider sexting with someone? Exchanging sexy pics? Sometimes someone else’s desire for you and you only helps to add a little spice to your session. And obviously there’s porn, if that interests you.
If you want to keep it entirely solo, then try switching up your location (bath instead of bed or standing up in the shower) and actively putting on sexy underwear to make yourself feel a bit more sensual. This is something we do to get ready for time with a partner, but not a luxury we routinely afford ourselves. Set aside a window for your experience to be slow, intimate and - hopefully - repeated. Don’t rush yourself or steal a moment where you can, actually dedicate some considered attention to yourself and your masturbation. If you’re not dating anyone else, you deserve to properly date yourself.
And try some new toys! There are so many to choose from now with different settings, speeds, functions and capabilities. It’s a waste to not have a few to hand - variety is the spice of life, after all.