This will probably needs some context. First, I’m polyamorous; I’m married, have a long-term girlfriend, and still occasionally go out with new people. Everyone knows and consents, it’s all ethically done, and it’s going great.
The second important part is that I was raised in the evangelical tradition of purity culture; more specifically the relatively egalitarian I Kissed Dating Goodbye tradition, where both men and women are pressured to avoid any proximity to anything even vaguely sexual. Obviously I don’t cling to that still — I’m a progressive feminist who’s dealing with more anger at my faith and upbringing than fondness at the moment — but I clung to it long enough that my first sexual encounter was on my wedding night, in my mid-20s. Polyamory was something my wife and I transitioned into after a few years of marriage and a looooot of research and soul-searching.
But I think some part of me still assumes that sexual advances are unwanted unless it’s been made explicitly clear to the contrary, which means I never make the first move and lots of connections just never go there. I know that women enjoy sex too, and it’s possible to express my sexual interest without being creepy about it, but I don’t feel confident I know how, and my anxiety about accidentally coming across wrong keeps me from making any advances.
I’d love to hear your perspective.
A Purity Culture Survivor
Hey Dr. NerdLove,
I don’t know if you’ve touched on this specific question before and I’m super embarrassed to even ask anyone about it but I’m at the end of my rope and I hope I can at least get pointed in a direction. Sorry if this message gets a little raunchy, I’m going to try my best to keep it as clean as I can given the subject.
A little backstory, I’m a cis male and had a very active sex life in college as most people do and it was good, great even. When I graduated I slowed down considerably, but it was never a huge issue. Well, a few years ago for a plethora of reasons I went through a very DEEP depression, I had a shit job, I had no real relationship, I gained A LOT of weight, it was tough. Working on myself I can say I’m doing better today but still dealing with it. Lost a little weight, though I’m still much bigger than I used to be, got a much better job, and even ended up dating someone who I’ve known for a while, let’s call her T.
T and I got along well enough as friends before dating, we had similar interest both pretty nerdy, it was good. Then came the worst night of my life…
We were getting pretty hot and heavy, but I felt a little off, I was so excited and enjoying myself… but my body was not responding. I thought maybe it was just nerves and I’d shake it off once we hit my bedroom. NOPE! When I was pleasuring her I couldn’t get completely hard and when she worked on me I went completely soft. I was mortified, it’s never happened before and I didn’t know what to do. She tried to reassure me and said it was something we can work on. We tried and were able to have sex but a few times I still couldn’t get hard and the few times I could it was maybe a half-y, hard to maintain, and super quick. I’m definitely not saying I was God’s gift to women but it was at least good for both of us back in my prime. I’ve never been impotent or a minute-man and now I’m somehow both…
She dumped me a few weeks later saying that the sex was bad and I wasn’t attractive to her and I honestly don’t even blame her. I spiraled back down into depression.
I don’t know what to do, I’m 28 and terrified that this is just how it’ll be from now on. I feel I’m too young to have to rely on a little blue pill or only last 2 minutes before I pop. Google doesn’t help, you see all these fake solutions and pills and it’s all so confusing. I have no confidence anymore, I’m trying my hardest to talk to someone right now and in the back of my head I’m terrified that if we get that far my body will fail on me again. What can I do? Who can I talk to that will actually help? Or am I just doomed to have a bad sex life, if I have any at all… I could really use some guidance. Any help at all would be much appreciated.
From No Mojo and All Depression
Good sex and sexual satisfaction is an important part of maintaining a happy relationship. Unfortunately, it’s also something that many straight couples struggle with. In fact, a study published in Archives of Sexual Behavior found that heterosexual women had the fewest orgasms. The study, conducted by The Kinsey Institute, Indiana University and Chapman University found that while 98% of heterosexual men achieved orgasm during sex, only 65% of heterosexual women did. Meanwhile, 89% of gay men, 86% of gay women and 88% of bi men. Bi women came in second to last at 66%.
For many women, this was a “no duh” moment. After all, as scientists have confirmed before: one of the primary reasons why women aren’t into casual sex is that, well, straight dudes kind of suck in bed. And the sad truth is: it doesn’t take that much to be a legend in bed… if you just pay a little attention.
Here is a little of what women wish guys knew about sex.