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I've been part of "the lifestyle" for several years now. I'm a divorced male in my early 40's and even though I swing, I would never rule out another monogamous, committed relationship. I'm not ashamed of the lifestyle - I don't think it's wrong - but it's not something I share with the "vanilla" people in my life. When I do meet a woman (in the regular world, not at a swing club) that I might be interested in dating, what's the best way (and time) to tell her about that part of my life?
- Anonymous, from Tumblr.
Yeah, I think we can guess that this isn't really a conversation you'd worry about with a woman you swapped digits with as a fellow reveler slammed her from behind. But you seem to phrase this as a dichotomy that no partner could comfortably straddle, like it's that complicated to understand. That might be the case if you're dating teenagers who haven't been in any real relationships (Danger, Will Robinson!), but unlikely as long as you're making an effort to exchange fluids with mature, intelligent women who can verbalize and process complex ideas like the separation of intimacy, loyalty, and jealousy. Also, by the time you're in your 40s, what the hell are you doing messing with such narrow-minded "Vanillians" that they can't wrap their heads around the concept of non-monogamy? I am bored and over these people in my 26th year, so my advice is to be open to talking about it and answering questions, but don't hesitate for a moment to ditch a partner who judges you based on stale concepts of love, intimacy and trust that you're not comfortable with.
You kind of have to feel it out. If she talks about swinging - whether on the first or tenth date - to either say she's into it or thinks it's odd, then saying nothing is kind of an act of omission. And if you think you might be into her, then maybe it can help to put yourself out there and share it with her. On the other hand, if you're just hooking up and being casual, you may not need to go into all the details of your personal life. You will have to feel it out for yourself as there's no hard and fast rule; just try to date or hook up with integrity.
Geysers & Dolls
My best friend in the whole world just texted me to say that she "achieved the elusive squirt." I've officially moved her into the 'squirter' category of my girl friends and I'm jealous I'm missing out. Are some women just NEVER squirters? Will I EVER be in this category? -
Anonymous, from email
Squirting is a really fascinating recent phenomenon, not because it seems to have magically materialized as a desirable sexual trait, but because it's something that took about 30 seconds for all of womankind to become self-conscious about after entering our collective consciousness. Suddenly, we were all supposed to shoot like the Bellagio fountain, apparently. (Ugh, thanks once again for nothing, porn.) I've heard some women say it was a matter of pressure, while others that it was a matter of sheer stimulation. I've also heard of women trying to "train" themselves to do it who never got there, but definitely pissed a little when they coughed for months afterward. And nothing says "sex machine" like the faint odor of urine on your Jones New York slacks. Personally, I'm just hoping for the penile yin to my Lady-Yang that will create the torrential flood that porn has promised me, but I'm not about to be upset if it never happens. I have other, much more impressive talents, and I bet you do too.
Not all women experience female ejaculation ("squirting") and that is A-okay. The college students in my human sexuality class never asked much about squirting until it became a bigger thing in porn about 7 or 8 years ago and then suddenly everyone wanted to know about squirting and what was wrong with them if they didn't. Like many sex educators, I'm not a big fan of trying to make oneself squirt as many of the techniques people teach involve bearing down on the pelvic floor muscles (not a great idea; why weaken or strain your lovely pelvic floor muscles, which can protect you from incontinence later on?). I say, focus on your sexual pleasure and enjoyment instead. Wetness is kind of on a spectrum and some women release a little and others a lot and most of us are in between.
Raw Sex (of the Heart)
I always start a relationship with a great sex life, and then it turns into 'spicing it up' with weird fantasy shit or me just picturing someone else's face on my partner's body. Is this a relationship phase or do I have a particularly short sex attention span? -
Anonymous, from Tumblr
So what you're saying is that your ideal sex partner is a robot with a screen for a face that just plays Michael Jackson's "Black or White"
video on a loop. You could say you have some intimacy issues, kind of like you could say Edward Snowden is on a very long vacation in Russia. How long are we talking here? Months? Hours? The length of an episode of Homeland? What I gather from that is you're not crossing a necessary boundary into real intimacy and it's time to take off that heart condom and do it real and raw - which might mean holding off on the sex part until you're clear on how you feel about each other and what your expectations are. It sounds like you like the novelty of a new relationship but not the emotional investment part. Holding back emotionally makes the relationship a lot less risky, but ultimately becomes unsatisfying in one way or another. If someone isn't ready to be with you and all your flaws and vulnerabilities, that's just one more person they'll miss out on connecting with - but you don't have to suffer the same tragic fate! Also, if you're not ready to have that kind of intimacy with someone, do them the favor of not calling it a "relationship" if it really isn't in practice.
You might have a particularly short sex attention span but it's also true that sex changes in long-term relationships. That doesn't mean it has to get dull, though. It seems to me that earlier phases of attraction can be sparked by physical attraction and early-stage excitement. Good sex in longer term relationships seems to be enhanced by being vulnerable to each other and intimate - by really feeling close to someone. That makes me wonder: do you keep yourself kind of guarded or really let yourself connect with others?
We are once again answering all your questions about all things sex, with less-than-expert advice from NUVO's Sarah Murrell, who has no formal training other than a sense of adventure and a sex-positive outlook on life. Answering with much more authority is real-life sexpert, Dr. Debby Herbenick, who holds both a Ph.D. and M.P.H. from IU and has published more than 75 scientific papers about sexuality. She teaches multiple courses at IU's School of Public Health (including Human Sexuality classes for the past decade) and contributes to publications all over the U.S.; she has written multiple books and blogs for Kinsey Confidential. Got a question? Shoot us an email at