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 email@example.com. Want to ask anonymously? Go to our Tumblr.
So I'm a lady that enjoys the company of other ladies and been this way for quite some time. The lady I'm seeing now wants to brighten my world so to speak and introduce me to new and exciting ways to enjoy our days. What type of new and enjoyable things do you suggest? I'll try anything once and go from there. - Stud Muffin, from email
S: Stud Muffin with the perfect pseudonym, stand in the sunshine and raise your hands to the deity you praise, because you're alive in the golden era of sex toys! Never before have there been more perfect or numerous marriages of science and sex to fuel your journey to Pleasure Town with your lady. You wanna strap a dildo onto your feet and have the bendiest orgasm during couples yoga? Do it! Open yourself to the possibilities. Make sure you wash your toys regularly, and take if from me and Jerry Seinfeld: never double dip.
Dr. D: I agree - and definitely check out the goods at Chicago's Early to Bed, a fantastic sex toy shop that's friendly to all genders and sexual orientations. The Whole Lesbian Sex Book and Moregasm are also two good books for exploration. On the toy-washing front (which I agree with Sarah on), choose a silicone sex toy if possible. My research team - which includes research partners right here at the IU School of Medicine - just finished a groundbreaking (if I do so say myself, as it's the first of its kind) study that suggests that silicone sex toys may be easier to clean, retaining fewer organisms (think: viruses, maybe bacteria too) compared to more porous toys (like those made of so-called "Jelly"). No one's ready for that kind of Jelly!
Years before I started dating my boyfriend, I had a steamy love affair with an older man, who happened to be my boss. Obviously, it blew up in flames and he left me. The sex we had was crazy. Insane. In a good way. Now that I'm with my boyfriend whom I adore, it seems obvious to me that the sex is different. It's still great, but there's no sexy danger factor. How can I make sex new and exciting with my boyfriend without making him feel like I'm a weirdo who loves boss fantasies? - Anonymous, from Tumblr
S: It was Oscar Wilde who said, "Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power," and oh boy is an older/younger, boss/employee sex one big, sexy, boundary-crossing, decadent trifle of power exchanges. This question was so juicy that I had to blot my inbox with a napkin before answering, but ultimately it's just condensation cooled on the side of your once-hot twerking of subordinate willingness against the cold iron side of sterile interoffice relations. But hot as it was (and oof, wipe that brow, I'm sure), I would bet it's mostly just because you were laying into the power trip. Know what that means? It's time to experiment with some Dom/sub power dynamics in the bedroom with your man! Don't get scared - it doesn't mean you're on the hook to build a dungeon in your crawl space, but may be just a matter of a little creative negotiations with your partner. Do a little reading on the topic and experiment! Maybe start out with just asking your boyfriend to be more verbally dominating or get a garter belt. The worst thing that could happen is you don't like it and keep having good sex with your boyfriend. Boo frickin' hoo.
Dr. D: Sarah makes some good points. I'm going to ask a question of you, though: When you say you "adore" your boyfriend, do you adore him in the way that he's a good, stable guy who's not awful and maybe good on paper and attractive and all the things you "should" want? Or do you genuinely WANT him? Like, do you guys have chemistry? And if you don't, does the matter to you? High chemistry sex isn't important to everyone, but if it's important to you and you're choosing otherwise for the sake of a sane relationship, do know that you don't have to settle - sane and hot do, at least occasionally, come in the same package.
I have a great relationship with my boyfriend of about a year. We're emotionally connected, friends and, of course, we have a lot of fun in bed. But after the honeymoon phase of our relationship faded (about six months in), it became pretty obvious that we have different sexual appetites. I'd have sex everyday if I could, but he's fine with once a week. The last thing I want to do is make him feel like he's not satisfying me, because he is, but I can't shake the feeling that I want more. Help? - Anonymous, from Tumblr
S: Congratulations! You just got the greenlight to start a whole new Pinterest board: Super Sexy Night. Recipes! Bedroom decor! Fancy pajamas! DIY candle projects! Natural grooming tips utilizing coconut oil for a closer genital shave! Second bonus: your sex toy budget just doubled! Maybe it's the sunshine, but I can only see this as a positive. Think of it as an opportunity to invest more time in your own pleasure R&D, with weekly briefings where you catch your boyfriend up on everything you learned. Imagine you're Michelle and Barack if that gets it scheduled in pen (bonus if your political leanings would transform it into anger sex). Explore what you like and maybe your sexual confidence will awaken a whole new desire in your boyfriend. Again, the worst that could happen isn't so bad: you walk around the world an orgasmic, satisfied person and your boyfriend gets to enjoy Super Sexy Night with you on a sexual schedule that works for him.
Dr. D: Tricky indeed. Does your sexual appetite intimidate him? Does he want to pursue you at times? Does the difference seem related to a more demanding or stressful job or family life for him or does it just seem to be the way he's wired? It's possible you two have naturally different sexual styles and desires, but it's also possible there are some dynamics that are pushing you to want lots of sex and him to want less than you do. I think it's worth a conversation to see how and why your sexual appetites changed other than chalking it up to the honeymoon period being over. Don't get me wrong - there's definitely some truth to that, but it can be helpful to check in with each other too.