The internet and technology have totally changed sex and relationships, we know you — you adults, anyway, this column is not for children! — have questions about the world of sex. In order to answer them, we've asked our friend Stoya — a professional sex-haver — to field any inquiries. You can write to her at email@example.com.
Are you at least 18 years old?
I don’t get any physical pleasure from stimulating my penis; touching it, or having someone else touch it, feels about the same as if you rubbed your arm with low-grit sandpaper. This hasn’t been an issue until I started having sex: my friend and I felt like having fun one night, so I offered to eat her out, and she later offered to pleasure me, which went horribly.
I didn’t communicate with her, really because I didn’t know what I should be feeling, and I asked her to give up after about 30 seconds. She was upset: she thought I looked miserable, which I was. I felt like I was being rubbed down with wet, high-grit sandpaper, which is better than when I masturbate. I didn’t realize that this was a problem until I talked to a more experienced friend who tried to explain what he feels when he’s physically stimulated.
I don't get any physical pleasure from stimulating my penis I know I should probably see a doctor about this, but that’s not why I contacted you. I’m not really into sex for my benefit; I’ve never had an orgasm and masturbation seems like a chore to me; I really only like having sex because it allows me to help someone feel good physically and because it helps establish a very intimate level of trust.
I failed at helping someone else feel good by not communicating my lack of interest and pleasure, and I’d rather avoid causing her to feel like that again. While I’m waiting to get into the doctor’s, is there anything that we could do besides making out and cunnilingus (both of which we enjoy) that would enable her to feel like I’ve gotten something out of sex, other than the happiness of helping someone else feel good?
This sandpaper sensation is most definitely something you should see a medical doctor about, and I’m super happy that you already know that.
the sandpaper sensation is most definitely something you should see a medical doctor about
The next time you see your friend, before the two of you do any making out, you should communicate everything that you can to her. Tell her about the discomfort you feel when your penis is touched and also about what you do enjoy about sexual interactions with other people. I’m pretty sure you already know you need to do this, too, and that this conversation should be had with any new partners as well.
The fact that what you get out of sex is the happiness of helping someone feel physical pleasure is wonderful. And the way you phrased it — helping, not making — is absolutely beautiful. That sentiment isn’t common enough, and even if you never enjoy having your genitals physically stimulated you still sound like you’ve got the tools to be a great sexual partner.
Your penis is not the only part of your body that can feel pleasure But your penis is not the only part of your body that can feel pleasure. Once your friend understands what’s going on, you might consider going on an exploration of your body together. It sounds like you like kissing. What happens if she licks behind your ear? Or puts her lips on your throat or the back of your neck? How sensitive are your nipples? Do you enjoy having your back stroked, rubbed, or scratched — sexually or otherwise?
How do different sorts of stimulation on your testicles feel? Does having them lightly caressed or gently squeezed feel good? And the root of your penis, which can be reached by pressing on the perineum — also known as the taint — does that cause the same scratchy sensation? You might enjoy having your asshole licked, and you also might enjoy prostate stimulation. I’m also wondering if you’ve tried squeezing your penis instead of rubbing it or moving the skin of the shaft back and forth. Some of what you’ll learn might be valuable information when you get in to see a doctor as well.
Just be careful to make it clear to your partner that you aren’t sure what will feel good yet. And remember that you aren’t required to feel any physical pleasure.
My girlfriend is a sex worker. I’m totally supportive of her work, but sometimes I have questions or insecurities that I don’t want to bug her with, but want to figure out. Are there any communities or support groups for partners of sex workers? I’ve heard all the basic advice ("Just be glad she comes home and gives it to you for free hurr hurr hurr"), but sometimes I just want to talk to somebody who I know will understand where I’m coming from, without stressing my girlfriend out with constant questions.
Insecurities happen in all sorts of relationships with all sorts of peopleThe first thing I’d suggest is to ask her about her boundaries in answering your questions. She might enjoy answering questions; might not mind in appropriate settings (like, not when she’s trying to focus on something else); or might be willing to sit through an in-depth session where you ask everything, even the super silly stuff, for the sake of you understanding her work. You need to talk to her to find out how she specifically prefers to talk about things.
Now onto the insecurities part: remember that insecurities happen in all sorts of relationships with all sorts of people — not just ones where your partner is engaging in transaction-driven sexual interactions with other people. It isn’t impossible to talk out your insecurities with friends the same way you would any other relationship. Because the thing you need to work through is your insecurity, and that has way less to do with her or her job than it probably feels like in the moment. But depending on how open your girlfriend is about her work, you may need to be careful about details.
Remember that sharing where you’re at emotionally is important in relationships. Avoid shutting down communication in ways you wouldn’t with partners in other industries — or framing all relationship issues as inherently different because of her work.
Avoid shutting down communication in ways you wouldn't with partners in other industries
I wasn’t able to find any support groups or communities for partners of sex workers. I suspect this has something to do with the scarcity of resources for anything involved with sex work. (If you’re feeling organizer-y and want to start one yourself, I’d love to hear back.) You might consider asking if your girlfriend knows anyone in her line of work with an awesome partner you could talk with.
If you do happen to find or start a community of sex workers’ partners, there are safety and privacy concerns. When you’re sharing intimate details about your relationship and feelings, make sure you’re being careful about locations and other specific details that might allow someone to connect you and your girlfriend to your identities or her work persona.