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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you at least 18 years old?
I was texting my girlfriend a couple of days ago, and we started talking about milk, and dairy stuff. Then she said that she likes white chocolate, but she hates milk. Then she said "I basically hate any white thing that is not solid."
I don’t know women a lot, and the relationship started like a month ago or so, so idk, did she mean she hates giving a blowjob for example or did she just mean milk/normal stuff?
I know I might feel stupid now, but I really don’t know much about women and it’s my first time...
The best way to get an answer is to have a conversationThe most important thing to know about women is that they are individual people — they have their own ways of expressing things and specific sets of likes and dislikes. "Woman" gives precisely as many clues about what your girlfriend was expressing as "human" does, which is basically none.
Having a talk with your girlfriend, though — that’ll give you lots of clues about what she was expressing. This conversation can be very simple, although that doesn’t necessarily mean easy. One thing you might keep in mind: there’s a significant chance she wasn’t thinking about any sexual innuendo at all.
You don’t mention how much sexual interaction the two of you have. If she hasn’t performed oral sex on you, it might be a good idea to be extra clear about whether you’re asking out of intellectual curiosity or practical curiosity to avoid any misunderstandings.
The best way for you to get an answer is to have a conversation. Mention her comment, and how it stuck with you. If you want to be cute about it, bring her some white chocolate as a way to introduce the topic. It’s totally ok if you’re nervous. Even the sluttiest and most extroverted of us could always use some practice with communicating about sexual boundaries and desires.
I really like your column - I hope you enjoy writing it. :-) I have a question. It seems to me that I’m asexual. I’ve mostly come to terms with it, but the tooth aches and I’d like to know. What is it like to experience sexual desire? How is it?
And the way I read about other people experiencing it, it’s almost like it should be unconscious, a thing that’s experienced rather than decided? Also, to be honest, if you think about it, it feels really strange. Without forcing oneself to adhere to a procedure that one knows should, theoretically, be occurring, how does anyone’s train of thought ever, voluntarily, go from ‘this was a nice conversation, and you take good care of yourself’ to ‘let’s get naked together’? Or, how come an old acquaintance who is a cool person one day suddenly shifts gears and starts to creep on you the next?
So, in this context - after some time, and especially knowing that if I ask these questions in public, I’ll be branded as a (probably autistic) weirdo, I’ve decided to just let the matter rest and enjoy my life. And I’m having fun with it, which is, I think, the most important part. That said, sex is a pretty important cultural matter, so, like I wrote at the beginning, I’d like to get at least some approximation of what the answer is supposed to be - in general, if not exactly for me personally. Which is why I wrote. :-)
-Y (edits have been made for privacy and length)
Your explanation of how you arrived at asexuality was logical and thorough; I appreciate the window you gave me to your experience. But I’d like to remind you that you don’t need to argue for your identity or asexual orientation, prove it, or defend it to anyone. Nobody except for you gets to decide what your physical boundaries and limits are. Only you can say how many tries is enough before you can decide whether you’re into something or not.
The cliché of sexual desire as hunger lives because of its truthIn return, I can only give you my own experiences of sexual desire, but fortunately I’ve had at least a few.
It starts physically: A certain stretchy sort of tension builds in the deeper portion of my vaginal canal. My inner labia begin to feel compressed by their own engorgement, and slippery as lubrication builds between them.
My pelvic diaphragm and the glans of my clitoris could be described as tingling in the same way my stomach does when I’m hungry and can smell familiar food — known to be palatable. The cliche of sexual desire as hunger lives because of its truth.
This hunger becomes a pull, strong enough to cloud intellectual engagement (along with ethics and boundaries) if allowed. This is, I think, what people are referring to when they use phrases like "animal attraction." Of course, one of the special qualities of humans is that we do retain the ability to conduct ourselves during sex within ethical codes and with an awareness of our partner’s or partners’ boundaries — even when it takes a little effort.
The desire, or at least the top layer of it, is to get as close to inside — or as inside — each other as possible. I’m going to go ahead and use the "beast with two backs" metaphor here, because there’s also a desire to mix together in the most stickily physical ways possible.
Sometimes the places where my skin touches their skin are warmer than anything else in the room. Sometimes it feels like there’s a vibration between us, though that could be due to nervousness from one or more involved parties.
My tactile awareness narrows to only the parts that are interacting with another person — though this includes secondary interaction, like using a whip or a condom.
The desire is to get as close to inside — or as inside — each other as possibleI’m pretty sure the whole skin feeling warmer thing and the narrowed focus of awareness thing are working together.)
There’s also a remarkable beauty in — briefly — arranging all the body parts of two entirely separate creatures into a temporary single entity pulsing, surging, and bursting with unified rhythm. And usually at least one peak where — within the parameters of whatever is already going on — experience is wholly physical, followed by some seriously hippie-style blissful relaxation and peace. I see the contradiction between this paragraph and the one about humans having that nifty skill of retaining our brain function during sex, but I don’t see anything to do about the dissonance.
I would definitely agree with descriptions like "unconscious" and "experienced rather than decided." However — especially in case people in your life are creeping on you or ignoring statements that sexual attention is unwanted — the shift from experiencing to acting on desire is where a decision happens. No matter how strong the hunger gets, people can absolutely decide to keep their desire to flirt or fool around to themselves.