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The Resident Sex Advisor answers sex-related questions from college students

Dear RSA,
My girlfriend and I have been together for more than two years. The sex is always good, but there's a slight problem. She's so nervous about trying positions other than missionary. She believes that if she does doggy style or 69 it makes her a slut. How can I help her see that that's not so and get her to open her mind?
D., Texas

D.,
It seems like your girlfriend enjoys sex but has some inhibitions that are preventing her (and you) from getting more adventurous. It's impossible for me to guess at what the root causes may be. But it sounds like she feels like sex is OK when it's an intimate expression of love, but not OK if it's done for pleasure and physical gratification. The missionary position is a face-to-face position and resembles a loving embrace; the other positions that you mentioned, doggy style and 69, are much more focused on the genitals, which is probably why she thinks they are "slutty". The thing is, intimate lovemaking and pure sexual pleasure are not at all mutually exclusive - in fact, they're much better when combined. There's no reason that fucking doggy style can't be just as emotionally intense as missionary - it just depends on the attitude of the players. And between loving partners, it's perfectly OK to act slutty sometimes, if that's what you feel like doing.

Your girlfriend has some issues concerning trust and intimacy as they relate to her sexuality, so getting her to open up could be a long-term project. Talk to her and find out what she's really concerned about. She may be worried that if she fully expresses herself sexually with you, she will lose your respect or it will ruin your relationship. If so, you need to reassure her that this will not happen, that she can trust you, and that exploring different ways of finding sexual pleasure will bring you closer together. Try to express to her that you will, in fact, love and respect her even more as she fully accepts her sexuality. Communicate as openly as possible about what you both want sexually, and try to create an environment between you where it is safe for you both to bring up your desires and fantasies. Also, let her move at her own speed. If she's not ready to do a 69, see if she'd be willing to sit on your face, for example. Take small steps.

In the meantime, see if she would be open to trying a sex position that is sort of halfway between missionary and doggy. It's called the spoon position. Both of you lay on your sides, with you spooning her from the rear. If she brings up her top leg slightly, you should be able to enter her from behind. This is a very intimate and "cuddly" position and might give her enough body contact and closeness that she'd feel comfortable with it.

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