POSTED ON July 18, 2020
The Intimacy Advisor answers relationship, romance, and sex questions that come directly from you, our readers! This month, we focus on a few sticky situations that frequently arise in relationships, and offer suggestions and options for couples to explore together if they have similar concerns!
Question: My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years. We've had our ups and downs. He's said some things to me that were very hurtful and broke my trust. I have talked to him about it, but I'm not sure he understands. I would like to move forward, but I'm not sure how to trust him at this point. Any suggestions?
This is a great question and common problem, and unfortunately one without a clear-cut answer or solution, but I do have some general advice and suggestions that may help.
Trust is one of the most important aspects of a relationship, and unfortunately it's often the easiest area to have trouble with, too. The fact that you state that your boyfriend has "said some things to you that were very hurtful and broke my trust" leads to my understanding that he has not committed any actions that have broken your trust, like cheating on you...but he's likely said some awful things which, despite the old adage "Actions speak louder than words", can feel just as painful! The fact that you also say you've spoken to him about it but you're not sure he understands...A) Good for you! This is the first step to making it work if it's going to work and if you want it to work, and B) This makes it sound like you might just have a fundamental disconnect in communication as a couple; not necessarily an all-encompassing relationship meltdown waiting to happen.
Communication problems are generally pretty simple to address, but you definitely both have to be on board with admitting that there's a problem, and be willing to do the work necessary to repair the relationship and the hurt feelings. Everyone's communication styles with their partner are based on their own experiences in life: maybe past relationships, how they were raised, their parents, etc...and not everyone has the greatest role models for those during those formative years. Your boyfriend may say hurtful things to you off the cuff because he has either:
A) Heard other people talk to their loved ones like this before without a problem (or at least without one that he knew about). Maybe his parents frequently said hurtful things to each other in their relationship, so he thinks that this behavior is okay and normal among couples in love.
B) Spoken to a past partner like this without any major push-back. When people say awful things to other people, they tend to be based around their own insecurities. Maybe his rude remarks didn't bother an ex, but they do bother you. Everyone has different sensitivities and different levels of tolerance for this behavior, and he may not be responding to yours adequately. Good on you for being ready to bring the pressure for him to do better! Or...
C) Developed a bad habit. Perhaps he has gotten used to speaking to his close friends or co-workers in a teasing or making-fun manner and doesn't know where to draw the line, or he's treating you how he habitually treated someone in a past relationship...you're not that person, so it should definitely rub you the wrong way. For example, I had an ex who was essentially a man-child, and I felt like I had to break down tasks for him in simple, one-step reminders like you would with a toddler. Unfortunately, I sometimes habitually slip into speaking to my current partner like this, too. He just says, "Ummm, I'm an adult, I know.", and I realize what I'm doing and drop it! I'm speaking to a person from my past and not the person in the room, and this can definitely become problematic and hurtful when left unchecked.
The most ideal tool for couples who are committed to making it work despite their differences is always couple's counseling. It takes an equal and willing devotion of time, effort, and often money, but if the relationship is worth salvaging to both of you, it's worth it. A professional counselor will commonly speak to you both separately to hear your side of the story and your concerns before you join each other in your sessions, and they will be able to help you work out where and why you're both hitting that wall with your communication style mismatch, and can give you behaviorally-based therapeutic exercises, tools, and practices to improve your communication challenges with each other. It's never an overnight fix, but it can help couples see the errors in their ways and replace them with new, more constructive behaviors.
If therapy or counseling is off the table for any reason, then you really just need to sit down and have another old-fashioned talk with each other. He needs to know what specific things he has said hurt you so he knows to never say them again...he genuinely just might not know that they hurt you so much. The "why" doesn't matter...if something bothers you, it bothers you, and he doesn't need to agree with or understand why it bothers you. It just does, and those are your valid feelings which you are entitled to. Try suggesting that you both sit down and make a list of your "zero tolerance" items...these are the things or topics that you don't get to joke or tease about or mention casually without crossing a major line. You can also make lists of reasons why you love each other to build up each other's spirits after this tough talk. Read and talk about each other's lists, and agree that you will both stay away from those boundaries. If he consistently continues to disrespect your "zero tolerance" topics after this talk, it may be time to let him walk. Five years is a long time to be with someone, but is barely a blink in the grand scheme of things. You deserve to be with someone who loves you unconditionally, respects you always, and makes you happy...if your boyfriend can't be that person for you anymore, it may be time to move on. Best of luck to you both!
Question: We are an older heterosexual couple. My husband sometimes has trouble reaching climax, and he prefers the tightness of anal sex. Are there any toys or products we could use to make vaginal sex better for him?
Absolutely! You've come to the right place! Difficulty with climaxing for men is common, especially for older men, and so is the desire or preference for the tightness of anal sex versus vaginal sex. Since many women are not comfortable with and/or do not derive pleasure from anal sex, it's great to have options to help him achieve this sensation in other ways.
A couple's toy that you insert in your vagina will provide him with that extra feeling of fullness and tightness, and should provide a fun little sensation boost for you as well! The LELO Ida rests between the two of you, and actually rotates in a come-hither motion inside of you. The thick silicone end that goes inside you will also stiffen the space and make your vagina feel tighter for him. The Satisfyer Partner Plus Remote Control vibrator can be used in this way, too. As long as it's comfortable for you, put the thicker end inside your vagina so it takes up lots of space and gives him that firm, tight cavern to work with, simulating anal sex.
Enhancing gels and creams that can provide him with MORE sensation, not less, might be a great help, too. He should stay away from anything with "prolong" or "delay" in the product name...you both want him to have an easier time reaching orgasm, not a harder time! Max Command Performance Gel will give him a rush of blood flow to the penis, enhancing sensation, making his erections longer and stronger, and even possibly providing a temporary increase in girth to his penis, making your vaginal sexcapades feel more like what he's after...and you won't mind the slight warming sensation and increased size, either! MaxSize Cream is another enhancer that can help with that full, strong, thicker erection which will be extra-sensitive to your touch and the squeezes of your vagina when he's inside of you. Every man responds to these products a little differently, but we sell a lot of them and hear great things, so they may be worth trying to help you two keep it hot between the sheets.
There are also strokers and masturbators he can use that simulate the tightness of anal sex. The Zolo DP Stroker has two openings - one vaginal and one anal - so he can use whichever end he fancies in the moment and feel the different sensations provided by the inside channels and grooves. Maybe he wants to start with vaginal and use the anal end just to get him to climax. The Zolo Backdoor Squeezable Vibrating Stroker is another great choice for simulating backdoor sex, and he can squeeze the stretchy material to keep the firmness and tightness exactly to his liking. He can use these toys with you, too. Get a great clitoral toy for yourself (vaginal sex won't give you everything you need, either!) and you can even turn it into a mutual masturbation session. Start with foreplay and vaginal sex enough to satisfy you and give you both that feeling of intimacy and closeness, then switch to using the toy at the end just to get himself to cum. This doesn't reflect poorly on your sexual performance, and it won't "ruin him" for your pussy; he just needs that little different sensation boost to finish the job, and there's no shame in that!
Question: Is it safe to have oral sex right now with the Covid-19 virus? My husband enjoys it very much but I'm scared to do it because of the virus.
The virus is definitely scary, and presents new challenges for couples dating and mating. With it being a new virus, there is still a lot unknown about it, but it does seem that it is likely transmissible by the semen-to-oral route, or really through any bodily fluids at all. Assuming you & your husband live together, you are actually in a much safer position to be having oral or any kind of sex right now than couples who do not co-habitate or haven't been "quarantined" together. If you are both being safe by mostly staying at home, and practicing good social distancing and health hygiene habits (wearing masks, washing or sanitizing your hands often, not touching your face) when you do go out, you two should be safe to carry on with your sexytime activities as usual. My partner and I live in close quarters and have basically accepted that if one of us gets it, we'll likely both get it, so we've been safe and smart out in the world but carrying on as normal at home, including kissing and sex. If either of us showed symptoms, though, we'd immediately stop all that and get tested and stay apart until we had our results! If one of you does have a riskier job, has to travel, or is frequently around a lot of people, it may be better to play it safe for now.
If you still want to engage in oral sex but want to limit potential virus exposure in case your husband is an asymptomatic carrier, using flavored condoms may be the way to go for now! Also, it's more important than ever to wash your hands, genitals, and sex toys thoroughly before and after sex. For all kinds of couples that may be seeking more guidance on what is and isn't safe sex-wise, and some ideas for how to limit their risk, the New York City Health Department has put together a great list here.
Play together, Stay together...and stay healthy and safe!
~The Intimacy Advisor