Q I'm a happily married man. My wife, who is 33, cannot orgasm through intercourse since we had our last child. Her explanation is that she has this constant sensation to pee. Now we find other means to please her through toys, oral, et cetera. Are there exercises or other means to get her to climax through intercourse? Is this common from child birth? —Climaxing Liberally Is Fun
A "Failure to orgasm with penile penetration is not a medical condition," says Jennifer Gunter, an ob-gyn, writer (drjengunter.wordpress.com) and kick-ass tweeter who practices in the San Francisco Bay area. "If a woman can orgasm with other methods—oral sex or masturbation or toys—then that means everything is working just fine. Remember, it's not how she gets to the party that matters, it's that she got to attend the party."
As all straight men need to be aware, CLIF, only a small number of women—less than a quarter—can get off from vaginal intercourse alone AKA PIV. "Most women require clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm, and often the mechanics of penile penetration just don't produce the right kind of friction," says Gunter. "It's possible that the subtle anatomical changes post-childbirth have altered the friction mechanics of your coupling. Introducing a vibrator during sex might help."
And while we're on the subject of clits, CLIF: We abbreviate sign-offs around here, as everyone knows, and like PIV for your wife, CLIF, your sign-off didn't quite get you there. You could've gone with Climaxing Liberally Is Terrific or Tremendous or Totally Spectacular, but you didn't. Perhaps it was an innocent brain fart—perhaps I'm reading too much into this—but if you didn't spot the near-CLIT staring you in the face in your sign-off, CLIF, it seems possible that you may have overlooked your wife's clit, too. Also possible: Your wife wasn't actually having orgasms "through intercourse" before she gave birth to your last child. You're clearly invested in climaxing together—just like in the movies and porn and other fictions—and your wife, like many women, may have been faking orgasms to please a male partner. Tired of faking orgasms, your wife seized on the birth of your last child to explain why she "suddenly" couldn't come from PIV alone anymore.
What about your wife's constant sensation to pee during intercourse?
"That's something to be looked at," says Gunter. "After childbirth—and sometimes just with age—women can develop an overactive bladder or pelvic-muscle issues, and these could be exacerbated during penetration, making a woman feel as if she needs to empty her bladder. Worrying about peeing during sex might be holding her back. It might be worth a visit to a pelvic-floor physical therapist and/or a urogynecologist if this sensation to pee during sex is bothering her. But if neither the lack of orgasm with penile penetration nor the urgency to pee is bothering her, and she is having orgasms other ways and is happy with that, I would be happy with it, too. After all, it's her orgasm, and stress or pressure to orgasm a particular way might negatively affect her party."
Q I'm a 29-year-old man who desires a monogamous relationship. I'm currently in an LTR with a 29-year-old woman. Despite my feelings about monogamy, I've sought attention from women and men on dating apps. I've gotten caught doing this more than once. I have never met up with anyone in real life, and my girlfriend has yet to find out about the use of gay dating apps. After some soul-searching, I realized that my bisexuality is a huge issue in our relationship. I've never discussed it with her, and while I don't think she would react negatively, I'm scared of how it would affect our relationship.
I'm not sure whether to go to therapy, bring it up with my girlfriend or do some combination of the two. I'd love some advice about having this discussion in a way that won't end my relationship. I'm not really interested in an open relationship, and I would like to stay with my girlfriend, but I'm confused because I don't know if a monogamous relationship will still be what I want once I open up about my sexuality. It seems like a no-win situation—stay in the closet and no one knows but I keep wanting outside attention, or tell her the real reason I've used dating apps and probably lose the relationship. —Bisexual Reeling About Closeted Ethical Dilemma
A The use of gay dating apps isn't the issue—it's your use of them. And while I'm nitpicking: It's not "outside attention" you want, BRACED, it's cock.
Backing way the hell up: Lots of partnered people, even contentedly monogamous people, dink around on dating apps for the attention, for the ego boost, for the spank bank. Fakes and flakes annoy the people who are looking for actual dates on those apps, of course, but apps are the new pick-up bars, and partnered people were strolling into pick-up bars to harmlessly flirt with strangers before heading home to their mates, all charged up, long before apps came along. The dangers and temptations of app-facilitated flirtations are greater, of course, because unlike the person you briefly flirted with in a bar, the person you flirted with on an app can find you again—hell, they come home with you, in your pocket, and you can easily reconnect with them later.
But the real issue here isn't apps or flirting along the harmless/dangerous spectrum, BRACED, it's closets—specifically, the one you're in. The closet is a miserable place to be, as you know, and the only relevant question is whether you can spend the rest of your life in there. If the answer is no—and it sure sounds like it's no (you sound miserable)—then you'll have to come out to your girlfriend. If you don't think monogamy will be right for you once you're out, then monogamy may not be right for you, period.
Find yourself a queer-positive therapist, come out to your GF with their help, and allow her to make an informed choice about whether she wants to be with you. Worry less about the right words, BRACED, and more about the truthful ones.