"This girl had me wrapped in a tight—and I mean tight—latex suit, immersed in a tub of water, with only a thin tube to breathe through," the young man said excitedly, sliding into the booth with me and my guy friends. "I couldn't see, I couldn't hear, I could barely move—that's trust," he nodded. I was confused. I'd just met him about a second earlier—what in the hell was he going on about? Then the answer came in question form. "So are you a professional dom or are you just in it for fun?"
Turns out that when my pal Travis had introduced me as a sex writer, this guy had somehow misheard it as sex worker. And being that I'm prone to wearing black and looking vaguely vampirish, I guess he thought he had me pegged. The only reason we were talking about sex was because a letter asking my advice had stumped me. Here's the letter:
I am dating a 30-year-old male. I am his first intimate partner. He has many sexual hang-ups and misconceptions, so we bought The Joy of Sex and are enjoying it tremendously. Here's the problem: He's afraid of oral sex! When I mention that I would like to receive oral sex from him, he clams up, becomes noncommunicative, and loses his erection! I don't want to pressure him, but I don't want to date a man that does not reciprocate. I thought about giving him an ultimatum, but think it's silly to break up with someone over this. I feel that with the proper information and coaxing, he'll come around. However, since we've been dating (six months) I haven't seen a single thing written on the topic. Can you give any advice for my situation? The Joy of Sex doesn't talk about this, and I have the most intense orgasms from oral sex. I want to know if he's being selfish or if he's really a lick-a-phobic. It seems that he doesn't want to engage in cunnilingus because of what he's heard from male chauvinists—that real men don't eat! Please lead me to documentation that cunnilingus is not a threat to masculinity.
The first red flag in this letter is not your man's unwillingness to go south, but that you're his first sexual partner—and he's 30! How did he pass three decades with his virginity intact? Whatever kept him chaste is something probably best addressed by a mental health professional. I'd strongly suggest that if he's unwilling to get into therapy himself, you should attempt to get him to tag along to couples therapy.
I had a boyfriend who told me that he couldn't go down on me because he was allegedly scarred from an experience with an ex-girlfriend who had just had an abortion. According to him, he was lapping away and ended up with a fetal limb floating around his mouth. And I, being 18 at the time, believed him! Poor baby—he ate part of his aborted would-be love-child—I couldn't possibly expect him to risk flashbacks! Embarrassingly enough, it took me years to figure out that he was a big liar.
Thankfully this was the last time I had to deal with this problem: Every other man I've been with has eaten puss—if not like a champ, then at least with gusto. So I was in the midst of consulting the men in my life when Mr. Latex sidetracked me. Esteban revealed that he didn't like giving head in the beginning because his first girlfriend was a "skank." I can only translate that to mean that she had some sort of odor (and he's French!). When I asked him how he'd licked this problem, he said, "There was this bi girl—I was the first guy she had been with—she taught me the art of eating pussy. Every man should be trained by lesbians." When Travis suggested peanut butter ("it works for dogs"), I ended the consultation and went to the library.
Robert Birch's book Oral Caress: The Loving Guide to Exciting a Woman: A Comprehensive Illustrated Manual on the Joyful Art of Cunnilingus was the first title that jumped out at me. I know that The Joy of Sex has been updated to include photographs (those illustrations were horrible), but maybe you should consider The New Good Vibrations Guide to Sex. The Good Vibes girls are very lesbo-friendly—remember Esteban's advice. Then again you might wanna go with a video like Nina Hartley's Guide to Cunnilingus.
There's always the possibility that he's worried that he won't do it right—we are talking about someone who's completely inexperienced. As far as issuing an ultimatum goes, I don't know if "get down or get out" is the answer as much as "seek help" would be. And as for documentation that cunnilingus is not a threat to masculinity, snag the new D'Angelo record—listen and look.
Reader Assignment: Tell me about the nicest way you've ever been dumped. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.