My husband and I enjoy a solid, trusting BDSM relationship, and we're both quite happy with not only our sex lives but our lives together in general. There is one issue that concerns me. Roughly twice a month, in the middle of the night, my husband will "attack" me sexually in his sleep. I use the term "attack" lightly because the moment lasts for about 30 seconds, and generally I am able to ignore it and go back to sleep. However, there are times when I become frightened by these incidents and can't seem to "get over it" by morning. Generally, the attacks amount to my husband groping my breast painfully and aggressively, violently digitally penetrating me, attempting to penetrate me with his penis (vaginally or orally), and/or shoving me. He doesn't ejaculate or anything, as it is a very short incident.
I have spoken to him about these incidents, and even though I try to laugh them off to hide my fear, he feels terrible about what he's done. He is fully asleep when these incidents occur, so it's not as if he can do anything about them. I have stopped telling him when the incidents happen because I don't want him to feel so bad about something he can't control. I have tried seeking advice from other places, but I am usually told to "just ignore it" or "just enjoy it." I don't enjoy it. I can't ignore it. It hurts and it scares me. Is this a common problem? Is there even an answer? Am I being too sensitive?
Scared of Stiffy
"SOS's husband has semiregular sexsomnia, a subtype of sleepwalking," says Jesse Bering, a psychological scientist and a regular contributor to Scientific American and Slate, "and SOS is not being too sensitive."
Bering devotes a chapter of his terrific new book — Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? And Other Reflections on Being Human — to the phenomenon of sexsomnia.
"Involuntary sexual 'automatisms' occur within two hours of sleep onset, during non-REM sleep," says Bering. "In most cases, these are harmless enough — gyrating against a pillow, vacuous masturbation. But there are also more violent and worrisome automatisms, such as those making SOS so understandably uncomfortable. In fact, there have been several high-profile rape and child-abuse cases involving sexsomnia.
"The good news is that sexsomnia responds well to pharmaceuticals, so SOS's husband should find a knowledgeable doctor who is willing to prescribe a low dose of one of the benzodiazepines (such as clonazepam) to take before bedtime," says Bering.
But your husband is unlikely to get the help he needs if you continue to minimize the problem for fear of making him feel bad. Stop laughing these violent episodes off, SOS, and start telling him about every one. Explain to your husband that all this violent sleepfucking has left you feeling traumatized and that he has to see a doctor as soon as possible. Hearing that might make your husband feel terrible, SOS, but these episodes are making you feel terrible. Why shouldn't he feel terrible about them too?
You will no doubt get some flak for your response to the snowboarder who needs a finger up his ass in order to come. He stated that he is so ashamed of this practice that when he's fucking a girl and wants to come, he pushes the woman's face in a pillow to hide it. How could you let that little bit of mini-sadism pass without comment? I hope you will throw a comment in next week's column to acknowledge it. You are normally so thorough in your replies, Dan!
You're right, PF, I dropped the ball in that response.
BUMMED wrote that he goes "to great lengths to hide" his need for prostate stimulation, adding that he will "push [a girl's] head in a pillow" when he fingers himself. And he was worried that the last girl he slept with must have seen him fingering himself — seen it and concluded he was gay — because she wasn't responding to his texts.
A little addendum for BUMMED: That girl might not be returning your texts because she didn't appreciate having her face smashed into a pillow. You can do what you like with your asshole, bro, without being an asshole.
aware of the inequality in what we've done for each other and acknowledges that it's unfair that he's "gotten away with it." Help! She Misses Tongue
Your friend — your selfish, thoughtless friend — is taking advantage of you, SMT, and as he knows you well enough to sense that meeting his needs is "fun, sexy, and meaningful" for you, he figures he can keep getting away with it.
Right now, your relationship isn't characterized by a healthy give-and-take of pleasure. You're servicing your ex — or, to put it more charitably, you're doing your ex a favor. The question for you, SMT, is how long you intend to go on doing him this particular favor. If the pleasure you're taking in helping him realize his fantasies is enough, then perhaps you should keep doing him favors. But would you be writing to me about this situation if it were enough?
Leto vetoed my secret girl crush on Claire Danes. Maybe that was society weighing down on me. Perhaps it was peer pressure keeping me inside the lines of heterosexuality. Or, likely, I just liked them both."
Based on your letter, ANON, Tegan suspects that you might like both. "Sexuality is not hard lines," says Tegan. "Some people know their whole lives who they are. Some people don't. My advice: Go and kiss a girl, go and hold a boy's hand. Don't worry about who you are until you find out what you like. Maybe you'll like both — and yay if that's the way it turns out, because that means you have twice as many people to fall in love with."
And while Tegan doesn't think a person's sexuality can change overnight, she believes — she knows from personal experience — that a person's awareness of their sexuality can change overnight. "You can have an awakening," says Tegan. "Like I did when I first kissed a girl. A whole new world can absolutely be waiting for you if you end up feeling up to exploring it. Good luck!"
I've been with my boyfriend since I was 15. I'm 20 now. In all the time we've been together, I've never had an orgasm. For a long time, I wanted to get a vibrator, but my boyfriend hated that idea and never wanted me to get one because he says he already feels like crap that he can't get me off. Recently, I thought, "What the hell — I want to see what happens!" So I bought one on my own. The very first time I used it, I got off in two minutes. Now I feel stupid for not buying one sooner. My question is...How do I tell him? Should I tell him? He always wanted to be the first person to give me an orgasm, and as far as he knows, I still haven't had one.
Couldn't Wait Forever
Tell your boyfriend you bought a vibrator, CWF. If the boyfriend has a sad about your purchase — and your ability to climax (congrats!) — tell him that some women require the kind of intense, focused stimulation that only a vibrator can provide in order to get off, and, as it turns out, you're one of those women. And he can still be the first person to give you an orgasm: He can give you one with a vibrator in his hand. And if he acts like an insecure bitch about it, CWF, if he blows up or melts down, well...New vibrator, newly orgasmic—maybe it's time for a new boyfriend, too?
CONFIDENTIAL TO EVERYONE: Make porn! Details on HUMP!—the annual porn festival that I host in Seattle and Portland—are here: www.humpseattle.com. Films are limited to five minutes in length, they don't wind up on the internet, and you don't have to live in the Pacific Northwest to submit to HUMP!. And this year's grand prize is $5,000!
Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.
@fakedansavage on Twitter
I'm a gay man and a hunter with a gay boy who's a vegan. But he likes how I look in my camo, holding a rifle, so it works. Last fall, I went to Idaho and shot a black bear and a 13-point buck. A taxidermist mounted the buck's head, which hangs above my bed, and made the bear into a rug. Most people don't know this, but the head on a bearskin rug is entirely fake except for the fur. The skull, teeth, and tongue are plastic, and the eyes are glass. That bear's hardly a bear, if you catch me.
So we got the rug, and he liked it. Even wanted me to screw him spread-eagle on that rug — until he walked in while I was doing it with the bear. I rigged up the mouth with one of those Fleshlight things, pretty much as a joke, but my boy freaked out when he saw the bear giving me a blowjob of sorts. Called me sick and disgusting, and ever since then, he won't let me tie him up or beat him or anything. He says he's afraid I will kill him and then screw him. I keep telling him it was all just a game, but he won't believe it. What can I do?
Bear Grinned Anyway
What can you do? You mean besides send video of you and your bear in action to prove this isn't the most entertaining fake letter I've received since Michelle Obama invited me to dinner at Sarah Jessica Parker's apartment?
You can do this: You can draw a distinction between what was going on in that bear's mouth when your boyfriend walked in and what was going on in your head. When a man beats off, two things are kinda sorta happening simultaneously: what the man is doing with his dick and what the man is imagining he's doing with his dick. Guys who beat off using a clenched fist, for example, generally aren't clenched-fist fetishists; they're just horny and their fists are there and, say, Sarah Jessica Parker isn't. Fists provide necessary friction; imaginations provide sexy scenarios.
So your boyfriend walked in and saw you fucking the face of a dead bear. That's gonna look bad, BGA, even to a boyfriend who isn't vegan. So how do you fix it? By patiently explaining to your vegan boyfriend that while, yes, you were face-fucking a bear when he walked in on you, you weren't thinking about face-fucking a bear. Tell him you were thinking about him, and the bear's mouth was just a convenient place to wedge your vegan-boyfriend-substitute — i.e., your Fleshlight. Tell your boyfriend you don't entertain any murderous fantasies, tell him you only long to fuck living things, and tell him that Homo sapiens are the only animals you find attractive. Tell him all of that, even if not all of that is entirely true.
I'm a 17-year-old male, and I'm currently in a relationship with a girl who was sexually active before we got together. Me being a virgin, I think you can understand why I might be nervous when things get heated. I would like to engage in the act with her eventually, but I don't know if she wants a virgin fumbling around in bed with her. And it's not particularly manly to go to someone and basically say, "I'm not going to be good at this for a while." I feel she's ahead of me in experience. What's the best advice you could give me on the subject?
Nerves Entirely Wrecking Boy
If your girlfriend is close to you in age, NEWB, the odds that she's any good at sex are vanishingly slim, her prior sexual activity notwithstanding. Some people have a knack for sex, of course, but almost all teenagers are lousy at sex.
Now here's my advice: Chill the fuck out. Presumably, your girlfriend likes you and knows you're a virgin. Which means she knows you'll be a little nervous the first time you two have sex and that there's probably going to be some fumbling. But you wanna know a secret? Even sexually experienced adults — even adults who are really good at sex and have had tons of it — still get nervous, and there's no such thing as sex without some fumbling.
As for your concerns about seeming less than manly: You're bringin' the dick, NEWB, so you're the man. Your nerves won't render you dickless. If you're worried about displaying a manly confidence, well, you can still do that: Go into your first sexual experience confident that your girlfriend is into you and confident that she wants you, and be honestly and unapologetically who you are. Being yourself is far more manly than pretending to be someone or something you're not.
One last thing to do before you lose your virginity: Watch a weekend marathon of 16 and Pregnant on MTV. That show will inspire you to use condoms religiously and correctly, every single time, no matter what.
Following up on the letter about masturbating in the privacy of a public toilet stall: Guys are being banned from Multnomah County libraries in Portland, Oregon, for wanking in the supposed privacy of locked bathroom stalls. Facilities security officers peep through spaces between stall doors and write up reports that go into detail about "shiny liquids" spotted on offenders' hands, and those who are caught are excluded from the libraries for a year. I thought "sexual activity" required a partner and masturbation wasn't a crime if practiced in private — but tell that to the peeping uniformed officers working in the Central Library, aka "Portland's Crown Jewel." You can't go to a locked bathroom stall and rub one out, on pain of landing on the Excluded Patrons List as a masturbator. Victorian prudery lives.
Wanking In Private Environs
The letter writer who got caught wanking in a public toilet had taken pains to find an empty men's restroom on a deserted floor of an office building. He wanted to have his midday wank without disturbing or unnerving others. I don't think the same could be said for the men who are rubbing 'em out in the toilets of Portland's Central Library.
Look, I'm familiar with Portland's Central Library, WIPE; I wrote huge chunks of two of my books there. The toilets are crowded, and there's no way you can beat off in one without disturbing others. I don't have a problem with people rubbing 'em out — hello — but guys who get off in public toilets because they get off on public toilets are forcing other people to serve as props in their masturbatory fantasies. And that ain't cool.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.