My 31-year-old, Masters-degree-having, large-breasted, indie rock-star girlfriend is wearing me out with sex 15 times a week. When we aren’t doing it she’s flashing me on the couch, or telling me that, in the summer, I had better watch out because she wears bikinis to the corner store, and men are essentially jumping out of windows to talk to her. I’m not jealous, but is her self-objectification solely designed to turn me on? I’m not complaining, just wondering what you think I should do.—Evan
This is a “golden handcuffs” kind of problem—actually, if she’s the kind of girl I’m guesstimating she is, this may be more of a “furry pink-leopard handcuffs” kind of problem. Smart, wild-mouthed and wild-minded, sexually aggressive women—before they get mad and throw your laptop off the balcony—are some kind of ideal for dudes who aren’t easily thrown off. That you’re not complaining indicates that you’re one of them, so, cool.
As far as “why” she’s doing this stuff, you’ll probably find that out when you’ve been together long enough to encounter the Endless Bikini Summer; six-or-fewer months into a relationship is still show-off time. It could be that she is just fundamentally cool with and proud of her sexuality and is making sure you know, or she wants to confirm her sexual appeal by establishing it over and over. It could be that this is part of her sense of humour or perspective on her place in the world. It could be that she is super-insecure about herself or the relationship and needs reassurance, or maybe she’s trying to tease/coax you into even more sex. It could be a shifting equation of all those things.
As far as the constant sex-having—15 is, objectively, a lot of times per week to have sex—that’s an eternal riddle. Depending on factors like general health, hormones, and self-esteem, she could be cresting in the direction of what Alfred Kinsey called peak performance/maximum sexual activity, while your peak probably happened more than a decade ago. Christopher Ryan, the co-author of the best sex book ever, ever, ever, Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, emailed me about your sort-of issue: “There’s the (probably true) cliché about women reaching their ‘sexual peak’ in their mid-30s, about a decade or so after men. I’m sure some of this is attributable to biology, but a lot of it has to do with simple comfort and self-awareness. Girls grow up with a huge amount of cultural confusion and shame regarding their sexuality…. By their early 30s, a lot of women have largely worked their way out of this cultural quicksand and have freed themselves to experience sexual desire without shame. Also, they’ve learned what works (and what doesn’t) and are less apologetic about seeking it.”
Ryan wonders how sexually compatible you are otherwise, if your “fantasy lives work together,” and if she would be comfortable getting herself off more often. He says, “Sex is rarely just about the sex. There’s almost always something else going on. Psychologists often say, ‘Everything’s about sex, except sex itself, which is about everything.’” Even though you are cool with it now—cue the eye-rolls from men who aren’t getting much at all wondering what your problem is—you might not be, eventually. Start talking to her about all this: Ask, nicely, why she tells you about her appeal to other men when you already think she’s a megababe, tell her you could do with less frequent but still rad sex, and see if that makes more sense for both of you.
Why do guys send dick pics?—Sheila
This is the gross equivalent of new parents, dog owners, ambitious home cooks with Instagram accounts, or me with the emoji keyboard. (Like, I love babies and dogs, but why send 10? Just send one. Thank you.) In most cases of guy-to-girl dick pics, the sharer thinks that the sharee has the same ideas about text-messaged nudery: He’d love to get a random titty shot from you, so why wouldn’t you love to get a shot of his out-of-context, floating-hairy-grainy business while you’re eating a salad or on a deadline? Guys: we don’t. Dick pics are the emperor’s new clothes of the digital age. Really, this suggests that your dude(s) aren’t super-duper smart or generally aware of how your more complicated waterpark of arousal works, which is a bigger problem than simply clicking delete.
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