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Auntie SparkNotes: My Boyfriend Won't Do Certain Sexy Things

Auntie SparkNotes: My Boyfriend Won't Do Certain Sexy Things

Kat Rosenfield

Heads up, Sparklers: There's some PG-13 content in today's letter to Auntie. If straightforward sex talk isn't your personal cup of tea, you can click away to make your own Catwoman Steampunk Helmet instead.

Dear Auntie,

So, the topic of this e-mail is really personal, but I have no idea who else to turn to for help. My boyfriend and I have been going out for a year and a half now, and we've been sexually active for over a year. Overall things are great, both in and out of the bedroom. However, there is one thing that has me a bit, well, frustrated.

One of my number one fantasies is for my boyfriend to uh, lick my ice cream. Sure. Now, we communicate well, so he knows this is something I really want, and I know that he doesn't feel quite comfortable with it. He's described it as a "mental wall," and I get his apprehension. The thing is, that doesn't mean I want it any less.

We both try to make sure we're both enjoying the stuff we do, and if one of us wants to try something we speak up and talk about it, but overall he just seems really resistant to the idea. And when I've asked him why he always just says something vague about not being comfortable with it yet or having this sort of mental wall. Now, I'd never try to pressure him into doing it, because ew, but it's seriously the one thing that I'd like to try more than anything else. (I'd also like to add that I've reached the big O once with him during a, um, dual manual effort, and I really think this could do it for me.) Should I just drop the subject entirely and see if he maybe changes his mind at some distant point in the future? Or is there anything else I could do without acting like a giant d-bag?

Well, okay. Let's start with the basics: First and foremost, of course we don't pressure our partners to do Sex Things that make them uncomfortable and unhappy. Respecting boundaries is important, as is enthusiastic consent.

HOWEVER. Respecting a person's boundaries doesn't mean that you never question them, and having boundaries yourself doesn't mean that you never discuss or revisit them, especially when you've reached a certain level of maturity, intimacy, and trust in your relationship.

When you're in a committed, long-term, healthy relationship—as in, the type of relationship that we're discussing here—your boundaries need to coexist with a certain amount of unselfish consideration for the other person's needs. You shouldn't be forced to do things that harm, frighten, or repulse you, but neither should you unilaterally refuse to do something your partner wants without discussing it, especially when that something is a very standard component of most sexual relationships.

Which is not to say that your boyfriend has to lick your ice cream, so to speak. But it does mean that his vague claims of a "mental wall" aren't gonna cut it as an excuse.

And much as I hate to say this, considering how long you guys have been sexually active, your guy's apprehension about getting up close and personal with your body just doesn't stand up to scrutiny—especially when your pleasure is apparently not a priority for him in general. Even if your boyfriend has a good reason for refusing to do That One Thing (and no, "I'm afraid to put my face near a vagina" doesn't qualify as a good reason), he should still be committed to getting you off more than once a year, for crying out loud. Among other things, that kind of attention to your needs would also make his unwillingness to go down on you less of a jerk move. And if he's not willing, he's at least got to explain the reason why in a series of complete, well-articulated sentences, and exert himself to find an alternative that will get you where you want to go. That would be communicating well, and that level of openness is what you're entitled to. Don't settle for anything less.

And look, I know it's tough when you're first doing sexy things to say, "Hey, my needs are important," or even to reach a place where, as a girl, you believe that you should be getting just as much out of the HND as your boyfriend is. It doesn't help that we still live in a world where a woman's pleasure is often portrayed as either a matter of zero importance, or as some kind of weird, elusive thing that only freaky people care about (see: the pervasive myth that girls don't masturbate, or NC-17 ratings given to movies that imply lady-centric sex acts whereas male-centric ones only merit an R). But the wildly unequal dynamic between you and your boyfriend, much more than his apprehension over one individual act, is what actually makes this a problem.

So, with that in mind, it's time for you guys to have a real, in-depth conversation about why he's drawing this line in place that just happens to make your needs a non-priority. Make it a discussion, and make it a point that whether or not he changes his mind about his "mental wall," a healthy relationship is one in which everyone gets their cookies. See if you can't reach a solution together. See if he understands that the way things are isn't exactly fair. And don't be afraid to point out that putting your hangups and hesitancies aside for the sake of someone you love is, ultimately, part of the natural give and take of being in a relationship. Sometimes, it means going out for sushi when you would have rather had pizza. Sometimes, it means seeing Transformers: Age of Extinction when you would've rather seen The Fault in Our Stars.

And sometimes, it means unpacking your baggage surrounding certain sexual acts and giving them the old college try, at least once, because it's truly important to your partner.

And also because the worst thing that can happen is that you'll spend 10 minutes doing something that's maybe a little uncomfortable, whereas the agonizing trainwreck of Mark Wahlberg battling evil space robots was more than two and a half hours long.

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Topics: Life, Advice
Tags: auntie sparknotes, ice cream, advice, communication, hnd, boundaries, intimacy, intimate acts, giving it the old college try

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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