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Man Secrets and “What About That Other Thing I Was Doing?”

So let’s talk about my butt. It’s round, high, and generally looks fantastic … in clothes. When I get naked, it’s kind of flabtastic, and I have cellulite, and when I walk there is a sort of earthquake effect involving my entire thigh/butt area. My question: Do you care? I feel very self-conscious about this, but does it really matter to guys? I see a lot of porn chicks who appear to have rock-hard butts/thighs. My body just ain’t built that way and never will be. But is a flabby butt and big thighs a huge turn-off to guys?

If I had the skill or ambition to make an animated gif that was a porn chick’s rock-hard butt and then some digital sunglasses drop down on it but instead of flashing “Deal With It” it would just play this song, I would totally make that gif. But I don’t. So, let’s just sidestep the comparison to women whose asses are probably enhanced with space-age technology anyway (though it might be worth mentioning the endless squatting — squats are great for the thighs and butt) and focus on what’s real.

By and large, any man worth his salt will know that no human surface is as smooth as polished chrome, nor would he want it to be. That is the territory of boys and, well, dudes who look at too much porn. Additionally, those men who are fans of a thicker thigh and round, high butt are in no way turned off by the accompanying jiggle or dimple. It comes with the territory, so to speak. So, in the end, it comes down to the particular guy you’re with just not being immature.

Mind you, I would bet that some women will read that as a particularly rosy piece of advice in a culture that teaches men to value the smooth, supple, and flawless contours of doctored models above all else. There are billions of dollars made off reinforcing that ideal and stoking women’s insecurities. But, if there is one irony above all ironies created by the proliferation of paparazzi sites on the internet and their ruthless celebrity criticisms, it is that we now know that even the most “perfect” women in the world have cellulite and jiggle etc. just as much as everyone else, and that the actual ideal is closer to what we see in real life. That might be an optimistic view of things, but I think it’s a real and measurable shift in our perception. We just see too much to be tricked these days, and men, followed by boys, are slowly letting go of their cartoonish ideas of women’s bodies. Add to that a solid generation of women who are fawned over by men for reasons other than looking like Marilyn Monroe, and you’re going to see some real progress.

The simplest advice I can give you is be happy with your body. Live healthy and stay fit, but don’t do it to look like what you think we like, do it because it will help you LIVE FOREVER, or run away from supertornadoes, aliens, zombies, escaped panthers and ugly dudes who love your butt.

I am a pretty sexually open/kinky woman. I have no problem telling the person I’m sleeping with what I like/dislike and it’s led to some pretty fun sexytimes. However, I’ve yet to have a male partner who is as open as I am about what he likes, and as a result my neurotic/perfectionist side often sends me on a thought spiral that leads to my ladyboner going soft. (Examples include: “Is he liking what I’m doing with my tongue right now? What about that other thing I was doing — did he like that better? Oh shit, I just scratched the hell out of his back/shoulders and now he’s bleeding a little. But he didn’t say stop, so maybe he’s into it. Or maybe he’s being polite?” Etc.)

This level of neurosis has been made worse by a couple guys who made it clear afterward that they didn’t like X, Y, and/or Z, and that it contributed to their desire to break up. The men I’ve slept with have also been rather silent in bed, so I’ve had a hard time being able to tell if they’re digging what’s going on. I’ve tried asking directly, but I’ve noticed that most men are kind of uncomfortable talking about sex (and often with women who talk openly about sex), so that rarely works.

So, Dude, how can I tell if a guy I’m sleeping with is enjoying it as much as I am during sex and not find out that they hate it later on?

Men’s limitations with communication notwithstanding, I wonder if maybe this has more to do with the type of dude you’re sleeping with than dudes in general. Judging by your self-description, you’re an aggressive (in the harmless sense), assertive, and adventurous woman, so you should find men who respond to that. It sounds like, so far, you’ve been with guys who were intimidated by you, which is the most failsafe mutual bonerkiller out there. You don’t want guys to go into shutdown mode just when you’re getting excited, so try to figure out who’s gonna do that before you even get them home.

What I’d ask if I could is whether you’re similar in day-to-day interactions as you are in bed? Or are you more reserved and then let loose in private? If it’s the former, try to find someone who is similar in life to what you’d want him to be in bed, who responds to you in conversation the way you’d want him to respond to your tiger claws. If it’s the latter, maybe a slower rollout of the wild side will help coax your dude out of cowed silence. Then, if you find you still want more explicit communication in bed, there is what’s called the teachable moment, when you can seize upon his requests to show him the advantages of speaking his mind. You’re probably right that men are generally slower to learn this than women, but we’re not incapable, and good sex is always better served by positive reinforcement.

On top of that, don’t let your neuroses get the best of you. The way you described your sexual experiences actually stressed me out, so I can’t imagine it makes you or your partner very relaxed in the moment. It’s great that you’re paying attention to what he’s liking and not, and he should do the same, but sex shouldn’t feel like a survey or, worse, a test. It should feel like a haunted house (just kidding. Happy belated Halloween, though!).

I’m a lady, and my other lady roommates and I have been discussing dudes lately. We’ve been wondering about some things, like: How often do you get wet dreams and what are they like? How often do you guys really get “morning wood”? What do you do when you have to pee really bad but you’ve got a boner? Also, what do guys really even know about menstrual periods and what do they think about them? Gross? Mysterious? I’ve only been able to get feedback from two dudes, but I’m interested in what you might know or have talked about with other dudes. Or wait, maybe you guys don’t discuss those things together? Just curious!

A) Depends. When we’re 15, anytime we take a nap or doze off in class or blink too long. As we get older, much, much less frequently. But, in general, they are about as varied in type and subject as any other kind of dream except that, unless you happen to live alone with a washer/dryer in your house, you have to figure out how to avoid an extremely awkward laundry day after you wake up.

B) 270-365 days per year.

C) We stand there patiently and think about how bad we have to pee in combination with thinking about paying bills or Monday mornings or that our boner is an angry cobra that we have to lull to sleep via hypnosis. Headstands are both an urban myth and extremely dangerous for obvious reasons. On the off chance we’re camping, we slink away to a wooded grove and enjoy the rare, but awesome Hands-Free Magic Rainbow aka The Bluetooth (this can also be recreated in the shower but is frowned upon).

D) Again, our knowledge of and maturity towards the menstrual cycle varies with age (hopefully), but generally skews mysterious rather than gross, in that as teenagers we’re led to believe, or lead each other to believe, that every woman has the exact same 28-day cycle and that PMS is a time when we should make ourselves scarce, and then slowly learn that neither is a very accurate depiction of the truth. It’s when the devil leaves your body, right? I actually don’t remember it being a frequent topic with other dudes in recent years, but could see discussions ramping up again if/when babymaking is at hand.

Hope that helps!

I am in an amazing relationship with the best guy I have ever known. We live together and talk about having babies and growing old together. It is the first healthy relationship I’ve been in. Unlike with former boyfriends, if I need to say something, I can just say it without agonizing fearfully for weeks. I feel supported and loved and peaceful. I am so so so squeefully, joyfully in love. Here’s the problem: since we have been together I have lost all sexual desire. I can barely even stomach masturbating whereas I have done it almost daily at other periods in my life. I feel really anxious about sex and

I have to basically hold my breath to get through it. I find myself staying late so he is asleep when I go to bed. Before, I had a very healthy sex drive. In my former relationships we had sex like rabbits and it was great. (I couldn’t talk to them before or after and cuddling felt like an emotional minefield, but yay, sex) Currently we have sex about once a month. He has been supportive but this can’t go on forever. My fear is that I need fear and emotional instability to get turned on? No, actually my biggest darkest fear is that I am not attracted to him and never will be and that I have to destroy our lives. Another piece of the puzzle: I grew up with pretty severe emotional abuse.

I hope there is an obvious answer for this that I am just not seeing because I am too close to the situation and that it doesn’t involve saying goodbye to my soulmate.

Okay, this is a tough one. My first advice is to consult a professional, because abuse is more than a piece of the puzzle, it is the box the puzzle comes in and the asshole who hides pieces of the puzzle so that you lose your mind at the very end.

Having said that, I’ll answer to the best of my abilities, as A Dude of experience and a fellow human being (not Edith’s parrot!), for any curious readers with comparable, if not totally similar questions.

Child abuse is one of the most difficult things to overcome as an adult. It has an endurance greater and more insidious than any disease or injury, but the good thing is that you have a lot of agency in healing. Judging by your candor and awareness of both the causes and effects of your problems, and the appreciation of and concern for your relationship with this guy, I’d really only encourage you to continue being patient, diligent, and honest with him and yourself. And it seems like you’re on your way to doing just that. Whatever the abuse was, it will probably always be something that determines the choices you make and the people you allow into your life. You’ve gotten out of what sound like some less than satisfying, in the emotional sense, relationships and found one that is testing you in a different way. You just have to shift gears and work on that now. Exhausting, I know, but in the same way that you were rewarded with the best guy you’ve ever known after working through some of your issues, you’ll get something out of putting in the same effort on this current problem.

Because of your sudden overall lack of sexual appetite, it sounds like your fear of needing instability might be founded. Again, I’m no psychiatrist, it just seems fairly obvious. You’ve consciously or subconsciously set your switch to turn off when you feel safe, just like my night light does. But don’t worry, because you and this guy have a great relationship and maybe haven’t even gotten to the good part yet! Somewhere on the not-too-distant horizon there could be a time when you’re folding laundry or doing the dishes or something otherwise mundane together, and you’ll realize that there isn’t another person that you trust as much as this dude. You’ll suddenly understand that love isn’t just about safety but vulnerability, and that this dude will never take advantage of you and you will never take advantage of him. He’ll hand you a warm bowl that he’s just rinsed clean, you’ll notice how sexy his hands are, and a fever will come over you, a fever of domestic bliss, in which household chores can turn into sex on appliances faster than you can say Whirlpool. Or not.

As you may have heard a billion times, sometimes even the greatest people aren’t the right people for us. Sometimes we aren’t turned on by the people we love. And sometimes the timing just isn’t right. If this ends up being the case with this guy, unfortunately, you can’t really do anything about it but move on and try to preserve the best of what you have with him. The test will be who you go after next. Will it be someone like him, someone you have a connection to and feel safe with, or will it be some mook with scars and a bandana collection?

In the long run, better, healthier sex will generally come with better, healthier relationships with people who know more about you and your desires and your body, people who care about what makes you feel good and will do anything for you. Maybe you’ll still be turned on by an element of danger or fear — nothing inherently wrong with that — but you can get to that place in a different way, with someone you love (Batman costume!). You have to keep breaking down the scar tissue from that abuse, though, making sure that you’re in control of why you’re with who you’re with. Whether that requires traditional therapy or intense sweat lodge meditative visualizations is your personal choice, but just know that whatever it takes will be worth it.

Previously: “Accidental” Bra-Touching and Rebound Mathematics.

A Dude is one of several rotating dudes who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Dude?

Photo by Niar, via Shutterstock

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