Q: I'm a 22-year-old straight male dating a 23-year-old woman. This is by far the most sexual relationship I've been in, which is great, except one part is freaking me out: I recently "caught" my girlfriend masturbating with her roommate's panties. (She knew I was coming over and wanted me to catch her.) It turns out she has a habit of sneaking her roommate's worn underwear, masturbating while smelling them (or putting them in her mouth), and then sneaking them back into her roommate's laundry basket. She has also used her roommate's vibrator and dry-humped her pillow to orgasm. I got turned on hearing about all this, and she jerked me off with her roommate's panties. My girlfriend says she gets turned on being "naughty" and most of her fantasies involve being her roommate's sex slave, me fucking the roommate while my GF is tied up, etc. Our sex life now revolves around the roommate — my GF has stolen a few more pairs of panties and even worn them while I fucked her, and her dirty talk is now almost entirely about her roommate. This turns me on, so I don't really want it to stop, but my questions are: (1) Is this bad? (2) Is this normal? We're conditioned to believe women are less kinky and less sexual than men, and I don't want to buy into that. My girlfriend says she isn't "that weird." I don't know what to think.
— There's No Acronym For This
A: 1. It's bad.
2. When it comes to human sexuality, TNAFT, variance is the norm. Which means freakiness/naughtiness/kinkiness is normal — science backs me up on this — and, yes, lots of women have high libidos and lots are kinky. Your email came sandwiched between a question from a woman who needs sex daily (and foolishly married a man with a very low libido*) and a question from a woman who is into BDSM (and wisely held out for a GGG guy who's getting better at bondage but can't bring himself to inflict the erotic/consensual pain she craves**).
But "variance is the norm" doesn't get your girlfriend off the hook — or you, TNAFT. You and your girlfriend are both violating this poor woman's privacy, potentially her health (unless your girlfriend is sterilizing her roommate's vibrator after using it), and — perhaps most importantly — her trust. Honoring each other's privacy and showing mutual respect for each other's belongings are the social norms that make it possible for unrelated/unfucking adults to share a living space. We trust our roommates not to steal money out of our purses, eat our peanut butter, use our toothbrushes, etc. And even if your roommate never catches you, it's still not okay to use their fucking toothbrush. It should go without saying that we trust our roommates not to shove our dirty panties into their mouths, use our sex toys, hump our pillows, etc. We can't control who fantasizes about us — people can fantasize about whomever they care to — but we have an absolute right to control who handles our dirty underpants. (My God, think of all the times you've run out of clean underwear and fished a dirty pair out of the laundry and worn them a second time!)
Your girlfriend should make an honest, respectful, naughty pass at her roommate. And who knows? Maybe her roommate is just as pervy as you two are and would jump at the chance to have a sex slave and full use of her roommate/sex slave's boyfriend in exchange for a few dirty panties. Or maybe she'd like to move.
Q: I'm a six-months-pregnant woman in a wonderful relationship. My sex drive has skyrocketed, and I get uncomfortably horny at random times. I work at a preschool and have gone into the one-person locked bathroom during my break for a quick rubout. Is this wrong? It takes me one minute to come and I'm totally silent. But I'm at a preschool and there are little kids on the other side of that door. Thoughts?
— Knocked Up And Horny
A: You're doing nothing wrong — and pretty soon you'll be having sex in your home while your kid sleeps or plays on the other side of your bedroom door, KUAH, so you might as well get some practice in. And if you don't want a kid walking in on you at home, either (and you definitely don't), put a lock on your bedroom door.
Q: I am a 29-year-old woman and getting married to my boyfriend of four years, "Adam," in a few months. Relationship is great, sex is fantastic, no complaints. So why am I writing? Adam's best friend, "Steve," was his roommate in college, and Adam recently revealed that he and Steve used to masturbate together. I have no idea what to make of this. I don't think Adam is gay and I don't think Steve is either. Maybe they're heteroflexible? But is it common for straight guys to masturbate together? Also, why is he just telling me this now, after we've been together for four years? I'm not sure how I should act around Steve. He hangs out with us a lot. Help!
— Seeking To Evaluate Very Explosive Disclosure
A: "Buddy-bating among straight guys is more common than people may think," says Trey Lyon of Fuck Yeah! Friendly Fire, the "definitive source for straightish porn." Lyon's website — FYFriendlyFire.com — features porn of the "heteroflexible/almost bi" variety, i.e., two guys who aren't afraid they'll melt if their dicks touch while they're having sex with the same woman. Lyon's website has more than 200,000 followers and he's heard from lots of straight/straightish guys who masturbate with — read: beside — their straight/straightish male buddies. Lyon doesn't have hard data for you, STEVED, only anecdote, but it's safe to say your fiancé isn't the only straight/straightish guy out there who's done a little "buddy-bating."
So why do straight/straightish guys do this?
"In her controversial 2015 book Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men, author Jane Ward asserts that sexual interaction between straight white men allows them to leverage whiteness and masculinity to authenticate their heterosexuality in the context of sex with men," Lyon says. "That by understanding their same-sex sexual interaction as meaningless, accidental, or even necessary, straight white men can homosexually engage in heterosexual ways. As a non-white guy myself, it is my hallucination that the same might be the case across racial lines as well — at least when it comes to dudes jerking off together."
I'm going to break in here for a moment: I think Ward's book is bullshit — at least when she's talking about men who have anal/oral sex with other men on the regular and without a female chaperone. While I believe a guy can have a same-sex experience without having to identify as gay or bi — straight men should have the same latitude on this score that straight women enjoy — straightness is so valued (and apparently so vulnerable) that some people can look at guys who put dicks in their mouths at regular intervals and construct book-length rationalizations that allow these guys to avoid identifying or being labeled as bi, gay, or queer. (And if sucking dick allows straight men to "authenticate their heterosexuality," wouldn't there be gay men out there eating pussy to "authenticate" their homosexuality?)
Back to Lyon...
"A lot of the straight guys who reach out to me mention that they enjoy bonding in a masculine albeit sexual way with another guy, while also still only being responsible for getting themselves off," said Lyon. "And sharing a moment of vulnerability in this way with another guy strengthens their friendship. STEVED's boyfriend may be mentioning this now because it's not something he feels he should be ashamed of, it's something well-integrated into his sexuality and orientation, and he feels it is important to be open with his fiancée. Wait, what's the problem again?"
* Divorce and start over.
** Keep talking, baby steps. But if he can't, he can't. Tops get to have limits, too.
On the Lovecast, sex-toy review with Erika Moen: savagelovecast.com.