Back in June, I went down to Tennessee to check out Bonnaroo with a handful of my lady friends. We didn’t get to shower for 6 days, and things got a bit dirty. At the campsites, everyone’s tents were on top of each other, so we overheard a lot of really great conversation snippets, like the couple arguing because the boy kept spilling bong water all over his girlfriend’s shoes.
“YOU SPILLED BONGWATER ON MY SHOES!”
“It smells good!”
“IT SMELLS LIKE BONG!”
One evening I overheard a guy saying his last girlfriend used to fart in front of him, and it “ruined it” for him. “Some girls just ruin the mystery, you know,” he said. You know. The mystery of the fact that we, like most humans, have an asshole. I also felt bad for him because I assumed he had probably overheard some conversation snippets emanating from OUR tent. We had a lovely discussion about our lack of bathing opportunities over the past week which was creating something we called “crotch wine.” I wonder what that ruined for him.
I understand that some people want to keep the mystery alive in order to remain sexually alluring. I also understand that some are shy, and talking about bodily functions in front of someone they hope will later be all up inside them can be embarrassing! Or maybe some just think these things are gross. But if you’re gonna date someone long term, then at SOME point you need to be able to talk about bodily functions and a variety of other things that some couples have issues addressing. Let me go over them.
Okay, I get it. Poop is not sexy. If you want someone to find you sexy, telling them all about your bathroom business is not the way to go. But can you imagine living with someone and feeling uncomfortable addressing poop with them? You would be uneasy going to the bathroom in your own home, and would probably develop chronic constipation. Is that a thing? Well you would get it.
It’s not necessary to sit down and have a full length conversation about the dump you just took. And not everyone finds poop jokes funny. And maybe you should still close the door behind you. But you should be ABLE to have a conversation if you need to. When would you need to?
“What were you doing?!” I asked a boyfriend once. I was annoyed. We were supposed to be cooking dinner, and he had disappeared and left me juggling a handful of things on the stove at once. Or MAYBE he was supposed to be off rolling a J, and he emerged without it, and I was annoyed. One of the two. Or both.
“I was pooping,” he said.
“Oh! Pooping!” And I was no longer annoyed. Crisis averted. But I do hope he washed his hands.
I jokingly told a friend I was going to object at her wedding if she didn’t talk about poop with her fiance at least once before the big day. How can you marry someone without being comfortable enough to talk about poop!!? I was dying to know. I mean, they wanted to make babies one day! You know how much poop babies make? I once stumbled upon a bag of dirty diapers while dumpster diving. A LOT of poop there.
Most women don’t ever want to talk to their boyfriends about periods. And most guys don’t ever want to hear about it. I respect that. But it may need to come up.
In college, a room-mate stumbled home in a drunken panic. The guy she was sleeping with was on his way over, and she wanted to have sex.
“What’s the problem, then?” I asked from the couch, where I was camping out in my robe with my laptop and a cup of peppermint tea. (Social butterfly alert.)
She leaned in to make sure no one else had apparated into our living room at 2 am, HP style, and was listening. She then hissed “I’m on my P. You know. My P.”
Yes, I got it. I told her she should just tell her guy what was up. She was absolutely horrified.
“Look, if the options are to either have sex with you WHILE YOU’RE MENSTRUATING or not have sex, he will probably go for choice A,” I tried to reason with her. She wasn’t having it.
Because I felt like being nice, I outlined how she could have sex on her period without him noticing. (Lights off, in her own bed so as to not ruin his sheets, use a condom–which she would have done anyway, I hope–and dispose of it herself after.)
But I am under the impression that if you aren’t comfortable telling a guy you’re on your period—which is a natural occurrence—maybe you shouldn’t be sleeping with him. I get it some people are more shy than others, and in the beginning of a relationship it can be awkward, but a simple “uhm, it’s my lady time,” or “I’m BLEEDING!” would suffice.
At Firefly festival a few weeks back, my co-worker’s fiance started talking about how in preparation for being filthy for a few days, she got herself a Brazilian. She announced this in front of a large group of people, several of which she had met for the first time about four minutes prior. I was reminded as to why I like her.
Many of us wax, shave and tweeze our body hair into formations we approve of. And many of us don’t. Either way, be comfortable with it. I know some women want to keep a bit of mystery as to their grooming habits, but nobody believes you have a miraculous hairless vagina. Or armpits. Or legs.
I don’t mind if you wanna pop in the shower with me! But I am going to shave my armpits. I will maybe at least wait until you’re shampooing or have turned around to get the soap.
I often want to cook a decadent meal and share it with all of my friends. I want to plan it, go shopping for it, labor over it, and eat it together. And sometimes I am in the mood to boil up some pasta, cover it in Sriracha and eat it by myself, all alone. It may not be fancy, it may not be social, but I enjoy it every time.
That’s how I feel about masturbation.It is completely normal to masturbate even when you’re in a serious, long-term relationship. I love XOJane.com, and I think one of the first articles I ever read on there was about a woman who monitored her husband’s lube bottle and got jealous of it. I have talked to many women who don’t like their boyfriends to jerk off, ESPECIALLY if they use porn as a visual aid. I think most of the women who are not alright with their boyfriends masturbating probably don’t masturbate themselves, and so they don’t understand that masturbating has NOTHING to do with your partner being inadequate or other assumptions. It is all about self gratification. Unless they flat out say “If given the choice I would rather touch myself than have sex with you, every single time,” then you have nothing to worry about. If they DO say that, then you have many things to worry about that are probably way more important than their masturbatory habits.
Not being open to your partner getting off solo isn’t going to make them stop getting off. It’s going to make them hide it from you. And we don’t want that.
I know I write a lot about being sexually open with your partner. I think it’s one of the best things you can do for your relationship. Most fantasies are just that—something that in reality will probably never happen. Or they are things that may be more appealing in your head than in real life. The idea of a threesome may be super hot to you, but actually watching your guy 6 inches deep in someone else may put you in couples’ therapy for the next eight months. But sharing fantasies and other sexual desires is a great way to connect.
And you never know, maybe you share similar fantasies, or your partner is open to trying things out. Unless your fantasy is “Doing both you AND your brother,” I encourage you to at least share it, even if it doesn’t go beyond pillow talk.
In case you haven’t noticed the recurring theme here, it’s important to be open with the person you’re dating. You should be able to talk about anything—poop, periods, armpit hair—if you need to. It doesn’t mean you have to start dutch-ovening each other every night for kicks. But be open to each other as human beings with, you know, bodily functions! And desires! And fears. There is nothing unattractive about that.