|By Amy Alkon|
Brief-stricken & epic frail
Q: A divorced male friend and I recently became “friends with benefits.” However, I'm not receiving the same, uh, level of benefits as he is. He isn’t giving me orgasms from intercourse, and his pleasuring of me is measured in seconds rather than minutes, despite my telling him that this is a problem. (I haven’t felt this pressure before: “You’ve got 60 seconds to orgasm!”) He also keeps reminding me that he doesn't want any kind of commitment. I get that, and I keep telling him so, but he’s persisted with the warnings to the point where I have to say stuff like “I hear and understand the boundaries of this relationship and am in agreement with them.” I’ve known him since we were 8, and he isn’t a player. Part of me thinks he isn’t attracted to me. He’s fit and I’m…less-than-fit and have big boobs, and I think they freak him out. However, out of bed, we laugh and have fun and connect. Oh, what to do…
A: This guy treats pleasuring you like it’s something on a chore wheel.
Bizarrely, you’re in “friends with benefits” relationship that’s short on benefits, which is like buying a blender that doesn’t blend, a Cuisinart that doesn’t cuise. Unfortunately, the elusive female orgasm is especially persnickety when one’s partner sets up a sexual ambience reminiscent of one of those movies where Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson are staring down a ticking time bomb: “Hey, baby, just relax, lay back and let it happen — anytime before this kitchen timer I’ve placed on your nightstand strikes :60!”
Sure, poor Booboo might have niggling fears you’ll get attached, but it isn’t like you’re buying baby clothes and leaving wedding magazines around. It’s unlikely he’d force numerous icky conversations about boundaries on some chickie of his more recent acquaintance. But, probably because he’s known you forever, he feels free to go manners-optional and let his worries all hang out: “Don’t take your coat off. You won’t be staying. And by the way, I’d prefer if you’d fake your orgasms. It would be so much less work for me.”
Yep, this boy toy of yours is a real animal in bed — a rat gnawing away at your self-confidence. Why are you still involved with him? Well, there’s a tendency to try to fix a thing instead of just bailing and to get so caught up in the momentum of your efforts that you neglect to consider whether the thing should just be put out on the curb. In continuing to get in bed with a man who can keep his hands off you and pretty much does, you’re a co-conspirator in your feeling like crap. It’s really damaging to be with somebody who isn’t into you. Even in an FWB situation, you need a man who finds you hot — or at least is enough of a friend to give you the sense that he’s undressing you with his eyes, not using them to drop a refrigerator box over you.
Q: I’ve had a crush on a guy who’s been flirting with me at my neighborhood coffeehouse. Today, he sat by the door, watching as four elderly people struggled to go out — a couple pushing walkers and, about five minutes later, a couple who were all hunched over and using canes. I was seated in the back, but when I saw nobody was helping them, I ran over and held the door. Is his behavior a clear sign that he’d be bad boyfriend material?
A: Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do when you see somebody in need. A person falls down on the sidewalk in front of you. Do you just step over him? Or do you stop and take his wallet and then step over him? In assessing people, I tend to go with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s notion: “Action is character.” Or, in this case, inaction. I personally don’t know how you sit back and enjoy the view as a parade of infirm elderly people struggle out a door, but I do know that things aren’t always as they seem. Maybe it looked like he was looking but he was in some sort of fugue state. Maybe he has a cranky, independent granny who sees any help as an insult: “Why don’tcha just throw me in a hole and stick a wreath over my head?!” If you end up going out with him, do what you should with any guy you date: Look closely at his behavior, especially when he thinks nobody’s watching. Be honest with yourself if it seems a fundamental lack of empathy kept him in his seat — much as you’d like to believe that there’s a rash of pranksters going around to coffeehouses and gluing all the hot guys’ feet to the floor.