Okay, ladies, so something really interesting happened a while ago. I returned to Ghana for a holiday and started back up with an ex. For most of the time we were together the sex was amazing. He was the best I had ever had, hence the going back to get some more of that Vitamin D. We loved each other dearly but we were just incompatible and we brought out the worst in each other because we had no idea how to fulfill each other’s needs. Our love languages were just too different. But we had always had an amazing sex life and when I got back and he came by and started talking about how much he loved me, though my spirit was strong my body was weak.
So we start having sex again. The foreplay is good, the fingering is wow, but when we start the actual coitus I quickly feel all my wetness drying up. The sex is rough. Not rough as in energetic; forceful. Not forceful as in enthusiastic, forceful as in adamant. Overly-determined. Instead of the usual slow slide of his junk against mine, that used to turn my legs to jelly, now he’s doing this hard thrust that is hitting the back of my cervix. Wham. Wham. Wham. Wham. It’s like he’s trying to hit something beyond my vagina. He is a good 6 “3, 260 and so there’s a bunch of weight behind every hit. It’s like I’m being hammered on the inside. He ends every hard wham with this intense, painful grind of his crotch against my crotch. Like he’s trying to get every ounce of friction that he can.
In the time between when I last saw him and when we started back up again he dated someone else. So I start wondering, “Did she make him bad at sex? Was she into some crazy hard banging that has short-circuited his brain? Was her vagina just somehow extra-tight so it gripped him in some vice that mine can’t match? Am I not tight enough? Has he forgotten how I like it?”
In the beginning I don’t say anything. But girllll, the sex gets so painful. I have never used lube in my life but I order an enormous bottle of lube on Amazon and get my uber-religious cousin to bring it down when she’s coming for Christmas. That should tell you how desperate I am. I don’t even care about tongues-speaking family members whispering about my fornication to the prayer warriors at their church. The lube helps for about the first five minutes of knocking boots. But even the lube can’t save the situation. Sex with him aches, first from the wham, wham, wham against every vulnerable part of my vagina, and then from the crotch-grinding, and then again from how far he’s spreading my legs and the lips of my vajayjay open to make sure he gets every inch of himself up in there. He’s always been able to hold back on finishing until I get mine but now it’s taking him forty minutes to come.
He can tell I’m not enjoying the sex.
I used to answer the soft sexy murmurs of “Is it good for you?”
with gasps of “Mmmm-hmmmm”
“So good I can’t feel my legs. So good I’m going to squirt allllllllllll over your thighs.”
“This good?” He’d glide in and out slowly.
“Better” I’d whisper.
“This good?” he’d flip me over.
“Better. Better than ice cream. Better than finding the cure for cancer. Better than eating chocolate cake when you’re high. Better than anything I’ve ever felt. So good I’m gonna come harder than I’ve ever come before.”
Now he asks “Is it good for you?” and I wince out a strangled “It’s okay.”
One day we’re having sex so hard I’ve split my perineum, and mid-action I just call a time-out. He says “Five more minutes, babe, I’m almost there” and I say in tears “Okay, hurry up,” and finally the feminist in me is like naaaaah chile, this can’t continue, you’re making the ancestors cry. So as soon as he finishes I bring it up.
I say “You’re pounding me really hard. And the pelvis grind thing at the end of every thrust is super-painful. It leaves me raw. Having sex with you really hurts.”
He seems a little hurt, plenty disappointed, and says he hasn’t noticed anything different on his end. But he can tell he’s not rocking my world. We keep having sex and nothing is improving, he just tries to finish a little sooner. I take to jilling off before he slides in, hoping the orgasm will make the penetration feel a little better. But nothing good is happening. I’m stopping him every five minutes to squirt more lube up there.
One day we’re lying in bed and I start idly stroking his junk and I feel all this rough skin against my fingers. I peel back the sheets to inspect the goods and I notice that there is peeling skin on his stuff. I ask, in the most panicked voice in the universe, “Do you know your dick is peeling?!!!” and he shrugs and says “Hmm. I hadn’t noticed. It must be from the dry rubbing.” It turns out this brother, for God-knows-what reason, he claims it was because he couldn’t seem to find his lotion, had been masturbating with just his hand for the last six months. No lubrication, just gripping his junk and squeezing and rubbing to completion.
Of course, what the lubrication, whether it’s lotion or Vaseline or K-Y or whatever a man is using to masturbate, does is that it creates a smooth kind of friction, an increased sensation, a vagina-simulation if you will. According to an article in Salon.com “it provides a slippery base that can bring individuals closer to the sensation of real penetrative sex.” No lube means there is nothing but a rough hand against an uncoated penis and the only way to get enough friction for sensation is to increase pressure. As you increase pressure you get less sensitized and eventually you need to squeeze and tug on your junk harder and harder to have an orgasm. Then when you start having sex with a woman, whose vagina cannot offer the pressure of a grown man’s fist, you’re not getting enough friction to satisfy you fully. You know the rest. The whamming and the grinding starts. So does the delayed ejaculation which results in me being subjected to forty-minute torture sessions.
I didn’t know what to say to him. First of all, attend to your junk! It’s peeling. Second of all, how could this beautiful man with this beautifully responsive junk that I used to know exactly how to please have ruined my favorite source of Vitamin D? Thirdly, why was he masturbating so damn hard anyway?
My shock and horror surprises me because I’ve never been one of those women who has a problem with masturbation. I’ve been doing it since I was ten. I’ve always believed men masturbated for the same reason I did: because it felt amazing. Even though I masturbated much much less if I was having daily sex, I still would if my partner wasn’t immediately available and I was feeling horny. I understood the allure of just being able to please yourself without considering someone else’s feelings. Sex is a dance, you have to move with someone, and though this is stimulating and satisfying and mind-blowing it also requires a certain kind of focus and consideration.
Masturbation is flying solo, it’s uncomplicated, you know how to please yourself better and quicker than anyone ever will. It’s fuss-free and self-affirming and allows you to learn yourself better — both in the beginning and as you evolve. I watch porn, though I only patronize movies where the woman is obviously aroused. Even though I have several feminist arguments against the exploitation and sexualization of women, I do believe that there is ethical pornography out there and I hesitate to try to usurp women’s agency by telling them they are not enlightened enough to make choices about what they choose to do with their bodies. So I have no issue with men who watch porn. I will worry about extreme violence, and fetishes for girls who look very young, or any strain of porn that seems particularly dehumanizing to me, but I’m pretty much someone who subscribes to the notion that what turns someone on visually isn’t always indicative of some deep desire in their soul to have that thing. So I don’t feel as if my man watching porn is a rejection of me in any way. I don’t feel as if the women he watches looking different from me somehow means he desires me less or has some secret standard that I am not living up to. I believe we need to be comfortable enough with our men to talk to them about how they feel about self-pleasure, what turns them on, why it does, what reasonable things they wish could be incorporated into their reality — and be open enough that they can be honest without fear of judgment.
Yes, porn can be abused. And if a man uses porn and masturbation as a substitute for sex with an available intimate partner most of the time, I think it is a red flag that he doesn’t feel particularly connected or isn’t really interested in the extra hassle of having to integrate a living person into his sexual satisfaction. So it doesn’t mean dude isn’t into you if he watches porn but I would definitely have a talk if dude would rather watch porn than knock boots with you every single time. And I definitely feel as if if masturbation is desensitizing you to a person’s touch then you have a problem that needs to be addressed.
My ex’s problem wasn’t that he was watching too much porn, it was that he was holding his junk in a death grip. Hopefully, my horrified face at the peeling situation got him to get some help and get back on track because, luckily, desensitization can be reversed. If you’re wondering if your man is masturbating too much my suggestion would be that the first order of business is to ask him. His masturbation could be a problem if it’s interfering with your general relationship, your emotional intimacy, your sexual connection. It could also be a problem if he’s using it as a crutch to cope with some psychological or physical issue. But if none of those things is happening I’d say let the man be. Go somewhere awesome, light some candles, put on some music and then lie back on the bed and give yourself some self-love too.
F.N. is a thirty something Ghanaian free-lance writer who alternates between living in Accra and Washington, DC