Seeing as my three-year career as Hump Day writer is quickly coming to a close, I’m using this week’s column to reflect on some of my very own questions from before I got in the game of advising others. I hope they resonate with some of you!
Does the birth control pill kill sex drive?
I once heard a rumor that being on combined oral contraceptives for a decade-plus can have long-lasting effects that seriously suck libido. As I approached my 10-year anniversary on the pill, this scared the shit out of me enough that I got implanted with the hormone-free copper-T IUD. What’s the point of birth control if it makes you not want to have sex, right? But is it actually true?
The data is still (sort of) out on this one. For nearly every study you’ll find that says female-bodied people who take the combined oral contraceptive pill self-report lower sexual arousal and enjoyment, there’s another one who says it has no effect. Some research even reports an opposite effect — that women who use the pill report higher sexual satisfaction, assumed to be due to the sense of security, liberation and spontaneity that consistent birth control can give.
We do know three things for certain. The pill can cause decreased vaginal lubrication, a key ingredient in a full mind-body arousal connection that’s needed for people with vaginas to feel horny. Also, even if it’s true that the pill directly causes sexual arousal disorders, the people on the pill report frequency or sexual activity and orgasm that is similar to non-pill users. So it may not make a difference in the actual amount of sex people end up having.
Lastly, there’s a strong link between decreased androgen deficiency, or hypoandrogenism, and birth control use. Blood test comparisons show lower levels of testosterone in the lab results of people on the pill. This is important, since testosterone is the hormone responsible for sex drive. But you smarties aren’t getting a college degree for nothin’ — correlation doesn’t imply causation! Separate research on men’s arousal shows us that people in long-term relationships tend to have lower levels of testosterone in general, and people tend to start birth control when they start committed coupling. Hmmm.
Point is, there are a lot of birth control options out there besides the pill that are cheaper, more convenient and don’t affect libido.
How is it even possible for women to dominate men in bed?
This one’s not necessarily my own question, but I’ve been asked it enough times — usually from a broseph with a rapey attitude trying to rile me up — that I’ve developed a go-to response.
Sit him down in a chair, bind his arms behind the backrest and tie his ankles to the chair legs. Put on a blindfold so he’s totally restrained. Take turns between kissing random body parts and slinking around him so he doesn’t know what to expect. Take a bullet vibrator and put direct pressure on the frenulum of his cock. If you know he’s all right with it, drag the vibrator along his ball sack and into the crevice of his butt cheeks.
Not a fan of the chair? While he’s on his back, grab his wrists and pin them above his head. Scooch up and hover your goody bit right above his face. Once he’s gotten a good taste for it, start grinding back and forth against his face with you in control of the pace.
And there’s always pegging of course. Strap a dildo on and “bend over boyfriend” so you get to fuck him. Bonus points for playfully having him suck on the dildo before sticking it in.
Does oral sex with condoms/sex dams still feel good?
Yes! When I found out I was going to start a career as a sex educator and be preaching to young people about using condoms, I knew I was going to have to test this one out for myself lest I be labeled a hypocrite. True, putting a latex barrier on skin will change up the sensation. But good head depends way more on your oral skills and lube than the barrier method. Don’t believe me? Grab a sex dam and a buddy — preferably a close one — and try making out with the dam stretched out between you. You’ll still feel everything! Just try not to gag on the reservoir tip of a condom when it hits the dingaling in the back of your throat.
How do I approach sex with trans* partners?
I used to have a lot of hang-ups about this. What if I say something that turns them off, or, worse, trigger? What if I touch the person in a way that pisses them off? Is it OK to squeeze a trans guy’s boobs? Do I call this a dick or a clit? Turns out the most important part of sex with any and all partners is exactly the same: communication. When in doubt, just ask. It’ll make for better sex anyway and will likely make you a more fun, creative partner in bed.