One-night stand question
April 25, 2009 10:05 PM   Subscribe

Question from a guy about one-night stands and sex in potential, yet unestablished relationships (probably NSFW).

I'm in my late 20s and don't usually have trouble getting erections, but I need a lot of foreplay, manual or oral. There has to be some lubrication too. This is not so difficult to bring up in the context of an established relationship, but it's a little awkward to tell someone who you're sleeping with for the first time, especially if the relationship is unsure or there are few prospects for a relationship.

Is this really unusual? Based on some of the reactions I've gotten, it seems like it is. I feel like some women expect my penis to be totally hard and ready to fuck as soon as my pants come off.

Anyway, since that's not the way it works for me, how do I broach the subject? It seems a little weird to specify what I need verbally. Is it? Women, if you brought a guy a home with you for the first time and he said he needed more foreplay, how would you react?

What's worse, even as I manage to get past the awkwardness and say it, I've only been with a couple of women who were skilled enough to pull this off immediately. The rest needed some, um, training. What's strange is that the ones who admit the highest number of sexual partners have in my experience been the least skilled at oral or manual stimulation. Some try to do it without any lubricant which really does not work for me. So either I have to specify what I need in great detail, which doesn't always work, and feels pretty weird, or I have to do it myself, basically masturbating next to my new sex partner, which also makes me feel pretty uncomfortable. Is she feeling uncomfortable too, or am I just worrying too much?

What is the best thing to say to a woman when you can't get it up? I usually just say that I'm nervous. Last time this happened with a friend of mine, she asked me what was wrong, and that she thought I was upset. I told her that this always happened the first time, which is true but I'm not sure how convincing or attractive it was. She hasn't expressed much interest in getting physical with me since then, for which there are definitely a bunch of reasons, but wondering whether it also has something to do with my anatomy makes me feel pretty crappy.

Would it be better for me to wait longer for sex? If so, how do I do this? I have had some pretty bad reactions in the past when turning women down for sex, from angry outbursts to throwing things to telling all their friends that I am gay to ruined relationship dynamics to simply breaking things off, which makes me pretty reluctant to ever say no to sex. I know that this history is definitely an element in my anxiety around new partners, and subsequent performance issues. The worst part is that I usually want to have sex, even immediately, but I feel like I'm not in control, and I'm afraid that if I decided I wanted to postpone sex bad things would happen to me again. So if I wanted to slow things down or stop at second or third base, how do I do this without engendering bad feelings and bad reactions? And how do I keep to it when I have a strong urge to go further and the other person seems like she does too?

After that last bit I know a lot of you are going to tell me I need therapy. Fine. Please don't forget to answer the rest of the questions, okay? And if you do want to recommend therapy please tell me how I can find a therapist who will take my concerns seriously. For some reason I feel like I am just going to be told to stop having sex with new people and not really address the underlying issues. Book recommendations are fine too.

You can contact me at if you don't want to post here. Thanks, you guys are the best.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I have had some pretty bad reactions in the past when turning women down for sex, from angry outbursts to throwing things to telling all their friends that I am gay to ruined relationship dynamics

Well, for starters you need to date some less-horrible women. That's ridiculous. What are they, twelve years old?

I don't think you need therapy, at least not based on what you said above. Sounds like you need to relax, breathe, and find some normal, non-lunatic, patient and kind women.

You know, the kind that would be better for anyone.
posted by rokusan at 10:14 PM on April 25, 2009 [3 favorites]

I've dated men who need a lot of foreplay before being able to sustain an erection before. It's not a huge deal to women who aren't complete assholes, which is what the women who have reacted badly to you saying no to sex are. It is perfectly reasonable to want to wait for sex, whether you are a man or a woman.

I also haven't felt awkward when a new partner has taken things into his own hands (pardon the pun). Everyone has their own combination of stimuli that they need to get off. If some woman you date can't deal with that, she's clearly not right for you.
posted by bedhead at 10:49 PM on April 25, 2009

There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a break before things get too hot and heavy and talking about what you like and don't like. This is doubly true with a casual/one night stand situation - there is no learning curve if you only intend to fuck them once! Take a minute when you're almost to the pants coming off part and just ask what they like, what their hot spots are, if they're into anything special/kinky.

While you're at it, talk about the protection you're going to use, and whether you're going to have penetrative sex, just oral, just manual stimulation, etc. It's far better to know these things going in than to sit back and wait until she says "uh-uh", "stop", "wait a second" or just lets out an exasperated sigh. Once you know a bit about her, let her her know what your needs are. It may feel awkward at first, but a slight awkwardness talking about it will be far more magnified if it happens after she fumbles around for a while and you're both frustrated, no?

I know it seems a bit clunky to just lay it all out there but it really will most likely be a bit of a relief. If she's unwilling to talk about it, it may be a good indicator that she's less secure sexually, or she has some hang ups - if you're grown up to do it, you're grown up to talk about it. Waiting for everything to happen organically and flawlessly the first time with a new partner is a sucker's game (heh). I'm a big advocate of these types of conversations - if everyone talked about these things up front, there'd be a lot more good sex in the world.
posted by SassHat at 10:50 PM on April 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

This advice applies to all the shy-dick AskMe questions: it's 2009, for pete's sake, so tell your doctor you're having a little trouble getting hard, take the pills he'll (unhesitatingly) prescribe you, enjoy easy confidence-building sex till you no longer need the pills. Keep the pills around for the first time with a new partner, or for one-night-stands, or Valentine's Day, or whenever you need to bring the wood.
posted by Now I'm Prune Tracy! at 10:59 PM on April 25, 2009 [5 favorites]

You probably already know this, but I didn't see you mention it -- are you drinking or doing drugs with your partner beforehand? Because that can really desensitize you. (Which can actually work in the other direction re: premature ejaculation.)

When I read "one-night stand" I'm assuming there are going to be some cocktails involved, at least.
posted by bardic at 11:10 PM on April 25, 2009

In my experience, it's a pretty common thing for guys to be nervous the first time and/or need lots of foreplay to get an erection. Which means that there's nothing wrong with you. As someone mentioned above, those women with the crazy reactions are extremely immature. If you need lubricant, just keep a bottle of it next to your bed and when the next woman puts her hands down there, just grab it and say "this helps." Nothing weird about that. And instead of you just laying there and jerking it, try jerking it while you're going down on your situation. Bottom line, just relax and have fun!
posted by MaryDellamorte at 11:16 PM on April 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

A couple of things: it is absolutely fine to wait until you're ready to have sex - in fact, it's laudable. What you need to do, though, is decide what you want ahead of time, and then communicate it. I wonder if some of the bad reactions you're getting are because you seem enthusiastic at the beginning, then end up breaking things off precipitously after some nudity/expectation of sex has been established. This can make your partner feel (irrationally or not) humiliated and rejected, which would explain the throwing of things and spreading of rumours.

To prevent this, you need to decide where you want things to go, and let your date know early -- that is, after the first kiss, but before anything else happens. The easiest thing to do if you don't want to have sex with a one night stand is to simply not go home with her. Make out at the bar, tell her you want to go slow, get her number, and go home. If you insist on heading into her room, you need to be completely explicit before the clothes come off, e.g. "Let's not have sex tonight -- how about just oral?" You may need to say it more than once over the course of the evening, because sometimes both sexes assume that those boundaries can be broken if things get passionate.

Finally, yes, it is completely acceptable for you to stimulate yourself manually before penetration. Just make sure to pay attention to your partner at the same time -- if she's having enough fun, she won't be paying any attention to what your other hand is doing.
posted by TheLittlestRobot at 11:34 PM on April 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

Perhaps you could do a lot more with your clothes on. Then the general may be ready to stand at attention when the pants come off. And I just have to say, if the women you are sleeping with react in this way, you should find a different breed of woman to sleep with, especially if you ever plan on moving onto a relationship.
posted by Foam Pants at 12:00 AM on April 26, 2009

You need to take control of the situation. You're afraid that your hookups will cause a scene/question your sexual orientation/whatever if you're not up for sex, you're afraid of their reactions if you can't get it up, you're afraid of telling or uncomfortable telling them how you need it, afraid of looking silly if you have to take matters into your own hands.

Take control of the situation. I'm not saying, "and be a dick about it". But you're there to do what's fun for you, and if your hookup doesn't like that, well, then tell her deal's off, and leave. Instead you're letting yourself be pushed around, and for most of us, that ain't fun and no fun means no wood. Again, I'm not saying "be a controlling dick", I'm just saying, be in charge of your own pleasure on your timeline, on your terms. Tell her what you need, and if she's not into that, well, too bad, it's not gonna happen. But if it is gonna happen, it has to happen on terms both of you are into.

And with some women, it's just not gonna happen. Not your fault, not hers, it's just not a fit. Which is OK too. Get a cab or give her cab-fare.

So be assertive, take control, and stop taking shit. Which'll give you wood and make it fun for both of of you.
posted by orthogonality at 12:27 AM on April 26, 2009 [3 favorites]

First off, may I advocate for older women? :) We are not remotely put off by the need for foreplay!

Barring that...

So if I wanted to slow things down or stop at second or third base, how do I do this without engendering bad feelings and bad reactions?

I also agree that any 2nd or 3rd basing should be done fully clothed. Do not take off the clothes until you are ready for action. If you get the feeling that you're not up for the challenge, then for god's sake, don't round second. Girls have needs too, and sliding into third without any intention of going for home is just cruel. Also, spend some time winding your partner up. Get them hot, and you might find yourself boiling too.

If you consistently feel the need for more stimulation before actual intercourse, then you either need to figure out why you're dating girls that don't do it for you, or you need to lay off the sauce. When it's right, you'll know it for sure.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:15 AM on April 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

Yeah, some of this just doesn't make sense. Barring the occasional exception, most individuals aren't going to throw a fit over an acquaintance (or, someone who they are not even in a relationship with) requesting that they wait to have sex until a relationship is established for a while, UNLESS you have lead them on to a point where they're primed for it and think it is going to happen (state of undress, one of you have gone home with the other, non-intercoursal genital stimulation has commenced, etc.) or you have been extremely untactful or insulting in telling the person you want to wait; I don't know, maybe saying something like "I don't feel like having sex with you" after her top has come off. So, if you aren't already being tactful and conscientious of timing when trying not to have sex, start with that. Saying "I'd like to get to know you better before we sleep together" before going home with her, for example. Or, "I really like you so I want to take things slowly." If she looks confused, ask her if what you said makes sense to her to open a dialogue about it if she needs one. Again, most people do not expect sex when going out with someone who they aren't even dating, so if they are upset about not getting any, it really seems to indicate that you are leading them on. Stop doing this and they will stop the explosive reactions.

As for requesting foreplay--are you doing foreplay on the woman? Usually once you start that, they reciprocate. Hands should wander before actually stripping down and fucking. This is the perfect time to tell them how you like things done (Oh, that feels nice, will you use a little lube? Oh, that feels really good, etc..") Different people like different things and I like being told what a particular guy likes because otherwise I won't know; if he doesn't tell me, I will ask. So don't feel shy about speaking up or like it's going to weird the girl out or anything. What you've described is fairly usual--you're not asking her to do anything kinky. Also, though, don't expect that a woman will be able to do exactly what you like immediately! You're lucky to have found some that have. Because all men like different things, a woman isn't generally going to know what to do to you to get you off until she gets to know you. Even if you tell her what you like, it can still take a little practice (and this goes both ways. Guys can be a master at getting one girl off but it will take them a while to figure out what works for a new one).

But it sounds to me like you should definitely be waiting to have sex.
posted by Polychrome at 3:09 AM on April 26, 2009

I think one-night-stand sex is different than relationship sex. For example, if Jane is having a one-time deal with Bob, then Jane is mostly focused on her having an orgasm, and Bob is more focused on his own orgasm. Jane doesn't care too much about Bob's orgasm, except in how it affects her... sure she hopes he has a good time, but if he doesn't, well, it's just one-time anyway (and the same is true for Bob).

So, I don't have advice for one night stands, because my advice assumes communication and a desire from both parties to have good sex. If it's for one night only, the girl simply isn't going to be interested in the time investment, because there's nothing in it for her.

It seems a little weird to specify what I need verbally. Is it? Women, if you brought a guy a home with you for the first time and he said he needed more foreplay, how would you react?

No, this is not weird. In fact, it's necessary. Everyone likes different things. Please don't expect anyone to read minds. Be verbal, but also ask the woman questions. Respond positively when there's something you like. Give tiny directions when something needs to be adjusted.

Is she feeling uncomfortable too, or am I just worrying too much? Is she feeling uncomfortable too, or am I just worrying too much?

Seriously, this depends. See, your partner wants this to be good for you. In some ways, she sees your orgasm as a reflection of her sexual skills. So, communicating verbally or by showing is good. Saying "no, forget it, I'll do it myself" makes her feel like a prop in your masturbation.

What is the best thing to say to a woman when you can't get it up? I usually just say that I'm nervous.

Make sure she knows that it's not because you don't find her sexy, a good sex partner, and so on. But then, just don't say anything. Remember that she's (hopefully) in a heightened sexual state, so take the attitude that the sexual activity does not begin and end with your penis... you can still do things to get her off, even if you can't get an erection right away.

Know that any woman who would get mad at you for this is feeling insecure ("am I not sexy enough?") or left out ("a few more minutes and at least one of us could've had an orgasm!") And, anyone who shares all this with friends, to belittle you, has really bad manners and is immature, and you are seriously better off without them.

Would it be better for me to wait longer for sex? If so, how do I do this?
Yes, it's probably better. But, set this up right away. Let the woman know that you want to really get to know her and her body, so the sex will be really amazing.

Here's something you might not have thought of: Women and men are quite similar. When it comes to sex, both want to have an orgasm, are shy about communicating their needs to the other person, and want the other person to believe that it was the best-sex-ever. It's easier for a woman to fake her way through all this, but it's best for both if there's lots of communication. In my opinion, a woman who (in a relationship, not one night stand) does not really want 2-way communication about sexual needs is not going to be a great sex partner.
posted by Houstonian at 4:34 AM on April 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

MaryDellamorte nailed it-so to speak: go down, and stay there untill you're ready. Absolute win-win.
(Btw, the quality of the female responses to these type of questions make me wanna run to the nearest MeFi meetup...)
posted by Finder at 6:21 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yes, I think you should be waiting a bit longer before having sex with someone you're into. If it's not the kind of situation either of you want to turn into a big long relationship, turn it into a two-night stand. The first night is all about her -- don't even take your pants off, just do amazing things to her, then leave. Don't even let her reciprocate! By the second night, she'll probably be crazy to see you again and not care if there's a bit of delay before the main show. And there might not be any delay, considering the anticipation you'll have been stewing in all day.

It worked wonders for, uh, some people I know. :) So take your time and have fun.
posted by motsque at 6:46 AM on April 26, 2009

Women, if you brought a guy a home with you for the first time and he said he needed more foreplay, how would you react?

It happens, you might be surprised how often.

Usually first time situations (in my universe) are all about pawing at each other for a long time until the pants come off at which point they'd probably catch on fire if you left them on anyhow. So, a lot of foreplay.

Most women that I know would have no problem at all with that sort of situation. I might wonder, if the guy was like "no you need to do it like THIS..." if he were really that into me, but I'd figure we could either work it out or not. The more casual and accepting you can be of your own body, however it works, the more other people will be also. The older you get the more everyone's got some weird little quirks and everyone assumes other people will have some too.

So, parroting a lot of what other people said

- watch out for drinking/drugs, they can put a damper on things
- you sound normal
- the women who you didn't want to fuck do NOT sound normal, that is appalling behavior and I'm sorry about it
- waiting for sex is totally fine
- talking is totally fine
- masturbating by a partner is not necc a bad thing but might be a little odd for a first-time or one night stand situation. That said, if it works, yay.
- you sound like you may be a little anxious about this which is a bad cycle problem, so finding ways to work on that [therapy or not] will make you generally happier and ab;e to figure out how to get better sex for you and your partner.
posted by jessamyn at 10:58 AM on April 26, 2009

I disagree that women who have one night stands expect orgasms and that's it. I think women get very little physical pleasure (an orgasm) from one-night encounters precisely because the man doesn't know specifically what gets them off. If you think it takes you a while to get off, that time is probably at least double for a woman. Yes, there are women who come at the drop of a dime, but those are few and far in between. Most have never had an orgasm, and the ones that can, usually have specific positions (that probably don't feel that great for the man) or foreplay that gets them going that THEY are shy about voicing during a one night stand. So finding out what makes her come for a one night stand is probably the best option to make her happy, and then open the door for you to communicate about your needs.

In all options - having sex, taking it slow, figuring who likes what when, and not having sex - communication is key. Early and often.
posted by anniek at 12:44 PM on April 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

How old are the women you're sleeping with? The reactions you describe sound typical of many women in their early 20s (and I say this as a woman in her early 20s, with many early 20s female friends). A lot of us are still not fully secure with ourselves, our bodies, and our sexuality. So, if you typically only go for younger women, you may want to consider dating women in their late 20s/early 30s, to broaden your experience. I'm certainly not blaming all of this on an age difference, but I also certainly think it would do nothing but help.
posted by pecanpies at 5:52 PM on April 26, 2009

To clarify - I realize my comment won't help with what you might feel is your underlying issue - that is, that you usually need some foreplay before getting an erection. I do think that seeking out more mature, secure women (and yes - I realize older doesn't necessarily mean more mature) may prevent some of the nasty reactions you've been getting from your sex partners.
posted by pecanpies at 5:56 PM on April 26, 2009

Can you slow things down at second and third base? Extend the foreplay for pleasing her, or if that won't help you (or she won't reciprocate because it's your first time and really, I probably wouldn't if I didn't know the guy) just dry humping a little extra or something until you really can't wait any longer to have sex. Women like foreplay, so you might not have to say that you want more of it, just do it and most of them will be thrilled. If not, then it's their loss.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 6:32 PM on April 27, 2009

Nthing everyone who says to take it slowly....and I'm in the camp who says anything one does consensually with someone else which can potentially lead to an orgasm is sex: oral, masturbation, frottage.....vaginal/anal should not the be-all and end-all for heterosexual couples.

I'd hold off with the ED drugs...this may well be your body's way of telling you it's better to be with someone with whom you feel an emotional connection. I'd also think a while why one is drawn to partners who seem only to want a living dildo.
posted by brujita at 11:13 PM on April 29, 2009

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