What's the best way to tell men about my unusual sexual limits?
February 20, 2013 2:58 PM   Subscribe

I have some sexual limits or preferences that I've been told are pretty weird. Both male and female friends have told me that they are really weird (I am female). But it's just the way I am and it's not going to change. I have been having dating problems because of it. I need some advice on the best way to tell men about my limits, and the best way to find that rare person who would be fine with them.

My limits are that I HATE to have my nipples or outer genitalia (for lack of a better word) deliberately stimulated in any way. It is an extremely unpleasant sensation for me and I despise it. I do enjoy intercourse a lot and I enjoy giving oral sex, though I do not want to receive it. This is just what feels good to my body. I'm also fine with participating in most kinks guys would want to have done to them (spanking for example), though because I am not really kinky myself I wouldn't want to have a sex life revolving entirely around that.

All I really want is a sex life where we could go straight to intercourse with no "foreplay" whatsoever except fellatio if the guy wanted it. At first I thought a lot of men would be fine with that, but now it doesn't seem that way at all.

I had a lot of sex in my early 20's exploring different things and figuring out what I liked, so I was already very sexually experienced. Then I got into a 4 year LTR with a good friend, which ended. About 2 months after that ended, I got into a 3 year LTR with another good friend. That relationship ended close to a year ago. I'm now 31 years old, so this is my first time single and dating strangers since I was 24.

I was thinking that dating and sex with guys in their 30's would be much better than with college guys. We would communicate! I would tell them what I liked and they would tell me what they liked! We would respect each other!

But it hasn't gone that way at all and I need help figuring out what to do differently.

I started dating a guy and told him I didn't like to have my nipples stimulated, but I was okay with the rest of my breasts being touched. He said okay, but then started running his hands up and down the sides of my breasts, slowly getting closer and closer to the center, until he was running them over my nipples. At first I thought he just didn't realize so I moved his hands a bit away, and he immediately moved them right back. I moved them away one more time and when he moved them back, I realized he was doing it on purpose. It sucked.

I dated a guy who would stay away from my nipples during sex until the very end of intercourse, when he was about to come, and then he would grab them suddenly. I was about to come the first time he did that, and it ruined it for me. But at first I thought he was just in the heat of the moment and forgot. The next time we had sex, he almost did the same thing at the end. But I saw him going for them and I covered them with my hands. He actually started digging his hands under my hands trying to get at them. I actually started laughing, it was so ridiculous. I mean it was obvious I didn't want them to be touched, there could be no pretense that he didn't realize.

I dated another guy who was also physically pushy about it. He kept sliding down to go between my legs face first and I kept pulling him up, saying I wasn't into it. He kept telling me not to be shy, and I clearly said, "I'm not shy at all, I just really don't like that." His reply: "Just lay back and enjoy it." I was speechless. I clearly told him that I didn't enjoy it, but he was going to keep trying to push me into it?

That same guy was also focused on how he wanted to "pleasure" me by stimulating my breasts. I removed his hands and said, "I really want to have sex with you. How about we just have sex?" He put his hands back, like the other guy! I removed them again and he got upset, saying, "If I can't touch your breasts now it's like we're going backwards around the bases!"

I try to be clear and straightforward about my limits with all of these guys. But they all think I'm just confused in some way and it's not possible that I really don't like what I am telling them I don't like. Some of them have told me I am just shy and sexually timid, or some kind of conservative virgin - I'm not at all, I spent my whole early 20's experimenting and I've never been shy about it. Some of them have told me I am just neurotic or have psychological problems or was maybe molested. I was never molested or sexually pressured by anyone except these guys themselves. I am totally healthy physically and psychologically and I'm starting to feel really disrespected when this comes up. Just because my dislikes might be rare doesn't mean there's anything wrong with me for having them. It's just what feels good to my body.

So far, the guys who I have dated have been a mix of friends, acquaintances, and strangers, the length of time we've known each other has varied from a year to a few weeks. Some have been from the US and some from other countries. It hasn't been a casual sex situation in any of the cases, in all of these cases, it's been regular dating. None of them act pushy or like jerks in any other way in life. So, I don't think there's anything there.

What do I need to do differently? Is there a better way to tell men about my limits? How do I find someone who would be fine with them without going through more of this pressuring or judging?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (44 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
How have you been expressing this? Have you just said "I don't want my nipples touched" or have you said, "It physically feels bad when you do it?"

I would try, if you haven't, saying, "It feels physically bad when guys try to touch my nipples or my labia/clitoral area. When that happens, I don't want to have sex anymore, it really throws me out of the moment."

If they're not listening to that, no, you cannot make it clearer, they are just jerks.
posted by corb at 3:09 PM on February 20, 2013 [7 favorites]

FWIW, I don't think your limitations are weird at all, and I think you're being very clear to your sexual partners about what you want and don't want to do or have done to you. Did your partners during your LTRs respect your wishes? I'm presuming they did, and if that's the case, you've just had a spell of jackasses for recent sexual partners.
posted by jabes at 3:09 PM on February 20, 2013 [13 favorites]

Man, it sucks that people are just not getting it. I'd do two things: first, I'd have that conversation well ahead of sexytimes - think over dinner, rather than in bed - and second, any given guy would get one - ONE - chance to "forget" and get corrected, and after that the sexytimes would be over. As in, I'd get up, get dressed, and leave (or throw them out.) If someone isn't going to respect your boundaries after being explicitly told no, then repeatedly telling them no isn't going to make a difference. (I'm not even totally sure that one chance is worth it, but one boob-grab might genuinely be a slip. Two is definitely just disrespect.)
posted by restless_nomad at 3:11 PM on February 20, 2013 [37 favorites]

There is nothing weird about this preference. Full stop. Anybody who does not respect these boundaries is being an asshole. Be firm about your boundaries and don't apologize for them.
posted by futureisunwritten at 3:12 PM on February 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

Can you wear a bra? That might make things a bit more apparent.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:14 PM on February 20, 2013 [8 favorites]

Yeah, what you like goes against what most guys have experienced and probably enjoy. Doesn't make pushy behavior ok, of course.

Sounds like you just have to repeat yourself and be explicit. Maybe wear a shirt during sex?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:15 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I totally second nomad - that is insane. Get up and leave. If you repeatedly tried to stick your finger in the ass of a man who didn't want it, he would leave. This is identical.
posted by namesarehard at 3:16 PM on February 20, 2013 [30 favorites]

It isn't clear from your question if the men you date are all both arguing with you and doing the wrong thing during sex, or if those are two separate if overlapping groups. The guys who are arguing with you about what you should like or let them do are disrespectful, and that's on them, not you.

With the ones who keep trying to touch you the wrong way during sex, are you using words as well as your hands to redirect them? To give them the maximum benefit of the doubt, that may just be what they habitually do during sex, and in the heat of the moment it may be harder to remember what you told them about your likes and dislikes. So if you aren't already speaking up (something direct, like "don't touch my nipples," and/or "that feels bad,") as well as moving their hands/faces away, then maybe you could do that too, to jolt them out just doing what they've done with other women in the past. If they continue doing it after you have just verbally (as well as physically) told them not to, then you should not continue having sex with them.
posted by unsub at 3:24 PM on February 20, 2013

"None of them act pushy or like jerks in any other way in life."

I'm sorry, but if they are acting like pushy jerks in the sack, who really cares WHAT they're like in any other way in life?

Basically I think you've been dating jerks. Or at least people who are extremely clueless. Telling you that your sexual preferences/dislikes probably exist because you've been abused, or labeling you as a prude is... just, no. Ick. I don't think your dislikes are really all that unusual, but even if they were, it doesn't matter. Your dates either need to listen to you and not touch you in ways that you find uncomfortable, or they need to not be having sex with you.

The only thing I can suggest you doing differently is to talk to your partners when you're not in the act of getting it on, and clearly indicate your preferences/dislikes. It's not clear if you're already doing that, or if you're only telling them this in the heat of sexytimes moment. (Not that it should matter, imo, but whatever.) If your partner forgets or grabs something you don't want him to grab, move his hand away, and actually say "Remember, I don't like that!". Perhaps you could move his hand somewhere you do like to be touched. (Possibly that guy who wrestled with you to get under your hands thought you were grabbing yourself and was trying to be sexy. I mean, I don't know. Regardless, if you say it out loud, there's no chance that they could be confused about your intentions.)

Otherwise, stop dating jerks. I promise promise promise you that there are tons of awesome, hot guys who will respect you enough to not touch your nipples etc. when he knows you don't like it.
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 3:25 PM on February 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

[Folks, very seriously answer the question and don't get all revenge-oriented. It's not helping and inappropriate.]
posted by jessamyn at 3:28 PM on February 20, 2013

That sucks. Once maybe is out of habit; guys (from what I hear) tend to have "moves" that they fall back on. Maybe twice. But arguing or forcing their hands under yours... ugh. The finger in the butt analogy is right on. Or kinda rough testicle play.

I think the bra idea is a great one, or a camisole. Or maybe pasties, if the rest of the boob is fine; that would cut down on direct contact, I guess. (As much as I can guess, not being of the boob-having sort.)
posted by supercres at 3:29 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

All I really want is a sex life where we could go straight to intercourse with no "foreplay" whatsoever except fellatio if the guy wanted it. At first I thought a lot of men would be fine with that, but now it doesn't seem that way at all.

Plenty of men will be fine with this.

In fact, I'd guess that some of the men you dated would actually be fine with this, if they were willing to give your words any credit. However, it sounds like these dudes think they know better than you. So, they're ambushing you to prove something.

It's very disrespectful, and you should get up and stop the sex when they do this. Next time, in addition to saying it advance, make it explicit that it'll be over if they don't respect your boundaries.
posted by ignignokt at 3:33 PM on February 20, 2013 [5 favorites]

Okay. I am not telling you that you are wrong or broken. It's tough for a sex partner to do the opposite of what has generally been instilled in them as pleasurable for the majority of other partners, e.g. fingering, oral, and breast play. It's even more difficult when those acts are also pleasurable for the partner. And if your partner really likes nipples or labia or oral, not just as a foreplay thing, but as stimulating on their own, an experience that doesn't disturb you may not be fulfilling to them. There's nothing wrong with you, and you are not broken. You are, however, unusual.

People with outre fetishes are often very up front about them when dating, so they quickly eliminate partners who cannot deal with those fetishes. Think about adult babies who are into diaper play. If that is what gets one off, one has to be super specific about it, even to the extreme of finding dedicated dating sites for baby lovers.

None of this excuses partners who do not respect your boundaries after you've expressed them clearly. Honestly, though, people who have a problem with boundaries in sex play are probably not people you want in the rest of your life, either.

So what should you do?

Be very specific about what you need (or do not want) when scoping out a prospective partner. Be very clear that your needs are not negotiable, and if your boundaries are crossed in the heat of the moment, that there will be no further chances.

All of this up front, before the lights go down. Before you meet the prospect in person. I think you might need to be that forthright about it, if it's that important to you.

You will probably need to go through a lot of prospects before you find one who not only will respect your boundaries, but enjoy helping you explore your own particular sexuality. And maybe they'll have something special they would like you to do as well.

The good news: thoughtful, courteous sex partners are often thoughtful and courteous in the rest of their lives, too. So while you might have a difficult time finding someone who understands and respects and even enjoys your needs, there's a much greater chance that person will be compatible with you in other ways than if they were just some schlub off the street.

So be really open, definitive, and up-front about what you want and need. Perhaps look into some of the fetish dating sites, where such plain speaking is the order of the day.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:34 PM on February 20, 2013 [11 favorites]

Your preferences aren't that unusual, I have encountered them more than once in a fairly small pool of partners.

These people are being real jerks. The next time this happens, immediately stop sexy-times and say "I asked you not to do this. I wasn't kidding. It is painful". If that isn't enough, get up and leave.
posted by zug at 3:35 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

What's the best way to tell men about my unusual sexual limits?

I wouldn't say "I don't like these things". I know that should work, but people are weird when they get naked.

I'd say "These things are turn-offs for me". Different subtext, more likely to hit the "if I do these things then sex might stop" part of the brain.

Good luck!
posted by no regrets, coyote at 3:41 PM on February 20, 2013 [7 favorites]

"Statistically uncommon" is not "weird". It can be challenging to train yourself out of old habits, so I'd be understanding if people just forgot your particular turn-ons and turn-offs the first couple of times you were together, but there's a big difference between that and not respecting your clear boundaries.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:50 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

your communication skills are great. it's these jerks who can't get the message and respect these boundaries when you're already being crystal clear.

sounds like your ideal sexual partner is going to be into the same specific stuff as you...so you might want to check out the kink community because then you can be really upfront about all of this, as well as more ruthless about screening for people who are into the same. the kink community isn't entirely people who Cannot Live Without A Single Kink. IMHO for most it's a spectrum. there are some things that are of such interest as to be essential to a good sex life, the main kinks, yes, depending on the person - but that doesn't mean it's all-encompassing, since that same person is probably also doing other stuff in the bedroom in addition their main thing. you don't stop exploring just because you find one thing you like.

if you tell a partner "don't do X" and he's going for X & you're pushing his hands away or feeling seriously uncomfortable, just get up, get dressed, leave. don't be afraid to be rude if you've tried to tell him once quite clearly "stop" and "i don't like that, stop". if he gets upset: "i said doing X was a turn off, you kept pushing it on me, and now i'm turned off so i'm going home."

when they break out the verbal dance about how you must be oppressed or abused or fucked up or uptight or whatever, i think it's a good idea to respond with a slight smile and perhaps a shake of the head: "your imagination must be so small, if you cannot imagine a healthy, normal woman whose sexual preferences are different than the other women you've slept with/what you think is the norm. i just feel sorry for you." (also use that moment as the moment you decide you're dumping them, but you know that.)
posted by zdravo at 3:53 PM on February 20, 2013 [7 favorites]

You sound healthy and normal to me and you just have a certain preference that they are not used to. I think they are at fault and you have done nothing wrong. Can you try to communicate it to them before having sex in the way you communicated it to us so clearly so they understand better that it's not just a shyness or prudishness thing?
posted by Dansaman at 4:04 PM on February 20, 2013

I'm honestly a bit bothered by the people suggesting you wear a t-shirt or a bra to bed. You shouldn't have to shield yourself to get guys to respect your sexual limits (I apologize if I misinterpreted that advice).

I agree that you shouldn't give these guys more than one chance on this, especially if you are being very clear and up-front both before sex and after they "accidentally" cross one of your limits. It's an unfortunate fact that even some seemingly nice guys have absorbed a lot of fucked-up ideas about women and sexuality and consent. But you shouldn't have to deal with that.

And the guys who try to tell you that you were molested or have sexual problems? In my book, that would be an absolute deal-breaker. Partly because, as ignignokt says, it's obnoxious for them to act like they know better than you. But also because, well, so what if you were abused or had psychological issues? Would that make your consent or preferences any less important or valid? No.
posted by the essence of class and fanciness at 4:14 PM on February 20, 2013 [22 favorites]

All of the guys you've described are clueless bratty jerks and they forfeited their benefit of a doubt. However, every new partner deserves a new benefit of a doubt and it's easy to forget that after a bad luck streak like the one you've had.

Those erogenous zones are Pavlovian for straight men in our culture. A clueless man pushes because he doesn't realize that nipple play on a woman isn't the altruistic act that he built it up in his mind to be. They're the dog salivating at the dinner bell when dinner is nowhere in sight.

To be sure, ain't nothing wrong with liking the sound of a bell for its own sake, but if your dinner partner can't stand bells, you need to be intelligent enough to separate the two things in your own mind.

A man with a good emotional intelligence will realize this and be able to communicate that: "I like nipple play, it's rewarding for me and I want to also respect your preference. Can we negotiate 'nipple-okay' times (for me) and 'nipple-no-go' times (for you)?"

Now odds are that any random guy won't be so articulate. You can be on the look out for an opening to have this discussion and not immediately write it off as the wheedling of the unfortunate jerks from before. The discussion would be worthwhile even if nipple play is 100% always off the table. The difference between the jerk dude and the guy who is trying to communicate his preferences is the intelligence to admit that this is *his* want. Clueless jerks always try to project their motives on others.

I'm skipping the genital play stuff because doing anything to another person's genitals without their okay is totally beyond the pale. Exploration happens, but you outright said N-O. A negotiation like the above one would be cool with a recurring partner if he was really into giving oral and it wasn't a 100% dealbreaker for you. Most oral is unprotected and, yeah, many people set that boundary commonly for that reason alone.
posted by Skwirl at 4:22 PM on February 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

I don't hate but I do not really enjoy these things either, except in certain circumstances. I have found that, as someone mentioned above, expressing these as things which cause me discomfort (instead of just dislike/apathy) made a difference. So did suggesting alternatives. I also never gave second chances. But the key was finding the right partner, which unfortunately lacks a straightforward and quick path. However, feel free to tell those guys who just don't want to get it this: The human body is full of erogenous zones -- those who want to just stick with the obvious are the ones who are limited and unusual, not you.
posted by sm1tten at 4:28 PM on February 20, 2013 [3 favorites]

I feel your pain. While I don't have similar dislike of having my nipples played with (except if people push DOWN, why the fuck would you do that, that fucking hurts), I absolutely hate receiving oral sex, or generally having my 'outer genitalia' (to use your word) touched, and it's been problematic for me as well.

It seems like many people have this mental idea of reciprocation as they understand it, and then are really uncomfortable about not following that narrative. I was finally able to pin a couple of them down in conversation (at different times) that they had a sense of "not making [me] feel good" by doing what they think they are supposed to be doing, i.e. playing with my nipples however they chose or going down on me. Ugh.

I was best able to redirect and stop activities that I didn't want to happen when I could stop that unspoken idea with conversation outside of bed, and in bed, a quick "no, don't do that, it hurts" with corresponding facial grimaces, or pushing their hands away. Sometimes I was tempted to leave the bed. My partners always eventually listened, but it was also a point of contention and I felt I had to be on my guard. I spent a lot of time thinking Fucking hell, it doesn't seem like it should be that difficult to find someone who doesn't WANT to go down on me! Don't other women complain about this all the time?

Honestly, I was only able to relax in bed when I found someone who listened to me and paid attention to what I specifically wanted in bed. And the only way I was able to trust that this person would listen to me is by getting to know them first and paying attention to how they viewed my opinions and feelings about things.

When I look back, I realize that my other partners were invalidating about a lot of 'small' things, or, better said, they dismissed anything that they considered small if it conflicted with an idea they had. That didn't strike me as problematic in other circumstances-- I could argue my points or whatever, right?

But while having sex, emotional charge and desire have always trumped my ability to discuss things and hash it out, not to mention my abhorrence of turning what should be an enjoyable experience into a battlefield where I'm expected to defend my desire to not experience things I don't enjoy during sex. Fucking hell, no wonder it drove me nuts! I shouldn't have to do that; as many other people have already commented, this is a line that someone you're choosing to have sex with shouldn't cross.

As it turns out, the person who's more committed to listening to and wanting to do things I actually enjoy in bed based on my own experiences and communication, as opposed to assuming that they know what I want based on their previous partners or their porn viewing or whatever -- is actually a much better partner for me out of bed too.

(If any of this resonates with you, feel free to memail me.)
posted by saveyoursanity at 4:57 PM on February 20, 2013 [6 favorites]

Your preferences are neither unusual nor particularly uncommon. I don't have the same aversions, but they are common among women I've known (and men, too!) I agree that you'll have to do some sifting through partners to ensure your aversions aren't in direct conflict with their most cherished desires. But I don't agree that your feelings are uncommon, or something you're required to apologize for.

First: If you've told a guy that you find nipple stimulation to be awful, and he actually starts getting whiny about it, there's nothing to but throw your hands in the air and move on. (I swear, Mr "We're Going Backwards Around the Bases" gets all my eyerolls for the rest of the day.) A few early slip-ups would be forgivable. But if they are deliberately disobeying your very reasonable request, they don't give a crap about anything but themselves, and you should ditch them with an air of Great Disdain.

Second: There's a type of man who think he's one of the masters of the universe, because he performs oral sex on women. It sounds like you keep dating this kind of dude, and I'm sorry to hear it. You'll never be able to convince those guys that you don't like oral sex. They're so in love with themselves, that your preferences come second to their self-image as The Guy Who Loooooves to Goes Down on Women. When you say, "I don't like oral sex", they think, "Of course you don't, because you've never gotten it from me! Your life has been a shallow façade. But I'm astonishing. I can help you. Let me open up your world! I will labor at your crotch for as long as it takes, or until you at least pretend you orgasmed. Then, I will lie back on the bed, satisfied that the master has done it again."

If you refuse oral sex from a guy like this, they will pout, or -- like you've noticed -- ignore your refusal and continue anyway. This is stupid from a teenage boy, and it's completely intolerable in a grown man. Men who act like that need to be shown the damned door.

OH BY THE WAY: When you tell someone to not perform a sex act on you, and they tell you to lie back, relax, and let them perform the act anyway? Or when a guy finds a way to sneak contact with your nipples after you have specifically told him not to, and after he has agreed? Take a moment to reflect on the implications of that behavior. And don't make excuses for people who would cross your boundaries in such a way. ("Cross your boundaries" is one way to put it. It's up to you to decide how you feel, about people who ignore you when you say no to a sex act.)
posted by Coatlicue at 4:58 PM on February 20, 2013 [19 favorites]

They have a right to want what they want, in fact to need what they need, and to hope that they can find it tonight, and tomorrow night, and last night, too. They have the right to want and/or need what they want and/or need.

They have the responsibility to listen to people that they are involved with in any way -- not just sex, but sex is damn sure an important area --- they have the responsibility to listen closely and then to stay within the lines laid out.

It's simple as that.

So -- it's simple. But it's not necessarily easy. They have the right to their needs, true, but if they have those needs they are going to have to wave you goodbye, and/or just be your movie friend, or what-have-you. And that is going to probably be difficult, and probably difficult for you both -- you're not just waving in guys off the street, these are people who you want to trust, who you want to share your sexuality with.

Life is difficult sometimes. The rocks, they are hard. The water, it is wet, and sometimes it is cold. You tell them what you've told us. They get one chance -- one. After that, they are no longer even movie friends, they have proven themselves unworthy of your trust, I don't want you going anywhere with people who have lost your trust and you don't either.

I hope you can find some decent guy who fits into your life, and into your bed.

Good luck.
posted by dancestoblue at 5:05 PM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think you need to be really aggressively upfront with this prior to engaging in any sexual contact, as your preferences are different than the average. I think talking about it in depth while fully clothed might weed out the jackasses who are trying to do things to you that you've already said you didn't want. If someone tries to argue with you when you state your preferences that's a good indicator that he should be kicked to the curb.
posted by crankylex at 5:15 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Your sexual preferences aren't weird. As you say:

Just because my dislikes might be rare doesn't mean there's anything wrong with me for having them. It's just what feels good to my body.

And that is the exact wording I would use the next time a guy disrespects your clearly-stated boundaries. Followed by, "Please put your clothes on, and leave." (Or: "I'll be leaving now" if you're at his.)

Sometimes, you just gotta be tough-tough-TOUGH to protect your physique and psyche from pushy intruders. But that's OK, because there are plenty of sweet men who aren't boorish in bed. You just need to get the duds out of the way till you find the gems.
posted by nacho fries at 5:59 PM on February 20, 2013

What do I need to do differently? Is there a better way to tell men about my limits?
A better way than telling them explicitly, "Don't touch my nipples"? No, there is not. You are communicating your needs in exactly the way you should – with words. I'm afraid you've just dated some shit guys who you are not compatible with. Hold out for someone who treats you with respect and takes you seriously when you say, "I don't like to be touched this way," and who WANTS to please you the way you want to be pleased. Your sexual partner should be 100% on board with having sex in a way that will make you happy. If they're not, time to move on. You deserve a man who cares enough about your happiness to give you what you want.
posted by deathpanels at 6:03 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am not a big fan of dating. I think it has some problems generally. It seems to get worse for anyone who is in any way some kind of statistical outlier (like me, thus my negative view). I think some folks need more of a "custom fit" for sexual intimacy to work and that just takes a little more work up front (or phenomenal good luck in tripping across the right person).

It sounds like you had no issue when in long term relationships with men who were friends first. Maybe that's the piece that is missing here? There is a lot of space between "not casual sex" and someone you know well and trust.

I am not clear what you did in terms of sexual exploration outside those long term relationships. Whatever that was, if it worked better than this, perhaps you could try to recreate the piece of that which worked?

I get the impression that "just for sex" arrangements sometimes work better than dating if you know you want something specific. Perhaps it works better because the only thing you are negotiating is the sexual piece. The waters don't get muddied by "other than that, he's a nice guy". He either gets it right in bed or you don't see him again. Period.
posted by Michele in California at 6:27 PM on February 20, 2013

They're weird, you're not. Honestly, if you were my partner, I might ask things like, "are you ok with me cupping your breasts without touching the nipples?" or "Do you enjoy being touched on the inner thighs instead?". Then I'd probably say, "Is there something specific that does turn you on that you'd like me to do?" ... and then do that thing. And maybe try some other things that were nowhere near your "please don't" list. There are a lot of parts of the human body. I'd trust you to know which ones you like touched.

As for what to do differently, as others have said I think you're on the right track with being very clear with your wishes. Getting up and leaving is definitely an option when this happens. I think you would be well within your rights to do so.
posted by RogueTech at 6:53 PM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Sex is not a methodical well-scripted dance of discipline. It's carnal, bodily, and doesn't like too many "rules."

Your needs require careful navigation - not an easy task for the untrained. You've had too many divergent men fail one after another. Therefore, it's not plausible that all of them were just being jerks. There may be a genuine cluelessness playing a part here.

I suggest you skip the 30+something and try the late 30-early 40's set. The cluelesness is a less amongst them, and listening is more amongst them.
posted by Kruger5 at 7:05 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ok, this is going against the grain...but I think your preferences ARE "weird" in the sense that they are very different than the norm, different from what most people like, different from what mainstream, softcore, and pornographc media depicts.

It's not clear to be what you DO like - kissing? Grinding? Can he caress your thighs? Your back? Lick and suck and bite your neck and ears and fingers and toes? Or do you want to go straight to intercourse?

You need to be upfront and clear about this early on, because it's basically the same as a hard line, non-negotiable, 100% kink. I think this is as big a deal as if you never wanted to have intercourse, or only wanted to have anal, or only wanted to ever have sex blindfolded with your hands behind your back and your lover calling you crude names. Those restrictions/choices/kinks are totally ok (like yours!), but they must be clearly articulated early on before clothes come off (like yours). Because they are that far outside the norm.

Those guys are assholes, but I have to wonder if the repeat issue is maybe due to you not conveying your very unusual preferences clearly enough and with the right framing.
posted by amaire at 7:31 PM on February 20, 2013 [5 favorites]

You are anonymous and can't easily answer, so here's the script I would use if I were you.

[Scene: 3rd to 7th date, Before we have gone past making out. We are on someone's couch or bed and hands are wandering].

Anon: hey, let's talk before this goes farther.
[insert standard STD and birth control check in]
Anon: great. And another thing...
Date: yeah?
Anon: I know this is sort of unusual, but I really hate having my nipples or clit touched. I love sex, and going down on you, [and making out, grinding, touching everywhere else?] but it's going to totally turn me off and ruin this for me if your touch my nipples or my clit/labia. Is that ok with you?"
Date: really? Wow. So can I ... [insert discussion about boundaries and kinks]
Anon: is there anything in particular you like or don't like?
[after they answer, proceed with hot sex]
posted by amaire at 7:45 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't think you have a nipples or labia problem.

You have an asshole problem. these dudes are assholes. full stop.

You are perfectly normal.

I would suggest being real explicit that "i don't like" means "this hurts and I hate it"

other than that, avoid sexually pathetic people who act like conquesting 20y/o.
posted by French Fry at 8:02 PM on February 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

Both male and female friends have told me that they are really weird

I think your sexy time preferences fall w/in a range of variation that most people with a little experience should be entirely familiar and comfortable with.

I had a girlfriend who didn't like having her nipples rubbed. And I don't see how your particular preference on vaginal stimulation is any different from people's unique preferences on things like anal stimulation, tongue-in-ear, biting/nibbling, spanking, who's on top, etc.

Your friend's impressions about what's abnormal are weird.
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 8:24 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

However, it sounds like these dudes think they know better than you.

since talking about the motivation of the men you've slept with, or could potentially sleep with: maybe they were trained by their ex girl friends and society to be focused on foreplay and those other things.

you need to not be the "girl" when it comes to sex in a certain way. don't wait for him to do something you don't like, and don't tell him what you don't like. you should tell him what you want to do.

that said, the behavior of the guys you've been with that describe seems to be more about not listening to anyone's needs rather than not listening to your needs.

you should anticipate that you will be incompatible with many men because of you're hang-up.
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:35 PM on February 20, 2013

This story makes me so profoundly sad because ugh sexual partners who don't listen are incredibly off-putting and I wish this was something we talked about a lot more! The first time I had a partner who actually asked me what I wanted and what was OK before they did it kind of blew my mind because it's not something cis (especially straight) dudes are taught to do.

You're not doing anything wrong. These guys are resorting to their textbook moves because they've been taught moves A, B, and C will turn on women in general (therefore all women). They aren't used to negotiating boundaries (this may still be a problem with kinky dudes as they may consider these things too simple/vanilla to involve boundaries). I know it's discouraging to have this happen over and over again without having a plan to stop it, but you aren't doing anything to provoke this.

The only thing I can suggest is: don't be afraid to kick these folks out if they don't listen to you the first time, and bring it up during non-sexytimes with your best serious face to tell them no actually this is a thing you are not into and if they do it, sex will stop.
posted by buteo at 8:45 PM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

All I really want is a sex life where we could go straight to intercourse with no "foreplay" whatsoever except fellatio if the guy wanted it

Do you mean this literally? As in you would prefer the guy immediately put Tab A into Slot B? Because that does seem unusual and I can see how it could be hard for a guy to know what to do there. Not that this excuses their behavior at all. It sounds like you might be presenting guys with a list of things not to do. Have you tried giving then things to do, both beforehand and in the moment? Particularly with their hands? I think it's easier for guys to think "touch her shoulder/hips/whatever" than "don't touch her breasts"
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 9:35 PM on February 20, 2013 [5 favorites]

Two things I'm noticing in your description of what goes on. One is that I'm getting the sense these guys are experimenting, wondering if there are circumstances such as high arousal where these things that bother you turn magical. The other is that it sounds like you're not using a lot of words later on when the problem comes up after things get rolling. (You're doing great in the pre-bed communication.) Honestly, I think it might be a good idea to indulge that experimentation a little tiny bit to help ease the idea out of their head that the this is all a problem with your insensitive past boyfriends. But then calmly use the same language you did so well with earlier. It's not right of them, but I can imagine otherwise-reasonable men fooling themselves into that behavior, and it might be easier to unambiguously understand words than pushes away. I know. Yes, they should get it right away and many people would. I just disagree with the tenor of the discussion that this means they're trash. Now if they argue with you or keep on coming back to it, that's a different story. It may also be worth asking pointedly at one or two points after they've "got" it, "Is this working well for you despite my preferences in the sack?"
posted by spbmp at 10:13 PM on February 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Some guys have this thing where if you're having sex with them, then they kind of expect that you will do exactly whatever it is that they want to do because they seem to believe they own your body because they are sleeping with you. It's a power thing. She doesn't want me to do it, so of course we have to do it because I want to and I'm in control (because I'm a dominant male and she's a submissive female).

Closely related are the guys who think you don't know yourself and your sexuality (because you're a woman - all women are sexually repressed) or who think that they can be the ones to change your mind (a bit like the 'I can make that lesbian straight' kind of mindset).

The other thing is the guys with the scripts - this is what we do because this is what I've always done and I don't know how to do anything different and if we do anything different then we're not having 'proper' sex.

Closely related to that are the guys who think that every single woman on the face of the planet is the same. 'I thought all women loved cunnilingus - you're a woman - this does not compute'.

I think you just have to tell them what you're comfortable with and then if they don't respect that, then the game is immediately over and the night ends very unhappily for everyone. Because the 'I'll do whatever the hell I want' shit doesn't fly when one is having sex.

The other thing might be to deliberately seek out submissive or submissive-ish men who will be more inclined to ensure that you are happy with what's going on and more likely to respond to your requests.
posted by heyjude at 10:52 PM on February 20, 2013

I think this situation is really complicated, as some of the responses here would suggest. The butthole-fingering comparison doesn't quite work here, because guys don't grow up hearing about how women won't be satisfied unless they can finger a guy's butthole, or that a guy who refuses to let a woman finger his butthole is a selfish creep.

Maybe these guys were just gross rape-y frat-heads. But it's also possible that some of them were acting according to the script for female pleasure they've been hearing for their entire sexual lives. Seriously, as an aspiring nice male person you hear women complain a lot about those shitty, inconsiderate guys who won't engage in foreplay, who want to just go right to penetration, who won't go down on girls, who basically do everything the OP is actually hoping for... So I can see why her list of turn-offs could be confusing for these guys, and why they might think she has some emotional issues, or if she lies back and lets them do the stuff that girls are always saying they want, maybe she'll actually enjoy it.

Yes, when I type it out like that it sounds weird and wrong, but my point is that some of these guys may actually have good intentions, however clumsily they act on them. From their perspective, she's basically saying, "Do everything your other girlfriends told you only shitty, inconsiderate guys do." In order to respect her needs, they have to do things that make them feel like they're not respecting her needs!

All that being said, if she is being clear about her wants, these guys need to listen to that and respect that. It could require a little patience on her part, as she drives home the message that she really does not enjoy the same stuff that other women say they want. I'm definitely not saying that what she wants is wrong, or that she needs to just let these guys do what they think she wants. But her wants are unusual enough that they may require a little patience and understanding on her part, as well as on the guy's.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:07 AM on February 21, 2013 [3 favorites]

Seriously, as an aspiring nice male person you hear women complain a lot about those shitty, inconsiderate guys who won't engage in foreplay

I agree with everyone else (that this shouldn't be so hard), but this gives me an idea: i wonder if a little complaining about "some men" wouldn't help them get it. I'm a little hard headed about certain boundaries (one friend doesn't want me to help with dishes AT ALL when i eat over? watching others work without helping is like a mortal sin where I come from). I

t really helps when sometime paints a picture of what it looks like not to respect the boundary. "Some people do this bad thing anyway! I can understand why they might do that, but it's really hard for me when that happens! because XYZ." A story like that gets me all resolved not to be like those bad people.
posted by salvia at 2:06 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is your brown m&m check. You ask this unusual, but perfectly reasonable thing, and you should let them know that failure to comply will result in you trashing their room cancelling on the spot.

It might help to explain it like that, and avoid the "I don't like fish" "Well you'll love mine!" effect.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 3:10 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do not wait until you are making out to set limitations - your date will not be hearing you very clearly then. Say very firmly before anything physical starts: "There are two things I don't want you to do. I'm saying this very clearly and firmly and I want you to repeat it back to me when I'm done, because a lot of people don't seem to understand it. If you do either of these things, sex will end immediately and you are unlikely to ever receive it from me again. If either of these things is a dealbreaker for you, I want you to tell me now."
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:49 AM on February 21, 2013

I agree with everybody that unwillingness to respect your requests is a deal-breaker, especially when you're making them so clearly.

Just wanted to chime in that using the term "painful" or "turn-off" is a really good suggestion, because things you "don't like" could be variable (as in, I hate it early on, but later it feels good) or negotiable (as in, I'm not into it, but if it's a big turn-on for you, then I can put up with it). Everybody understands that "painful" is not something they want to be responsible for, and that makes it a much clearer guideline.

Hope you have better luck finding more reasonable/understanding partners going forward!
posted by acm at 7:31 AM on February 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

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