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Destructive Criticism

I am desperately in need of your help. After eight years of marriage, it turns out that the blowjobs I give are “good but not great” and are now getting “boring.” My husband is unable to tell me anything specific that he wants me to do, just that I should “be creative.” I’ve done everything I can think of over the years, so I have no idea where to go from here! My husband is my first partner, so I have no past experience to draw from, and porn hardly seems the proper inspiration: visually exciting (for a guy) but no visible technique other than some rather extreme deep-throating, which I am incapable of, as I have an annoyingly sensitive gag reflex. Is there anything nonstandard but fun that you could suggest? I’m not exactly vanilla, so I’m willing to try pretty much anything at this point.

Thought I Was Doing It Well

Seeing as I think...

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...to try pretty much anything at this point. Thought I Was Doing It Well Seeing as I think saying, “You’re doing it wrong, do it better, but don’t ask me how I want it done,” is an asshole move, TIWDIW, I’m tempted to give asshole advice. Something along the lines of “take a swig of Tabasco sauce immediately before popping his dick in your mouth.” You seem like a good sex partner, TIWDIW, GGG and open to constructive criticism. But “Your blowjobs bore me—do something about it!” isn’t constructive criticism. It’s destructive criticism, the kind of feedback that can leave a sex partner feeling inadequate and self-conscious. To be constructively critical, your husband needs to come through with some suggestions and direction—something more helpful than “surprise me.” (I bet he’d find that mouthful of Tabasco sauce surprising.) Now, maybe your husband has no clue what he wants. But that’s still no excuse for “Your blowjobs bore me. Fix it! Creatively!” Your husband should’ve tossed out some suggestions, invited you to do the same, and you two should’ve given ’em all a whirl until you found a few new tricks that worked. Minor unfairnesses slosh around relationships like water in the bottom of a canoe, of course, but “Be creative!” in this context isn’t just unfair, it’s paralyzing. Putting all the responsibility for busting out new tricks on the shoulders of the person whose blowjob/assfucking/bondage skills have been criticized rarely results in the criticized person busting out new and mind-blowing blowjob/assfucking/bondage moves. A destructively criticized sex partner is apt to shut down. So your husband isn’t just guilty of unfair behavior here, TIWDIW, he’s guilty of self-defeating behavior. Meaning, you may be able to give better head—we all have room for improvement—but this is not the way to go about getting better head from you. Finally, TIWDIW, you mention that your husband was your first partner. Can I ask how many women he’s been with? If the answer is “not many,” then I would respectfully suggest to your husband that his frame of reference may not be large enough to craft a truly informed critique of your blowjob technique. For all he knows, you give amazing head. (Cue the straight men who’ll tell your husband that he should be happy he’s getting blowjobs at all, that you wouldn’t catch them complaining if they were getting regular and enthusiastic blowjobs eight years into their marriages, etc.) But routine can make even the best blowjobs seem boring. So it may not be the how of your blowjobs that bores him, TIWDIW, but the when and the where. Give him the same old head in a new and exciting place (outside?) or in a new and exciting circumstance (his hands tied behind him?), and see if that doesn’t make your blowjobs exciting again. And while we’re on the subject of oral sex: How are your husband’s cunnilingus skills these days? If they’re not all they could be, now’s the time to tell him. I’m a straight guy into intense bondage—extended scenes, sensory deprivation, whole-body casting—and the only people who have the gear and are willing to do it for free are gay guys. I “laid my kink cards on the table” at three months, per your instructions, and told my girlfriend that I sometimes get tied up by guys. She understood. It turns out that she’s been reading your column since she was 15. She’s not worried that I’m gay; she didn’t ask me to stop. Just writing to say thanks. Only Gay For Bondage You’re welcome, OGFB. Give my regards to the girlfriend. I was upset by the letter in last week’s column about the devotee who posted pictures of her disabled girlfriend’s body and wheelchair online without permission. I cannot speak for all devotees, but I was disgusted by the behavior of GIMP’s girlfriend. I do not date people solely for their bodies and would never post pictures of them online. As a devotee, I do find particular disabled bodies more attractive and sexually appealing than most “able” bodies. But physical attraction is only a starting point. In order for a relationship to move forward, there must be attraction on other levels and compatibility on an interpersonal level, and there must always be mutual respect. I wanted to put this perspective out there for people who, like GIMP, are wary of devotees. I’m sorry this happened to her. In any “group,” there will be people who are perverted and disrespectful. But when a devotee acts up, it contributes negatively to an already largely misunderstood attraction. Good Dev In Canada A programming note: People typically write to me when someone has done them wrong or when they’ve done someone wrong. When the bad actor in a particular situation is someone like a devotee—the kind of person who is unlikely to be out to friends and family members about their deeply stigmatized sexual identity and/or interest—my readers can’t weigh what they’re learning about this one particular devotee against what they know about the other devotees they know and love… because the other devotees they know and love aren’t out to them about being devotees. It’s something to bear in mind, gentle readers, when someone with a rare or deeply stigmatized sexual interest makes an appearance in the column. Remember: GIMP’s girlfriend doesn’t represent all devotees any more than TIWDIW’s husband represents all straight men. With that said… GIMP’s letter appears to have been a fake. There’s a disturbed person lurking on the web who pretends to be a woman in a wheelchair, as a number of readers wrote to inform me, and this person has peddled the exact same story before. A fake letter is going to make its way into the column from time to time—there’s no way to verify every letter—and as all questions that make the column are just good hypotheticals to every Savage Love reader save one, I try not to get too worked up about the odd fake. But it is a problem when a fake question contributes to the negative public perception of a group of people whose sexual desires are already so stigmatized. So while the news that GIMP’s letter is fake will come as a comfort to everyone who thought my advice for GIMP sucked, it’s cold comfort for all the good and decent devotees out there who had to see yet another story about a shitty—and, in this case, completely fictitious—devotee make it into print. My apologies. Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage. mail@savagelove.net @fakedansavage on Twitter