In & Out
TOC's sexpert tackles your most penetrating questions.
Q The other night, while my girlfriend and I were having sex, instead of calling out my name—which she normally does when reaching climax—she started to use the word daddy. Now, I’m older than she, but only by two years, and I’m not that old. What’s more, it kinda freaked me out that she suddenly turned into a “little girl” persona, complete with “baby talk” (e.g., cooing “fuck me, Daddy”; “I’ve been a bad girl and need Daddy to teach me a lesson”). Should I be concerned about this? Do women who fantasize about being fucked by their daddy have emotional or psychological problems that run deep into the psyche of family dynamics? How do I broach this subject with her? We haven’t talked about it since and I’ve been a bit standoffish with her sexual advances lately. And, if this is all moot—that is, it was just a fantasy role play for her—what would drive a woman to fantasize about having sex with her father? If I get over my own hang-ups and play along, might this create more problems for us by feeding something real and/or imagined that’s rather unhealthy? I’d hate to end this relationship (which has been otherwise great thus far) based on a misunderstanding or me just being ignorant on the topic.
A We have little research on power-play sexual relationships (e.g., pretend play with parent-child, warden-prisoner, teacher-student) or the people who participate in these scenarios, but some research suggests that they may be psychologically similar to the general population. Granted, the research is slim and I can’t think of any that has looked exclusively at folks inclined to “fuck me, Daddy” role playing. I do, however, know of a woman who regularly engages in similar role playing with her husband. Once, a neighbor overheard their sex play and called the police, thinking that actual father-daughter incest was occurring. Fortunately, when the officer arrived, they were able to explain their sex play without incident. For many people, “ageplay” games are just a form of sex play. Your girlfriend’s interest in acting like a little girl (and calling you her daddy) doesn’t mean that she is thinking about her own father; she may be taking on a completely different persona from a fantasy, erotica or a porn movie she once saw. Many ageplayers enjoy the theatrics and feel safe in and pleased by the fantasy (but don’t want anything to do with the reality of incest). By exposing her ageplay interest, your girlfriend may have been letting you closer. Unfortunately, as sometimes occurs, it has driven you further away and made you feel standoffish about sex. Try to reconnect and talk about this—not while you’re in bed, but when you’re sitting around and have uninterrupted time. Consider saying that you really like (or love) her, you enjoy sex together, you think your relationship is great, but that the father-daughter role play was new for you, made you feel uncomfortable and you want to talk about it. Reassure her that her sex play is nothing she should feel ashamed about but that you want to understand more, to make sure that she has not been abused or, if she has, that she got help if she wanted it. She can visit aasect.org to find a sex therapist or read The Courage to Heal (Collins, $22.50), if needed. You can learn more about ageplay on the Internet by finding a wide range of perspectives about pretend child-adult roles during sex. Ageplayers often emphasize that they do not have a sexual interest in real children, but that they enjoy pretending (with other consenting adults) to be a child or an important/powerful adult (e.g., parent, teacher, aunt). I commend you for keeping an open mind and wanting to learn more about your girlfriend, but remember, too, that your sex life has to be mutually pleasurable. Just because she likes ageplay doesn’t mean you have to. If you stay together and you don’t want to be her daddy, she may need to use it as an internally experienced fantasy—not a verbalized one.
Q I am writing about the woman who wrote because her boyfriend hates foreplay (“In & Out,” TOC 117). Your response was that her orgasm is her responsibility—not her boyfriend’s—and that she ought to take an active role in making it happen. I think your response to her is unfair. First of all, in an abstract sense, sure—our orgasms are our own responsibility. But part of fulfilling that responsibility to ourselves is choosing sexual partners and situations that satisfy us. Her boyfriend isn’t. Second, it sounds like she is taking an active role by trying costumes, toys, scenarios, positions, talking to him, etc. She says nothing has changed. You say that not all women need manual stimulation, that some need oral, or like to do certain things during intercourse, but that’s all beside the point, isn’t it? She needs manual. It sounded to me like the real problem is his unwillingness to engage with her sexually. And that, to me, is a sign of a doomed relationship. If she is responsible for her own orgasm, then conversely, he is responsible for his, and she isn’t required to be the hole he’s pumping into any more than he is responsible to finger her. But that would make for a depressing and rather pointless sexual relationship.
A I agree that sexual responsibility includes choosing a partner who satisfies us, but I disagree that the woman’s trying costumes, toys and scenarios was necessarily taking an active role in self-satisfaction. Rather, it sounded (to me) like she was just trying to get her boyfriend to do what he didn’t want to do. Also, men (like women) are responsible for their own sexual satisfaction. Couples should negotiate a sex life that works well for both of them. I am not saying that he shouldn’t engage sexually with his girlfriend, but that foreplay in the way she is used to may not be enjoyable for him, and he shouldn’t be forced to do it. One of the most transformative powers of sex is in how couples are challenged to adapt to each other. In partner sex, two people with distinct sexual histories, needs and preferences come together. For it to work, they must figure out how to meet each other’s physical and emotional needs (way easier said than done). It seems to me that satisfaction comes less from “This is what I like, so do it even if you don’t like it” and more from “This is what I’ve liked in the past, but I’m willing to see what works in this relationship.” With the former, if you need a partner to do one certain thing to be happy (e.g., kiss, touch or have sex a certain way), then your partner could be anyone and is somewhat replaceable. But if, in a new relationship, you approach sex as something new—informed by your previous sexual experiences, but open to the fact that this new form of kissing, foreplay, touching or sex might work in ways you previously never imagined—then that’s where the magic often occurs.
Send letters to Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., c/o Time Out Chicago, 247 South State Street, 17th floor, Chicago, IL 60604, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.