Minus the City: The Art of Reciprocity

Many of us have been in that situation where, after a long night of drinking, we find ourselves with a potential male hook-up. As you are about to get down to business, and consent has been exchanged, things just stop… working. You end up just laying there, staring at the ceiling, waiting as he lays there next to you doing anything he can to get himself there, but ultimately failing. The silence is deafening and the awkwardness of the situation is unbearable. You can’t help but feel vulnerable, confused and upset, questions swarming through your head: is it me? Am I just not good enough? Is this my fault? You might even be left feeling bothered and unsatisfied because of the very anticlimactic nature of the situation: why would he put himself in a situation filled with overwhelming sexual tension and awkwardness if it could’ve easily been avoided by just listening to his body? Surely he would’ve known? 

Alcohol-induced erectile dysfunction is extremely common, especially in a college environment. You connect with someone on a night out, and while the heightened libido is definitely present, his body is just not responding. We all know that alcohol generally does a pretty good job of taking the edge off, relaxing your muscles and ultimately disinhibiting your body so that you may feel more inclined to get down to it. Men might even feel like they perform better with alcohol in their system. Nonetheless, we all learned in one sex-ed class or another that alcohol is a depressant, causing our blood vessels to dilate which affects the way in which our blood is distributing throughout the body. You might notice the effects of this through a hint of redness in the face, or faster heartbeat, but this dilation of blood vessels also changes how blood moves in and out of the penis. While blood may move into the penis relatively quickly, it will move out just as fast. But I think women would like to understand whether or not men can intuitively sense this occurrence before they find themselves in this position. They may seem outwardly frustrated and preoccupied for your pleasure in the moment, so could this situation have been avoided? 

“It’s kind of hard to titrate your drinking when you have a 40 ounce taped to your hand,” a male friend of mine said. “It’s not too awkward, you just gotta change positions and use other resources on your partner.”

Another says, “It’s not very awkward because it happens to everyone. Yes, it can be avoided, but you can just give her extra good sex in the morning.”

A lot of these answers are predicated on compensating your female partner for lack of sex; understanding that there is another human with you in pursuit of sexual pleasure, and completely deserving of it. But don’t let these answers fool you; more often than not, women find themselves completely vulnerable and unsatisfied, their male partners completely indifferent to their wants and needs. 

“I was really enjoying myself and really feeling this guy,” a female friend explained to me. “We decided to go back to his place together and we were both clearly intoxicated. We started to get intimate with each other and then he folded because he couldn’t get up. I was really hoping he would at least want me to feel good, but he just completely shut me out. I was embarrassed.”

Even some women who are vocal about their needs get shut down.

“I was about to have sex with this guy, but he was already having a difficult time getting hard. Eventually, he was able to get hard enough that we were able to try for a minute or two, but to no avail. I told him that I would like to finish, and asked if he would help. He just flat out refused. I couldn’t help but feel disgusted with myself like there was something wrong with me,” a friend told me.  

If “blue balls” is as much of an issue as it is often claimed to be, then it can most definitely be applied to women. Learn to prioritize your female partner’s pleasure, in situations where you find yourself unable to perform. If you had expected something in the first place, then you should be willing to reciprocate as well. If not from me, take it from another male friend: “Learn to communicate and deliver what your partner wants and doesn’t want. Imagine getting blue balled all the time? At least make an attempt to deliver back what they’re trying to give to you.”