Ask a Queer Chick: How Can I Get My Partner to Cuddle With Me When I’m Upset?

Also: What are the best strap-ons for pegging? And, can I be straight and still like gay porn?

[Photo: Two queer men cuddle on a couch.]
It’s okay to have needs your partner can’t meet. It doesn’t automatically mean something is wrong with your relationship, or that you need a new significant other. Shutterstock

Happy spring! Sure, it might still snow any time during the next two months or so (climate change: fucking up your hiking plans since 1999), but under the slush and bleakness, seeds that have slept all winter are beginning to stir. Here’s some fresh advice to start your growing season.

I’m a 17-year-old girl who likes porn. At first, I liked gay male porn and thinking about men, but as I expanded my sexual fantasies, I realized I enjoyed watching lesbian porn a lot. I’ve had sex dreams about women that confused me, but I’ve only ever been attracted to or had sex with boys. I had a great sex life in my past relationships (all with boys), and I have feelings for a boy now. My best friend is a lesbian, and I’ve noticed little signs of her hitting on me and dropping hints, but it never did anything for me. She’s very beautiful, but I just don’t feel the need to act on her suggestions. I’m confused about my sexuality. I find women very attractive, and I feel as if I’d keep women as an open option, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to be with one. Am I wrong to continue dating guys? Is it weird I enjoy lesbian porn? Thank you for your time! 

There is nothing weird or wrong about a straight woman enjoying lesbian porn; indeed, the official Ask a Queer Chick stance is that there’s nothing wrong with anyone enjoying any porn made by consenting adults under safe, fair labor conditions. It’s very common for straight women to dig girl-on-girl porn and even prefer it to the type with dudes. While it doesn’t always look very much like how queer women actually fuck, lesbian porn does usually include a wider range of activities than just penetration. Porn featuring two or more cis women tends to devote more screen time to things like oral sex and other types of “foreplay” that, for people with vaginas, are often the best play. So maybe you like watching it because it focuses on the things that get you off.

Or, who knows? You might like watching porn with women because you like women. The fact that you’ve never wanted to pursue a relationship with a girl might just mean you haven’t yet met the girl who really does it for you. If something in your heart—or your pants—is telling you to keep an open mind about dating women, that’s fine. You don’t have to decide now whether you’ll ever bone a girl, and you don’t have to sleep with a woman by a certain age or lose your chance forever. Just keep dating the people you like and watching the porn you like; there’s nothing here that needs fixing.

Strap-ons. I like them. I have a “strapless” strap-on (which I have used with a harness because otherwise, it’s too unstable) and I enjoy that, but it’s HUGE and most of the ones I have seen are pretty large. I want one that’s suitable for pegging. Do you have any recommendations? I am going to try to visit a real-life store, but I don’t have much access, so knowing what to look for online would be really helpful. 

Generally, I prefer silicone toys since I have a bunch of random sensitivities to who knows what, but I understand that silicone lube is better for anal play so should I be considering different toy materials as well?

I don’t know why two-way strap-ons are marketed as “strapless.” Can anyone actually use one without a harness? I suspect that anyone who can is eligible to be a professional bodybuilder, Kegel category.

Anyway, yes, there are some very good double strap-ons on the market, but most of them are large enough to be intimidating for anal sex. Your best bet if you want more versatility might be something like the Double Up Dildo Cuff, which you can attach to the inside of a harness. That way, you can mix and match dildos to make sure you have the right-sized toy for yourself and for your partner. If, however, you just can’t do without the connection you get from a two-sided toy, the Slim Rider is about the smallest one on the market.

As for lube, you may be in luck! Sex toy manufacturers are increasingly saying that silicone lube with silicone toys is likely to be safe if both are of high quality, medical-grade silicone. You can try a spot test with the lube and toy you want to use together; just dab a little lube on the base of the toy and wait a few minutes. If the place you applied the lube feels sticky or gummy, don’t use that lube with that toy. Be sure to wash your dildos ASAP after sex. This is always a good idea, because hygiene, but especially if you’re mixing silicone toys with silicone lube.

You can also try a hybrid lube (made with a mix of water and silicone), which is even less likely to react with silicone toys. Of course, water-based lube is safe for any toy, but many people find that it wears off too quickly for pegging. Oil-based lube is great protection from friction, and fine to use with silicone toys; however, it renders latex condoms ineffective, which could be a problem if you’re using the same toy with multiple partners. This is where you’re just going to have to use trial and error (i.e., fucking a lot) to figure out what kind of lube works best for you and your partners. Grab your sexiest lab coats and get to experimenting!

My partner and I have very different responses to stress. (And LOL we have been under so much stress lately.) She needs to be alone and have no one touch her. I need to not be alone and have someone touch me. Once she jokingly suggested I should take up polyamory because she just wasn’t going to be able to touch me when I needed her to. It has gotten so bad lately that I’ll go from anxious to borderline suicidal after she rejects me touching her. I understand she has a different stress response than I do and I don’t necessarily want to find another partner. How can I keep myself from spiraling?

Oh God, I feel this. My partner needs a lot more space to process emotions than I do; I want to talk everything over in the moment I’m feeling it. This presents challenges when dealing with conflict, and I know how hard it can be to internalize that your partner’s stress reactions—and the fact that her needs and yours are sometimes incompatible—doesn’t mean she’s rejecting you as a person.

You know what helps a ton? Friends. I need people I can talk to when my spouse needs a little bit of quiet, and I bet it would be really good for you to have someone come over and cuddle on the couch and watch a movie when your partner needs her personal bubble. Many of us are taught this really toxic belief that physical affection can only happen within a sexual or romantic context. Human beings need touch. Some of us need more of it than others, but there’s no reason hugging, leaning on each other, holding hands, and so forth shouldn’t be a bigger part of our platonic relationships.

If you feel comfortable doing so, it might be helpful to reach out to your friends and say something like, “I’m feeling isolated right now. Can I give you a hug?” It’s OK okay to have needs your partner can’t meet. It doesn’t automatically mean something is wrong with your relationship, or that you need a new significant other. For the health of your relationship, you both need a robust community; neither of you should be solely responsible for the happiness of the other.

Ask your friends for help. And if you haven’t done so already, please look into your mental health-care options. Words like “spiraling” and “suicidal” are big red flags that things are becoming unmanageable. A therapist won’t necessarily fix everything, but they should be able to help you practice the coping skills you need to protect yourself from being completely overwhelmed. Talk to your partner; talk to your friends; talk to a doctor, counselor, or support group. You might need more resources than one person can provide right now. Needing help isn’t a sign of weakness, but seeking it is definitely a sign of strength.

Need help? Email me: askaqueerchick at gmail dot com. Questions may be edited for length and clarity.