Rectal Surprise

In Dating, Mental Health, Sex on June 14, 2010 at 9:06 pm

This intense pleasure zone ironically threatens the perceived manhood of some of the manliest of men. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,

Dear Yenta,

My boyfriend likes surprises. I bought him a t-shirt that he had commented about for his birthday, and after he opened it and told me how much he loved it, he made a comment about his lack of surprise at the gift. Since there were no more holidays coming up, I decided to surprise him in the bedroom, hoping to satisfy his need for that wow feeling.

I lotion-ed him up, lathered him down, and then shoved a small vibrator in his ass, to his surprise. Needless to say, he did not like my surprise. It has been three weeks since my attempt at surprise and even though I have apologized several hundred times, he won’t strip down below shorts. I have a non-existent sex life now, and even worse, every time I start to get a little frisky in the bedroom, he turns bright red and tells me that he isn’t in the mood. How do I get my lover back?


Dear A-Hole,

I started by asking two men what they think.

They answered:

“Why needless to say he wouldn’t like it?  Some men really like surprises, anal surprises and toy surprises to be specific.”

“Stick a vibrator in your own ass, you’ll get your lover right back.”

“Needless to say, the vibrator is for you, not him.  Lather up, lotion down and stick it in your own ass.”

Sticking something in a man’s ass without warning may very well provoke a retreat into his shell.  There are all kinds of men.  There are men who like being penetrated, men who were raised to be the penetrator and ride a bull.  There are men who like things in the rear, and men who fear the pleasure they find in that area.

Without talking to him, you never know the cause of his repulsion.  Chances are, though, that he might not even be able to talk about it.  My guess is that there is complex shame around what occurred between you, so tread lightly.

Apologies will do nothing.  You need to show your understanding through action, make him feel safe, let him take the reigns.  Give your boyfriend back a sense of power.  Let him make some decisions.  Show him, through your behavior, that you will not push his limits unless asked.  This is partially about a loss of trust.

He may have liked it and have a fear that enjoying pleasure in the ass (which makes sense because there are some amazing nerve endings in there for men) implies he is somehow gay.  This is common male homophobic confusion.

Or, your boyfriend may have a history of sexual abuse and you may have just triggered memories of his body being violated and/or penetrated.  We think male rape victims don’t exist, but they do, they abound, and we women, so often used to being on that side of the fence, need to be sensitive to that possibility in our lovers.  For information on myths and facts of male rape, click here or visit  Also, try reading this City Paper article.

Whether a survivor of abuse or not, to treat him like one might help win his trust back.  Try reading these tips, “Recovering From Rape: Healing Your Sexuality” as barebone guidelines for rebuilding intimacy after trauma.

He could have power issues, gender role issues, abuse issues, butt issues, trust issues, an allergy to plastic.  Whatever it is, if you like him, you need to earn his trust back.  If you are gung-ho on the anal, he may need some proof that this sexual practice isn’t so crazy.  Some men grew up in the sexual boondocks.  Try helping him, if that feels right.  Click here for assistance.

Ask Yenta!  E-mail a question to merissag[at]gmail[dot]com directly, or using to ask anonymously.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
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