Swat Ed is The Phoenix’s biweekly sex education Q & A, back this Spring and ready to talk about sex. We accept all questions and keep them completely anonymous. If you’re looking for medical advice or a diagnosis for that weird thing on your genitals, get in touch with a medical professional! For everything else, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Today’s subject matter is nipples and pubic hair.
My ex-boyfriend really likes to have his nipples played with (it’s ok, he goes to Haverford). Do all men like their nipples played with and why do they like it?
-TriCo Tiddy Titillator
This is a great question! All sorts of people enjoy nipple stimulation. Nipples are one of the better known human erogenous zones, which are physical areas of the body with a lot of nerve endings that are receptive to stimulation during sexual activity. Beyond nipples, the ears, back of the neck, lips, scalp, lower back, and back of the knees are a few more examples. Just because they’re technically erogenous doesn’t mean everyone enjoys people touching them: sensitivity varies between people.
As far as people with penises are concerned specifically, many do enjoy their nipples being played with. In the traditional heterosexual perception of sex, which people learn through exposure to porn, their peers, and media, there is a penis-centric model of sexual behavior. For example, even though sex acts involving people with vaginas are traditionally intercourse-centric, we tend to see a little more diversity of actions, including breast and nipple play. On the other hand, the main sex acts associated with people with penises are all penis-related, and only the body part of the partner touching the penis changes. Due to this, it’s a great idea to break away from only focusing on your partner’s penis during sexual activity. Besides playing with nipples, you can also focus more on kissing, and kissing or massaging other erogenous zones. You also have the option of doing some form of anal sex, since the perineum and anus are big erogenous zones for people with penises. It’s great to get outside of traditional penis-centric limits and explore other parts of sexuality for people with penises.
My boyfriend prefers me to be fully shaved (pubic hair) and he won’t go down on me if I have stubble, or haven’t bothered shaving. I don’t really like shaving, but I’m willing to do it if he really wants me to. My friend says that he’s being unfair because he doesn’t shave. Who’s right?
-Needing Help with a Hairy Situation
This is a bit of a difficult situation to resolve because (of course) no one is ever under any obligation to do anything sexually if they don’t feel comfortable. Of course, you are also under no obligation to change your personal grooming habits if you don’t want to. In this situation, it’s pretty ridiculous to expect your partner to always be perfectly shaved, with no stubble. Some people have hair that grows really fast, and/or skin that’s too sensitive to be repeatedly shaved without breaks in between. People have pubic hair, and being an adult that engages in sexual activity means being, to a reasonable degree, okay with that truth. You have the right not to shave; your boyfriend isn’t mandated to go down on you.
I’ll also address your friend’s comment: do you ask your boyfriend to shave, and do you have a preference? If he’s happy to go ahead and conform to your preference it might make you more amenable to shaving, although if you don’t want to you shouldn’t feel obligated. Either way, however, if he won’t go down on you unless you’ve shaved, I would think about whether this is a relationship that’s worth being in. Like I said, not tolerating pubic hair at all to the point of refusing any sexual contact at all is a pretty childish take. I would end the relationship and go in search of someone with whom you can be hairy and happy in peace.