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Savage Love

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“There certainly are consensual boundaries that only the person and their partner can know how to navigate,” says Dr. Leah Torres, an OB/GYN with a special focus on family planning, “but I encourage safety first always.”

And Dr. Torres sees danger in what you’re doing, BELLY. “Abdominal muscles protect and hold our intestines, liver, spleen, pancreas, etc. in place, and there can be risk involved in blunt trauma such as punches in the abdomen, especially if the muscles are ‘relaxed’ and therefore not protective,” says Dr. Torres. “For example, if someone has an infection like cytomegalovirus (‘mono’), the spleen can be more susceptible to injury. Blunt trauma could cause splenic rupture and internal bleeding that could be life-threatening.”

One precaution you could take? Stop relaxing your abdominal muscles and use them to protect your internal organs. “There is no risk to the IUD, as it is inside a very small uterus that is in the lower pelvis,” says Dr. Torres. “But when someone is pregnant (!), I would recommend no belly punching – not under any circumstances!”

I’m a gay man of about 30, in a relationship with a great guy. But he seems to be “feminizing” me, and I hate it! I’ve spent the last decade in grad school, and there was no time for significant exercise. I’ve started working out hard, but the going is slow. I weigh about 20 pounds less than my boyfriend and I simply can’t match his level of aggression in bed. He has even joked a couple times about me being more “the woman” in our relationship – and I don’t like it. However, quite frankly, it’s not like I can toss him into bed and have my way with him. I want him to see me as another man in bed. It’ll be another year or two before I really reach his level of athleticism. Any ideas in the meantime?
Not One To Feel Entirely Masculine

Just one, NOTFEM: Get over yourself.

Watching a man wring his hands about his fragile manliness hardly makes him seem more masculine. And 20 pounds of muscle do not “make the man,” any more than being the tosser as opposed to the tossee does. Being comfortable in your own skin makes you a man. No, scratch that. It makes you a person – a decent, tolerable, secure and attractive person. (And a man who’s passive in bed is still a man! Christ!)

If your boyfriend says something that annoys you (“You’re the woman!”), tell him to knock it off. But your boyfriend could be “joking” about you being the passive one because he prefers it that way. If he would rather be the tosser, you’ll need to either find a different boyfriend or stop grounding your sense of masculinity in something so arbitrary as a game of who-tossed-who-farther and who-can-bench-press-what.

Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at savagelovecast.com.

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