Sloppy seconds


Meet John, a lanky, redhaired math major at CU. He scopes out the party with fraternity brother Ron, a more widely built and brown-haired guy. They take a few swigs from their bottles of Fat Tire before they finally notice Katie, a petite brunette with green eyes and full calves.

Ron nudges John. “Go get her number.”

“Dude, you just slept with her last weekend,” John frowns at his buddy. “I’m not about to go ask for her number.”

Ron answers that he’s just not that into Katie (the go-to line when a shower sounds better than sex), and that he thinks John would be a better fit for her.

“I don’t care if you think that,” retorts John. “I don’t want sloppy seconds.”

We’ve all been there — the uncomfortable, shameful, sloppy second. But what does that really mean?

Would John still be a sloppy second if he had sex with Katie one month later, one year later, 10 years later? What if Katie married Ron, then divorced, and then re-married John years down the road? Would he still be a sloppy second?

What about the couple who has intercourse first, and oral sex after? Does tasting your partner’s genitals post-coitus count as sloppy seconds? What about when you felt satiated from a thanksgiving feast of organic turkey, maple syrup sweet potatoes and creamed spinach, but you still fill your plate with more food? I’d call that sloppy seconds.

We’ve learned that if John has sex with Katie after Ron has already done so, then John’s experience is relegated to “sloppy seconds.” But we’ve also learned that a four-legged furry animal that barks is a “dog,” and the same animal that meows is a “cat.” That’s the terminology we’re taught in the English language. Yet some people have diversified their vocabulary and call their dogs Ralph, Edward or Big Guy, and their cats Skittles, Cheese-Puff or Pussy.

Say John decides to name his cat “Pussy.” Similarly, he can re-label his experience not as “sloppy seconds,” but as “sharing.” When we substitute ‘sloppy’ for ‘sexually satisfying,’ and consider ‘seconds’ to be something shared with ‘firsts,’ then the result is shared sexual satisfaction.

Yes, Ron may have had sex with Katie first. But he is sharing his experience with John, who is also generating satisfaction with Katie. Katie totally wins because she gets to have both men and choose which one she prefers. It’s a shared experience of sexual satisfaction for all.

Now, Katie, John and Ron are in college and potentially new to sex. Thus, shared sexual satisfaction may not necessarily yield an experience of firstclass pleasure. Ron and John may finish before Katie has a chance to tell them her last name. “It’s Katie Maria Gomez-Lebovovitch.”

Come again? OK, that’s not a problem either. These are college boys.

Or maybe Ron and John are both bedroom stallions, but found the shared sexual satisfaction with Katie to be akin to skinning a dead fish.

Or maybe all three found so much shared sexual satisfaction that they decided to have a third round all together, all six hands frenetically fumbling in the dark. We can call this round thorough thirds.

Same goes for oral sex after intercourse. Suddenly sloppy seconds becomes an act of fabulous fellatio or charismatic cunnilingus. It’s shared sexual satisfaction because oral sex after intercourse means that you are not only tasting your partner, but you are also tasting yourself. Don’t go getting nauseated on me. If this broaches a boundary, then honor your limits. But if you are comfortable tasting your partner, and not yourself, then you may want to inquire why the double standard applies to your own juices.

As for our Thanksgiving dinner extravaganza, I think it’s safe to say that shared sexual satisfaction may not be an end goal there — unless you like to do things with warm apple pies or stuffed turkeys.

Jenni Skyler, PhD, is a sex therapist and board-certified sexologist. She runs The Intimacy Institute in Boulder, www.