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Gut-punching excitement 

But woman needs to be aware of dangers

I'm a 30ish woman in a lovely GGG relationship with a man about my age. I'm submissive and masochistic; he's dominant and willing to inflict some pain. Neither of us has tons of BDSM experience, but we're enjoying each other.

My question: My boyfriend is into belly punching. I'm happy to indulge him and have started to enjoy it. He likes it when I relax my abdominal muscles. Is this safe? What precautions should we take? Does the fact that I have an IUD factor in? And if I ever get pregnant, should we stop for the duration?

Belly Erects Long Lovely Youknowwhat

"There certainly are consensual boundaries that only the person and their partner can know how to navigate," says Dr. Leah Torres, an obstetrician/gynecologist 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. While that is uncommon, it is an example of how something that appears 'not dangerous' could become so, given the right circumstances."

One precaution you could take? Stop relaxing your abdominal muscles and use them — use your tensed, flexed abdominal muscles — 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!"

(Dr. Leah Torres regularly posts about women's health issues and smacks down anti-choice trolls on Twitter @LeahNTorres and blogs at www.Leahtorres.com.)

I'm a heterosexual guy in my early 20s. I've been dating my girlfriend for about six months, and we've been having some fights recently. The problem: I have a high sex drive in comparison to hers. I want to be intimate on a weekly basis (at least!), and she's told me that she's more of a once-every-three-weeks-or-so person. I'm trying not to put pressure on her. I don't want her to feel uncomfortable — she's a virgin (no penetration), and the thought of the pain of that first time scares her a bit.

That said, physical intimacy with her — developing that bond, even without intercourse — is important to me and a key part of what I believe is a healthy relationship. I do my best to be understanding, but I'm not sure how to bridge this gap.

Love Is Building Intimacy During Outset

While it's great that you're understanding of your girlfriend's sensitivities, LIBIDO, and while it's commendable that you view nonpenetrative sex as fulfilling, you're running the risk of "understanding" her into a relationship that makes you both unhappy. Because someone who wants sex multiple times per week will eventually be made miserable by someone who wants sex far less than once a month (which is what the "or so" at the end of "once-every-three-weeks-or-so" means), and vice versa — being with you will make your girlfriend miserable in the long run, too.

I get e-mails daily from miserable people on both sides of this divide, LIBIDO, from people with high libidos who married lows and from people with low libidos who married highs. The highs are miserable because years of sexual rejection have shredded their sexual self-esteem, or they feel like monsters after years of being "indulged" with going-through-the-motions sex by barely willing and clearly miserable partners. The lows are miserable because going through the motions makes them miserable or they're sick of constantly being pestered for sex and made to feel inadequate or broken when they pass.

You're young and straight, LIBIDO, and the culture tells the young and the straight that they must be monogamous (because sex is so important) and that they shouldn't take sexual compatibility into consideration when picking a partner (because sex is so unimportant). Other shit matters, too, of course — stuff like emotional compatibility, similar life goals, being on the same page about kids, etc. But basic sexual compatibility matters, too, and its absence will eventually undermine everything else.

By which I mean to say, LIBIDO: You've been dating this girl long enough to know that you're not a match — you're not sexually compatible — and that's reason enough to end this relationship.

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