The first time my sweetheart and I shared a dance was during a party in the romance-inspiring Dance Space. The music was blaring, the bodies were sweaty and spinning, and my now-sweetheart and I were dancing with a respectable, torturous distance between us when she leaned in close and whispered in my ear, “Can I grind with you?” My libido’s response?: Oh. Hell. Yes. We didn’t start dating until almost a year later, and she was actually probably yelling (rather than whispering) to be heard over the music, but it was such a sexy, sweet moment (and satisfying dance), that when I think of it today, I feel everything I was feeling in that moment: sexy, desirable, giddy, hot.
To me, there’s nothing more seductive than hearing – actually hearing – that somebody wants me so much that they would screw up their courage, risk rejection, and actually ask my permission and, in doing so, tell me that they wan me to want it, and they want me to like it.
Talking about sex, however, is not how young people in the U.S. are taught to have sex. Most of our iconic teen romance movies are devoid of verbal consent and safer sex practices. We are given silver-screen sex scripts that call for all communication to happen through subtle facial expressions and reliance on prescribed gender roles. What is one to do, then, when confronted with this oh-so-Antiochian call to abandon everything you thought you knew and plunge headfirst into frank and open dialogue about that formerly taboo subject: your sex life? Never fear, dear reader, I have a few suggestions for making the task a little easier and a whole lot sexier.
Know yourself first Whether you are in a long-term relationship or are out looking for a one night stand, knowing your owndesires and boundaries first helps you clearly communicate with a partner no matter the circumstances. You can explore your body and desires in any number of ways. Masturbating is a great way to get to know your sexual self. Don’t be afraid to touch parts of your body that you’re curious about or unsure of, even if it seems silly or obvious (have you ever tried pulling your own hair or biting yourself, for example?). Experiment with different textures, toys, and pressures to see what feels best. Watch yourself in a mirror to see how your body changes and reacts.
Try making a yes/no/maybe list. Write down every possible sex act you can think of – closed-mouth kissing to bullwhips – and decide which you know you like (“yes”), which you don’t (“no”), and which are things you might try, or would only do under certain circumstances (“maybe”). Lists like these are often used in BDSM communities, so you can Google something like “BDSM yes/no/maybe list” and find a pretty good starter-list that you can expand on to make it more comprehensive. Visit your list every so often and revise it. Your sexual interests will undoubtedly change as you learn and grow and experience new things.
Communicate with your partner(s) before, during, and after. Before: If you already know and trust your partner(s) you have lots of options. Set aside an hour to walk in the Glen or have a cup of tea and talk to your partner(s) about your likes, dislikes, boundaries and fears. Disclose your risk factors (when were you last tested for STD/Is?) and ask your partner(s) to do the same. Try filling out a yes/no/maybe list with your partner(s) and then trade them. It’s can give all involved creative ideas. Even if you just met your partner, however, there’s no an easy way to share that kind of information, especially if you’re a little shy about it, and it reason why you can’t stop for a minute outside your bedroom door and say, “I want to leave a light on, I really like penetration, I insist on using barriers for everything, and I don’t get fully naked with a new partner.” Believe me, it’s 1000 times easier to say those things outside the door than in mid-throes. During: Communication during sex does not have to sound like SOPP satire in a series of questions with yes-or-no responses. Be creative. Make suggestions instead of refusals. If your partner says “Can I kiss you there?” you might say, “Can you kiss me here, instead?” If your partner says, “I want to throw you up against the wall and x, y, z,” you can respond, “I’d rather have you throw me onto the bed and a,b,c, and then maybe I can x,y,z you…?” But don’t be afraid to say no if you need to, and don’t be afraid to hear “no,” either. Honest communication is always positive, even if the response isn’t exactly what you were hoping for. After: Talk about what worked and what didn’t. Make sure everyone involved feels safe and taken care of. Generate ideas for what you want to try next time. Pat yourselves on the back for having hottest, most vocal sex of your life.
Remember that the spirit of the SOPP is, “YES.” If you know yourself andyour own boundaries, and communicate with your partner(s) clearly and honestly, you’ll be able to say “YES” over and over again.
Lusting for You, Levi B.