Sex-Positivity – Self-Love – Starting the Revolution
When I started my first serious, long-term, physical relationship I was excited. For years, I’d been lapping up magazines like Cosmo, and I was ready to break out the moves and wisdom I’d absorbed since puberty. 74 ways to blow his mind? Nailed it. 243 things he wants to hear you say? Please—of course I was going to say them! I was over-prepared for this interview, and way too eager to prove to this sexually experienced male that I knew what to do. I was aggressive, loud, talkative, openly shared, silly, and of course, never not on sex-mode.
EEEEEEK. Are you cringing already? Because I am. It took me a long time to realize that that I had established a sexual dynamic with my partner that may have fit the Cosmo check-list, but had nothing to do with what actually turned either of us on. I was playing the role, comfortably and well, of a sexualized woman, but not exploring MY sexuality. I felt like Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge, trying to seduce the supposed Duke by dry-humping the floor while he just wants to recite poetry. In other words, hot but stupid.
For example, I spent months working masturbation into our sexual encountesr. After all, in the world of Cosmo, the number one hottest thing you could do, ever, was touch yourself in front of a guy. Most girls, the magazine confided every week, are too shy to try this move, but trust us, it is every guy’s fantasy. So I would dutifully whisper in his ear that I was touching myself, and wait for him to orgasm, on the spot. It was always a little awkward. Probably he knew this was “supposed” to be hot, but we both sort-of realized neither of us responded in that way. One night, while he was sucking my nipples, he said something like, “I’m touching myself” to me, and I almost laughed. Realizing how not sexy I found the reverse to be freed me from continuing to believe, despite evidence, that this was the most sexually arousing thing I could do to him.
My mysterious man continued to flout Cosmo “wisdom” at every turn. He did not fantasize about a threesome. In his mind, the whole thing seems too confusing, and he wouldn’t know what to do with so many people, and would much rather just focus on one girl. What? A threesome is supposed to be every guys’ number one fantasy. He couldn’t be serious.
Moving on to “going down.” This man, a pretty ideal sort, loved sexually pleasing me. When I was on period (a time when I prefer a break from having my vagina be sexually active) he would seriously be so sad. Yet I found manual stimulation oftentimes more pleasant than his tongue, or at least equally so. I don’t think this was a skill-only problem, and he was pretty skilled and definitely knew what was down there. We’ve all read how the tongue is supposed to be the be-all and end-all of awesomeness, and many women find it “better” than penetrative sex (maybe better than anything). But I finally realized: not me. I’m a penetration girl. But somehow I felt like a failure for not unlocking the secrets of arousal I was supposed to have. Until I was with a guy one night who wanted a hand-job instead of my mouth. I realized I had nothing to be ashamed of; that we need to know our own bodies independent of what magazines tell us.
It took me a long time to get out of the character I was in bed. At some point I realized that I am mostly a cuddling person, and love sleeping entwined with another body. Yet often I still slip into that Cosmo-girl personality, where talking dirty and going crazy for him at every second is who you should be as a sexual woman. I’ve lost at least one good relationship to this engrained belief. The guy backed off, determined we were incompatible, and I realized that whoever I was acting like was simply not who I am…
I’m working on going slowly, trying to start clean and free of assumptions about what is “hot” and what is “sexy,” and trying to stay in tune to what I find attractive instead.