In the latest Postsecret is a postcard from a woman who says “I avoid making love to my husband, not because the sex is bad but because I hate his version of foreplay.”
My immediate reaction was to roll my eyes at yet another person wasting an opportunity (and not only theirs, but their partner’s also) to experience great intimacy and sex in a love relationship, because they’re too busy pouting about what they don’t like. Too busy, mind you, pouting and sulking like a kindergartner, instead of speaking up and engaging in mature dialogue like an adult. Foof.
So I rolled my eyes and wrote a snappy little blog post about it.
But, later that day, a conversation with Gito reminded me that while it’s all very good saying we should talk about sex and be honest about what we want and like, most of us don’t know how to talk about it. It’s still one of the most difficult conversations to have.
See, Gito travels a lot and usually enjoys a random hook up with men that we’ve forgotten about by the second round of drinks. Except this time, he met someone nice. Someone that is lovely, with a good job and a sensible car. The sex is great and there appears to be no discernible psychosis. Only one small problem. The man ‘baby talks’ after coitus.
It’s so off-putting to G he’s considering calling it off because he simply doesn’t know how to tell this very new lover that it’s not ok for him. He doesn’t want to hurt his feelings. He doesn’t want him to feel awkward or judged.
These are good, compassionate concerns, but totally misplaced. Because the longer his silence about his displeasure or discomfort lasts, the more it will be construed as patronising or ‘faking it’ if he happens to blurt out a ‘OHFORFUCKSAKES’ at an inopportune coochy coo.
The only difference between Postsecret Married Woman and very unmarried gay Gito is the amount of time they’ve been pretending and the amount of distress their eventual honesty might cause. If they were more open to talking honestly, she might not land up in divorce court and he might find himself happily partnered.
What’s there to talk about?
What isn’t there to talk about. Sexual intimacy can be the single most vulnerable position you can put yourself in with another person. And being sexually honest with yourself and others can take you to some very liberating, self-empowering places. So it’s worthwhile getting it right. But what does this mean?
It can mean, simply, telling your guy if you’d like him to slow down, fuck harder or be more gentle on your clit. For Postsecret Married Woman it means saying what’s not working for her in foreplay. It means saying if that sucking thing he does with your toes is more a turn on for him than it is a turn off for you, because compromise is important. But it also means talking about what your limits are (no cheating) while being prepared to explore (maybe a threesome) and sharing your fantasies. The more you talk, share and explore, the more you’ll find out what you’re about.
Of course, being honest also means addressing the uncomfortable displeasures also, like body odour that’s a serious turn-off or 2-minute sex that leaves you weeping in frustration into your pillow (if this is the case, though, I’d consider a cut and run). For Gito, this means pointing out kindly that baby talk and meekness is not something that turns him on in a partner.
How do you talk about it?
Everyone’s comfort level around sex talk is different, but it still takes some sex talk with a new partner to find out how conservative – or not – they are. Nevertheless, most requests for something yummy, like asking for a finger or three up your pussy during oral, are easy to slip in during the shag. If your guy is open and wants to please you, any information on getting you off is going to be well-received (assuming he’s not an arsehole). And pillow talk becomes a great setting to discuss things you might want to try together.
For everything else, you take the convo outside of the bedroom and sex. Get comfortable on the couch or bring it up as a conversational piece while making dinner together, but not while you’re fucking. This would be the scenario for both Postsecret Married Woman and Gito, or any big fantasy/fetish kinks you want to try. Wherever you choose to start your discussion make it comfortable and safe. By ‘safe’ I mean, not judgemental, not horrible or mean or belittling. You’re not right, he’s not wrong, you’re both just different people figuring each other out. It’s pretty exciting actually.
What if it goes wrong
So you tell someone what you like and what turns you on, and they’ve responded by becoming mean or angry. It will happen, there will be people who react badly, feel offended, take it personally and feel hurt. That’s their shit that only they can sort out. The worst thing you can do is clam up, get quiet and decide to never say anything again. Rather get out. That’s why you deal with this shit before you start planning your retirement home together.
Sexual compatibility is an important – if not the MOST important – aspect of a sexually monogamous relationship. If ya’ll are going to insist of consensual sexual fidelity, better make sure you’re on the same page.
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