T/W: non graphic mentions of sexual assault/abuse/mental illness/eating disorders.
Hello readers! It’s that time again—5pm on a Friday—so grab your favorite relaxation tool and settle in for an interesting read, and remember, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere 😉 so let’s chat!
If you read the title of this post, then you already know where this is going…that’s right, sex. I also know what you are probably thinking, “really, another thing about sex?”. The answer is, YES!
I get it, sex is everywhere. The media—the world, really, seems obsessed with it. Who’s having it, who isn’t, who’s enjoying, who’s not, HOW to enjoy it, etc. To be honest, it’s overwhelming and I don’t think it should have to be.
The fact of the matter is, some people have no interest in sex and that is valid and should be seen as such. On the other hand, some people love it and that is also fine! The ultimate thing is that no matter what you do or don’t do, you’re happy and healthy…
So what does this have to do with me? Well, as someone who has been on a bit of a sexual journey, I figured I’d share my experiences. I have not had a lot, or at least not many partners (which is totally ok) but I have learned a thing or two, especially as of late. And perhaps the mishaps and successes I’ve had along the way can help one of you!
I want to start with some backstory…sex has always been tricky for me. I’ve always felt very uncomfortable with the thought of being sexy and to think of an actual sexual act, more often than not, made me squirm out of embarrassment.
I was not educated properly about sex. My parents never taught me a thing and the public school system, of course, is a joke when it comes to this topic. However, my oldest sister taught me the basics…probably a little too early and with a diagram drawn on a chalkboard. Needless to say, I did not retain much.
As a matter of fact, for a long time, I thought about sex (specifically the heteronormative, penetrative sex) as something to be feared or uncomfortable. I will spare the gruesome details, but I was no stranger to sexual abuse/assault throughout my life. I also live with various mental illnesses, some of the most prominent being my variety of eating disorders and PTSD. These experiences, accompanied with the barest minimum of heteronormative knowledge, truly skewed my growth in my sexual development. I felt (and sometimes still feel) alien and unnatural in my own body.
I have always considered myself a very sexual, nonsexual person. So how does that make sense? Well, to be blunt, I knew the concept of being horny, I understood turn ons, and even grasped the concept of kink pretty early on. And boy, was there quite a few kinks I had my eye on…however, I was afraid. I thought that any partner I might have would think I’m a freak and that they would only want strictly penetrative sex (which scared me deeply as that seemed to be the least appealing option to me). I had no experience (and no, abuse and assault do not count, though that should probably go without saying), and I was not sure I would ever be able to explore this side of me.
Then, at the age of 19, a year out of high school, navigating my mental illnesses and trying to find myself, my best guy friend who is gay and me decided to explore…friends with benefits. Quite the interesting decision for an out gay cis-man and pansexual cis-woman, but a decision we made nevertheless. It was a rocky experience, always awkward, and you can guess, not the most pleasurable (for either of us). Truly, we were kidding ourselves, but we continued to try and try again.
For a while, our reasoning was because we had made a pact to have kids together and wanted to see if we could conceive “naturally” (an odd choice I know, and very poor timing). When we realized that a baby probably was not a good idea, especially at that time, it transformed into being about me…I was scared because I never had that big “O” moment from penetrative sex (even though it turns out, that it’s pretty common for most women not to climax that way…). I also had pain with penetration, something that concerned me deeply. Because of this, I would force myself constantly and consistently to keep trying—even after him and I were no longer getting any joy out of the experience at all, because I was convinced something was wrong and he wanted to help me.
I look back on this now with a slightly wiser brain and understand the many reasons why it was not working. However, in the moment, it was the end of the world for me and I felt “broken”. Especially after multiple tests and visits to the gynecologist all confirmed that I was physically “normal”. Ultimately, for the sake of our friendship, we finally put the sexual arrangement to bed (a bad pun for your pleasure, ha ha). We only ever interacted sexually together one more time…during a threesome with a guy that he particularly had his sights set on. That whole situation was quite confusing, we were all intoxicated (never, ever good) and it ended with a lot of pain and regret. However, I noticed during the act that I had little to no pain and I chalked it up to the numbness from the alcohol, which then became my “flirty juice”.
If I was ever confident sexually, it was generally because of alcohol. This might seem fine for anyone who has had a case of pre-date jitters and took the edge off with a little swig of something (and if that works for you, then great). For me, it’s not that it didn’t, but it was always a hit or miss and a lot of the time reflected the mood and headspace I was in before I started drinking…so if I was sad and perhaps took a swig too many…well, let’s just say, it didn’t help my confidence at that point, but hindered my wellbeing in general. It started to occur to me that I didn’t want to have to be intoxicated to date or have sex.
So here we are, where this was all leading up to, and I promise, it’s actually worth it and has—at least so far—a happy ending. Edit: not a happy ending anymore, lots of gaslighting instead—but the sex was still good so I still stand by most of what I wrote here—haha.
I met a guy on a certain not-so-secret dating app…I had many matches, been on a few dates but ultimately, nothing ever came from it. And after the threesome, I had a dry spell, sexually speaking, that lasted over a year. That never really bothered me, especially considering my issues, but the thought of never putting myself out there at all started eating at me. Therefore, like any single twenty-something, I downloaded and undownloaded and then redownloaded this app more times than I could count. Finally, the last time, I took everything with a grain of salt and decided not to take it so seriously because it felt like a joke most of the time anyway.
Then, out of nowhere, there he was, a match—one of the most intriguing I’ve matched with thus far. There was just something about this man—even though he looked like every other typical cis-white man in the history of ever. I liked his bio, he seemed sincere…and so I went for it. I led with a joke—told him I’d be his reason to delete the app if he’d be mine and on it went.
We met up at my house (very safe, I know, but at least I made sure he was covid free!). We had talked a bit before we met, and I enjoyed his seemingly genuine interest in me as a person (a huge turn on). So, we hung out in my room, tucked away from my roommates (one being my sister—the middle of the three of us sister’s) who were home—hopefully, to keep me from being murdered but I suppose it was also because of covid and nobody was or is going anywhere—and we had a very long and interesting talk…which then of course led to sex…the heteronormative, penetrative kind.
Needless to say, I had not yet disclosed with him all of my sexual trauma and my rocky relationship with penetration, my body, and sex in general. The experience was not the worst but, in the interest of being totally transparent, I faked my way through the penetration—hoping it would end sooner rather than later. Regardless, I still liked something about this man and wanted to see him again, so I did.
The next time around, while the topic was heavy, I was completely honest (we had kind of started this honesty policy anyway, in which we wouldn’t force the other to talk about stuff, but if someone wanted to talk about something openly, we’d welcome it…a very fresh take on the dating scene). Anyway, he felt bad once he knew about everything and wished that I actually would have told him sooner but also understood why it was difficult. He listened. He cared. The bare minimum, some might say, but I was still left in awe.
While we choose not to label what we do currently (edit: and apparently, never will haha), as we both have our own struggles and the situation is still quite new—I can honestly say, sexually, this has been an eye opening experience for me! He is willing and seemingly excited to try out my kinks, we’re compatible sexually and because of all of the foreplay and care, I have successfully had penetrative sex multiple times now that did not hurt and that I actually wanted. There is a lesson in this that I hope someone who was like me before this experience can learn…
Always be honest with your partners about what you’re into and if there is anything you do not like…if they can’t get behind it and have no desire to try for you, then they might not be the one (situations vary of course). Still, pleasure is important for both people if you choose to have sex and have a want to have sex. It is something that should be talked about and you should both learn and grow together. Trust me, when you do that, it makes everything so much better!
So all of this to say, let’s end the stigma around the topic of sex. Be forthcoming and honest—find what works for you. Most importantly, respect yourself and your boundaries and if someone else isn’t respecting them as well, find a way to give them the boot! Life is too short to be miserable over something that shouldn’t be this complicated. Caring and compassion apply to a partner’s attentiveness during intercourse too, not just every day life (though that is also incredibly important, especially if you’re in a committed relationship together).
So, let’s talk about sex! Let’s not be afraid! Let’s change the way we view ourselves and the subject and just go with the flow. No pressure, no rules (except consent of course—should be obvious!), just our desires!