Weekly Update: What I’m Doing and What I Wish I Were Doing

I have never been so overwhelmed with a term as I have this one. I can feel college slipping through my fingers like a waxed up memory. It’s almost gone, it’s almost over, and instead of a glorious victory all I can think about is everything I did wrong. What a downer. I am simultaneously ready to begin step two of adulthood and crying and asking my college professors if I can stay a little longer.

School aside, fall has been busier than ever. Two of my online friends came to visit me in the month of October which was a blast. I love getting to meet people all over the world (and see them every now and then, too!) I finally feel like I know whats going on in Football which is awesome because now I can read critical articles about the sport and feel like I can actually interpret them. (Just to relate it to feminism, I guess. The croissant wrapped hot dogs and boys in tight booty pants are pretty good too.)

We got to see two great documentaries this past month which I would highly recommend if anyone is interested in music. The first was on Elliott Smith called Heaven Adores You and the second was on Shovels and Rope called The Ballad of Shovels and Rope. I also finally saw Obvious Child which was perfectly hilarious and solidified my crush on Jenny Slate.

Our apartment is decorated in all things pumpkin and fall smelling. This week marks the start of November (both my birthday, and Jason’s birthday, and my best friends birthday, and at least two thanksgiving dinners, lord I better hit the gym.)

Here are some photos that happened in the time I wasn’t here.

What’s new with you?

My weekly stack of reading papers. This stack focuses on burqas, fashioning race, femininity in contemporary china, blogs and fashion, global feminisms, and fashion in cambodia. (Save me.)

We were going to get coffee and a dainty scone but then I was like fuck that lets get some real people food so we went to Kenny and Zukes. If you’re in Portland just give up, this is always the right choice.

Fig A. Pumpkin of homeless variety. Seeking loving home. “Please don’t carve holes in me!” it shouts, before you walk away, finding a more handsome pumpkin. (I left with six and I closed my eyes running away from them so I wouldn’t see any more I wanted.)

Fun fact: I get to class at least 30 minutes early every day but almost never raise my hand. I am only 1/3 Granger.

I went to a basic party where everything was flavored pumpkin spice and infinity scarves went on and on and on.

Fig B: Jason brings the most wonderful smelling flowers home. I fall to the floor and start crying and then bury my nose in them like a honey bee. Also in photo: the owls we bought on a caffeine high while walking through Powells. The teacup and ornamental flowers my friend got me a couple years ago. Best for dainty tea sipping when I want to appear refined.

WOTD: Homonormativity

In the last year I have haphazardly added a Women’s Studies degree to my agenda and slammed my schedule with classes like Feminist Analysis and Social Activism of Feminism. These classes are more or less language courses. Unlike the French I’m accustomed to, Feminist Language often times repurposes or adjusts language already in my arsenal and uses it to describe certain cultural happenings.

At the rate that feminist analysis is expanding, this is a tricky process, with more words to learn every single day.

I had already been pretty well rehearsed on what heteronormativity was. Heteronormativity asserts that there is a certain right way to hold your gender and sexuality and that right way is through heterosexual practices. It’s through a framework of heteronormativity that people who are not heteronormative become marginalized and made invisible. Things like film and television can be heteronormative, for instance, by making opposite-sex clean cut white couples the highlight of media and reinforcing that there is a normal acceptable way for people to be.

Homonormativity is newer to me, and expands on other feminist analysis I’ve been working on the past couple of weeks. You could view homonormativity through the same lens as heteronormativity. Homonormativity presents the idea that there is a right way to be gay and that there is a norm within gay/lesbian couples. Homonormativity does not question heteronormativity, but rather falls comfortable beside it. Laws about what is or isn’t an acceptable way to treat human beings go unchallenged as long as some gay and lesbian couples (those who are homonormative) gain some progress.

Through this viewpoint, gay marriage itself could be homonormative.

We recently watched the HBO Film The Cast Against 8 and noted as a group how the gay couples in the film were presented. It appeared then (and as it does in the news, or any other public arena) that to gain a foothold for equality, we must highlight a certain kind of homonormativity. It is the clean cut, “we just want to love like you love”, good American gay couple who is pressed forward in the gay movement as a symbol of how homosexuality is just like heterosexuality and we are all the same.

But are we? Do we have to be the same to deserve the same rights? One argument is that the homonormative allows some gay and lesbian citizens to gain rights by hiding or stepping on the heads of those who are not homonormative. For instance, by leaving out those who are trans* from the conversation.

Heteronormativity and homonormativity create a picture for us about who is right or normal and it is useful to be critical of who is left out of these conversations and how fear is used to prevent certain people from their equal rights.

For The Woman Who Can’t Orgasm

The other day my friend messaged me with a story. A married friend of hers had recently confessed that she had never had an orgasm. With her husband, or by herself. It was a story I had heard before over, and over, and over again. There is an epidemic of women in this country who can’t have orgasms.

There are so many correlating factors to these stories. Certain things that these women might share. They didn’t grow up with a super open dialogue around sexuality. They may not have explored their bodies or masturbation at the same time their peers were. They waited until marriage to have sex. Some of them may have been assaulted at some point and are having difficulties feeling comfortable exploring again in a comfortable and consensual way.

While these stories all seem so similar to me, they have so many unique twists of their own.

What draws me to them are the cyclical way these women get stuck in the inability to orgasm. And, in turn, how their partners struggle and get stuck in there with them.

It’s something that I’ve experienced myself in much smaller and temporary ways. You are frustrated because you cannot orgasm. Maybe you are not physically aroused or maybe you are not mentally aroused. Life happens. You get distracted with stress, work, family, school. Medications throw off your natural balance. You are perhaps impaired in certain ways that make physical intimacy difficult. Then when that frustration peaks you fall face first into the bedroom and with great irritation realize that your frustration has become a blocking point of its own.

So you try to have sex but then you don’t orgasm and the not orgasming becomes further pressure to orgasm, and on it goes.

Sex Positivity

Let’s rewind a little bit and start at the beginning. Let’s explore your relationship with sexuality. Do you think that having sex with your partner influences your moral character? Do you believe that this kind of intimacy makes you a bad girl? Conservative values tell women that your moral worth can be found somewhere between your legs, and certain religious views reinforce this. Step one is always sex positivity. Find sex positivity. Whatever sex positivity means to you. It could be waiting until marriage. It could be monogamous vaginal penetration with your heterosexual life-mate. It could be ethical non-monogamy with a partner or two. It could be your live in partner. It could be your same-sex partner. It could be not having sex at all, by choice. Empower yourself and your choices. Find happiness in sexuality. Find a place where you can talk about your sexuality with your partner that doesn’t make you squirm. Find that openness and acceptance for yourself.

This process could take a long time depending on your current relationship with sexuality. It can and should continue throughout your life. It can and should evolve with you.

Masturbation

Now let’s talk masturbation. Because masturbation is a big part of self-love and masturbation is a big part of finding enjoyment in the bedroom. Masturbation does a few things.

1. It helps you understand your anatomy. Do you know where your most sensitive spots are? Could you point out your clitoris and tell me how far it goes back? Do you know what the g-spot is? What about the perineum? Find your spots. Know where they are. What they do. What they’re called. A great book to help you on your way is She Comes First.

2. Masturbation helps you understand what feels good. Once you know where things are, you can begin to explore them. Does your clit like being stimulated roughly or softly? In circles or up and down? Do you stimulate the hood or the clit? How puffy does it get when you’re aroused? Do your lips get significantly larger? Do you get wet?

Pause: I believe that it’s entirely possible that your partner will never be able to touch you as well as you touch yourself. Why? Because you know those spots intimately, sure, but also because your hand is attached to your mind. You know when your body wants you to press harder. You know when your body wants you to quicken the pace. You know how to grind your hips just right. Your partner is not attached to you, they are operating outside of you. A partner may not be able to do that exact thing you do, but they may be able to do certain things better than you do them to yourself. Some partners, with the proper guidance of your favorite spots, can stimulate them in new and exciting ways. They can reach deeper inside of you if you enjoy internal stimulation.

One goal of sex may be to find a deep enough connection with your partner than you begin to operate as closely to one as you can.

3. Masturbation can teach you about the stages of arousal.

  • excitement
  • plateau
  • orgasm
  • resolution

The stages of arousal may need to be felt several times to understand.

For instance, it can be difficult to recognize excitement if you have a busy mind. It can be difficult to recognize excitement if you aren’t sure what things excite you. The plateau is where many women stop if they aren’t reaching orgasms. The plateau may feel pretty good but you aren’t pressing yourself to the point of having an orgasm.

Each orgasm may feel significantly different depending on a variety of factors too. How aroused you were when you came, what you were thinking about when you came, the last time you came, how you were stimulating yourself, and a variety of other things – like if you’re alone or with a partner, or if you’ve had any marijuana or alcohol.

The stages of arousal are important to know because they can help you gauge where you’re at. They can tell you how close to an orgasm you are. Knowing how close to an orgasm you are can help you pick up the pace of your stimulation (leading to an orgasm) or slow down your pace (preventing an orgasm.) With great practice it is possible to strengthen your orgasms or orgasm simultaneously with your partner.

Note to partners of orgasm-struggling-women: If something is working for your partner, remember precisely what you are doing, and how you’re doing it. If your stimulation is working and she appears to be close to an orgasm, keep doing it! 

If you have never had an orgasm before and struggle having an orgasm with your own hand, seek outside sources. Sex toys are great at lending a hand to an easier orgasm. For women looking to experience an orgasm, I would highly recommend a clitoral toy. I will reference this again with suggestions at the end. Another option for clitoral stimulation is running a bath and, once in the bath, resting your clit under the stream of the water. (A warm but not-too-hot temperature is best.) The stimulation from the water can also lead to a quick orgasm in many women.

 Communication

Okay, so you are aware of your body and you’ve masturbated and your partner has a good idea of what is going on. Now people are telling you that if you want to put this all to good use, you need to communicate. This is absurd advice all on its own, because communicate leaves a lot to the imagination. Communication does not mean talking. Talking without guidance can lead to further confusion.

I think the best kind of communication happens in small chunks. That means that when you are playing with your partner you should be clear on telling them what works and doesn’t work. All the time. If something hasn’t been working for you and you tell them casually one day months afterwards, that information is going to be less useful to them. Guide from the beginning and grow together.

If your partner tells you they don’t like something it is your job not to take this personally. This can be a difficult thing to do. Often times the immediate reaction is “I’ve done something you don’t like – I am a failure – I am disappointed in myself – I am embarrassed.” Get that out of the way real quick and then reflect on what your partner has told you. They’ve given you a valuable piece of information about their bodies. Put that in your mental list of things my partner doesn’t like and file it away.

Sometimes these things can be reached for at a later date to be tried again with your partners mutual interest.

Ex: Your partner doesn’t like having their clitoris sucked on because it feels funny. They tell you that it feels uncomfortable and you stop doing it. Then one day they are really aroused and their clitoris looks quite swollen and you want to try sucking on it again, lightly, because you think that it may have a different result. Exploration is healthy and retrying old tricks might come back as winners. While you’re getting the basics out of the way, try to stick with things your partner knows they like.

2. Don’t try to communicate all at once

You can’t have every conversation all at once, all the time. Take it piece by piece. If there is one fantasy you have that you’d like to try, mention it. If you have one experience that you’re looking to explore, try a small part of it to start. If you are feeling overloaded and frustrated that nothing is working right, find one thing that you can work on, and focus on making that one small experience satisfying.

3. Break down your ideal sexual scenario 

In relation to number two, immediately forget everything you know about what sex is supposed to be like. If you’re sitting with your partner and you’re describing your ideal sexual scenario and it sounds like something out of a pornographic film, take a step back. Let’s say your sexual fantasy is that you’re in a dark candle lit room and you and your partner are covered in sweat and you’re making each other orgasm intensely while confessing how much you love one another. How can you take a few elements of that scenario and pull them in to your play? Perhaps you could start by dimming the lights and focusing on extending your play for longer than you normally do. This give you an opportunity to get more built up, more aroused, more sweaty.

Remember that things can’t happen all at once.

4. Remember phrasing

Never attack your partner about sex. Never blame them for not making you orgasm. Sex is a team sport and each player is involved in both the pleasure of their partner and their own pleasure. Have you told them what makes you feel good? Have you reached down there to help stimulate yourself? Have you been telling your partner what doesn’t work?

Use I-Statements and when possible stick to the positives.

Example:

During sex: I love it when you play with my clit that way.

After sex: You did this thing with my clit that I hated, it kinda hurt actually, I don’t know how to describe it but please never do that to me again.

If you talk to your partner during sex and reinforce what they are doing correctly you’re pointing them down the right path and showing appreciation for what they’re doing. If you point out something they did wrong after sex they’re going to feel frustrated that they did something wrong and may be inclined to do it again because they might not remember what they were doing.

How would you tell someone you didn’t like something they were doing during sex?

A good way to do this is by telling them what you want to make it better. If they are being too rough, ask them to go softly. If they are being too soft, ask them to go more roughly. Sometimes these guidelines are temporary – simply what the partner wants in that moment. Sometimes they are more permanent – your partner might never want you to press that hard, or that soft.

If there are guidelines that seem permanent, discuss those after sex. “Remember when I told you to do slow down? You should be that slow all the time. I love that pace, it feels really good.”

The Goal is Pleasure

I mentioned at the start that a woman having troubles with orgasms might get into the mental space that the orgasm must be had. I’m of the firm belief that orgasms are not the primary goal of good sex. The primary goal of good sex is feeling good. The pressure to feel good can make it very difficult to actually enjoy oneself. The pressure to feel good can make you lose sight of the entire experience.

The first couples challenge I give is to see how long you and your partner can go without having an orgasm. This is something I do just for fun and is called edging. While it can be a more advanced practice, it’s actually a wonderful way for women to explore their sexuality without the pressure of orgasm.

Lay in bed with your partner and get as mentally aroused as you can. Talk dirty to one another, describe a sexual experience you really liked, go through a fantasy, touch each other very slowly, watch some porn together, whatever it takes. Then start touching each other more, and more, and more. Draw out the physical affection. Build up on it. Use that communication. Tell your partner what you want. And, as the other partner, don’t always be so quick to give them what they want. Tease it out of them. Move up slowly.

When the goal is not an orgasm, but to simply feel good, you are more likely to relax and sink into the moment. It’s at that point where you are more likely to hit the right levels of arousal and reach your orgasm.

If you want to get crazy with this idea, build the excitement throughout the day. Send texts to one another while at work or class about how excited you are to [blank] with them later that night. Send a teasing photo or a voice message. Write an email describing what you’re wearing or what you want to do to them later. These things, when done from time to time, can pack a powerful punch in getting the mood going.

Other Intimacies

As mentioned earlier in the post, a lot of things can influence your orgasm. One that is in great swaying motion is that of stress. If you find you are actively stressed out, find ways to minimize that stress. Self love is about more than just masturbation – it’s about tending to your needs, your mental health, your physical health. If you have children, take nights for yourself. Take date nights. Once they’re in bed, make sure to have time to decompress. Start the morning off right with a routine that allows you to have a good footing for the day.

Focusing on fulfilling other intimacies in your life can bring you closer to your partner and make sexual intimacy more powerful. That means: like your partner. Don’t just love them. I believe that we care most for those that we care about actively. The more we show someone we care for them the more we actually feel that caring feeling. Kiss your partner. Rub their muscles. Make them meals. Do something to make their life easier. Show them affection and support. Sit with them and tell them a story. Find other ways to connect.

Acknowledge that there are lots of intimacies but sexual intimacy is very particular. It can be difficult to merge your sexuality with your partners sexuality if they are currently (or all the time) different. Perhaps your partner is always aroused when you’re not aroused and vice versa. Perhaps you’re always stressed out and your partner is never stressed out. Maybe you work day shifts and they work night shifts and so you’re just simply not on the same schedule. Sexual intimacy can take work for some couples when life shows up hard.

Other types of intimacy can be placed anywhere throughout the day as signs of “I’m still here. I’m always here. And when the time is right I’m going to bang you so good.”

Toys to Share

There is absolutely nothing wrong with including toys in the bedroom. Toys are just accessories – things that can improve upon what the bodies naturally do themselves. A vibrator can provide faster and more direct stimulation. A cock ring can hold the blood making a more erect penis and a longer-lasting session. A butt plug can create intense stimulation while the vagina is being stimulated in other ways. Cuffs or a blindfold can add an air of arousal by creating the image of dominance and submission. Whips or warm wax can create small blasts of pain which translates into quick bursts of pleasure.

Toys can be anything from an aid to help one orgasm to a tool that helps one just feel better.

To the woman who just wants to orgasm, a clitoral toy is a great way to go. A clitoral toy is not meant to go inside of you – its meant to be pressed on the outside against the clit – where most the nerve endings are.

A small toy like this can also be used during sex. In opposite sex relationships (as this post is mostly but not entirely targeted towards) while your partner is inside you, you can hold the toy against yourself. This provides clitoral stimulation while they are providing vaginal stimulation.

Clitoral Vibes: Siri – $99 Ako – $39

There are also a ton of couples specific toys that are designed to be used together. Couples toys are fun to explore when you have the time and money.

A standby favorite couples toy is the We Vibe 4 – $160. Any toy can be a “couples toy” if you use it together.

Fin.

There are a lot of reasons why a woman might find herself unable to orgasm. It would be impossible to highlight each and every reason as it deserves in a post like this. Some women struggle to the point where sexual therapy is required. Some women struggle because of real medical issues.

Before anyone gets to this point, I suggest taking a big deal breath. Start at the basics. Self love. Sex positivity. Masturbation. Connection. Communication. Growth. Exploration. Zoom out and see this in the big picture. Focus on pleasure separate from orgasm. Seek those feelings with yourself and with your partner. Change how you think about sex as a whole and see if that influences the actual physical feelings that you have when you’re playing. Stay within your comfort zone. Find ways to find pleasure in that zone of comfort. Don’t try to go it alone – make sure you and your partner are on the same page – and stay that way.

Sex is a team sport and the game isn’t over if no one orgasms.

Lena is Not That Kind of Girl

I rarely buy books new, hot off the press, but I couldn’t resist when I saw Dunham’s book Not That Kind of Girl at Powells earlier this month. I don’t know what exactly compelled me to buy it. I have read very few of Dunham’s articles. I very rarely follow what she’s saying in popular culture. I’ve only seen the first season of Girls, which is years behind in television culture.

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There was something about the idea of a young women writing essays about life that drew me to the book. A young women who has been at this point in time culturally relevant, frequently discussed, and often debated. I hadn’t heard her voice, and I wanted to.

The book is split into five sections, each section with several chapters of it’s own relating to the topic heading.

  1. Love & Sex
  2. Body
  3. Friendship
  4. Work
  5. Big Picture

I was not surprised to experience similar feelings while reading the book as I experience when watching the television show Girls. It seems as though many of Dunham’s experiences with men and women, dating and fucking, are real experiences of hers. If you’re not a fan of the show, this can feel gratuitous. At times it felt absurd. But it was real. Throughout the book, it was real. And that is what I appreciated most about Dunham’s writing.

It read as a reflection of things I had already felt and experienced in my own life, while also being a stern reminder of all of the things I had somehow managed to escape.

It is not a book that all women will relate to, nor is it a book all men will see themselves in. I don’t think that this book intends to be the mirror with which we can see ourselves. I think the book intends to be one girls experience in life and love. And what it does, it does well.

Dunham does a good job of creating surprise in ways you wouldn’t expect to be surprised. Often times when I expected a dirty punchline, I instead found a deep kind of sadness. And even though all may not relate, it seems likely that you will find at least a little part of yourself in the book.

At one point Dunham describes a dream she has had:

“My most frequently recurring dream is one in which I suddenly remember I have a number of pets living in my home that I haven’t tended to in years. Rabbits, hamsters, iguanas, stacked in dirty cages in my closet or beneath my bed. Terrified, I open the door, and the light touches them for the first time in ages. Desperate, I dig through the clumped, wet wood chips. I’m afraid they’re decomposing in there, but I Find them still alive, thin and milky eyed and filthy. I know that I loved them once, that they had a better life before I got so distracted with work and myself and let them shrivel up and nearly die. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” I tell them as I clean their cages and fill their bottles with fresh water. “How can I make it up to you?” (pg 123)

I stopped and cried at the end of this chapter because this has been a reoccurring dream of mine as well. The details aren’t the same, but the story is. I’m at home and I realize that I have a cat. How could I forget I had a cat? I rummage through the house and find it, gently meowing, on the edge of death.

Dunham talks about relationships with family, curious experiences with the same sex, sexual experiences that range for unrequited love to assault to simply just bad. She talks about work and school, life in the city, friendship, and fame. Even if you have nothing in common with Dunham, you will likely find some part of yourself in the book too.

Ultimately, this book is about the absurdities of life. Some of the very real things I too have thought and wished I could say. The selfishness of growing up and learning, when the only way you can see the world is through your own eyes.

I would recommend it, and advise anyone who is curious to read it to go into it with an open mind. It’s just her story – let her tell it.

Do people in love have better sex?

There have been a few articles bouncing around the internet this week about love and sex and whether or not emotional intimacy boosts the physical connection that you have during sex. I’ve always been a believer that sex is multi-faceted, and having an emotional or loving relationship with your partner can add just another way to make your experience more enjoyable. With trust and time, those sexual connections can be strengthened. Still – I think it’s possible to have really great one time sexual experiences that blow your mind.

How do you have good one night stand (or two night stand, or three night stand) sex?

1. Sexual chemistry

This is the unspoken, can’t-do-much-about-it rule. Sometimes you meet someone and you just have better chemistry with them right off the bat. They smell good, they taste good, they look good, they hold themselves in a certain way that makes you tingle. You just seem to mesh together in all the right places. Having good chemistry is the best starting point for a casual sex encounter.

If you’re looking to have good sex, creating a small bond with this person before you fuck might improve your odds. If you don’t click or they rub you the wrong way, maybe take a pass and try to find someone else.

2. Communication

Communication is the obvious point to make. Using verbal or non-verbal communication to let your partner know what works or doesn’t work for you before you even get into the bedroom. But less is said about how you actually communicate.

Before sex: Talk about what kind of protection you’re going to be using and (generally) what kind of sex you’re looking to have. This can set your date off on the right foot. Covering birth control will reduce anxieties about protection which will allow you to focus your mind on the actual physical act. Differentiating between “slow and sensual exploration” and “fuck my brains out” will help your partner gauge what you’re looking for.

During sex: A one night stand does not benefit from a slow and gradual learning what your partner likes. Even if your partner is skilled, they may be using moves that worked well on someone else, but not so hot on you. That’s why it’s so important to guide your partner into the right places. If you want their hand somewhere, put it there. If you want them to go faster or slower, tell them so. If you’re about to orgasm and don’t want to yet pull away and explain why you’re slowing down. Focus on how your partner responds to what you do, to keep in touch with how they are feeling.

3. Know yourself

Knowing how to get yourself off is an important part of helping someone get you off. If you’re looking ’round the world for a partner who will “give you an orgasm” you’re missing out on all of the orgasms you could be sharing – or giving yourself. Knowing how to get yourself off is more than the knowledge of how to orgasm, or the knowledge of the ability that you can orgasm. It’s about knowing all of the very delicate feelings your body has and what those feelings are telling you.

For instance, do you know what arousal feels like? Do you know how your body feels as you’re approaching an orgasm? Do you know how to slow down that orgasm with just your body, your muscles? Do you know how closing your eyes and imagining, smelling, hearing, can influence the physical sensation? Do you know where all of your sensitive spots are? Do you know how they prefer to be stimulated? Roughly? Gently? Round and round, up and down, wet or dry, quick or slow? Knowing this information gives your partner a booster in knowing them too. It also helps you keep in touch with your body so you can know where you’re at in the whole arousal process. This can help you reach an orgasm more quickly. More slowly. Or at all.

4. Know thy intentions 

Casual sex can be difficult for men and women who aren’t precisely sure what they want out of sex. If you’re interested in having casual sex, consider what it is that you’re hoping to get out of it. Knowing what you want to get out of the experience will help you make it come true.

For instance, if you really want a long term committed relationship but you go into a casual experience not expressing those desires at some point, you might be more likely to feel unsatisfied with the experience.

If you’re really wanting to just go out and have a good fuck and then go home to your own bed and revel in the sexy experience, you might not be so disappointed when you realize that this was not the beginning of a new affair.

This is not to say that casual sex can’t form into a relationship of some kind. An ongoing sexual relationship, a friendly-fucking relationship, an emotional and sexual relationship, a monogamous relationship, or an open relationship. A couple can easily form from two single people who were just having sex but then realized they wanted to continue having sex with one another. 

If this happens, its good to go back to number two. Communicate before you have sex about any new feelings or emotions you’re having. Not only to be good to yourself, but to be honest with your partner, to have the best experience possible.

Fin.

Couples in love do not necessarily have better sex than single people not in loveThey do have more tools at their disposal that allow them to have better sex. Emotional intimacy, time and experience, a knowledge of their partners body, and a knowledge of their partners preferences. Hopefully, but not always the case, their is also a sexual chemistry between couples.

Having sex within a relationship is not always the right path towards sexual exploration and satisfaction. If you’re looking to have good sex but don’t want a relationship, don’t give up. Keep working towards the experiences that you want to have and know that there are partners out there that want to have them with you!

Do you have casual sex outside of a relationship? What are your tips for having a damn good experience? 

Have a question about sex or love? Submit at the top by hitting ask advice and I’ll answer it on my blog.

the absurdity of sharing your bed

I remember the first night I ever slept alone in my first apartment in Portland. I lived in a little studio in NW, along a street that kept itself awake with the rattlings of shopping carts and the slow and steady beeping of the cash register. I laid down in my full bed and slipped myself against the flannel; the same flannel that had been pressed and pulled over the bed the very first time I slept in it.

I’d been sleeping in a twin bed up until that point, but it was my birthday, and my parents had gotten me a new mattress. They wanted it to be a surprise I think, but I was perpetually holed up in my room like a pack rat, downing cans of mountain dew and attending to the chorus of beeps on my computer. They told me to leave my room for a minute, a horror, and I watched them slide this new bed in and replace my old one. I knew the space in my bed would one day represent the person sleeping beside me. A teenage glorification of love. I had arrived. I was an adult. One more star on the board of growing up.

In Portland again, I slipped against those sheets. I looked against the wall and watched the light from down below cast shadows of figures throughout the room. And in the clanking, I fell asleep, alone.

Living with someone creates an invisible border down your bed, one that is guarded, one that is often trespassed. It is a peculiar thing. I had loaded my own faithful bed into a u-haul and moved my boyfriends slightly larger bed into my room. The difference between a full and a queen is essential when legs and arms flop around like hungry octopi.

He gets in bed early, a habit that I slowly took to myself. The other evening after eating dinner I crawled between the sheets and heard my phone ba-ding! An alert to remind me that Jeopardy would be on in five minutes. What had become of the night owl? Who, who, who was I?

I toss and turn, a stereotype that’s fairly true, I take the bed. I want to use the mattress as a torture device, strap my legs and arms outwards into a cross and pull, stretch out the joints, release all the tension from the day.

A bed isn’t just a place for sleep. It’s a place for decompression. It’s a place for letting it out. It’s a place for connecting. It’s a place for fucking. It’s a place for deep-eye gazing. It’s a place for love, and other things.

The other night I found myself laughing maniacally in my sleep and he woke up and turned on the light and stared at me like I might not be well. He asked me what I was saying and I said “I don’t understand” and then said something about feminism. I’m pretty sure he thought I might be possessed so he did a sweep of the house to check for demons and I spent the next hour or so contemplating in my serious state of lucidity whether or not I might be the devil.

It is certain that I much prefer sleeping with someone than sleeping by myself. A bed that fits two (or three, or four) fits just one like a single cookie on a cookie sheet. It’s just not right, it is too vast, it is alarming. When he is gone I craft a person from a pillow and wrap myself around it to fill the void. It is not the same as a kiss, a hug, or the straight to sleep thunk of a book hitting your forehead.

Sharing a bed can feel absurd at times, the entanglement of limbs, the night talking, the going to bed and the waking up, the alarms, the sun blasting through the window like a pervy neighbor. But it is something that I have come to put in my top five favorite parts of living with him – living together – cohabiting. Every evening I fall asleep, and every morning he is still there.

QOTD: Regarding Sterilization

In 1997, Barbara Harris started an organization called CRACK (Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity, sic) in Anaheim, California, which gave women money to have sterilizations. Harris’s mission is to “save our welfare system and the world from the exorbitant cost to the taxpayer for each drug-addicted birth by offering effective preventative measures to reduce the tragedy of numerous drug-affected pregnancies.” Some of CRACK’s initial billboards read, “Don’t let a pregnancy ruin your drug habit.”

Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide by Andrea Smith, from the chapter “Better Dead Than Pregnant” p. 86

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