I am in an awkward sexy-times situation (the best kind of awkward! …Or is it?), and am in need of a script and Jedi hugs. Halp?
I grew up in a horribly repressive, fundamentalist Christian household; the entirety of my sexual education came from the church, and can be summed up into:
1. All men want is sex.
2. A woman’s most precious gift to her future husband is never having any sexual experience whatsoever prior to marriage.
3. Women are responsible for protecting their purity from all those sex-crazy men, and if they don’t they are BROKEN FOREVER.
4. Women don’t want sex, ever, actually (and if they do they are SINFUL FOREVER).
(Yeah, helpful things like consent, healthy relationship dynamics, birth control, anatomy and the actual mechanics of how things work Down There? Not even mentioned. Anyway.)
So, all that (plus some childhood abuse thrown in just to make things more fun) resulted in my being pretty fucked up in the whole sexuality arena. I’m 23 now, have done a ton of work on this, and am seeing a wonderful therapist, but… I’ve got a long way to go. I often feel like I’m a teenager for the first time, just discovering that my body can be awesome and that all dudes are not out to get me and that I don’t have to beg God for forgiveness after kissing my long-term boyfriend. It’s awkward and messy and scary! And occasionally great! But also REALLY SCARY, because everyone else around me went through all this shit when they were, y’know, actual teenagers (and most of them without the whole church+abuse factors). Thus, my current dilemma.
I recently started seeing this beautiful, attractive, awesome man and things have been going fairly well. We haven’t had sex yet (and I haven’t ever, actually, but am thinking that this might be a good first experience), but we’ve fooled around and cuddled and all of that lovely stuff. The problem is, I have no idea how to reciprocate the sexy things he does for me, and I’m scared to try to initiate things when a) I don’t know what I’m doing and feel really dumb, b) he’s WAY more experienced than me, and c) I’m still fighting all that ridiculous sexual programming from my growing-up years. We had a short chat about it last night, after he brought up the “Why don’t you do things for me?” conversation, but I’m kind of at a loss as to how to just… start.
So, in summary. I’m working through some issues, but want to make my manfriend happy, but don’t know how to do the things he likes or how to ask him what I should be doing or get past the feeling that I am sexually stunted beyond recovery. I’ve used my words and told him some of what I’ve written here (and we will be having further conversations on the matter), but what do I do/say in the heat of the moment when I am feeling dumb and not knowing what to do?
Jesus Is Not My Boyfriend
I see that you have already rejected the Four Ridiculous Tenets of Women’s Pleasure is Bad, so we don’t even need to go there. (Good summary, btw!) Let’s get down to the business of you having awesome sex.
Do please have a quick read of my (first? I think?) post at Captain Awkward about being a 27 year old virgin. I will wait.
SO! We have established that you are way ahead of my own personal curb in the sexytimes arena, so no bad feelings on timing and what-your-friends-are-doing and whatever, okay? I didn’t even have a repressive sex-ed experience to blame, just some slow-bloomin’ action. I was a grown-ass adult by the time I started having sex, so ALL of my partners were way more experienced than I was, and I turned out to be just fine at sex.
It was super awkward getting good at it, though. WHICH IS NORMAL. It’s not awkward because you had no sex ed growing up, and it’s not awkward because you’re 23, and it’s not awkward because you were raised to be superfriends with Jesus, and it’s not awkward because he’s had sex before and you haven’t. It is awkward because – contrary to most media depictions of sex – the first time having sex with ANYONE is almost always awkward. So take comfort in the fact that you are not sexually stunted or broken.
I also want to make a nod to the fact that Penis in Vagina sex is not the only sex that “counts” as sexytimes or sex experience. Masturbation, mutual masturbation, fantasizing, reading erotica, making out, touching, voyeurism, on and on and on. What I want you to take away from this is that you are sexually experienced already. You’re just getting more experienced.
KUDOS to you for using your words with your current Sexy Times Friend, and I applaud you both for talking about stuff. Why? Because that is the beginning, middle, and never the end of talking about sex. You talk about it. The how is really, honestly secondary to the actual talking. As long as you’re starting from a place of “Sex: it is awesome, let us make it more awesome by talking,” you’re doing just fine without my help.
But to answer your questions:
“I don’t know how to do the things he likes” – Of course not! You can’t read minds (…uh, right?), and having good sex is not actually an instinct (Blowjobs! Not an instinct! I had to ask for instruction (which was very hot, tbh)). So you’ll have to ask him with words and (oh darn!) practice doing it a lot.
“I don’t know how to ask him what I should be doing” – How about this: Can you show me or tell me something you’d like me to do?
Or if you’d like to be more forward: I really like it when you [do a thing] to me. Is that something you’d like me to do back?
I’ve never done [a thing you heard about, read about, or saw in a porn], would you like to try it with me?
And keep checking in. Like this? Harder? Faster? Slower? Softer? Twirly? With sparklers?
Because as we’ve established: you cannot read minds. You don’t know what he wants or enjoys (and he won’t know what YOU want and enjoy) unless you talk about it. In the moment, after the moment, whatever, ASK (and tell). I want to make you feel good so do you like…. I want you to make me feel good, so I think I might like…
And a couple answers you didn’t ask for:
– Don’t feel weird if you have to ask what he likes again, or if you’re doing what you think he said before and he’s like “wait, no.” There’s a lot going on in the moment and even if he tells you “I like it JUST LIKE THAT” you can be excused for forgetting it. Also, maybe next time he doesn’t want it “just like that.” The same people will like different things sometimes!
– Once you do have a “bag of tricks,” do not automatically pull it out on your next Sexy Times Friend. Different people are different! This new person may not like your awesome tongue maneuver, or have exceptionally sensitive nipples, or REALLY like your awesome tongue maneuver on a different part, or whatever. More talking! More trying things! More laughing when things don’t work out or make funny sounds!
I could keep going, but I think any further questions you may have are already answered in more depth and rigor than I can manage in a single blog post. For sex education, I highly recommend reading all of Scarleteen.com if you haven’t checked it out already (I still go there, and I’m in my 30’s). Also, friend of Captain Awkward, Cliff Pervocracy, has some simply superb advice about how to talk about sex. Read, discover, enjoy.
And in the heat of the moment, if you can’t remember or think of anything else, “Show me” is open, honest, and super hot.
Have a blast, and CommanderLogic out!