When it comes to online sex advice, I read a lot of this:
You should map your genitals like you’re a cartographer discovering a coastline for the first time. You should mark every pleasure point with a fat red ‘X’ and know how to direct your partner there with pinpoint accuracy. Three large steps north-east, a tiptoe to the right and you’ll find the treasure buried under the small brown rock.
You should make a ritual around sex. You should sage the room and do a rain dance to call in the pussy guides every time you want to stick your hands down your pants or invite a partner into your bed.
You should do tantra with your partner. You should buy lingerie. You should try BDSM. Be submissive. Be dominant. Get tied up in leather straps and try having sex upside down swinging from the ceiling fan. Throw another partner in the bed. Throw in three more! Why not? The more the merrier, ’cause #allempoweredwomendo
That’s all cool and all and I mean, whatever floats your boat.
But I think before any of that, there’s one important thing we all need to know. One baseline foundation that needs to be solidifed before we even consider the ceiling fan or rituals or whatever. One thing that it is absolutely vital we know in our bones.
You are an active participant in the experience, not a passive bystander.
When I say this, I don’t mean you need to be a gymnast in bed. If you’re happy starfishing your way through your sexual life, all power to you. You do you. What I mean is, when you come together with someone in sex, you are an active co-creator. It is not something being done to you. You are not jumping on the bus, paying your fare, and going wherever the bus driver wants to go at whatever time they wants to get there.
You have a say.
You have a say.
You have a say.
Not into something your partner is doing? You’re allowed to suggest something different.
You are not obligated to continue going just because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. This is how we grow. This is how we learn, and any adult should be stoked to learn how they can pleasure their partner better. By withholding and pretending to like something you do not like, you are denying this person the opportunity to grow and learn.
You are also teaching yourself and your body that sex is sometimes something to be endured, not enjoyed. That sometimes you just need to bite your tongue and let them keep going a few pumps longer because, well, they’re enjoying it and they’re almost finished anyway. No. The second you stop being into something, stop, change, rest, slow down, say something.
Would you want your partner to keep doing something to you even though they were uncomfortable or secretly hating it? And then they resent you after and you have no idea why? No. Gross. What a turn off. So give them that same right of knowing what is working for you and what’s not. As soon as you’re not into something, don’t go forward a second longer.
It is also important to understand that you are not participating in a test, or a quiz, where you have to feverishly remember all the dumb sex advice you read in Cosmopolitan growing up, and then pray for a good score at the end.
If I keep doing the same positions are they going to get sick of me? What was that thing I read about bringing ice cubes into the bedroom? Am I doing this right? I finally bought lingerie for the first time, but how am I meant to like, present it to them? Do I do a dance? Or will that be weird. What if they think it’s weird? WILL I LOOK DUMB?!
What about what you like? It’s good to want to please your partner and of course to be mindful of their enjoyment levels while you’re doing it. But if ALL the focus wether they’re enjoying it or not and none of the focus is on how you feel while doing it, you’ve got yourself a nice recipe for stress, anxiety, and self judgement. Then you wonder why next time sex is on offer you’re thinking ‘hard pass.’ Snacks, Netflix or scrolling through social media suddenly looks a million times better.
Sex isn’t a performance. It’s not a test. There’s no score. There’s just wether you both enjoyed it. Here, to me, is what matters more than gymnastics, endurance, or some big explosive porn-ey ending.
We are literally rushed in every single other aspect of our capitalism-driven lives. Go faster. Produce more. Produce faster. ‘Get there.’ ‘Get where?’ ‘THERE! The next step. The destination. Anywhere other than here.’ Sleep when you’re dead. Hustle til you drop. Ugh. Fuck that. You don’t need to invite that shit into your bed. There is no reason to rush. There’s nothing to over think. Please, please don’t let society make what is meant to be one of the greatest things in the world, just another anxiety-riddled race to validation and reward. There’s nothing to compare. There’s nothing to rush. Tune out the world. Cut off the ‘should’s.’ Slow your breath and take however long you damn well need to taste, touch, feel and be exactly where you are. Respond to life as it happens directly in front of you. The very definition of play.
Be confident enough to let it take as long as it needs to take. Find the courage to be confident to be yourself, and not perform how you think you should perform. Be confident enough to receive and give feedback and cues. See it as a blessing, a gift and a guide on how to be a better partner, an invitation to go deeper with yourself and with them.
As in life, when we are curious and open, and not attached to any particular ‘right’ outcome, we open ourselves up to a whole range of unexpected pleasure. You’re not comparing it to anything. Surprise yourself.
Get that nailed, then maybe you can start thinking about swinging from the ceiling fan.
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Cover art: Alpha Channeling