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From friend to fingering: what now?

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Paige asks:

Last week one of my best guy friends and I were hanging out and we started making out, things got a little out of control and he ended up fingering me. I've been really horny ever since, and I don't know what to do -- ask? Or just go back to being friends? Also, I didn't orgasm - is that normal?

Heather Corinna replies:

Well, if you're just feeling strong sexual desire, not any attachment to that particular person, then masturbation is generally the best solution.

Really, that's the thing to do, always, when we don't want intimacy with someone else, but only or solely want to just satisfy our own sexual needs and desires. If it's about feeling horny, rather than feeling close to that person, quite literally, you can take care of things with your own two hands. When people are only interested in satisfying their own sexual needs or feelings of horniness and they look to partners to take care of it, you can easily wind up basically using a person as a sex toy, which obviously really isn't okay, nor is it a good precedent to set when it comes to your own sexuality: no one should have to rely on someone else to tend to their sexual needs. The times we choose partners is certainly about our sexual needs and desires, but in order to have healthy sexual relationships, or to treat partners with respect, it has to be just as much about their needs as well as about being with someone else because we want (and are ready to handle) closeness with that person.

Regardless, it's always a good idea to have a chat with a friend if we have a sexual encounter with them, especially if we value that friendship, or that encounter has changed our feelings. Not only will it otherwise usually become the big elephant in the room, but with any sexual relationship -- or relationship that has turned sexual -- you want to be sure it's something you talk about. Partnered sex of any kind never benefits from radio silence, and a lack of talking often results in broken boundaries, misunderstandings, relationships that fall apart and worse. It also tends to result in largely unsatisfying sex most of the time. You've got to open more than your legs with partnered sex: you need to open your mouth just as much!

So, before you talk, you may just want to figure out how you feel about all of this. Would you like to go back to being just friends, or do you want to pursue a sexual relationship? What do you feel like your friend would want (you'll ask him when you talk, so that you aren't guessing, but it's worth thinking about beforehand, too). Do you feel like he's someone who would be a good sexual partner for you? For instance, is that someone you are comfortable talking to about all aspects of sex, from how to practice safer sex to setting limits and boundaries to saying what feels good in the moment? Do you feel comfortable, safe and trusting with him? Do you feel like the kind of friendship you have still works with sex in the mix? Do you, all by yourself, really feel ready for a sexual relationship and all it entails? Are you okay with a friends-with-benefits kind of sexual relationship, or do you feel like you'd be more comfortable if there were romance involved? Are you ready to manage the new feelings for your friend which might arise in a sexual relationship? These are all good things to think about before you talk to him about it.

In terms of the lack of orgasm: sure, that's totally normal.

Again, one big reason you might not have is if you weren't talking, and telling him what felt good. A lot of younger guys, for instance, don't realize that inserting fingers in the vagina and moving them around isn't that satisfying all by itself, and that sex with fingers generally is going to have to pay a good deal of attention to a woman's clitoris to result in orgasm. Too, it's common for guys to not know how to curve their hands with fingers inside to make it feel better, especially if and when their female partners aren't saying anything (they aren't psychic, after all!).

As well, while first-time sex, of any kind, with a new partner can be very exciting, it often takes a while for anyone to learn what works best for a given partner: sex between people always benefits from lots of practice. When we have a new partner, we're not often going to reach orgasm as much, or feel as physically satisfied, as we are with a partner we've been with for a while, who through our sexual responses and verbal communication, gets to have a better idea of what works for each of us.

Lastly, I want to make sure that you know that there's really no such thing as any kind of sex "just happening." In other words, while for sure, things can move pretty fast when we're getting hot and heavy with someone, we should never feel like things "just happen," because both partners should always be making an active choice to do whatever it is they're doing, and want to do what they are 100%. If it doesn't feel that way, at any point, that's when you put the breaks on, ask for a pause, and figure out -- and talk about! -- if you want to move forward into whatever sexual activity you're moving towards. Consenting to sex should never be a maybe: it should always be an unequivocal and enthusiastic yes!

Here are a few articles to round all of this out for you:

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