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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » How to explain a point when he doesnt get it?

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Author Topic: How to explain a point when he doesnt get it?
Dementia
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I made a post a few weeks back asking about lube and stuff, I persuaded my mother that I cut myself accidentally whilst walking, so that issue is solved.

My current problem is not related at all to that, and is to do with my (secret) sex life.
Me and my boyfriend have had sex in various forms (not vaginal/anal yet though) and I must say, I enjoy it, but when I try to talk to him about what I want, he tries so hard to understand but he doesn't 'get it'. I explained to him that i prefer it rougher, and like being dominated and struggling, and I get turned on by play-wrestling with him. He did try extremely hard to work with this, and after I explained it in the most simple language about 16 times, he still backs off the second I show any signs of struggling and is still extremely gentle with me, like anything he does will hurt me, which isn't the case as i've explained to him many times. We're both turning 15, and we've been bullied in school for a long time and I think he's very anxious as i'm his first girlfriend, I had one boyfriend prior but we never even kissed, which kind of explains his tension (I think he fears i'll leave him, again, i've told him I won't leave him unless he cheats on me which I know he'd never do anyway so we're covered there) and my forwardness.

We have a healthy relationship besides this small barrier, we can talk about pretty much anything, and we've been together 6 months and never had an argument, sure we've had quarrels and disagreements, but one of us always steps down in the end. I mean, we've had huge, my-childhood-dream-is-causing-rifts issues so far, but they've been sorted quickly and easily, but i'm finding he doesn't understand my point here, and I don't enjoy it when he's so gentle with me, as I am very detached in nature and it takes a lot for me to experience much as far as physical sensations go ( I used to cut, for instance, which appears to have messed up the nerves in my arms so they're very non sensitive.)He knows this, and always asks me to explain what I mean. Whenever I try to show him what is meant by 'rougher' or 'dominance', he enjoys it seemingly, but he seems to forget what I said within a few minutes, and it's driving me mad that I can't get my point across, when normally we can communicate (sexually and non-sexually) without a hitch.

Also, whenever I step back and ask what he likes, he's very vague about it, or says something I already said I like, so I have little indication on what sort of things he likes, and i'd really like to know. I've already looked at quite a few articles on scarleteen about it, and would like some advice please.

How should I go about communicating this to him?

And How should I go about getting him to open up a bit more and stop fearing my departure (which will never happen anyway?)?

[ 11-14-2012, 06:04 PM: Message edited by: dementia ]

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<3 ~Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning to dance through the rain~

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Dementia
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Also, I forgot to mention, I recently admitted to him that I was bisexual before I started dating him, at which point I went all exclusive to him, so my friends jokingly say i'm 'Chris-sexual' (His name is Chris)He took it fine, but I still think he's a little confused, so i'm trying not to overload him ^

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<3 ~Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning to dance through the rain~

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Heather
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A piece of information in this is missing for me, and that's if HE is interested in the kinds of sexual play and dynamics you are: if those are things he also wants to do -- and would even if you didn't -- and dynamics he feels comfortable with.

It's sounding to me like this just isn't his bag, and how he is sexually. I'm hearing that you and he have talked about it, you've given instruction, and it sounds like he's made attempts to do things the way you want, but it's sounding like the "default" he seems to automatically shift back to is what you don't like, but perhaps what he does, or what he feels comfortable with.

Can you fill me in a little on what he's said about having his own desire for these kinds of dynamics, and how comfortable he's said he feels with them? Not what he seems to enjoy or not enjoy, but what he's communicated in your talks directly and clearly.

(In other words, I'm trying to get a sense of if this is about him not understanding what you want -- not "getting it" -- or if it's about him not being into, okay with or wanting what you want, even though he understands you want it.)

[ 11-14-2012, 07:12 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Dementia
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Well we talked about it, and i'm constantly trying to make sure he's happy with things.

He says he's perfectly happy with things and enjoys it, and when I ask what he likes he generally replies with something along the lines of this, but when we first got together I asked what he was into (I already had an idea of what interests me, even though I hadn't had any experience yet either) and he said he didn't know because he hadn't ever really thought of it other than the very basics of it, and when I asked what he considered sex he said anal oral and vaginal but nothing else.

He tends to not be very talkative in any situation with anyone else even his friends (He has 3 siblings and his mother tends to yell at him a lot, I think he's become naturally afraid to voice opinions due to this) which is why I always try to give him the ability to come out of his shell a bit more, which he does a lot with me when we're alone.

To be honest when we first started to get to this point we had a bit of a power struggle going on because i've always had dominance in most things in life, so it kind of became natural, but he never does so I guess he takes it as an opportunity to do so (though, when I ask him this he simply asks what i mean by 'dominant' and I have to spend about half an hour trying to explain what dominant means) I stepped down quickly when I realized this as to be honest its great to have a break from being in charge, so I suppose maybe its the same in reverse for him, judging by his initial reaction.

i understand I can be bossy at times and I told him to fully ignore me if I get bossy which may come into play here, but it seems to be even when i'm being open and calm (rare for me, I tend to be like a bipolar octopus that's being attacked by fire ants on an average day) he still seems to back off.

The problem is he's never gave me any indication of having ideas of his own, which I think may be because he's new to the idea that sex is more than just the basic stuff you hear in sex education at school. I did try assuming dominance once before but he didn't seem to like it much and flips me over whenever I try to take control, which I take as a suggestion that he's happier being dominant himself.

I hope this helped a bit ^ Sorry if I was a little vague, I was half asleep yesterday when I wrote the post, its 00:30 here xD

[ 11-15-2012, 06:47 PM: Message edited by: Dementia ]

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<3 ~Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning to dance through the rain~

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Dementia
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Point I missed:
-We've been in an experimental stage for some time, but I find whenever I try to add anything that isnt very basic, he tends to get confused about it.
He doesnt consider foreplay part of sex like I do, so that can cause a minor barrier in itself as far as understanding goes, because he doesn't really understand that foreplay can be just as important as the intercourse itself, though we haven't had vaginal/anal yet (Can't get contraception for a few months, can't risk pregnancy) so my ideas there tend to fall flat.

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<3 ~Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning to dance through the rain~

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Heather
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I'm not sure how you or he use the term "foreplay," but usually when people use that term, they're people who have or intend to have genital intercourse, and say "foreplay" when they mean every other kind of sex, and often think about those other kinds of sex as what you "lead up" to intercourse with.

But it sounds like, if that's how you frame it, the kinds of sex you ARE having, the only kinds, are the kinds you'd call 'foreplay." Do I have that right? If so, and he doesn't think those kinds of sex are important or are things he's interested in, then would you say -- based on what he's communicated to you -- he's not been interested in any of the kinds of sex you're having so far?

It also sounds like maybe some of this might be about things moving too fast: about him needing more of a learning curve with all of sex, and you also needing more time, with him, for him to open up, HAVE and share more of his own ideas, figure out which things you both like and are interested in and which things one of you wants, but the other doesn't, etc.

I'm also still having a hard time figuring out if any of this is about him not "getting" what you want or if it's about him simply not wanting to do what you want. But if you have voiced what you want a million times over, and he doesn't say he does NOT want to do those things, but also doesn't do them? Then I think we can probably safely assume he doesn't want to do those things; that the kind of play and dynamics you want just aren't his thing, and you probably need to accept that, and then decide if his disinterest is something you can live with in a sexual relationship or not. It sounds like not, because it sounds like you very much want the kinds of play and dynamics you're asking for, but I don't want to make assumptions.

P.S. This -- "I tend to be like a bipolar octopus that's being attacked by fire ants on an average day" -- would so win the prize of best visual image of the month if we had such a prize. [Razz]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Dementia
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Oops, I really ought to explain myself better, i'm sorry, I get issues with this in real life too when i'm talking to people and they're like: "Hold up woman i just grasped the first sentence and you've spoken a novel!"

He has said he wants what I do, before I even suggested it as something I want.

As for whether it's moving too fast, he is like a constant pest on the matter, always voicing how he looks forward to our 15th birthdays so we can get contraception and have sex. I've had to face the embarrassment of him thinking we were alone and mentioning it after a school club, and then my best friend suprise leaping us. That was awkward because I still to this day have no idea what she heard. He quite strongly wants these things, but we're just having a bit of technical difficulty, perhaps by the fact we get a very small time where we can even talk about these things (what with my father having weekends off and all) and we're on edge in that time as my father has a tendency to sneak up the stairs to check on us (Not very well, mind you) So for instance we can't fully take our clothes off.

We do have a few things we both like, that have been discussed by both of us and input by both of us, but the problem we're experiencing is my father and little brother. My brother is 5 and has a tendency to appear a lot, which could end up awkwardly if he sees us, and my father often does the same but it'd be worse with my brother than my father to be honest =/

I'm just kind of confused myself as to what he wants as much as you are when i try terribly to explain it (and fail), as he says one thing of his own accord (I only really voice my liking it in response to him) And expressed he is bored whenever we DON'T do it (as in, he has told me he is bored, yet never does when we do use this kind of play, I'm actually extremely confused there.)

Its just, he physically asks me what I mean by words, which gets on my nerves as even when I explain it simply he just stares at me like i'm suggesting moon gummy bears are devouring my insides and I want him to get them out with half an orange peel or something. He is quite bad at English at school, so I must admit part of it is down to me being a walking thesaurus at times and nobody understands me.

But as I referred to in my first post, I can't really get him to communicate properly to me what HE wants to do, or get any new ideas, because I'd be happy to just roll with whatever. I like pretty much anything, besides plain old silent sex, which not only lacks communication but I am highly vocal as a norm and his idea of sex is very basic as I said, he has little in the means of reference besides friends and the media, so obviously the 'acceptable' that has been taught to him is a teensy bit biased, and he says he's happy to experiment but he seems to always think i'm hurt if I make any form of noise. Like I say, i'm highly vocal, and being expected to keep my mouth shut in a sexual environment is the same asking an annoyed howler monkey that has been pumped full of whatever makes howler monkeys hyper to shush.

I was just wondering how I could get him to communicate with me and how to explain that I'm not in pain, even though after countless times of me telling him I have a very high pain tolerance for the most part.

I'm also wondering how to communicate the fact that we need to talk on this matter to him, and how to explain what I mean just in case he doesnt actually get it, because apparently my 'idiot-proof' is so idiot safe its undecipherable to a normal human being.

PS- Seriously, trust me on the octupus thing. And the howler monkeys.

[ 11-16-2012, 07:01 PM: Message edited by: Dementia ]

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Robin Lee
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HI Dementia,

From what you've said here, it doesn't sound so much like you getting him to communicate with you as the two of you learning to communicate with each other. Perhaps, for example, when it comes to talking about sex, he's a little overwhelmed by you being a walking thesaurus. [Smile]

It also sounds like you both have some big barriers in terms of privacy and time. Those barriers aren't going to go away when you turn fifteen and get contraception, and, theoretically, are able to have intercourse. The difficulty the two of you have communicating is also not going to go away.

IN terms of telling him that he isn't hurting you, is it not working to tell him that you part of your sexual expression is vocal? You can also let him know that you'll tell him very clearly in wwords (such as "that hurts") if he is hurting you.
What I hear you saying is that you think he's resistant to what you tell him. What i hear from what you describe is that he may not be interested in or ready for (or both) the kind of sexual relationship you're interested in and feel ready for.

Can you explain what you mean by this statement: "because apparently my 'idiot-proof' is so idiot safe its undecipherable to a normal human being.""

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Robin

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smittenkitten
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Hi Dementia,

I would like to echo Robin's comments that finding a way to communicate is going to be important in your relationship (as it is in most).

It sounds to me like you boyfriend is cares about you and wants to make you happy, although he may not be as sexually ready or interested as you are. What we want to do and what we're able to do don't always match up though.

Sexuality (and this includes kink) is fluid but I think that, at least for the time being, you may have to accept that your boyfriend can't play a dominant role. It sounds to me like he would benefit from being educated a bit more in the basics (which is not a slight on his intelligence - everyone develops at different speeds).

Here's a couple of articles you could try reading together that might help you negotiate a mutually satisfying relationship:
Sorting Maybe from Can't-Be: Reality Checking Partnered Sex Wants & Ideals

Working the Kinks Out

First Intercourse 101

Reciprocity, Reloaded

Ready or Not? The Scarleteen Sex Readiness Checklist

Good luck!

Marion

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Dementia
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I've already seen those articles, but thanks for showing me them =3

What I meant bu the statement, robin, is that I made what I said so simple a total idiot could understand it, but apparently i've oversimplified it and now non idiotty people cannot :L

And yes, i have told him this but he still insists yelping is a sign of pain, not of having one of my many 'pleasure points' hit. He also doesn't get that this can happen on a random spot on my arm, and that doesnt help that I try to explain that it's not as basic as 'these parts are pleasurable for every person, nowhere else is.'

The problem i'm having is that I don't know HOW to get HIM to talk to ME, because I tend to voice exactly what I think when I think it in any situation, which tends to work for me. He's more used to being questioned on everything he says and so tends to not say much, probably due to the bullying we've both recieved for years. I hate how imprinted on him that is, darn people :c

In personal opinion, he seems very much to be interested in this and refuses to NOT be dominant, so I'm kind of at a loss as to what he actually wants if he doesnt want that, because its been the same since way before i even suggested that as something I like, more like something he has in his mind anyway that he wants, but he seems to be cautious doing it, or simply not understanding that I do like it and aren't being sarky (I forgot to mention, he constantly is going defensive as the bullies at our school used to say nice things on a constant in a sarcastic way to us, mainly him, and we handle these situations differently. He goes defensive, I laugh at them.) So I think he maybe thinks I don't actually like his idea so backs off thinking i'm doing what they do at school?

Also, my father knows the rules for when i'm 15 ish. Well he knows i'm getting contraception for then, and i'm getting a lock for my 15th anyway.

But to be honest the actual question was how to get him to communicate what he actually wants, but like I say he still only says that, does this mean he likes that, but thinks I don't (like I said the psychological influence of bullies) or does it mean he can't think of what else to say or what?

-Sorry for long time between replies, I'm in Britain and I have a busy life sadly.

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CSandSourpatch
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If I may, outside of sexual situations, yelping is often a sign of "OW! That hurts and it needs to stop!" Honestly, I've surprised myself by the noises I make when engaging in sexual activity, and if I make a fairly sharp noise that my boyfriend hasn't heard me make as a sign of pleasure before (and sometimes even when I have), he'll often stop what he's doing and ask me if everything's okay. Usually, it is just fine, but there have been a few times where it hasn't been, and having him stop immediately was very helpful. It did take a while for him to get used to those noises, especially since we are each other's first sexual partners, so we can't really know what's normal for ourselves and each other and what's not in terms of partnered sex. My point is this: if a yelp of pleasure is a new thing, especially when it's been associated with negative experiences in the past, it can be hard to make a positive association now.

So, it may take a little while for him to get used to the noises you make, and that may take a lot of your assuring him that what he's doing is, in fact, okay. (It sounds like it would also help for you two to go a bit slower than you are, given how uncomfortable it sounds like he is, but that's my personal opinion.) I know for me, if I'm going to be making a noise, I'll often hold back on it a little to make sure it doesn't sound like I'm in pain if I'm not.

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Dementia
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I know right?
For me though, yelping is relatively normal (Yeah, i'm weird, I whimper and squeak a lot too. I don't realize I have until someone points it out but hey, making strange noises adds individuality?) And that's in a normal situation, so my friends for instance know that my yelping tends to mean i'm excited or like something.

Its not that I mind him stopping and checking i'm ok, its the fact that normally when he does so, he doesn't believe that I am ok, and tends to stop fully in fear that i'm not really ok and am just saying it.

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Robin Lee
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HI Dementia,

I'm gathering that, since you've read the articles Marion linked you to, you've already tried several different communication strategies. This article is specifically about talking to a partner about sex:

Be a Blabbermouth! The Whats, Whys and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner

Does anything in there resonate with you as something you haven't tried yet?

IN terms of "getting" someone to communicate with us, that's not something anyone can really do. WE can invite someone to share things with us. We can adjust the environment to make things more comfortable for them, but we can't actually make someone talk who doesn't want to talk or doesn't feel the need to do so.

It could be that you and your boyfriend have very different communication styles and very different sexualities. You say that you know he wants things, but since he's not actually working with you towards those things, I'm not sure that you can take his lack of saying what he wants as a sign that he's okay with what's up right now. Has he specifically told you that he wants x, y, or z? I'm getting the sense that your communication has consisted mainly of you asking him questions and him answering them. Does that characterize what's been going on?

It's clear to me that you're very cerebral--that is, you spend a lot of time in your brain. Not everyone communicates and interacts like that, and it's not reasonable to expect them too.

Having a lock on your door and access to contraception isn't going to make this stuff go away. It may ease some of the stress of worrying about being walked in on, but it's not going to magically improve your sexual communication. Considering once you both turn fifteen you are intending to engage in sexual activities that carry more physical and emotional risks with them, it seems pretty important to get your communication going before that, and to decide not to engage in those activities right away if you're still not on the same page communication wise.

The more I read your posts, the more I get the sense that the two of you just don't have the same kind of sexuality. That's okay, but it may also mean that you're not sexually compatible. I'm getting pictures of two very different people in my head--two people who like each other, but are not only not on the same page in terms of their sexuality, but perhaps even writing different books. Take, for example, his perception of your noise-making during sexual activity as signs of pain or discomfort. You've told him over and over again that this isn't true for you, but he still believes it. I'm thinking this is because that's how it works in his sexuality.

I'm not sure if you've seen these two articles:

Yes, No, Maybe So: A Sexual Inventory Stocklist

Sorting Maybe from Can't-Be: Reality Checking Partnered Sex Wants & Ideals

The first one is a tool for helping people figure out what they do and don't want from sex (of any kind). If your boyfriend is willing, you could each fill it out separately then meet to go through your answers together. It's important when doing this that one not answer the way one thinks a partner wants them to answer, and that neither partner judges the other person's answers.

Does this look like a useful tool for you?

What do you think of the idea that the two of you may not be sexually compatible?

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Robin

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Dementia
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Hey Robin,
I've already seen those articles, and i'm not particularly open enough to suggest we fill something out like that (I'm very shy in real life, though i'm far more opinionated online, and I tend to be quite vague myself in answering questions) so I don't feel comfortable being that forward.

As for not being sexually compatible, well, in every other situation, we share the same humour, the same art style, the same interests, the same friend preferences, the same reasons for being bullied even, and tend to say the same thing at the same time a lot. Like I say, I'm not as open in real life as I am here, because I kind of have the same problem as him, and I must admit if he makes a noise, I panic and think i'm hurting him too so i'm a bit of a hypocrite really.
And as far as this impacting on us, I would give up my own personal favourites (I like a LOT of things, I mean pretty much everywhere on me is pleasurable, I just happen to be a bit masochistic in my favourites..) But I would sacrifice something like that for him, because I would never, ever leave him. I do think we can find a middle ground, or I can just find something else I like, I mean, I have a lot of pleasure points, namely, most of my body. Except my armpits. And nose. XD

Also, no, its not really me asking him answering, its more like me TRYING to ask between squeaking and hiding behind my fringe and him guessing at what the answer might be, but what is obvious to me at the time is inevitably indelible to everyone else.

And of course the contraception won't help our communication but the lock (now being fitted this week)will, as it stops my annoying relatives appearing at random intervals, so we have warning as to if they're coming or not, which means we won't be on constant edge while we're talking.

I'm sorry for how opinionated i've been, i've just got over a huge stress today, so i've been very defensive the last few days.
I do think we'll find a way with this, even if I have to sacrifice for it (Fully willing. Like I say, I would never leave him, he means everything to me, and I know you must hear that daily from teens but even our parents doubt we'll break up, and our teachers say our relationship is very mature for adolescents, so i'm ever the hopeful one) and I refuse to let my own selfishness get in the way, especially when I'm not too bothered about experimenting myself, I mean, i've never tried much either, but we never have any ideas.

Ooh wait that's a good question, do you have any ideas we could try that could be interesting to both of us or that he might like? Because with all the good will in the world I can't think of anything because of a lack of knowledge on these matters (family don't talk about it much, and my friends are all virgins, so no point asking them.)

A very brief insight into our home lives/upbringings, might help you:

Me:
-Raised by single mother until age of 7 when I got a stepdad
-Have one younger brother (do not get on)
-Very introverted in real life.
-Get bullied a lot, so I tend to want to explain myself over every little thing
-Know a LOT about psychology, studied it individually for ages, but I tend to treat EVERYTHING like a psychology test.
-Stressed easily
-Act bossy to friends to hide the fact that I am in fact a chicken.
-Not much privacy
-Great relationship with mum
-Prefer to go with the flow as opposed to making decisions on how it goes, it's far funner to be surprised or be led into something unknown than to be in charge all the time.
-Quite vocal and make decisions quickly, but may change them.

My boyfriend:
-Raised by single mother
- Bad relationship with mum
- About at the middle line of extro/introverted, around friends/family/me is extroverted and chatty, but outside of safe zone or when un-used to something, tends to be quite cautious but after getting used to something makes firm decisions which he is quite clear about.
-Not very vocal about things when he's not used to them, but highly vocal once he has made a solid choice on a matter(can take some time) he's quite fierce about opinions and doesn't really appreciate being challenged
-Prefers to be in control of a situation entirely, seems to get scared and uneasy if not able to stop or continue something at leisure.
-Very little privacy, shares bedroom with 2 brothers and has a baby sister.


How I think? Yeah, I know i'm weird, I was home educated by my mother so I kind of learnt 'me' off by heart, as I had no real kid friends, I was home educated because I was bullied so badly at primary school I left. I understand that it confuses a lot of people and I don't expect them to see the world the way I do (I mean.. I view people as an animal species. Most people find that creepy. Life can be made very simple when you consider yourself just a mammal though.) I also don't expect people to understand my communication.

Me and my boyfriend have been together for 6 months by the way, So I know a lot about him, and most of the listed things about him have been told to me by him as well as just analyzed by me.

PS- Sorry for the long post!
By the way, Call me Lily, I must have forgot to stick that in =3

[ 11-18-2012, 06:23 PM: Message edited by: Dementia ]

Posts: 24 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Hey again, Lily.

I really think that all of that is more information than this situation calls for. I don't mean, "Ack, TMI, why did you tell us that!?!" I mean that my sense of all of this is that it's a lot less complex than it sounds like you think it is.

Personally, I really think six months of dating at 14 and moving into intercourse soon and trying to do BDSM play -- especially if this is a first partner for you or one of the first -- is simply trying to move things awfully fast. Not "too fast" in any kind of morality-judgment way, but too fast to have the kind of communication you're looking to have, and to have things be going the way it seems like you want them to be going.

I think that for most people just in THAT basic situation -- your ages, and how long you've been dating -- that we'd be seeing people having a tough time working things out like this and really grokking each other sexually. Do you know what I mean? I mean, we can be really intelligent -- don't know about your beau, but obviously you are -- but that doesn't mean that we can walk into everything and be way above the curve. Some things require practice and experience, and sex and sexual communication are certainly one of those things.

Like I said earlier, and Robin did too, it sounds like you two just may have very different sexualities: we can have a lot in common and still be very different that way. We can love each other like crazy and still have dig divides there. It happens, and pretty frequently. But I also think that it's tough to figure if that's really what's going on when everything is being moved along so fat -- in my view -- with two people for whom all of this is very, very new.

Are you catching my drift here?

[ 11-19-2012, 11:25 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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