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Author Topic: Why?
000
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Why does the answer to every other sex/relationship worry for a girl have to be "you just need to find the right guy." Why?? It's not like most guys "wait for the right girl" before they have sex. Half the girls I know who had sex b/c they thought they were in love were just terribly naive, as in /I'm sure/ they were the more emotionally dependent ones in the relationship. It was probably like they had this fantasy since they were little about falling in love, so that's what they thought was supposed to happen, and therefore that's how they felt. Well for me physical attraction doesn't have a lot to do with emotion, and mushiness is not particularly sexy at all. Doesn't anyone else feel the same way? I know there've got to be some people on this website who's first sexual experiences were both sort of casual /and/ positive, and they could tell their story...
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faifai
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I'm not sure what you're asking here, iheartdc. Are you upset that volunteers here "always respond" with the answer of "you just have to find the right guy?" when females on this board ask for advice? Because that's not true.

Or is it frustration with this idea you have that "it's not like most guys wait for the right girl"? Because that's just a sweeping generalization, I don't know where you're coming up with that.

So often here we will see people wanting to jump into sex when they're not physically ready, emotionally ready, or usually some combo of the two. We do not say "wait till you're in love", only that you should wait until you're ready, and that includes being with a partner you can trust, be comfortable with, etc. It is generally better to hold off on sex and relationships altogether until you're with someone you understands you, where you're coming from, and what you want. That's what is meant by "right" partner.

This applies to males and females alike. We usually don't buy in to the whole "women are naturally more emotional and therefore should be told to stay monogamous, whereas men can have casual encounters and be perfectly ok" shtick. If our relationship advice to everyone was based strictly off of their gender and the stereotypes associated with that, we wouldn't really be helping anyone.

Just because someone is compatible with you sexually doesn't necessarily mean that it's someone you would like to pursue a romantic relationship with. And that's ok. We're not here to judge you based on such choices. You will not see us knocking on casual sex ("friends with benefits," "no strings attached sex", and so on) just because it is casual. Casual sex is by no means inherently better or worse than monogamous sex, it's just different. Some people are clearly better suited for one, the other, any combination thereof, or none of the above.

All we encourage is acting responsibly. That might mean advising that no, you should reconsider having sex when you're having casual sex but state that you wish you were monogamous and are developing serious unrequited feelings for your partner. We'll most likely tell you to reconsider doing that because of the potential emotional hurt you could be causing yourself. If you're with a partner who's saying they'll leave you unless you put out, we'll probably say you're better off without them, because they clearly have no respect for you. That's the advice we will give and stand by, there's no reason to tell you to go for it when it doesn't seem like a safe, healthy situation for you.

We do care about our users and will always want to give the most sound advice we can. But in the end it is just that, advice--you aren't obligated to listen to it, though it makes me wonder why you would keep asking for it if you're consistently dissatisfied with our responses. Sometimes you won't get the answer you were hoping for, but that doesn't obligate you to listen to it.

p.s. here's a link of people discussing first sexual activity, casual sex included: If I Knew Now What I Knew Then.

also, here is a link of people discussing casual sex and their opinions thereof: Friends with Benefits.

[ 09-29-2006, 11:15 PM: Message edited by: faifai ]

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000
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Well, obviously my poking and prodding did some good, as I find those threads to be nicer for me than some of the other advice I was receiving on here (and especially advice I'd have received at home).

Here's quoting MizScarlet from the first link:
"In truth, I had a very active sexual and romantic life from a fairly early age, and for the most part, I've no regrets. And the mistakes I did make, I really needed to make in order *to* know what I know now."

Now that perspective makes sense to me, totally. Which is why I think it's odd there are so many volunteers which give advice about always acting on the cautious side. I guess I've been a little frustrated b/c I was asking questions that related to being a little nervous or embarassed about things I was doing -not that I was hurt in the least, just nervous or embarassed -, and the responses I always got were along the lines of "maybe you don't need to do anything until you're in a serious relationship" and I was like "but... but... I don't learn anything that way" and I was finding it very frustrating.

"being with a partner you can trust, be comfortable with"
Yeah, I mean, if I'm irrationally nervous about certain things, I think what partner I'm w/ doesn't really make a difference. I've only been with quite decent people.

I wonder... what was MizScarlet's parents attitude towards sex? I think in general people who are responsible and comfortable with sex at a young age have parents who are unusually chill about it.

[ 09-30-2006, 08:14 PM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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kitka
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You say you don't learn anything from serious relationships... what sort of relationships were they? Long term? Formal dating relationships?

give advice about always acting on the cautious side.

... that's for a couple of reasons. Heather's up front about her mistakes but she's never advocated recklessness as far as I can tell. There's a difference between the two. I think you know what it is.

Problem being, not everyone who asks questions here has the maturity to differentiate between
situations that can be pretty damaging. We see it all the time here. The caution is a part and parcel of that.

Physical attraction and emotional interest are two different things - that's a result of human evolution. Culturally, we as women are often encouraged to conflate the two.

Physical attraction doesn't necessitate emotional draws. Nothing wrong with going with that. Sometimes, though, the absence of an emotional draw can lead to problems - lack of respect on a partner's part, problems enforcing boundaries, whatever. If you can find yourself in a sitation where those aren't the issue, then that's all well and good.

"Serious relationship" means something different to everybody. (And besides, it's hard to tell if a relationship is serious until it's gone on for at least a few months.) A serious relationship can be something as much as, "I trust this person, they trust me and respect my boundaries, and are willing to accomodate my needs." It doesn't have to be all flowers and mushiness. I know that sort of thing sets my teeth on edge.

Nervousness and embarrasment are generally signs that people are not relaxed or comfortable about what they're doing. That's why some volunteers have recommended caution in your case. Maybe you won't feel as nervous after you've had casual sex. At this point I think it's up to you.

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000
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I meant that I don't learn anything by waiting for the hypothetical serious relationship. And I have had kinds of casual sex (just manual), and what I've done has made me a lot more confident. Are the psychological effects of other kinds of sex really that different?
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kitka
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Ok - that clarifies it somewhat. What are you hoping to learn about relationships, casual or otherwise, when you do have one?

I'd say yes, the psychological effects of manual sex vs. full-on intercouse are different. Qualifying that with, "it depends on the individual..."

Penis/vagina intercourse is invasive. Having someone bigger and more muscular than me literally pinning me down puts me in a different situation than manual sex, where I'm more free to move around. Also, for anybody who's used to masturbating, I'd say that the physical sensations of manual sex with someone else are not as radically different as intercourse.

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000
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i masturbate with a dildo -I know the physical sensation of intercourse would be different b/c of more friction, but still would make for less a difference, I would think... Also I'd say "literally pinning me down" is a bit of an exaggeration, hopefully. I'm sort of well-built, myself, so I'd be hard put to find someone much bigger than me anyway.

So what am I hoping to learn about relationships? I'm hoping to have an outlet for sexual energy (I know MizScarlet always says masturbation, but I really don't feel like my attraction to other people is lessened by masturbation). I'd like to learn how to be a good lover, so that I won't constantly be afraid of meeting someone I like who might also might be intrigued by me at first but then after a bit decides I'm lame. Maybe at some point learning how to actually live w/ spending lots of time around someone and having the confidence that I could do it, would be nice. But mainly I just want to be confident that I can get what I want when I want it. If I was more experienced w/ sex, I'd go after a lot of the people I like, including those people for whom I feel something more serious and gradual is unlikely. I'd have some good times, and be a happier person overall. Maybe I'm a little lonely, but I'm not really looking for one person to fill that void. I'm mainly interested in the sexual aspects of relationships, but that's probably obvious by now.

Another reason why the whole "if something makes you nervous or embarassed you probably shouldn't do it" thing doesn't quite ring true to me, may be that if I followed that guideline I might never get off my computer and leave my room (which I generally do a lot, thankfully). You might say I suffer some mild social anxiety, I don't know. But anyway, I definitely worry some about most things in life, so it would be really limiting and depressing to let the doubts control my behavior.

[ 10-01-2006, 12:54 AM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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kitka
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I looked at some of your older posts just now and all of it is starting to become clear. The game is afoot.

Some of us ladies are on the Amazonian side... nothing wrong with that [Smile]

Nervousness and social anxiety: I think I remember you saying that counseling didn't help. If your way of dealing with these obstacles is to suck it up and drive on, then that's your way. All I can say to that is this:
there's a preponderance of younger women who have had sex because they think it's right at the time. Many of them do it w/o fully sussing out the situation. Then they wind up worried, regretful, unhappy. That's what some volunteers may be thinking of when they caution you to take it slow.

If you think have the emotional resonance of Chuck Norris in his old Vietnam era movies (an exaggeration), then that part of it is up to you.

But I think I need to become reasonably competent at doing these things before I can be confident enough to relax and enjoy myself, as opposed to being extremely anxious.

That's a normal feeling, though it's not very rational if you think about it. Me, I usually complain if I'm trying to do something for the first time and I fail. I feel inadequate, and I get the idea in my head that other people would be able to do these things easy, right off the bat.

Is that a true assessment on my part? No. Experience is experience, based on time and mistakes and success.

If you expect to be reasonably competent at sexual activity before you get comfy with it, you're barking up the wrong tree. You're putting a massive amount of pressure on yourself to "perform." But that's not the point with sex. Enthusiasm and desire rack up more points than technique with a lot of guys. Not every guy wants to date a chick who's been handing out manual sex since she was 12.

Caring and thoughful guys usually go for caring and thoughtful girls, regardless of experience level.

You're right - you'll feel nervous and awkward at times. There's no way of getting around that.
If your partner is a good guy who you trust, you'll feel comfortable a whole lot sooner than otherwise, because he'll reassure you verbally and physically that he's having a good time, and he'll actually mean it.

Per technique, an experienced guy will be able to show you what makes him feel good, and he'll probably be able to suss out what makes you happy. And there are lots of informative books out there on the subject. Reading about sex helps!

Often seeing a live penis and/or the action/idea of touching one with hand or mouth makes me kind of anxious.

I felt the same way at first too. A guy's parts don't look like the ones on Greek statues. When me and my guy started feeling strongly about each other on multiple levels and we were comfortable showing that to one another, I started feeling excited and curious, and my anxiety naturally faded.

I really just want to be comfortable, and to get over that fear that I'll disappoint

and this stems from a couple of things, right? You're worried about
1. doing much more than manual sex
2. not knowing what to do
3. feeling pleasure
4. the guy not feeling pleasure
5. and as a result, he'll feel frustrated and you'll feel selfish
6. not being able to communicate with him because you're anxious and you think he'll be too

Stop worrying and learn to love the bomb. [Smile]
Believe me - energetic kissing can get a guy hard. After he reaches that stage, most sexual activity will be gravy. Any guy worth your while will not be hung up on your inexperience.
Trust me on that.

I'm probably more open with people I don't know.

That I don't quite get. It's probably because of the drama in your family, since you've learned unconsciously that traditional closeness in relationships doesn't equate happiness.

I think professional counseling will help you with that.

Even if it was to communicate that I'm "not ready" for something...I'm not in control enough to do that -I just become incoherent.

See, this is what's making some of the volunteers worried. If you're not in control to say you're not ready, that leaves you open to having someone take advantage of you. Per this scenario:

Dude: Let's get to it.
You: umm... I don't know about this.
Dude: Come on. You know you want to. You all but said so. I know you want to.
You: This feels kind of weird.
Dude: It feels good.
You: [uncomfortable silence]

And you wind up having sex that doesn't feel good on very many levels. Of course there's a chance that it might feel great, but does that chance outweigh the feeling of incoherence that you think you'll have?

Do you see what I'm getting at?

There's a difference between being physically ready for sex and mentally and emotionally ready. As Heather has always stressed, healthy sexual relationships need boundaries. If you feel incoherent, then expressing those demands will be tough.

Bottom line is, you feel physically ready, but it doesn't sound as if you're totally mentally prepared. Like I've said before, if you think you can deal with that, it's up to you.


Anyway. I gotta hit the rack. Hope some of this has worked for you.

[ 10-01-2006, 01:19 AM: Message edited by: kitka ]

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000
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I appreciate you taking the time to disect my stuff.

"If your partner is a good guy who you trust, you'll feel comfortable a whole lot sooner than otherwise, because he'll reassure you verbally and physically that he's having a good time, and he'll actually mean it."

I know this may sound weird to you -but I actually had a guy I was dating try to reassure me verbally and it just kind of freaked me out, I'm not quite sure why. I guess it made things less fluid and made me think /more/ about what was going on. Also he used some cliché phrases, so for me as a linguistically-oriented person that was like major turnoff.

"Believe me - energetic kissing can get a guy hard. After he reaches that stage, most sexual activity will be gravy."

Okay, to the extent that kissing requires skill, I think I'm pretty good. To the extent that passionate vertical making out could get a guy hard, well I've pretty much been there too. I cannot call sexual activity past that point gravy, at least in my experience. I have attempted both handjob and oral sex and have not been able to give a guy an orgasm, for instance (except this once when I think I did while groping through clothes, but I'm not sure). But this is back to why I was saying in a different post that friends of mine have also said it's easy to please guys, which is part of the reason /why/ I feel like I'm doing something wrong.

"If you're not in control to say you're not ready, that leaves you open to having someone take advantage of you."
Per that above scenario, I understand your concern, but: I have said no before (oh okay, I shook my head no, which is maybe like the pansy version, but still). I've also been known to say "oww". I used to beat up boys up in grade school, and I'm fairly sure I wouldn't let anyone hurt me too much. It's a lot easier for me to communicate negatives than positives, which is perhaps unfortunate. The scenario I am more familiar w/ goes like:

ME: (thinking this feels really good, this is cool. okay, i need to figure out what i should do. (a couple minutes later) hmm... go for the crotch? should I ask him? omg man I hope he just keeps going)
DUDE: (a couple minutes later) "You look nervous."
ME: "Wha?"
DUDE: "What's wrong?"
ME: "Nothing" (I knew it, he was interpreting me not grabbing him as a lack of enthusiasm... argh)
DUDE: "Something's wrong... We shouldn't do this."
ME: (what should i say... i don't know what to do... my brain is fuzzy... and now I'm babbling stuff completely unrelated to what i'm thinking, i'm not making sense... oh sh**)

I seriously started talking about some random topic when all I really wanted to have said was some variation of "yes!". And then I was pissed... at me... at him... and then I didn't want to cuddle, and then I didn't talk to him again before he left even though I thought about stealing his shirt, and then like a day later I was pissed that I hadn't been so focused on acting nonchalant and talked to him.

So obviously that only precisely describes one time, but elements there have happened to me multiple times, even w/ people I've known for months. I think for me there's some sort of deep embarassment or shame that's attached to a verbal request to do something, that doesn't present itself when I'm nonverbal, or if I'm following a guy's lead. I would love to get over that -I just don't know how.

[ 10-01-2006, 02:33 AM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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Heather
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I do think that you're perhaps either projecting, or reading over/into some of the advice here if you presume that everyone is saying a person must wait for The Serious Realtionship here.

Because I don't see that.

What I see, rather, is volunteers suggesting that when we partner with people, we partner with people we feel comfortable with, who treat us with respect and care, with whom we can pace things in a way that works for us, with whom we are equals in as many respects as possible, including activity/passivity. Those things can exist in all sorts of relationships.

(And just to make clear, no one here is ever saying women need to wait for "That Right Guy." That's heterosexism you're affixing, honestly, since none of our volunteers, I can assure you, feel that way.)

Since you asked some things about me, I'll share if it's useful to you.

quote:
I wonder... what was MizScarlet's parents attitude towards sex? I think in general people who are responsible and comfortable with sex at a young age have parents who are unusually chill about it.
First things first, you need to understand that I was molested once at 11 and then gang assaulted the very next year at 12. I also, as early as the age of ten, had attractions to women and early same-sex relationships that were romantic/sexual. I dated early, but I wasn't just dating boys, and that does tend to make a difference with these dynamics.

To describe my mother as chill about sex is akin to saying that your average preacher in the deep south is chill about lesbianism. My mother (and her family) was NOT in any way relaxed about sex with me: very, very much the opposite. My father, on the other hand, WAS very relaxed about it. (And my stepfather called me a slut every day from the age of ten. So.) So, when it came to my parents, I had the full spectrum of viewpoints.

And yes: I'll go ahead and be frank. I have enjoyed a good deal of casual sex in my life, both when I was younger and when I was older. But there are some caveats to that.

One, I came of age in a very different time than now, even though it wasn't really that long ago. But Chicago, in the alternative/counterculture scenes in the 80's and early nineties? Very different stuff than now, from all I can see with the view from here via my perspective. It's also very different in many regards when you move in hetero circles than when you move in queerer ones (and how). Plus, for most, if not all, of my life, the circles I moved in were those of artists, musicians, activists, idealists, dreamers. I think that flavors/flavoured things very differently. And later in my life, over the past decade or so, it obviously flavors your casual sexual dynamic when someone knows you're a visible sex writer for your living: nobody wants to screw up, cross a line, whatever, when they know you have the power of broadcasting it widely (which created a power imbalance per me having more which meant that I had to start being a lot more selective than I had been). In any event, I got lucky in that the time of my sexual-coming-of-age was, I think, a lot better than this one, especially for women. There was no internet, there was no Girls Gone Wild, there were no roofies, there was no expectation that whatever I was doing was out of exhibitionism or a need to prove myself or be outre, etc. The social synamics were a lot different than, per your posts, it seems yours are.

Two, my most reckless moments often stemmed from abuse processing, per feeling invincible because I'd lived through some serious hell. And even then, when it comes to sex? While I was -- let's say busy, I was really very safe about it: far more so than my peers, far more so than I see a lot of young people now, even though they have more information to arm themselves with than I. And most importantly...

...I was VERY self-directive and very much in the driver's seat. I always have been, it's my nature, and that was part of the deal. I could not have given one whit, honestly, about "doing sex right," even then, for me, it was just about me and whomever having a good time, enjoying each other, enjoying my body, whomever ele's body, being free. There were very few times for me that casual sex didn't come before or after an all-night-into-all-day gab session. There were very few times casual sex for me didn't result in a friendship afterwards, or start that way. I didn't feel any pressure from myself or others to net a given result, and in nearly every instance, I felt totally comfortable with what was going on, with what I was doing, with who I was with. I was able to draw really clear boundaries earlier than most. I never chose to be with someone who I didn't feel comfortable with in that regard: as a survivor, save the few instances in which I was trying to punish myself, I wasn't about to put myself in that situation, because sex like that flirted way too much with the vibe of rape for me. In other words, I think I would have had VERY different experiences if I was following anyone's lead but my own, and if sex was about some sort of self-validation. The few times that was the case? Not my best times ever, to say the least.

Back to you: I am hearing a LOT of concern about pleasing, about sexual PERFORMANCE -- per you doing what nets a certain validation, a certain result, etc. I am hearing -- and correct me if I'm mistaken -- that your needs here are less about your enjoyment than they are in getting some notion that you have "done things right" per being "good in bed."

And if that's the case, it's unsurprising that you're feeling the way that you are, even just in this regard. I know had I been all wrapped up in that? I cannot IMAGINE casual sex would have been enjoyable for me at all: in fact, given that it tends to become easier over time with any given partner (for reasons I assume are obvious) for both you and a partner to have satisfying sex together, coming to casual sex in that way strikes me as being something where it'd be a given that unsatisfying results all around would be pretty likely.

And I think that for young women expressly right now in time, we do have to acknowledge that things DO seem to be a bit different per sexual dynamics, and especially casual sex dynamics, because I do think they've changed a good deal over the last 20 years.

One last thing? This sentence really popped out at me:
quote:
But mainly I just want to be confident that I can get what I want when I want it.
Just about sex, or period? Is that about entitlement, or about confidence? Really, what's that all about, period?

[ 10-01-2006, 03:18 PM: 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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Heather
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I have one more thing to add I forgot, that I think may be relevant.

Per live-and-learn, I think, in hindsight, it's possible that plenty of MY casual sex partners were probably more in the position YOU are: looking to self-validate per being with me. Long, long stories, but the long and the short of it is that for several reasons, in my circles -- and I wasn't really very aware of this for a lot of reasons -- I had a certain mystique and status, per having been with a very visible partner in our scene when I was young who died violently. That and some other things, gave me a certain status of cool (that again, I was largely totally unaware of).

So, one of the things I'd wished I'd known/been more aware of in hindsight is that a lot of my partners likely were NOT as self-sufficient as I, as comfortable as they said or seemed, as...eh, relaxed and okay with everything as they said or seemed to me. Obviously, there was no real way for me to know that then: only as I have gotten older and run into people in various places do I even find that out. Strangely enough, just a couple weeks ago, I ran into someone here -- 2,000 miles and 20 years in distance and time -- who I JUST found out I was the first partner of, and who did NOT tell me that then.

I would NOT have been comfortable being with someone who wasn't voicing their wants and needs decently, who was just looking to please ME to vamp themselves up or so forth, or who wasn't okay with everything. And in those cases where I found out later that was the case and no one told me or I just didn't get it? I felt extremely uncomfortable. The older I got, the better I got (I think) at sussing out the situation in that regard, which is part of why the older I got, the less often I did have super-casual sex or one-night-stands, save when things were very clearly spelled out and a good deal of communication happened before and during.

So, I think my situation and yours are vastly different in that respect, because you seem much more likely to have been like some of the people I was WITH than like me.

(I have the feeling you're making an assumption that this is in part an issue about how casual sex is for women as a whole, but the thing is, there aren't a lot of universals here, because we're all very different people with very different natures/personalities and circumstances.)

Anyway, don't know if any of that will help you, but since you asked, there's what I've got (and am confortable sharing: suffice it to say, I draw boundaries in my work here per details of my own sex life). Hope it helps.

[ 10-01-2006, 11:32 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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September
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On a similar note - iheartdc, I can't shake the feeling that a lot of your "Volunteers are telling me to wait for the right guy" is directed at me, per what I said to you in the other thread you started ('C***tease') and I'd just like to clarify what I was trying to say.

I was not suggesting that you have to wait for The One if you have sex, and that if you do, you'll automatically lose all of your insecurities and everything will be awesome. What I was suggesting is that, to be able to relax, let go of your inhibitions and to do what feels right regardless of how well you're 'performing' (which, really, should never be an issue, anyway), you need to have some amount of trust in the person you are with. If you have no idea who you're in bed with, I imagine it'd be kind of hard to let go of your inhibitions.

Personally, I see casual sex as an avenue for exploring yourself and others once you are in a place where you're comfortable with yourself, not something to do to get you to that place.

[ 10-01-2006, 11:43 AM: Message edited by: September ]

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"Plus, for most, if not all, of my life, the circles I moved in were those of artists, musicians, dreamers. I think that flavors/flavoured things very differently."

That's the same way with me, though. It's nice, I agree.

On my hand I never experienced abuse. But my mom has all but called me a slut for everything from how I dressed when I was 13 to being sexually active with someone who wasn't my boyfriend when I was 19, and my dad still can't seem to get past the idea that women would only want sex for emotional reasons.

I guess one thing I need to make clear here is that I don't think I've been talking about forgoing my own pleasure -I don't think I'd be capable of doing that. That's a big part of the reason why I get with people, and self-validation would be a lesser factor. If I wasn't experiencing pleasure I'd get out of a situation, it's as simple as that.

Maybe pressure being put on girls to perform is a product of the 90s, I don't know. But I have heard on numerous occasions guys (and even girls) talking about appreciating a girl who was skilled in bed/not wanting to be with a girl who seemed awkward. So why shouldn't I not assume a person I like might think similarly? I know /I/ appreciate guys who are skilled. Self-confidence may be a problem for me. But it's not a problem that comes from nowhere, it's b/c I'm missing knowledge and skills that I think I need to keep experiencing pleasure/return pleasure, as it were. I know you talk a lot about enjoying exploring the other person's body. Even if what I like most about someone is their body, I'm pretty timid on that front -I'm not quite sure why. It seems to me there's something wrong with loving the way someone is touching me, but being very timid about touching them back. It seems unfair, and understandably might make them feel there's something wrong. One thought, is that it's only been like 2 years that I've been comfortable with my body and touched myself at all, so it could just be I'm still going through a whole process of being comfortable with bodies in general.

"I would NOT have been comfortable being with someone who wasn't voicing their wants and needs decently, who was just looking to please ME to vamp themselves up or so forth, or who wasn't okay with everything."
I think these people were probably aware of what your attitude would have been, and that's why they were fronting confidence. But what if they /wanted/ to voice their wants and needs, but they just had difficulty doing so? What if you were meeting a lot of these needs anyway? And what if they really enjoyed being with you? Extreme attraction can trigger feelings of inadequacy as well as anything.

I wasn't so much ever tryng to say that I was in MizS's same position, per casual sex or relationships, as I was saying that I think experience is the best way to learn, no matter what position you're in. Because, I just don't think my emotional or communication skills develop any by me not testing them. Short of getting out there and trying to navigate things, making mistakes along the way -which is basically how I learned other social skills my upbringing didn't give me -I don't know what else to do.

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Heather
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I love your last paragraph there, September.

quote:
If you have no idea who you're in bed with, I imagine it'd be kind of hard to let go of your inhibitions.
I did want to speak to this a little though, because I think this is the place where iheartdc is expressing feeling differently, and I can see both ends of the specturm here and have experienced both ends of the spectrum here.

Sometimes, being with a relative stranger -- though I'd posit this is most often when you feel pretty comfrotable with the whole works in the first place -- can make a person feel LESS inhibited on SOME levels (more on that in a sec), because it's like not having to answer for yourself, or having any failures or perceived failures ring round the next day, if that makes sense. I think when you're feeling insecure, this is a particular issue.

Like, okay, let's say I don't know how to rollerskate, and I feel like a total dope about that. To boot, I have it in my head that I do not want anyone to know that I can't rollerskate OR that I feel like a dope about it. So, I might prefer to go to a rink alone, 50 miles from where I live, where no one knows me to try it out a few times. Of course, the given here is that I'm isolating myself in doing that, and long-term, I'm likely better off all around just asking a trusted friend for help, both because I'll probably learn better, with less bruises, and because I'll likely emotionally feel better in lightening the emotional burden I feel with my insecurities by just telling someone else I know won't poke fun that I have them.

Point is, though, there are definate draws to anonymous sex for some, or for some sometimes because they feel (or again, feel they might feel) less inhibited.

However, I'd posit that that can be illusory: often, in very casual encounters, we end up engaging in a lot of sexual performance, trying to please via the lowest common denominator, because we don't have the extra information to know anything else with that person.

Of course, parts of any analogy like this fall apart with sex, since knowing how to "make things work" with/for one partner doesn't mean we will for another different person entirely. However, for some, it might make them feel (or feel as if they would feel) more comfortable in general just experiencing more awkward stuff with one person first before doing so with others.

SO complicated, all of this, especially because so many assumptions about sex break down here. For instance, nearly always, the first time you have sex with ANY partner (no matter how many times you've had sex before, sparing knowing what works for you and how to communicate), it's never as good as the tenth time you have sex with that partner on a physical level. And if you're seeking emotional intimacy, it's obviously better as time goes on. If you are NOT, obviously, that's moot (and opens up a whole new bag of worms, for obvious reasons).

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Heather
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(I'm trying to be as candid here as possible, iheartdc, because it seems that's what you want and need. But if my approach in that regard is too direct or too candid, just let me know, and I'll back off.)

quote:
But I have heard on numerous occasions guys (and even girls) talking about appreciating a girl who was skilled in bed/not wanting to be with a girl who seemed awkward. So why shouldn't I not assume a person I like might think similarly? I know /I/ appreciate guys who are skilled. Self-confidence may be a problem for me. But it's not a problem that comes from nowhere, it's b/c I'm missing knowledge and skills that I think I need to keep experiencing pleasure/return pleasure, as it were.
I think this, right here, is really, really worth exploring. And I think it's a far larger topic than it seems like, because it is a BIG pervasive issue in our culture with sex right now. Not to say it hasn't been before, but I think right now, in particular, it looms large.

Let me be plain: men are supposed to say that. Women are supposed to say that. That's the status quo, 100%, because awkwardness = intimacy. We can posture a lot more with this approach, look more confident and cool than we are, protect ourselves a lot more emotionally.

In other words, we can keep a certain emotional distance when we don't FEEL awkward.

I say don't FEEL, in particulcar, because I will tell you that ten years from now, in hindsight, what looks now like someone knowing what they're doing? Won't look so much that way. It'll look more like someone knowing the part they were supposed to play, and the things most people say they enjoy without a lot of variation. It'll look...well, scripted. Because it is.

When we have sex for the first time with any new partner, without communication, we're just doing the barest basics of what we know. we're doing what we knew before them, from someone else or someone elses, plural. And while, obviously, yes: there are going to be some common denominators, I gotta tell you that the really really good stuff sexually happens when you're with someone for enough time to find the devil in the details, as it were.

Personally? I've had partners from all over the map in terms of their experiential levels: from someone who has had as many partners as I to those who have had none and a whole world in between.

And if I sit and file back in my head? For myself, anyway, I can't say that it boils down to my best sexual experiences being with the "most skilled" -- or, more accurately, most experienced -- partners. It's not that simple, and *I* and my body are not that simple, either, especially when I bring all of me into the picture.

Do you get what I'm saying?

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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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Heather
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quote:
"I would NOT have been comfortable being with someone who wasn't voicing their wants and needs decently, who was just looking to please ME to vamp themselves up or so forth, or who wasn't okay with everything."
I think these people were probably aware of what your attitude would have been, and that's why they were fronting confidence. But what if they /wanted/ to voice their wants and needs, but they just had difficulty doing so? What if you were meeting a lot of these needs anyway? And what if they really enjoyed being with you? Extreme attraction can trigger feelings of inadequacy as well as anything.

On that question...

I don't actually think i CAN presume people knew that about me, especially if I didn't communicate it clearly.

And this isn't just about THEM. Even if THEY felt all okay about not being honest with me (which includes not saying something as casual as "I'm not so hot at being verbal," and/or "I want this to really be about pleasing you,"), *I* am not okay with being with people with ulterior motives or who I can't have a relationship -- even one that lasts for just en evening -- in which there is that sort of power imbalance.

To find out after the fact that I have now and then has left an awful taste in my mouth.

If I'm going to be meeting those sorts of needs, I'd like to consent to doing that, not have my consent presumed or assumed or had via misrepresentation. Because more times than not, it never ends right there, as well as the fact that as I said in your other post, that sort of imbalance just makes me feel ooky, since sex, when it's right, for me, is about equality.

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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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That bit about a sexual routine equalling a lack of intimacy is interesting. I guess I could sort of see that; I hadn't thought about it before.

The thing is: one of the things that I like best about sex is the creativity. All of the guys I've been with did things very differently, but most of it felt very good. I think part of the excitement was just to see what they'd do. If it had been all about them just pleasuring me in the ways I already knew worked, I don't think it would've been that exciting. Maybe each of these guys /did/ have a routine they used w/ every girl, but I wouldn't exactly know if that was the case. I love learning about people's little quirks, and what turns them on -I think it's fascinating how people are different. And in my own right, I'm not uber-mainstream in what I like to do to people and have done to me (who is, really, past hs or so?). A lot of times I watch movies where they're portraying making out or sex in a sexy or romantic way, and I just think 'wow, that looks lame'. I think I have way more fun.

But when I've been with someone for more than a couple of weeks, things get more routine... and less comfortable, for some reason. Maybe the mood swing thing that I mentioned in another post plays a role -I go through stretches of a few days where I'm not particularly happy or enthusiastic and I don't want to put effort into things or be very social. Also I just usually find routine kind of boring, so naturally I worry some about other people finding me boring to spend time around as well. Also, like I've hinted at before, it feels kind of icky/embarassing for me to be seeing someone a lot in a day-to-day way out in public and be friendly, and also to have an ongoing sexual relationship with them; I realize that sounds wrong.

As far as the unbalanced relationship thing and you feeling ooky about it: I'm not quite sure what to say. I find following someone else's lead to be a huge turn-on in it's own way. I'm okay with things being more equal, but it's not necessarily what I prefer. I don't know why. That's just the way it works.

[ 10-01-2006, 02:26 PM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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Heather
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quote:
I go through stretches of a few days where I'm not particularly happy or enthusiastic and I don't want to put effort into things or be very social. Also I just usually find routine kind of boring, so naturally I worry some about other people finding me boring to spend time around as well. Also, like I've hinted at before, it feels kind of icky/embarassing for me to be seeing someone a lot in a day-to-day way out in public and be friendly, and also to have an ongoing sexual relationship with them; I realize that sounds wrong.
I have to shove off for the day, so I can't touch on all of this, but I wanted to touch on the above.

That doesn't sound "wrong," to me (save that again, I'd presume the problem with confort with an ongoing sexual relationship is likely a fear of intimacy/vulnerability fear issue). Rather, it sounds like perhaps the relationships you have been in just haven't been in harmony with your nature/character and your wants and needs. Because again, there are ALL kinds of relationships and all kinds of people to have them with. There are plenty of people -- whether what you want is casual, committed or anything in between -- where all of those needs can be met, because there are other people who want plenty of alone time, who need spontaneity, and who don't want to see each other every day, so their needs and yours match. For instance, you said you had a good time with this traveling musucian, who you think you want to see again next time he passes through town: and maybe, something like that, with someone you know you dig, is the right thing for you and a way to meet those needs. Who knows.

Which isn't to say you flick your wrist and SHAZAM! There they are. It's pretty typical for any of us, no matter our very individual needs and wants, to have to do a lot of dating, trying-on, trial-and-error, what have you before we connect with the people with whom we really mesh.

(Of course, when we can't or don't communicate those wants and needs, it tends to take a lot longer for that to happen.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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kitka
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creativity. ... I think part of the excitement was just to see what they'd do.

One of the ways to retain that feeling of interest and suspense is to flat out ask for experimentation. (The caveat being once you establish yourself in some variety of sexual relationship).

I find following someone else's lead to be a huge turn-on in it's own way.

I think Heather meant something rather different from what you're interpreting. An imbalance of power and an imbalance of experience can be two radically divergent things.

Following someone's lead isn't inherently bad. Following that lead without ever taking the initiative on your own means that you don't have any self-leadership in whatever activity you're engaged in. Passivity works for some people in some situations; but constant passivity and an overeager willingness to please - those are hallmarks of sexual performance.

An unbalanced relationship - one in which someone can't honestly or actively communicate their interests or reservations - pretty much automatically gives the upper hand to the other person. The uncommunicative partner might not realize what's going on, or not feel ill at ease.
At the moment, they might feel perfectly fine.

Is that any less of a reason not to have equality in a sexual relationship?

How would you define "equality" in a sexual relationship? You say you don't necessarily prefer "things being more equal." Equal in terms of what?

I knew it, he was interpreting me not grabbing him as a lack of enthusiasm

What else would he interpret it to be?
You're telegraphing mixed signals to your partners. They pick up on that, but you're not readily able to communicate (much of anything substantial) to them about your interests. So they're on the bounce rather than dealing with the repercussions of continuing sexual activity with a girl who looks nervous.

Have you tried telling a partner up front that you feel nervous, that you're worried about your inexperience? If you can't, you might keep running up against the same obstacles. If a potential partner senses that you're nervous but he's under the assumption that you're relatively experienced (as you haven't told him to the contrary), your nervousness provokes a flight response in him. The crux of the thing here is that being able to communicate your interests and potential detractors goes a long way toward making sure that the sex you have isn't of the "lowest common denominator".

[ 10-01-2006, 05:45 PM: Message edited by: kitka ]

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quote:
What else would he interpret it to be?
You're telegraphing mixed signals to your partners.

Thank you. Yes. I'm aware of that. Thus the worrying and the feeling I need to figure out a better way to do things.

quote:
Have you tried telling a partner up front that you feel nervous, that you're worried about your inexperience?
I've used it as an excuse to break off a situation where I wasn't attracted to the other person anymore. I've considered saying it in other circumstances. But how do you /do/ that in such a way that it won't freak the other person out? As I said above, I feel like that's putting a lot of pressure on the other person. If you're pretty assertive and go after people you like and aren't eager to please and your speech shows you know a lot about sex, people assume you're experienced. If you say otherwise, something doesn't add up. At least that is my fear. Especially if you want to have types of sex w/ people you have known for a few days or less, I do not know how you say that you are inexperienced w/o it weirding them out. As I'm sure you're aware, there is this false assumption in culture that if you're a girl your virginity is a big deal to you, your first time should be special, and that you'll become strongly attached to whoever you sleep with. I feel like people making these assumptions about me creates an imbalance in power. (Thus I feel the way to go might just be to be increasingly bold about asking people what they like and expecting things to go a bit awkwardly for awhile, w/o getting into the whole "I'm inexperienced" mess.) But if you can give me some good words that would both be honest and stand a good chance of not making anyone too uncomfortable, maybe I could use them.

quote:
One of the ways to retain that feeling of interest and suspense is to flat out ask for experimentation.
I suppose. But it's not the same, and it's not just that. I think I. just. don't. like. being around people too much for too long. Or at least, I have not met a person who also likes me who I can stand that with. I get embarassed/uncomfortable, I get bored, or both. The negatives have outweighed the positives.

quote:
How would you define "equality" in a sexual relationship?
Hmm... I dunno. Equal giving and receiving? Equally open communication? Equal decision-making? So what do I mean by not necessarily preferring equality? I know if I could have things be anyway I wanted, I prefer receiving to giving. Like I've said before, I'm selfish. Also, if I feel like someone wouldn't hurt me no matter what, and would respect me if I said to stop, I kind of like it when someone pushes at my boundaries, is kind of coercive: A) I just think it's kind of /sexy/, emotions aside, it makes me more directly aware that a person wants me and B) it helps me enjoy myself, b/c I'm not fighting my inhibitions. Perhaps laziest of all, I enjoy the sensation of not having to think, just enjoy physical sensations. It's so out of character for me too, cuz, you know, I'm an uber-control-freak in day-to-day life.

quote:
the sex you have isn't of the "lowest common denominator"
Maybe I wouldn't know any better, but I just don't feel like there's been any chance of that so far. Maybe it's b/c I'm attracted to sensitive, artsy guys.

Look, like I said, I'm not going to extreme lengths to avoid a LTR. If someone liked me and I actually stayed attracted to them for more than a couple of weeks -well, if the shoe fits... But I just think I've got some other inclinations. Yeah, I think seeing the musician again might be really cool, if he was still interested in me.

[ 10-01-2006, 09:41 PM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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kitka
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Yes. I'm aware of that.

Ok - that's good to know.

But how do you /do/ that in such a way that it won't freak the other person out?

"Just so you know, it's not like I've had a lot of practice with this." You could say any number of semi-lighthearted things.

But don't be surprised if, at some point, due to whatever residual nervousness you might have, your potential partner will realize that you're relatively inexperienced with some sexual acts.

The negatives have outweighed the positives.
In that case, if you get bored with people easily, then let them know up front that you're not going to make them any guarantees about how long you plan to stick around.

Maybe it's b/c I'm attracted to sensitive, artsy guys.

I think this is pretty assumptive... them being "sensitive" or "artsy" doesn't preclude them being low-quality sexual parters.

I get that you have a different mindset about things - and that you choose to interact with people on a distant, maybe caustic, level.

Ok, on to the stuff that's getting to me.

As I said above, I feel like that's putting a lot of pressure on the other person.

Again, you're subsuming (what should be) your individual interests to someone else's. Beyond that fact, like it or not, that other person may figure out that you haven't had intercourse before, whether it's through your body language or the fact that, to put it bluntly, penetration isn't so easy for you the first time around.
Regardless of what you say or how confident you act, your body may out you.

Secondly. Just as there's a stigma of virginity that puts abnormal pressure on women (and you've identified it in a sort of reversed way), there's a stigma on men too.

There are a lot of men - not all, but many - men who DO believe that a girl who's a virgin needs to be treated in a circumspect way, for a number of reasons. They don't want to be the one "responsible" for causing her physical pain or regret. They'd rather not deal with the aftermath of an anxious girl who might be feeling confused or awkward. If she's not too reponsive during sex, they might feel pressure to "perform."

Most girls (especially those who aren't blitzed on half a bottle of Captain Morgan) remember their first time. A guy who defines himself partially by his masculinity and sexuality (and that accounts for the vast majority of heterosexual men) will not necessarily want to think to himself, "She's going to think I sucked in the sack because she didn't have a spectacular time. What is that gonna do to my reputation? Why did I have sex with her when I could have had a great time with a chick who's really experienced?"

If he cares about said girl, he's probably going to worry about her feelings.

A lot of us - women and men - remember our initial sexual experiences pretty vividly. I could describe my experience in painstaking detail. I didn't consciously commit that to memory, but I don't think I could forget about it if I wanted to. I can't explain the psychology behind it, but it holds true for many people. That tends to put a burden on a guy.

if you're a girl your virginity is a big deal to you, your first time should be special, and that you'll become strongly attached to whoever you sleep with

You're right that these all are culturally predetermined ideas that have a disproportionate influence. They've been used as weapons by portions of US society for a long time. Whether you incorporate them into your sex life is up to you. Are these ideas faulty? I'd say no, that in some ways they help people select decent partners.

Hmm... I dunno. Equal giving and receiving? Equally open communication? Equal decision-making?

Thing is, do you really know what these things are? It doesn't seem like the idea of equality matters much to you, since you've suggested that you'd be willing to undertake a lopsided relationship that puts you or another person at a disadvantage.

I kind of like it when someone pushes at my boundaries, is kind of coercive: A) I just think it's kind of /sexy/, emotions aside, it makes me more directly aware that a person wants me and B) it helps me enjoy myself, b/c I'm not fighting my inhibitions.

I can think of two reasons why Heather didn't respond to this particular post. Either she's really busy. Or it's because she felt that this comment would make her go BESERK and she decided not to answer it.

Sub-dom relationships - or any relationship where someone pushes at you and you don't push back, in the sexual sense - are not actively coercive. They're an agreement in which the sub tells the dom, I am submitting to you willingly. You are not coercing me.

Coercion is force, ok? It isn't "kind of." It's an absolute, no matter how you might see it.

A lot of people like giving up control to their partner. But they know for a fact that their boundaries will not be crossed. How do they know that? Because they communicate it long before any situation starts where they might be submissive. Don't keep running all these ideas together. They are not one and the same.

I'm done with that. Moving along briskly...

I feel like people making these assumptions about me creates an imbalance in power.

Yeah, but you'd be the one in power because the other person would be damn sure to be careful about how he treated you, if he cared about your interests at all.

My intention here is not to be cynical or discourteous. I can tell that you think you are tough. Maybe you are. My part time job in a couple of years will involve killing people and getting shot at. As tough as I am, after I entered into a sexual relationship, I was hit by a lot of stuff that I couldn't fully control or even comprehend. Thus, my intention is to help you see the possible fallacies of continuing to think the way you are right now.

If you want to keep discussing this to try to hammer out what you want to do or how to go about it, it's fine with me, k?

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000
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quote:
But don't be surprised if, at some point, due to whatever residual nervousness you might have, your potential partner will realize that you're relatively inexperienced with some sexual acts.
Well, I was actually hoping that would be the case once. Which is why I didn't tell the first guy I ever dated. But I'm still not sure if he "got it" on his own. Near the end of things I told him in a casual way like you suggested above, but he didn't change his behavior (which was, specifically, asking for oral sex when I'd told him no), and I broke up w/ him.
quote:
Yeah, but you'd be the one in power because the other person would be damn sure to be careful about how he treated you, if he cared about your interests at all.
But I wouldn't feel in power. I can't stand being treated like I'm fragile. I don't play that role well, plus I'd probably feel condescended to. I wouldn't feel in equal power if someone was responding to this /idea/ of what I was supposed to be, instead of what I actually am.
quote:
to put it bluntly, penetration isn't so easy for you the first time around.
Maybe you're right. I don't know for sure. But I have played with penetration a fair amount (things the size of a penis or bigger), and I've heard of girls who for the first time intercourse didn't feel like that big of a deal b/c of things they'd done before. So I just don't know what to expect.
quote:
A lot of people like giving up control to their partner. But they know for a fact that their boundaries will not be crossed. How do they know that? Because they communicate it long before any situation starts where they might be submissive. Don't keep running all these ideas together. They are not one and the same.
I didn't say what I gave as example of an unequal partnership was sane or safe, or something I would really go for intentionally for the very reason I /don't/ think it's terribly safe, I was just expressing what I felt.
quote:
A guy who defines himself partially by his masculinity and sexuality (and that accounts for the vast majority of heterosexual men) will not necessarily want to think to himself, "She's going to think I sucked in the sack because she didn't have a spectacular time. What is that gonna do to my reputation? Why did I have sex with her when I could have had a great time with a chick who's really experienced?"
I understand this part too. That's the part I really want to avoid, and I don't know how I could communicate openly and honestly in a way that would help those thoughts -maybe I couldn't.
quote:
A lot of us - women and men - remember our initial sexual experiences pretty vividly.
Thing is, I don't know /exactly/ what you mean by that. Because for me, first kiss w/ tongue, first manual, first oral, okay were all /fun/ experiences, but were not something I attached a great deal of meaning to. So I don't know if you're talking about just intercourse here, or if I'm just different.
quote:
I think this is pretty assumptive... them being "sensitive" or "artsy" doesn't preclude them being low-quality sexual parters.
I wasn't saying it precluded them from being low-quality partners. All I meant is I've had a lot of fun with my partners so far. I've heard girls complain about guys who weren't very good at foreplay -who were focused just on certain parts of their body, who did things that didn't feel good, who wanted to rush them on to other things, and I haven't experienced /any/ of these problems. So I don't know if I've picked "good partners," or if what I've heard girls describe in terms of bad have been extreme cases.

[ 10-02-2006, 10:16 PM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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kitka
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(which was, specifically, asking for oral sex when I'd told him no), and I broke up w/ him.[/QB}

I'm glad to know that you can enforce boundaries - it's not clear from your earlier posts.

If a guy realizes you're not that experienced and keeps at it, get out. Most decent guys will either take things slow of their own voilition or wait for you to say something.

[QB]I wouldn't feel in equal power if someone was responding to this /idea/ of what I was supposed to be, instead of what I actually am.


It's not right that women have to be subjected to patriarchial ideas that proport to "protect" us while they're actually often used as justifications to take away and limit our agency. But unfortunately, this kind of behavior isn't going to change any time soon.
We can respond to it as feminists and try to educate women (and men) about the dangers of these assumptions...

and in your case, as you, you've got to convince yourself that you have as much power as your partner. In the long run, it's his deal if he wants to think you're fragile. If he knows you well, he won't be so disillusioned.

re: penetration, a lot of girls do the same thing in terms of experimentation. Sometimes that helps lessen the discomfort, sometimes it doesn't. It shouldn't be agonizingly painful, by any means. Patience and a lot of arousal and lube will substantially lessen the amount of discomfort you feel.

I was just expressing what I felt.
ok - make sure you're that specific when you wind up in that kind of sexual situtuation. It's easy for other people to misconstrue things, especially when they're not concentrating on thinking logically (and rather, having sex).

You're right in terms of "maybe I couldn't."
You can't say or do anything that will really help to determine what someone else will think, or even change the trajectory of what they're thinking.

More importantly, it's not your place to worry about how you can keep your partner from thinking chavaunistically. (That kind of thought process that I described is fairly common to a lot of young guys, especially those who are concerned with their reputation at your expense. If it turns out that he's concerned about his reputation, then obviously he's not worth the effort.

You need to be concerned with you first and foremost.

Let the guy (we've established that, I think) know that you haven't been doing sexual stuff for a long time. If you're into him, you shouldn't have a problem being an active sexual partner. If he's a good guy, he should be acting in ways that reassure you so that you feel more confident, and in turn he'll feel confident that you aren't putting him on.

Again, once you know a person well, you should be fairly certain of the wholesomeness of their character. Of course you know that nothing's guaranteed. Still, if you're adept at this sort of thing, you can suss out somebody's personality pretty well.

If you're trying to avoid awkwardness, then I'll tell you flat out, it's not going to work until you get to a stage where you're really comfortable with somebody.

And for whatever reason, it seems like you have trouble getting comfortable. You said that a guy reassured you verbally but that made you more nervous. If that's the case, then... you're faced with having to deal with that. Would you rather he not reassure you? Could you say something like "I know you mean well, but verbal reassurance makes me even more nervous. Weird, huh?"

What kind of cliches was he using anyway?

More on this tomorrow if you like - I'm out for the night.

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000
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Well, I have to tell you some things are still a little complicated from my point-of-view.

I'll start off easy:
quote:
I'm glad to know that you can enforce boundaries - it's not clear from your earlier posts.
Yeah, although a lot of times I don't have a clear feel for where my boundaries are, like I said above communicating negatives is not so much a problem. I can also be wicked sarcastic, or mean when I feel vulnerable, w/ too little difficulty.
quote:
That kind of thought process that I described is fairly common to a lot of young guys, especially those who are concerned with their reputation at your expense.
I'm not even worried so much about guys worrying about their reputation. I'm also worried about guys thinking I'm look for an obligation from them, or thinking I "deserve" someone who will "care for me" for some time after we do something. B/c that's just not how I feel. Having a fairly positive experience with someone I may never be intimate with on a regular basis, or ever again, feels like a good deal to me. I'm not sure quite what you mean by "young guys" of course. Not since 10th grade has someone less than 5 yrs older asked me out -I'm assuming 25ish still counts as young, though...
quote:
If you're into him, you shouldn't have a problem being an active sexual partner.
Okay. Well, I'm not convinced this is true. The guy who has come to be known as "the musician" (how's that for objectifying? ;P) I was very attracted to. And to a certain extent I can see what you're saying, b/c it was kind of like hands all over. We got into some crazy positions that never felt awkward; at one point I realized I was kind of pulling his (beautiful) hair and I was like "okay... not really sure how that happened..." Everything felt really good. /But/ the male, ah-hem, "groin area" still gives me major pause. No matter that I've been there before, and those times weren't nearly as bad as my enigmatic dread would have predicted. For some reason, the idea of intercourse does not carry the same "ick" factor to me that doing manual or oral to a guy does. Of course that degree of ick is lessened the more attracted I am to a guy, but it's still a hinderance. I have a hard time imagining that feeling different just b/c I felt especially friendly towards someone; I do feel purely more time and experience would help normalize the ideas and sensations for me. (Some people might suggest that maybe I'm gay -but I kind of think that'd be oversimplifying, seeing as I'm attracted to guys overall.)
quote:
And for whatever reason, it seems like you have trouble getting comfortable.
This /is/ true. But it's only part of the big picture. I /also/ seem to have trouble meeting many people where there's a /potential/ for a relationship. Sometimes I go after acquaintences, or friends, and usually they're not interested. People who show interest in me are often not people I feel an attraction for. Meanwhile, party/hookup scenes are /so available/ -granted they include people I don't go to school with. I meet people in those scenes that I have an attraction for. It's been over a year since my last dating/committed type relationship -I didn't /think/ I would go that long w/o another one when I ended it. I have no idea when I'll have a chance to have a committed relationship w/ someone I'm attracted to, and it's only after that point that I have to seriously worry about the emotional intimacy issues.

So from my perspective I have two options: I could be celibate for who knows how many months until that mysterious and hypothetical person appropriate for a committed, emotional-type relationship comes along, /or/ I could keep experimenting w/ people I don't know quite so well, but who don't make me terribly uncomfortable, nonetheless...
quote:
What kind of cliches was he using anyway?
Wanna know the details, huh? Well, I'll start with the less-offensive things, to give it some context. We were fooling around naked, and at one point I was trying to give him manual. He started by just trying to give me verbal instructions, like "more energy" and adjusting my hand a little bit. "That works." When we were doing other things like just making out, he would be like "you're fun" and he kissed me and said "yum" (which given the generally slightly-wacky nature of his personality, didn't seem that out of character). All these things set my teeth on edge, but when he said "you turn me on" I kind of wanted to hit him. Does this sound strange? I /knew/ he was talking to try and get me to be more comfortable, and the result was that my libido just crashed like that *snap*.

[ 10-03-2006, 02:22 AM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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kitka
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Ok. Look. If you want to do things that make you feel uncomfortable at some level, that's your deal.

It doesn't make sense for us (Heather, me, September, faifai) to keep going around these issues with you if you don't want to make other choices.

If a guy says you turn him on and you honestly want to be there with him, it shouldn't be any kind of deal breaker. I think you're at the point where you need to figure these things out on your own for a bit. If you don't want to wait for a committed relationship and go for something else, then by all means.

For the time being I'm gonna cut my part of this conversation short.

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-Lauren-
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Additionally, iheartdc, it might be wise for you to consider some counselling or therapy, especially taking into account the other issues you find yourself facing. Is this an option?

I really don't know how anyone here can help you process your thoughts any further; sort of out of our arena of expertise. Just say the word and we can help you find resources in your area, okay?

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000
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well, I am kind of seeing the school's (free) counselor once a week now. more for family stuff now. I guess personal sexual problems are a little harder to talk about w/ anyone but my best friends, but maybe I could find a way to weave it in there. Even still, counselling has really helped me understand things but not helped all that much with enabling me to make a big difference in how interactions with others seem to go. I don't know if maybe you have to do counselling for a long time before you see much of an effect, or what... It just seems really unfair that the way you were raised has such an affect on your actions and how you relate to people, even when you can use logic to refute things you were told and to want to do other things.
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000
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"Your girlfriend actually sounds quite a bit like me with my boyfriend when we first began experimenting with sex, back in high school. I was rather afraid of touching his penis, wasn't particularly fond of the look of it either... but it really did help when he literally sat me down and showed me what he does to himself that feels good. He literally took my hand, put it on himself in the position that feels best, and guided me through the whole experience. And boy was it a good feeling when I finally finished the deal all by myself after a few more attempts!

But you know, it might help to keep in mind that learning sex skills are just like learning skills for anything else... practise makes perfect!"

This is a quote by leabug, a new user, in another forum. I think it belongs here well, b/c it sort of reinforces the way I feel about things. Some people may be lucky enough to be comfortable w/ sex before and during when they first do it, but I think there are plenty of people out there for whom practice over time enables their comfort. So, while the advice to not do anything you are uncomfortable with may be safest, I'm not sure if it's the most practical. I guess I think good advice might be more nuanced -I think you should only do things you /want/ to do and things that are safe, but not necessarily only things you are completely comfortable with.

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