Laugh it up!

I have been thinking about having sex with my boyfriend, and we both have talked and know that we feel ready for it. However, when I think about during the first time; I laugh. I mean not laughing at him; but because of the inexperience of it all, and the adrenaline rush. Of course, I will tell him its not him, but the situation. I don't want to laugh during sex, but it is something that I can't help but so see myself doing. I should suppress laughing, of course. But it is kind of apart of my playful personality, but the last thing I would want to do is offend my boyfriend. Laughing is relaxing right? But still is it bad of me to laugh?
Heather Corinna replies:

It's not bad at ALL to have laughter be part of your sex life: it's ideal.

Laughter is an expression of joy, after all, and ideally, sex should be an expression of joy, too. Nervous laughter is also okay: sex with a partner can make us feel anxious, nervous, or highly excited and it's normal for people to laugh or giggle when they feel that way. Since human sexuality is supposed to be just that -- human -- normal human expressions of feeling should never be taboo in our sex lives. And you're right: laughter does help us to relax: it alleviates stress, and laughing with someone else also relaxes our social dynamic.

If partnered sex was like going to church or a lecture, it'd get pretty old pretty quick (and it tends to for people whose sexual dynamics are like that), and it also wouldn't engage us very much. The idea that we need to be so, so serious during sex also stands pretty darn counter to the fact that sex is supposed to be pleasurable and enjoyable, and one way partners play together. Personally, if I had a sex life without any laughter in it, I'd be really disappointed and feel pretty robbed. Laughter is one of the things that makes sex fun and so feel-good.

As well, if during partnered sex, we're focusing on suppressing our emotions or ourselves, then we're likely to miss out on a very big part of sex with someone else, which is sharing and exploring all of those feelings and what we're experiencing together, and showing a partner ourselves in a deeper way. You say you're a playful person: if that's a big part of your personality, one would presume it's something someone who is your partner enjoys about you, and expects to see in interactions with you. Sex is one kind of personal, creative expression -- like dance, like painting, like talking. If you can't be yourself during sex with someone else, it becomes performance instead of expression, and that's a pretty big bummer, for you but also for your partners who probably want to be having sex with you not a character you're acting or only this or that part of yourself. That isn't to say that you are only playful, or that there won't be times when sex with someone doesn't have a different flavor for you: plenty of times, you may not feel like laughing, nor might your partner, just because that's not the mood of that say or that particular sexual experience. But it is to say that if you're playful in other aspects of your life and relationship, it'd be unrealistic for a partner who knows you not to expect to see that during sex with you, too.

There are also a lot of reasons a person might laugh during sex, beyond the ones you already mentioned. For instance, our bodies tend to get very sensitive when they're aroused, so we can be more ticklish than usual. After orgasm, our genitals often get CRAZY sensitive, so laughing when a partner continues to touch a clitoris or penis after orgasm happens all the time. We might even laugh when we orgasm just because it's such a rush. Too, often enough, any one partner will do something that seems sexy, but which another might find silly. Let's also not forget that not all of us are perfectly graceful all of the time: sometimes, sex has moments that are far more slapstick than sexy, and I dare anyone not to bust out and laugh when one partner winds up falling off of the bed, farting, sticking a toe up their nose instead of into their mouth by accident or saying "Oh, cod!" when they meant to say "Oh god!" Often, until a person has had a few sexual experiences or relationships, they can't picture how much laughter and playfulness is OFTEN a part of sex: sex is so often framed in our culture so strangely, as if it's more like brain surgery than a pillowfight, and that has less to do with the reality of sex and more to do with cultural sexual repression, fears about sex and sexual politics.

Any person ready for sex with someone else is going to need to have some decent measure of security in themselves and trust with that other person. We're all usually pretty vulnerable during any kind of partnered sex, so sex isn't a great place for the hypersensitive, or for someone who doesn't feel pretty comfortable with themselves and with their partners.

We do need to be sensitive with partners, but if we have to carefully think about every single way we respond, every single thing that might come out of our mouths during sex, or any given thing we might try for fear of offending our partners, chances are that they either need to get more secure in themselves before having sex with someone, or that there's not the healthiest dynamic in our relationship. When someone isn't dangerously insecure, and when your relationship is healthy and happy -- and a partner knows full well we care for them and are into them -- there should be some things we can take for granted without having to have an explanation for all of them, or needing to assure a partner incessantly that we're not ridiculing them. Being able to laugh when we feel like laughing and it's not wildly inappropriate -- like, say, while your partner is at their parent's funeral speaking about them with heavy grief -- is absolutely one of those things.

By all means, in taking about moving forward in your sexual relationship, there's no reason not to talk about laughter and share reassurances if one or both of you need them, or if you feel like you need to talk about it in advance in order to feel comfortable expressing yourself (and the same goes for him: after all, he'll probably have times where he feels like laughing, too!).

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