How to: Talk About Sex

Hey!  HEY YOU GUYS!  So remember that one time I wrote about kinks, and about how some people give crappy advice to people when they come up?

My girlfriend and I went out to eat the other day, and I picked up a copy of The Onion.  In the back, they run Dan Savage’s column, Savage Love, and  as I was reading this particular issue, I noticed that people seem to 1. have a disturbing love for this book, 50 Shades of Grey, and 2. apparently have no idea how to talk to partners about sex.  Savage’s response to one of these women actually made me pretty annoyed, and almost angry.

And then, as if things could not get any more timely, a close friend of mine said that he and his partner were having some issues in the bedroom.  I did the, “Well, did you talk about it?” line of questions, and he kept balking, talking about how he did not want to hurt his partner’s feelings, how he didn’t want to cause trouble in the relationship, blah blah et cetera.

Talking about sex is a lot like talking about kinks.  The biggest difference is that usually, sex is not quite so shame-ridden as kinks can be.  There’s a larger number of people having sex in general, versus however many people might share a kink.  With a difference in numbers and with “everybody doing it”, you’d think it would be a hell of a lot easier to talk to one’s partner about sexytimes, right?

Well…. No.  It’s not.  And it’s not easy because of the reasons my friend brought up.  Hurting someone’s feelings probably is going to make you less likely to get sex from them, at least in the immediate future.  This isn’t necessarily a fact, but if you make someone feel bad, like, say, where sexual prowess is concerned, it doesn’t seem likely that that person will turn around and go, “Okay well how about we fix that RIGHT NOW?!” (however if you do have a partner like that, you have won at life)

Telling someone they’re not doing sex with you right is really difficult.  There isn’t a way to sugarcoat it, but there are a few ways to make it less awful for everyone.  You can always go with the direct approach.  Being as straightforward as possible and saying, “Look, this is something I have noticed in the bedroom and here is how I want it to change, can we work something out?” leaves practically no room for losing.  A similar way of getting your point across is by, in the heat of the moment, saying something like, “Hey, you know what would be hot?  If we ___________”, and then you let them know what you want.  This works especially well if it’s asking for a tweak in a sexy routine, e.g. who gets to be on top?

Another thing that works pretty well is a nonverbal approach.  If it’s a matter of one partner not getting off (and this being a problem), take some more direct control, if you know what I’m saying.  Move the other person’s hand to where you want it, and see where things go.  If they don’t go the way you want, either try again or talk it out.

Now, these tactics are all contingent on one thing – your partner agreeing with your suggested change.  If this does not happen, then a few things need to happen: you have to figure out how important this change is to you, you have to be absolutely certain your partner understands this is an important thing, and/or you have to start reconsidering your relationship with this person.

But wait – why did I bring up Dan Savage?  Because his advice sucked.  And why did his advice suck?  Because, if you go and read the third letter of the link above, he suggested that a 43-year-old housewife use a time machine to solve her problems.  I know this has a little more to do with kinks and fetishes, but a lot of Savage’s advice to women seems to be to DTMFA (dump the motherfucker already), especially if they are writing to him about their sex lives.

This is kind of unacceptable.  It’s funny that he has no problem talking to some cops about semi-public (male) masturbation, but when a woman wants some advice on bringing her husband into her experiment with BDSM, he dropped the ball.  The answer is not to go back in time and not dump the weird kinky guy she may or may not have dated twenty years ago.  The answer is to talk it out.  Bring up reasons she wants to try it.  Say things about how hot BDSM might be, give the husband an out and say, “Let’s just try it a couple of times and see if we like it.”

The one thing I want you all to take away from this is to not be afraid.  The absolute worst-case scenario of getting dumped because you want to improve your sex life with that person probably will turn out to not be a worst-case scenario.  And who knows?  Your partner might even surprise you, agree, or say, “I’m SO glad you brought this up!  I was wondering about this!”

Don’t be afraid to talk about sex!!!!


Soapbox: Gay Marriage Edition

Alright, so in case you have been living under a rock lately, you have probably heard that Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama have both publicly voiced support for same-sex marriage.  After that, Jay-Z and even the NAACP have endorsed marriage equality.

I bet even he’s heard, though.

After all that has happened and all that is being said, I have some feelings about it.  How could I not?  It’s a big deal.  It’s a massively huge ridiculously big deal, to be more precise.  And it effects my life in a very direct way.  So if you don’t want to read about my feelings and issues with all that’s going on, I advise you to stop now.

A lot of friends of mine on Facebook posted links to the video of President Obama describing how he came to this new attitude toward gay marriage, explaining this evolution of sorts.  Unfortunately while his words were really heartwarming and it was awesome to hear the President of the United States, while in office, say outright that he wants to allow folks like me and some of my best friends to marry our partners…. I didn’t feel it.

I know.  I know.  I feel like such a terrible American!  How could I, noisy obnoxiously gay lady that I am, not be celebrating with glitter, rainbows, and unicorns like the rest of the population that is okay with gay marriage?

It’s a combination of things.  First, it has brought out some of the worst in people.  Some people that were very vehemently opposed to gay marriage have gotten even worse.  North Carolina passed its stupid Amendment One, which bans everything except marriage between a man and a woman.  What’s tragic and stupid about this, in my mind, is that gay marriage was already illegal in North Carolina.  This just added that into the constitution of the state, while also dumping on straight couples who wouldn’t really go for a traditional marriage.

By making this announcement prior to the November election, the President has potentially pushed away voters that like progressive things but not gay marriage.  I’m just really, really nervous about this.  I think that it’s all going to be okay, given that the other presidential candidate is big jerk bully Mitt Romney.  Speaking of which, have you read about some of the crap this guy has done?  Seriously, what a d-bag.

Perhaps what is worst about this is people like this pastor.  I know he’s probably voicing a minority opinion here, and I know that he’s only got like three people agreeing with him on that video… But it hurts.  I don’t like the vaguest notion of locking up any group of people, let alone a group of people to which I belong.  It makes my skin crawl and my stomach cramp to know that there’s a a guy like this saying things like that, and to know that there are some humans who will actually listen.  Pro tip: If you want to not be considered an asshole, don’t suggest rounding up and jailing all the “queers”.

None of this, though instills in me the need to fight, to push, I don’t have this feeling like I am actually supported or that marriage equality is actually supported by my President.  They’re just words.  I do not mean to belittle what is a large step forward – that would be naive and unfair.  I don’t think this is a moment to celebrate.  Instead of cracking some champagne and enjoying this moment – undoubtedly a big moment, at that – I find myself becoming more the angry lesbian caricature.  I guess it’s in part because I felt shortchanged after the 2008 election and the Prop 8 insanity that happened is happening in California, but also in part because there were some people who straight-up (no pun intended) told me that I should be glad this first step was taken.  There were a few comments that had the, “Isn’t this good enough for you” tone, and I resent that.  It did nothing to make me agree and be happy.  It felt condescending and super straight-privilege-y.  Needless to say, I’m not a fan.

If I could give you one bit of advice, in all this ranting I’ve done, it’s this: don’t tell people that this is good enough.  Don’t tell people that they can stop asking for it because a man in an office said some pretty words.  Instead, look for a local chapter of PFLAG or GLSEN, make an It Gets Better video, just don’t make empty promises.

Something less depressing will probably be in the next post.


Moving Update

Well hello there!  Remember how I was moving?  Well, I moved.  I’m actually technically not done moving, but that’s really just how I work.

All in all things went better than expected, but due to crap planning on my part we slept on the floor the first night.  Not so comfy.  The next day I went out and bought a queen mattress, and there have been vast improvements in a lot of departments.

I am also now the proud mother of ridiculously fast internet, which I’m pretty sure is totally worth it.  It’s so nice to be able to cruise Tumblr and have all those .gif images loaded and moving properly!

All this aside, I’m really happy.  I’m actually a lot happier than I thought I could be, given that my girlfriend and I have been together so long and we know each other… I didn’t expect this weird feeling of relief mixed with utter elation.  Plus it’s awesome – I can walk to my gym, or tell people I have to get back to my apartment instead of my parents’ house. It’s basically like I’m a real adult!

We’re also down the block from some AWESOME bars.  Hellooooo alcohol consumption!

My advice to you, if you’re on the fence about moving in with a long-term significant other, is to freaking do it.  And then go buy a big mattress.  You’ll thank me, really.

Apart from all of the above, I’ve got some great stuff planned for you guys later on this week – another awesome list, and then some other things.  WOO.