When you go out to a restaurant, you go with people or alone. You know what your food allergies are if you have any, and most certainly what you like to eat! You would not order steak tartare if you like your steak well done, without even a suggestion of blood. Why is it any different when it comes to sex? If you know that you don’t like certain activities — or are pretty sure that you will not like them — you do not have to try them.
This summer I went to three sex conferences, as an editor and writer of erotica. One theme explored in depth by Dr. Zhana Vrangalova during her Sexual Health Expo session resonated with me. “There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sex,” she said. “Not everything will work for everyone, nor should it. The only way to have healthy and fulfilling sex lives is to examine and acknowledge your needs, desires, and values, then live in concordance with them. And if that means being asexual and not having sex with anyone ever, that is sex positive too,” she explained — and that really stuck with me.
I read this piece by Ann St. Vincent, whose blog I love, on a sexual milestone that she would add to her sexual bucket list if she had one—and she is glad that she does not by the way. “I don’t have a sex bucket list. I actually find the notion to be limiting rather than freeing,” Ann begins her post, articulating exactly what I want to articulate.
Sex positivity is being positive about sex, however that manifests. The “your kink is not my kink, but I respect it” mantra is widely accepted, but what if you do not have a kink? What if you like it positively vanilla, without a even a sprinkle? Or not at all?
Another piece by Tamsin Flowers about being a food slut has a very particular semifreddo that was brilliant. She rhapsodized about food-gasms. I have always believed that the desires for sex and food are parallel. What I liked best about her post was that she stated that chocolate did not give her a food-gasm, allowing that many people (including myself) have had that experience — there is even science behind it! But the food-gasms that she did detail (including with truffles) were spectacular. They were her preferences, and they got intense responses from her. I almost had a food-gasm from reading her post!
I think sex should be addressed in the same way.
Part of the issue is that sex is social. Before you have sex, it is an obsession—how far did you go? After you have sex, it becomes about pushing your limits, and that depends on your peer group. If you are in a sex positive group like I am, the sky is the limit! With a partner it gets complicated, because you want to make your partner happy. At the height of arousal you might do something that after you might not think was the best idea. Or you could be talked into it, you could be under the influence — there are so many factors that determine why you engage in the sexual activities you do.
Sex is trendy, it is everywhere all the time. Hearing people talk about something that you are not interested in, you might feel left out if you do not consider doing it. Especially if you see it reinforced in the media. But authenticity as Dr. Zhana advocates is really important.
When writer Abbi Rode confessed to not liking vibrators, and it was the first time that I had read something that celebrated what someone did not like contrary to popular opinion. Abbi even jokes that she is not going to get certain sponsors, because she does name particular products.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that it is fine to come out of your sexual box and try new things. But maybe coming out of your comfort zone is simply to try a new position, and not try out the new E-Stim trend. Your sexual enjoyment should be your decision, you should try or not try what you want to. The factors vary, but the common denominator in your sexual encounters is you. You decide what gets you off…
Image: Louise Moillon. “Still Life With Peaches On A Ledge.”