Communication, Partners, and Sex

One of the consequences of being so open about my sexual interests and views is that Facebook friends (most of whom I’ve never met) will message me with their thoughts and concerns. It doesn’t happen a whole lot, maybe once a month or so, but I’m always happy when it does. The subjects range from STI’s to fantasies to sexual orientation to pregnancy, and I always do my best to provide honest and open responses about the subjects. I guess I’m a “sex educator” in some ways.

The most common fantasy question that I’m approached with is a male-on-male interaction (one of the major taboos in our current culture, even in the swinger scene). Most of the men who open up to me about this are from my military or religious days which, I think is pretty telling. I don’t think people involved in traditionally conservative institutions have greater rates of interest in same-sex action, but I do think they tend to lack an outlet for those interests. They may not be able to talk about them with their spouses or those in their community like people in more tolerant institutions, communities, and relationships might. So, they come to me… which is pretty cool because I can relate a lot.

For a long time, one of my most common fantasies was to have a threesome with another man that included male-on-male contact. In fact, for a while, this fantasy was so prevalent in my pornography use and the XXX-movie theater in my head that I identified fairly publicly as bisexual. Lucky for me, I have a partner who is incredibly GGG and was not threatened by these fantasies at all. She was even completely supportive of me moving this experience from fantasy to reality. Eventually, the right circumstances came around and we had a threesome with a bisexual man.

That experience was a good one, but it made me realize that “bisexual” isn’t accurate for me. I wasn’t disgusted or turned off by the experience, but it wasn’t sexually arousing. It was fun, but it wasn’t erotic. I’ve had similar experiences since and the outcome is the same, I had a good time and would do it again but it wasn’t particularly sexual. Yes, there was a lot of play with organs that are typically associated with sex, but it was just a lot of fun and experimentation and giving pleasure. I actually feel the same way about experiences I’ve had with other women as well, I would call them fun and interesting, but not necessarily sexual. What it really did was reinforce my curiosity about bodies and what people like…  we are all built in such beautiful and diverse ways, I want to see how things look and find out how things feel for other people, and try and help them feel pleasure. It’s weird, the more “sexual” experiences I have the more I see the stuff I do with my partner as the only real sex I have. The more genitals I touch, boobs I play with, and lips I kiss, the more intimate, sexual, and valuable the time I spend with my partner is. New experiences allow me to see my current relationship in a clearer focus and appreciate our sexual chemistry. There is no fear of “the grass is greener on the other side” because I’ve been over to grass on the other side and put it into my mouth… it tastes great and was enjoyable but I’m not going to leave my partner for it. I also know that if I want to go back for a taste I have my partner’s consent.

That analogy got weird…

Anyway, I’m really glad I ended up going through with moving my fantasy to reality. It didn’t turn out like I thought it would, which is pretty normal for fantasies, but it allowed me to have a greater understanding of who I am and what turns me on. Instead of wondering my whole life “man, am I really bisexual?”, I can firmly say “I’m not really bisexual but I can have a good time with any gender”. (At least at this point in my life, I think it is possible that my sexuality is pliable enough that it may change over time, or I may find myself with a man that I am completely sexually attracted to… who knows, the future is wild and weird and unpredictable, and so is the mind).

The thing about our imagination is, not only do fantasies end up being less amazing than we thought, our worries turn out to be less negative than we thought. Our minds blow things out of proportion. In the past, the thought of my partner with someone else would bring about some jealousy, but in the moment I actually wasn’t jealous at all. Part of this was because my partner and I always communicate a lot during new experiences but it is also because concern in my head was way overblown when compared to reality. I had built up the situation into something it couldn’t be and in the moment my illusions were destroyed. All my fears (my partner would leave me for this stranger, she would never be satisfied with me again, she would ignore me for the moment and I’d be left out) turned out to be ridiculous, but they only way I could really vanquish those fears was to move from fantasy to reality.

I can’t imagine being in a relationship with someone who I couldn’t talk about these things with. I can literally tell her any fantasy I have and we can discuss our feelings about it and whether it may realistically become a reality. Even if one of us is uncomfortable with something it isn’t just a “No, we are never doing that”, instead it is “I’m not comfortable with that for these reasons…. I recognize some of those reasons may be alleviated over time and we can discuss it again, and I am completely open to baby stepping in that direction starting today to see if my concerns are real”.

It is disrespectful to just say “no”, and every person should be at least willing to explore the possibility of something with their partner. Baby steps can be as simple as reading articles about a subject, watching a video (porn or otherwise) or going to a conference/event where nothing physical will actually happen. On the flip side, the partner who wants to do something new should have a lot of patience and know how to communicate clearly. You need to be willing to try small things over a long period of time, maybe years (but also be aware if your partner is just “kicking the can down the road” in hopes that you will forget about the desire or be so locked into the relationship that you can’t escape even if you aren’t satisfied).

I firmly believe that if you are going to be spending your life with someone you should be able to discuss absolutely anything and articulate your reasoning (whether you are for something or against something), and be willing to explore those things with your partner. Would you really want to be with someone that you had to keep secrets from and hide your own desires, or will placate you by saying “we will do that someday” with no intention of actually doing it? Someone who, despite all their proclaimed love and compassion for you, would just cast your desires aside for their own comfort? Luckily, I think most partners are more open-minded than we give them credit for… and they probably have plenty of fantasies, desires,  and kinks of their own. Maybe talking about how you want to tie up your partner will lead to them telling you how much they want to be spanked? Maybe they want to try a threesome or same-room sex with another couple too. You never know if you don’t bring it up.

Luckily, I think most partners are more open-minded than we give them credit for, it can be terrifying opening up to someone and I think we often assume they will react the worst possible way. The truth is, they probably have plenty of fantasies, desires,  and kinks of their own that they are afraid to open up about. Maybe talking about how you want to tie up your partner will lead to them telling you how much they want to be spanked? Maybe they want to try a threesome or same-room sex with another couple too. Maybe they want to peg you as much as you want to be pegged.

You never know if you don’t bring it up.

 

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Sexual vs Sex

My post yesterday sparked up a conversation between me and a like-minded friend. She, like I, is fascinated and curious about sex, not only as an intellectual pursuit but also on a personal level. We started chatting about some of our experiences with sex and how they weren’t exactly “sexual”. Sure, there was penetration and/or genital manipulation, but there wasn’t the sort of eroticism or intimacy that we generally associate with sex. Instead, it was fun and fulfillment of our curiosity. It was just neat to see what brings the other person pleasure or how they react to certain stimuli, or how they felt different than past partners. It was simply good fun.

I don’t think the fun, curious, non-sexual sex is better or worse than sensual, erotic sexual experiences. It is just different. It is apples and oranges. Sure, the physical acts that are happening are the same but the mindset of those involved is different. It is like how Michael Jordan playing basketball with his kids is different than playing a pro game which is different than leisurely shooting hoops with Magic Johnson (Disclaimer: I haven’t watched basketball since the Portland Trailblazers made a run for the title when I was in elementary school… but I hope you get my point).

Just because acts look similar from the outside doesn’t mean that they are comparable. The value and perspective of the individuals involve weigh much more heavily than what part is being put where and for how long.

I’m not necessarily looking for more sexual partners, that is closer to polyamory than I’m really interested in now (I’m open to them… but not really looking for them). But I am certainly looking for more sex experiences that broaden my horizons, satisfy my curiosities about other people, and create memorable experiences with friends and strangers. I’m thrilled that I have a partner who enjoys new experiences as well and isn’t set on controlling my bodily acts, and we both agree that the heart and intentions of the act are way more important than the physical side of things.

Sex doesn’t need to be sexual.

Fascination

It will be no surprise to regular readers of this blog that I am fascinated by sex. The only “career” that has really appealed to me in recent years is getting involved in sex therapy of some sort. I consider myself a bit of a “sex nerd” who reads books on sex, sexuality, and relationships for fun. I’m fascinated by how our species evolved our sex organs, all the weird quirks about what we are attracted to, and the variety of ways that people arrange their sexual relationships. I do think about sex a lot in an intellectual way, but I also think about it a lot in a personal way.

I’m interested in the sex lives of my friends and am curious about what it would be like to sexually involved with them. I would never push these issues or violate the trust of my partner, but the curiosity stands. I view my friends as sexual beings and I would love insight (or experience) in that part of their lives. I don’t view them solely as sexual beings, but that is part of how I view them.

I’ve often wondered why I have this fascination with my friends and have trouble viewing them 100% non-sexually. Is there something “wrong” with me? Do other people wonder these things but are afraid to discuss them or admit their thoughts (if this is the case with any of my friends please feel free to start a dialogue with me)?

I think a large part of it for me is my desire to be seen as a sexual being or to be sexually appealing to others. I am interested in sex, in part, because I want other people to be interested in sex with me. Maybe this all goes back to my childhood that treated sex as kind of evil. Maybe it is because I’ve never really felt attractive and was a nerdy kid in school (I still kind of am a nerdy kid). Or maybe I am just wired to be interested in things that our culture finds taboo, maybe if I lived in a world where singing was seen as this secretive, intimate thing a la the Adem (See: The Kingkiller Chronicles) then I would be that person singing in public and talking about it openly.

I’m not sure if this is something that I really need to unpack or change. Though, when I start seeing a therapist again I’m sure it will come up. I hope it doesn’t freak my friends out if they know that I think of them as sexual beings and am curious about their likes, dislikes, kinks, fetishes, and fantasies (no judgement here… you do you and have fun doing it). Maybe, just maybe, being transparent about this will just be another freak flag I raise that other people will gather around. Maybe I’ll start getting messages from people who feel the same way or view me sexually too… or maybe I’m just hoping that will happen.

Graduate School – Transpersonal Psychology

The idea of going back to school has been floating around in my mind for quite some time. I enjoy learning and I find the school environment works pretty well for me, particularly in smaller classes where I can be mentored by a challenging professor. I was lucky enough to have that in undergrad and I think I can find that in grad school as well.

What hasn’t been completely clear is what I want to study in grad school and why I want to study it. Generally, we treat formal education as fulfilling two purposes: research/discover an area of interest or passion and gain the skills necessary for a career. The former can generally be done without school in the modern era. School is often unnecessary for the latter as well, except when there is certification necessary to practice and finding a mentor outside of the academy is difficult. Either way, going to grad school appeals to me, even if it is just an experience that I decide wasn’t right for me, at least I had the experience.

So, what do I want to study? As much as I love Economics I don’t have any interest to pursue it professionally or in any advanced way (sorry Dr. Calcagno!). The only field that has really appealed to me consistently since high school is psychology and the older I get the more that passion grows. I have a couple of interests within the field. If I decide to work on the clinical side I’d like to help individuals who are LGBT, polyamorous and/or in sexually open relationships, and I’d like to use some “non-traditional” methods. If I decide to work on the research side (which would probably involve more schooling but my economic background could provide some assistance) then I want to study sexual diversity within a society, particularly with regard to kinks and paraphilias.

What do I mean by “non-traditional” methods? I mean using things like meditation, psychedelic drugs (including MDMA), spiritual practices, and other altered states of consciousness. This seems to broadly fall under the field of Transpersonal Psychology, which is basically spiritual psychology. I know that my hippy, Burner side is showing with this, but I don’t think spiritual necessarily means pseudoscientific. I tend to take a similar view of spirituality as Sam Harris and think that spiritual practices and altered states can be beneficial to people without resorting to supernatural explanations.

It will be 5 years before I am really ready to enroll in grad school due to my bike ride, prereqs, and this shitty $65,000 student loan Sword of Damocles hanging over my head. That time is probably good though, it will give me time to research transpersonal psychology more and see if it really fits for me. If things do fit I hope to enroll in Naropa University’s fall 2021 MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. They several interesting specializations. At this point Mindfulness Based Transpersonal Counseling is my first choice because of the explicit focus on human sexuality, yoga, and Jungian Dreamwork. I also like the Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy due to the focus on the outdoors and the natural world, as well as the Somatic: Body Psychotherapy because of the focus on touch and connecting the mind, spirit, and body.

I have my work cut out for me. Between the three programs that interest me there are 62 books that are recommended reading, as well as 6 undergrad courses that I will need to get credits for. I can knock out many of the readings on the bike ride, though I’m not sure how many are actually necessary. To be honest, I feel like I will be competing with much younger people out of my league and I need to be really on top of my game to be accepted at my age (though, I’ve heard that some grad programs would look at 20ish years of travel and life experience as a good thing). While on the ride I can also take free online courses to become familiar with the material before enrolling in a course for credit at a community college. There are also tons of YouTube videos by professors and authors on this subject that I can watch. I will also need some real world experience by working or volunteering in a “helping” profession and working directly with clients. Ideally, I will also find a transpersonal therapist to see for my own mental health needs once we stop the bike ride. I’ve got a Excel checklist ready to go.

All in all, I’m excited. It has been a long time since I’ve had any sort of focus. I tend to hop around from subject to subject trying to learn on my own, which is fun but it isn’t necessarily the most efficient way. Now, I feel like I have a path to explore something that I’m interested in and can maybe lead to passion and inspiration.

OMGYes

I recently purchased season 1 of OMGYes and I couldn’t be happier with it. It was definitely money well spent and I wanted to write a quick summary and review of the product. This is clearly from the perspective of someone who does not have a clitoris, labia, vulva, or vagina, but I do enjoy being sexually active with people who have those body parts and I want to give them as much pleasure as possible. I am sure that people with those body parts will also get a lot of value out of this product (at least one friend of mine says she is glad she purchased it, I know I would get a lot out of a similar set of videos for people with a penis, testicles, and a prostate. Variety is the spice of life and we can learn a lot from each other in regard to giving ourselves and others pleasure. Some of my favorite moments from past threesomes and group situations was seeing how other people enjoy their bodies in a way that is different than me.

So, what do you get for the limited time pricing of $29? A whole lot of information and inspiration.

Season 1 is divided into 12 sections that you can navigate between as you see fit. Within each section there are video interviews with individuals about the subject, data collected about the subject from extensive surveys, charts and graphs to visualize the subject matter, videos that show individuals demonstrating the techniques in a informative way (it is not particularly erotic but you will see clitoris, labia, and vulvas of the participants), interactive “games” to practice the techniques, and recommendations on how to bring it into the bedroom. For example, you can check out some of the section on “Edging” for free here, the actual paid section has a lot more information.

The sections don’t only cover physical techniques for bringing pleasure. Also included are incredibly important subjects like framing the experience to reduce anxiety and increase pleasure, giving and receiving feedback, and multiple orgasms. I really do think there is something for everyone in this and it could be beneficial for new partners, established partners who would like to try some new things, and unpartnered people who want to maximize the pleasure they give and receive. I know I am excited to try this out on any willing partners I can find, and hopefully season 2 will be just as awesome.

 

Someday, it won’t matter

I think (hope) there will come a day in our near future when someone’s sexual orientation and gender identity are no more important than their eye color or favorite food. Instead of classifying people along gender lines (or sexual orientation or race or a thousand other categories) we will simply see them as individuals. I hope we come to realize that there is no reason to control another person unless that person is harming you, and who someone falls in love with or how they identify harms nobody.

In fact, I bet we will come to a day when gender and sexual orientation is recognized as fluid in many (most) people and it can change depending on the circumstances. For some, this may be a slight change from a 0 to 1 on the Kinsey scale because there is one person in the world of the same sex that they find sexually attractive enough to fuck around with. For others it may fluctuate wildly from 0 to 6 throughout their life (or the week). I realize the Kinsey scale is imperfect, but I think it is good enough to explain my point.

We humans are complicated and fluid beings. We are a mixture of nature and nurture, and are constantly being bombarded with new stimuli from outside and within. It shouldn’t shock anyone that something as diverse and complicated as attraction (sexual, romantic, or otherwise) is that a binary system is inadequate for a species of 7 billion who live 70ish years. We don’t expect that from any of our other drives. Food, sleep, and sexual position preferences all change throughout the years as we are introduced to new things and our bodies change. Orientation and gender, for many people, change too.

I guess I just don’t understand the busy-bodies who act like the world is going to come to an end because people are free to label themselves as they wish. I guess some of their concerns are understandable… they don’t want children hurt… but their methods to alleviate that concern is wrong. There seems to be a pattern when it comes to children, parents will latch onto their greatest fears and pursue totalitarian policies that are ineffective and harm innocent people. There is no sacrifice too great when it comes to protecting your own children, even if it means treating the rest of the world terribly. Evolution is a bitch that way. We evolved in order to squirt out genetic copies, that is the biological meaning of life.

We should just let people be who they want to be. If someone wants to be called a certain pronoun (or hell, wants to be called a centaur) and it doesn’t hurt anyone then why not respect that? Who cares who they sleep with as long as they aren’t harming anyone else? It is not the place of government or individuals to enforce their morality on others. In fact, it stops becoming a moral action if you do it simply out of fear of hell, jail, or lynching by society. Something is only moral if the mind lines up with the actions, and no amount of force is going to change the mind of someone.

Anyway, things seem to be getting better and quickly in most of the US. Gender and sexual orientation is less important and fewer people are shocked when they meet a transgender or gay person. There is still work to be do, particularly in parts of the Fascist Belt (I refuse to call it Bible Belt anymore, there is nothing Christ-like about they policies or politicians they support, they are totalitarians, not Christians), but the internet is making things better, and the younger generations are comfortable with fluidity in life. I’m hopeful for the future in so many ways, society is becoming a happier, more peaceful, loving, and accepting place.

“The Overnight”

Last night I finally had a chance to view “The Overnight”, an independent film starring Adam Scott (Ben from Parks & Rec), Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, and Judith Godreche. Dan Savage recommended the film and I figured that means it is worth checking out, especially since it is now on Netflix. Despite not having any ROFL moments I did really enjoy the film and found it entertaining.

There will now be spoilers, so if that bothers you then you should just go watch the film instead of dicking around on the internet. It is only 75 minutes.

 

So, what I really enjoyed about this film was the realism. They touched on several subjects that are not seen that often in popular cinema. It also treated the situations as realistic instead of trying to titillate the audience.

Body Image Issues – One of the male characters is uncomfortable with his penis size and isn’t comfortable naked. This is likely very common, particularly in the US where seeing a male friend naked is kind of rare. There is a ingrained homophobia in this country and seeing another male naked or, even worse, finding them attractive can bring about a lot of assumptions about your sexuality.

Nudity at Parties – Television and movies tend to only show female nudity, particularly at parties. There are scantily-clad or topless women everywhere in media, but that isn’t how most parties in real life turn out. In my experience, it is usually a guy who is willing to go streaking or skinny-dipping. That’s how it is in this film, you see two dicks but no real female nudity (aside from a very short shot of a woman standing without underwear on).

Fluid Sexuality – One of the driving forces of the film is one of the male characters finds another male attractive. After some discussion among the group you find that he is happily married and found his wife very sexy, but as time has gone on he has had a growing interest in other men. We here a lot about bisexual women or sexually fluid women, but there it is still fairly taboo for a man to identify as bisexual or to have sexual fun with a man. In reality, men can be sexually fluid depending on time, place, and the people involved.

Companion Marriage – One of the married couples in the film seems to have a “companion marriage”. They love each other, are best friends, are good parents, and work well as roommates, but they are not sexually or romantically attracted to each other anymore. So, instead of breaking up everything and causing a bunch of chaos they stay married as companions and each person is free to pursue their interests outside of the marriage. I’d love to see more companion marriages talked about in the world openly. It is unhealthy to expect one person to be your “one and only” forever and ever, we need other people to fulfill holes in our life, and sometimes those holes are sexual. The marriage in this movie is a great success, though some would see it as a failure because they aren’t as romantically or sexually interested in each other.

Anyway, I highly recommend the film if you have an hour or so and enjoy watching something a little more socially progressive.