Wicked Wednesday – 319 – Let Your Partner Say No

I’m guessing that some of you read the title of this post and immediately though, “Well duh, Livvy”, but I’m not just talking about giving or removing the idea of enthusiastic consent here, although that’s obviously important as well, even in relationships where there is also implied consent. There is something more to be said for letting your partner say no within a sexual situation (or any situation really.)

Having agency within one’s life, sexual or otherwise is incredibly important and, I feel, incredibly freeing. You’re not obligated to go along with the crowd and it lets you do what you need or want to do both in and out of bed. This is something that I think many people think about too much because going with the flow has always been encouraged, especially, it seems for girls and women. We’re expected to say yes to all kinds of things, even when we want to say no. But back to saying no in a sexual context without specifically removing consent.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Let’s say that my partner wants to try bringing food into the bedroom to play with, but on their own they decide that I wouldn’t like it and therefore they don’t bring the idea up at all because they have essentially already made the choice for me (i.e. assumed I’d say no.) BUT, if my partner comes to me outside of a sexual context and says hey, maybe we should get some edible chocolate and some whipped cream to play with in bed. Suddenly I have agency again and I can decide if it is something I want to do or not. For the record, it would be a no; I’ve heard that the edible chocolate stuff is really gross and I don’t want to be sticky from whipped cream. By not making a choice for me, my partner has given me a choice to say yes or no to that particular act. Notice that I’m not saying no to sex as a whole or to other things, but just to the idea of food in bed. It can be your yum, but it certainly isn’t mine.

The example above is pretty clear and concrete and defines what I mean relatively precisely. And it can be about anything between you and your partner, whether its related to your sex life or not. It’s simply another good way to share your lives together and to communicate in ways that give you both the power to say yes or no to any given thing at any given time. There’s no pressure or expectation that something has to be done, especially when we focus back on sex, and instead it creates an open dialog that might given you more or different or better ideas of things to suggest to your partner.

So, yes it is a form of consent to let your partner say no to something just like any other type of consent that is out there, but in this case it can give them the freedom or permission that they need to say no in other parts of their lives as well because they may feel empowered knowing that they can say no to you, so they can say no to others. Never assume that you’re idea is too kinky or weird or vanilla or whatever and that your partner won’t like it. Just ask them!

 

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Sex with Women vs. Sex with Men (My Experiences)

I’ve had my share of sex with both men and women and it seems like there can be a huge difference between the two. Dating almost exclusively girls all the way through high school I was in awe of their softness and femininity. It was such a contrast for someone who felt they came off as hard and at least a little butch. I loved the way their skin felt under my hands and the softness of their lips. I loved that they often seemed soft and plaint and were ready, willing, and able to do anything I asked. If they said no, then it was no and the same went if I said no. I was very aggressive with them and it worked. I thoroughly enjoyed all the time I spent with my girls. One of my best nights was with my friend (we’ll call her Kitty) and she was soft and plump and her breasts were delightful. We are still friends and even now I love her a little.

Kitty was brave and fearless and would try anything that came up in conversation. We often shared nights at her house making love as quietly as we could so we didn’t get caught by her parents and then have to explain ourselves as neither of us were out yet except at school (although I suspect my father knew about me). But my experiences with Kitty were what shaped a lot of my sexual attitudes and mores because we were both willing to be so honest with one another.

With all my girlfriends and female FWBs learning our bodies and each others bodies brought only pleasure and we reveled in it, delighted by what we learned and shared with one another. Protection never seemed like an issue we had to worry about since we couldn’t get pregnant and the idea that one of us might have an STI never seemed to occur to us.

I did have sex with one young woman who was a few years older than me who was hard and definitely butch, but very tiny. It made for an interesting contract between the two of us because despite her attitude and mine being so similar I still took charge of our activities and she became passive and incredibly lovely for me. I remember that she loved my eyes and I could look at her and that was all it took to have her wanting. And I frequently teased her, by looking at her over the tops of my sunglasses with a wicked smile on my face, just to watch her melt. We didn’t last long, but she is the one who really taught me that my sexuality was more powerful than I knew. And I began to use that power to try and seduce straight friends I was attracted to, which never worked well, although many of them were flattered at the attention as teenage girls can be. When I realized that I could have this power over girls I got curious and began to try it out with the boys.

And when I say boys I really mean young men, most of whom were older than me as the boys at my high school didn’t date “girls like me.” I wasn’t a pretty, popular cheerleader nor was I slender or even considered notable. (It blew my mind that some of my girlfriends found me attractive even.) But I digress. Back to the slightly older young men that I flirted with and teased. They were harder. Their lips not as soft, their skin slightly rougher, facial hair and larger hands. Being intimate with a man became a far different experience for me. I became the passive one, letting them lead me into activities.

I was game for pretty much anything that came along, provided that protection was used, and I always enforced that rule. And the men I fucked all found me attractive despite my being a little chubby, with unruly wavy hair, and an average enough face. And they would tell me so, as much as the girls did, which both flattered me and blew me away. I could understand how another woman might find me attractive, but these men who could have easily been fucking someone much prettier than I was struck me as odd and strange at first. I finally began to believe it and that gave me a desperately needed confidence boost. I kept my circle of FWBs small (because that’s all these men were to me and I to them.) I let them manhandle me, fuck me, make me come, but not one of them was able to bring my submissive nature really to the forefront. Even my husband of ten years failed to do that, although that was largely lack of trying on his part. But even as I was passive with the men that I fucked or let fuck me I was never afraid to say stop or tell them no. And most of them (save my now ex-husband) respected that rule. Consent was important in all of my relationships and I made certain that people knew that. I never felt devalued because I didn’t want to do something. I don’t think sex with the boys at my high school would have been quite the same.

The most striking thing about sex with men that endeared me to them was that, contrary to the rumors I heard, these guys wanted to please ME. It wasn’t all about them, but it was about us. When you’ve heard different for as long as you’ve been talking about sex with your female friends it can be surprising to learn that they were wrong and it is OK to take pleasure in sexual acts with men. And I did, just like I had with the ladies I was with. But there was still something surreal about sharing pleasure with a man for a long time.

Overall, I think the biggest difference in my experiences tended to vary from person to person, more than from men and women. I know that I was the aggressor with one sex and the passive partner with the other, but it was all sex, and usually good sex, although I did have some bombs like we all have I’m sure. Those tended to be more with men for whatever reason. I think it was a lack of communication on both parts. Sex was and is something I enjoy and while today I choose to be in a committed relationship with a man, I would have zero qualms about getting involved with a woman if the timing was right and having that softer experience once again.

Communicating Your Desires to Your Non-Kinky Partner

I’m a little kinky, my partner isn’t at all. And we knew this going into our relationship. At first I was afraid to talk to my partner because I’ve been shamed in the past for my sexual desires, kinky or not. So that was the first hurdle to overcome. To help me out, my partner offered frequent reassurance that it was OK to talk to them and would often ask me if I wanted to talk about it in a very non-pressuring kind of way. Eventually I began to open up.

And we started talking about things like fisting, being tied up, being spanked, being called names and the like. The more I talked about it the easier it got. That’s not to say that it is easy, because even four and a half years in, I still find it somewhat difficult (yay for my deep seated issues!) and sometimes I clam up at the simple mention of what they can do for me to make our sex life better. But we work through it and we both talk about our wants and needs and fears, not just about our sex life, but about everything in our lives.

That makes us stronger together than we are apart. My partner knows what I want, I know what I can reasonably expect to happen based on our conversations and we go from there. Sometimes things don’t go perfectly, other times everything is beyond perfection. It is all about timing and keeping the lines open. We even talk during sex about what is going on and working, what could be better, and what I do or don’t want at any given moment in time. And that can change and 5 minutes later I can want something I have just said no to. That’s OK.

My regular readers know what a high value I place on communication in a relationship and the same holds true here. It took me sometimes to work through past issues and trauma, but once I got there and got to a point where I figured if my partner could see me naked then I could probably talk to them about anything I wanted to do or try when it comes to our sex life. I would beat around the bush cause I was nervous (who doesn’t sometimes?) and finally just come out with whatever was  on my mind. I’ve never gotten a disgusted reaction, although I have gotten some let me think about replies and maybe I’ll get a  hard no one of these days. It’ll be OK. As individuals we are both entitled to say no just like we are  to say yes.

That yes/no dialogue often drives our discussions and will shape them into organic conversations that grown on their  own, naturally, and gives us time to stop and pause before responding. And if the words don’t come out right we can always rewind things and try again. I think that last bit is really the secret to sharing what I want with my partner. Words aren’t set in stone but in fluid motion,

Sex and Intimacy; What’s the Difference?

Sex: Physical activity in which people touch each other’s bodies, kiss each other, etc. : physical activity that is related to and often includes sexual intercourse

Intimacy: close familiarity or friendship; closeness.
an intimate act, especially sexual intercourse.

Definitions of these two words pulled from the Internet, respectively Merriam-Webster’s website and google.com would indicate that the two are likely to be synonymous. However, dear readers, I beg to differ. Certainly the two are close cousins and can be the same thing, but they can also be completely separate and unrelated acts. Those actions may be perceived to an outside observer as sexual in nature whether or not that is actually the case.

Sex, by the very nature of the vulnerability that it engenders is seen as an intimate act by many people. But I have had sex that totally lacked any intimacy at all, even with a long term partner. It was just sex and it didn’t have passion or love or any form of closeness associated with it. It was just an act of intercourse. And that can be true for couples, FWBs, or one night stands, just as much as it can not be true for all of the same people listed above. It can be true for anyone having sex at all.

In my current relationship, I experience intimacy every day, all day in a million little ways. And sex isn’t always part of those million ways; sometimes not at all, sometimes…well…sometimes I’ve been known to wake the neighbors exploring sex and intimacy with my partner. Oops! Not only do we share sexual intimacy, but other little things as I mentioned. Like cooking together in a tiny kitchen where we can’t move without bumping into one another. It makes us mindful of our actions as we cook together and mindful of each other. And it is something that feels very close and loving, even though it is such a mundane activity. Obviously, cooking does NOT equal sex, although my partner can make french toast that is nearly orgasm inducing. Random fact; it once caused someone to actually propose to my partner because their french toast is that tasty.

But I digress; so what’s the difference between the two?

Sex is an act in and of itself. It can be for pleasure, for procreation, for both of those things at once or separately. It can be consensual, it can be (sadly) forced, or vanilla or kinky or any number of ways and things and times and events. But that doesn’t always make it intimate. It can lack the closeness and familiarity that is the very definition of intimacy. That alone tells us that it isn’t the same as intimacy, despite the term “being intimate” as common slang for a sexual act of any kind. Conversely, it can be incredibly intimate.

However, intimacy is something that I find to be much greater than just sex and more than the sum of those parts. Intimacy is a shared private joke, touch (of all kinds; a flogging can be intimate without being sexual), doing everyday activities together, date nights, a hug, and too many things to really list here.

Two of my favorite things in my own relationship that I find to be incredibly intimate is that my partner will come wash my hair for me in the shower. Now that might seem silly or juvenile because I’m clearly capable of washing my own hair, but when my partner does it for me then we get to be close and enjoy a small intimacy together that is very tactile and feels very good to me. On that same note, my partner dislikes anyone else washing their hair but lets me comb it out after a shower and that too is an intimate act, one that takes time and patience as their hair tangles easily. My other favorite (that is just for me in some ways) is on nights when I can’t sleep sometimes my partner will join me in the bedroom, dip their fingers in coconut oil, and very gently rub and massage my mons and vulva with oil covered fingers. And I know that this may sound sexual and like something I might get off to, but in reality it is soothing and relaxing. My orgasm isn’t even a goal here, although if it happens, then it happens. The goal is to be close to someone, to be safe and wanted, and to gently be petted into relaxation that leads to some much needed sleep. And that is intimacy in my life. Sex is something entirely different as I mentioned above.

Two closely related words, two very different meanings and outcomes for how they work both alone and together. TO achieve both of these things in a relation ship, communication is key. Talk to your partner(s!) And for anyone who is curious about the intimacy of petting, I dare you to give it a try!

 

Great (and Unrealistic) Expectations

I had plenty of sex as a teenager. I loved it, I had fun, I played safely, and I got to experience some really fun things. When I got married I kind of automatically expected to have same kind of effortless sex life that I had as a teenager who spend several years fucking around with a lot of different people.

Turns out that being single and having a sex life and being married and monogamous and having a sex life were two very, very different things. I went into my marriage expecting that my husband and I would be sexually compatible and we would be on the same page about new experiences and sexual escapades. I didn’t realize just how much work and communication that would take, nor did I find out til a good year into things that we didn’t have the solid base for communication that we needed AND we weren’t quite so sexually compatible as I think we both assumed that we would be.

Continue reading “Great (and Unrealistic) Expectations”