*flashing warning lights*. This blog post talks sex, not just what it is – but how to do it. If you are uncomfortable with words like masturbation or anus, this article may not be for you. You have been warned!
Sex. It’s everywhere, and with good reason. Human beings are inherently sexual, from the moment we’re born til the moment we die. That’s not to say we’re always ready, willing and able to have sex- our sexuality develops just as we do, and every person is different. Some men rarely experience sexual arousal until their fifties, while some young girls can’t stop thinking about sex, and every combination imaginable. Some people are asexual entirely, without any libido whatsoever. We’re all different, and we all grow.
This week is Sexual Health Awareness week, and I wanted to write an article about sex, because let’s face it, most people think about it from time to time, some more than others. It’s highly likely you’ve come across information about sex before- how to do it, what feels good for you and your partner/s, what type of contraception exists, STI’s and the horrific pictures that follow… But something I’ve noticed among young people my age is that there’s not a lot of information about how to have enjoyable sex that isn’t oppressive or disrespectful. Essentially, I’m going to discuss the interconnected issues of respect and consent. But before you say “I’ve heard it all before- Australia says no etc. etc.”, these are actually fairly complex issues and it’s important to re-examine them in new light. I urge you to take five minutes to read this article- it might seriously improve your sex life forever.
Sex is generally considered to be awesome. But what is sex? Is it strictly limited to vaginal intercourse? What about anal sex? Oral sex? Manual sex? What about dry sex (with at least some clothes on)? What about fondling? French kissing? Heavy petting? I’d argue that any exchange of a sexual nature (that is, inciting sexual arousal) is a form of sex, some more intimate than others.
I’d also like to throw a crazy idea out there: all sex is great, as long as everyone consents to it. I’ll explain the second half of that statement in a moment, but let’s think about this first. Gay sex is great. Sadomasochism is great. Role playing is great. Anal sex, water sports, bondage and domination, transvesticism, fetishes, they’re all really, really great. As long as there’s consent.
I’m not comfortable with a lot of things. For example, I’m not comfortable masturbating onto someone’s feet. But if someone in the world really enjoys having someone masturbate onto his/her feet, then that’s absolutely fine. There are people in the world doing all sorts of sex-based activities right now, some of which horrify me, but if the people involved are fully committed and enjoying themselves, I have no right in the world to stop them. This is exactly the nature of Consent.
Consent is agreeing to something whilst being fully aware of what that something involves. To give a common example, if a man wants to have vaginal intercourse with a woman, she must be fully aware of what it means to have a penis inside her vagina and agree to it in order to provide consent. Someone who is drunk and not in full control of their faculties cannot, by definition, give consent. Someone who is unconscious, who is underage or mentally underdeveloped, who is tied up with a gag in their mouth, who (God forbid) is dead, who is a stranger who is witnessing (or worse, experiencing) a sexual act without being asked first if they wanted to see/experience it… All of them are unable to give consent, and it is never okay to force, coerce or trick them into having any kind of sexual contact, not even a little bit. Not even if they were enjoying it ten seconds ago and suddenly changed their mind. Not even if you think that their actions are speaking louder than their words. If they so “No”, “Stop”, “Wait!”, or anything along the lines of “I don’t want to do that with you”, then you shouldn’t do it. Forcing sex of any kind is illegal, and perhaps worse, it hurts people in the most intimate of ways.
I suggest reading the blog here on Tune In Not Out – Consent is Sexy for more info – it’s a great read.
But consent isn’t just about following the law. There’s a damn good reason why it’s so important: respect.
Respect is something that isn’t always understood or valued, but it is the foundation for any kind of meaningful connection. And if you’re not meaningfully connected during sex, you have some real issues that you need to look at. There is no more important time to be respectful than when you are in the very most intimate of places you can be with a person. But how does respect help you have better sex?
I cannot think of anything less sexy than hurting someone I care about. I would never find it arousing to hurt, shame or bully my girlfriend into doing something for my benefit. I would, on the other hand, find it ridiculously arousing if I asked her to do something for me and she did it willingly because she wanted me to enjoy it. I don’t particularly care who you are or what you’re into- that’s your business. But it’s also the business of your partner/s. If you want your boyfriend to role play as a secret agent then ask him. If you want your girlfriend to wear her sexy underwear around the house then ask her. If you want your partner to try anal sex then ask them. And most importantly of all, respect their decision to say no!
Once you get to the stage where you respect your partner enough to ask them, and your partner respects you enough to consider what you’re asking, everything changes. When you start talking about sex, what you enjoy, what you fantasise about, what you’d really like your partner to do some day if they didn’t mind trying it, sex becomes limitless. You don’t have to feel guilty about what you like. You can start experimenting, if you and your partner want to, in whatever way you both enjoy. Good sex (however you like it) becomes a gift rather than something you have to steal or take or fantasise about secretly. You’re free to experience PLEASURE. And God, isn’t that what it’s all about? Why should anyone have to feel guilty about enjoying themselves as long as everyone’s okay with it? (I’m careful not to say “as long as no one gets hurt”, because some people like a good spanking among other things, and that’s cool too.)
So I guess what I’m really what I’m trying to say is that sex is really great, but it becomes so much better when you know that your partner is either enjoying it too, or doing it freely because they care about you enough to give you pleasure. In my books, the key to really amazing sex comes not from any activity in particular, but a value-based attitude: respect. Now go out there and get some.
PS: Just as a matter of interest, there are a number of Declarations of Sexual Rights, but this one is probably my favourite.
Sexual Rights are Fundamental and Universal Human Rights
Check out all the stories in this Safety, Pleasure, Respect relationship series
Also check the related topics:Sex Sex and consent Boy/girlfriend relationship