[CW: non-consensual actions during sex, male entitlement]
It was our second date and he came to mine for a coffee and a chat – I invited him on purpose because my flatmate wasn’t in which meant me having sex wouldn’t bother her. And yes, I fuck on second dates. Sometimes even on first dates. Sometimes it needs more than five till I end up in bed with someone. It always depends on the person and the circumstances. So if you wanna judge me for enjoying my sex life run as fast as you can.
Anyway. The guy and me ended up kissing, making out, having sex. And it was pretty good sex – a bit rushed maybe because we were very hot for each other and he unfortunately had to work in the evening and couldn’t stay forever. So it only was a short cuddle afterwards and a few words of affirmation that our sex indeed was good and we should continue doing it and seeing each other. He left and the longer he was gone the deeper dropped my mood. The after-sex blues hit me with its fist directly in the face and that surprised me because actually everything was quite alright.
Consent, It’s All About Consent
I took my time and tried to find the reasons for my sudden change of mood and suddenly I figured that this odd aftertaste is something I experienced quite often. And by exploring it further I could only remember three guys who exclusively left positive feelings.
Usually I would have focused on the negative impact but instead I had a coffee and tried to figure out what the good ones had in common – and that was quite easy to find out. All of them had a poly and/or BDSM background. Both, polyamory and BDSM require a decent communication practice to ensure that you and your partners are always feeling good about what’s going to happen. It also includes knowledge about how to negotiate consent to understand and protect your partner’s boundaries. I also strongly believe that you get more empathic when you deal a lot with your own and other person’s feelings. That means an experienced person will be able to make you comfortable during a conversation about consent because they know how crucial it is to provide a safe space for everyone while making sure the BDSM sessions, sex life and/or relationships are healthy and enjoyable for everyone.
So basically before me and said three guys even engaged in sex we talked a lot about our expectations, turn-ons, no-goes and experiences to get an idea about who we are, where we come from and what we want from our encounter. We talked and treated each other like actual human beings (I know, it’s sad that I have to emphasize this) with interest and respect. And this made me enjoy the sex a lot because I knew nothing odd would happen. I trusted them because they were willing to make sex the conversation it actually is.
Also, it is easier for me to open up and talk about my needs if I have the feeling that the other person is open-minded and willing to listen, understand AND contribute. This probably applies to many situations in life – it’s easier to make yourself vulnerable when the other person involved is willing to do the same. Otherwise I find myself too often going with the flow which never brings me the satisfaction I actually want.
And yes, that’s something I definitely need to work on. I fucking need to work on voicing my needs even though the other person might have difficulties with opening up. And it’s okay to hesitate but we all have the responsibility to create a safe sexual space where everyone can enjoy themselves in an open and non-judgemental way. And if the other person can’t provide it, it’s up to me to cater to my own expectations and create the safe space where we are comfortable to let our guards down so we can live towards our sexual needs. But it’s also my responsibility towards myself to leave if I have the feeling the other person will just put their dick in a random hole to get off.
And yes, I know how difficult actually speaking about needs is because we live in a culture where opening up and being vulnerable is seen as a failure. But in the end, being vulnerable together and talking about your inner needs makes a strong connection – and at least for me enjoyable sex is all about those connections.
Knowing, Setting & Respecting Boundaries
A conversation with one of my favourite Twitter peeps enlightened me why I might experience these odd after tastes: boundaries.
Growing up being cis female I’ve been taught by adults, media, society that my sex life is passive. That (using the binary terminology) women are the ones who must provide male satisfaction at all costs. I’ve been taught that I don’t have desires or preferences and as long as sex doesn’t hurt it must be good sex. It felt untrue back then and by now I certainly know that this is total bullshit.
But obviously these lessons are rooted deeper inside of me than I thought, because I actually never thought about my boundaries. Sure, I know the things I clearly don’t enjoy, but that’s not boundaries. Or is it? And what happens if someone breaks those boundaries? Am I going to say something or should I rather shut up to keep the good mood up because this is what a good gal does? And am I even able to negotiate consent if I don’t know about my boundaries?
The other side of the problem is growing up cis male means those men got taught that they are entitled to a female’s body and that her ‘no’ is nothing more a than a ‘convince me’, that it doesn’t matter if their sex parter has set boundaries because it’s okay to work around them – women have to be convinced as they don’t have sexual needs or don’t know what’s good for them anyway. This in the end doesn’t just lead to unsatisfying sex, it’s also the base for toxic relationships and sexual assault.
We as a society need to get rid of those misconceptions to reach a point where we start teaching people not to violate boundaries – because knowing your limits doesn’t help if someone just does not want to respect them.
We also need to accept that sex doesn’t only involve knowledge about body functions as we clearly need to learn about respect, consent and our own needs and boundaries as well. By engaging in the whole physical and emotional package we can finally become adults who fully enjoy their (a)sexual selves without shame and bad aftertastes.
In my case these internalised misconceptions lead to him and me ending up on the sofa where he wanted to put his dick inside of me without using a condom, even though we already had the condom talk and he knew how important safer sex is for me. So I found myself once again pushing a guy back shouting “CONDOM, CONDOM, CONDOM!” at him.
He crushed my boundaries and the only thing I said was three times condom. Instead of getting angry, explaining why his behaviour was shit I just got condoms and allowed him to continue. It didn’t feel wrong in the moment but when I now think about it, this might be the reason why I was wallowing in my after-sex blues. I weren’t able to defend my boundaries because I never identified protected sex as such despite the fact that using a condom is the default setting for me, while not using one is actually a negotiation with someone regular. So it should’ve been clear that his and so many other guy’s behaviour was smashing my boundaries which speaks volumes about their respect for me.
Sure, you could say he might have forgotten about our condom talk because he was too excited. But seriously, fucking someone you barely know without any protection is dangerous, especially if you engage sexually with other people as well and not every uterus owner is on the pill. And being excited about sex doesn’t make you unconscious, so he always could have asked if he wasn’t sure about something, because the absence of a no isn’t automatically a yes.
And no, asking for consent during sex doesn’t ruin the mood – overstepping boundaries does.
If you wanna know more about negotiating consent during sex and the myth of the ruined mood, I highly recommend this The Dildorks episode – it’s amazing!
What I learned here
If I really wanna own my sexuality, I need to identify my boundaries, I need to be strict with them, I need to defend them by setting clear limits. I owe that to myself to make sure that I have the sex I really want, without giving in to keep the mood up.
And therefore it’s okay to not play things cool; I have the right to interrupt sex to explain why a certain action wasn’t okay. It’s also okay to throw someone out who doesn’t respect prior negotiations. Everyone who doesn’t accept my ‘no’ can fuck off. It’s okay not to please because in the end you don’t owe anyone anything but yourself.
I also want to be a good example and become more and more comfortable with initiating the consent talk while simultaneously providing a safe space for me and my partners to make sure everyone get their needs met. I know that this can be difficult but it will get easier the more often I’m doing it. In the end I wanna become the kind of person who only leaves positive memories – just like the three guys I mentioned earlier