Sex & Love

Luna Luna Love And Lust: Forgetting Fucking, Taboos Today, Porn for Partners, And An Age-Old Dilemma

Your friendly neighborhood sexpert

Your friendly neighborhood sexpert

Really Bad Memory

Can you forget how to have sex? It’s been a long time for me and I’m sure I’ve forgotten how to do it. 

—Anonymous

I… Um… I really, really don’t think you can forget. I’m not finding any research on this topic, or any anecdotal evidence on it. And I’ve never heard anyone talk about this, even in my many adventures in discussing sex and porn with people. So I’m just guessing here. But, honestly, I don’t think you can forget.

I guess you can lose your more suave moves or forget how to do that one thing just so, but considering that humans (and all the other species) have been figuring out how to do it for thousands of years (well, except maybe pandas), and that all of them bang the first time without any previous lessons, I don’t think you’re in any danger. It’s like riding a bike… which is the lamest possible comparison. So maybe… not a bike. Maybe more like eating. A totally incredible sandwich with all your favorite stuff in it. Well, no, ok that’s a also a stupid analogy. But the point is that it’s really basic to us, and though it might feel a little weird at first, you’ll figure it out as you go. Just like you did the first time. Sex is all about doing what feels good, after all, so if you just go with your instincts and do what you and your partner enjoy, I think you’ll be fine!

If you need visual cues to remind you how to get it on, I recommend checking out MakeLoveNotPorn.tv. You can rent videos there for $5 a pop, and the people featured are actual, real, honest-to-goodness normal human beings who are having sex because they want to, not porn stars who are having sex for pay. Not that there’s anything wrong with porn—I love porn! But if you’re looking for some inspiration on how to have real-life sex, you won’t find it in most porn because those people are pros with makeup, editing, and crazy stamina, not to mention impossible physiques and an encyclopedic knowledge of positions. Copying them would be like teaching yourself how to ice skate by watching Olympic figure skaters do triple luxes (luxi?) and stuff. Just not the same thing. At all. But MakeLoveNotPorn will give you examples of real world sex, and I promise it’ll be fun to watch while you relearn your moves.

Anyway, the big takeaway here is: don’t let your fears hold you back—sometimes it’s the novice that reinvents the game.

Is Anything Still Taboo?

So I am choosing you for this particular question because A: you are way more knowledgeable than I am, and, B: because I feel you are open-minded enough not to shout dogmas at me or throw the “Fine! You hate gays!” card at me… So here goes…

At what point does sexuality become ‘bad’? Let me explain… If we are in the age where tolerance and acceptance of all sexualities is ‘in,’ is there anything that is ‘wrong’ anymore? Please hear me, I don’t care if you’re a man, woman, hybrid, or marshmallow man… I don’t really care if you like men, women, or both. I personally feel that in this day of broken marriages and terrible drama relationships, if you find love that is honest, open, committed, and healthy for both parties, RUN with it! However, am I also somewhat old fashioned to feel like some things are still ‘wrong’? For instance, cheating on a partner without them knowing, not telling a partner about an STD, etc… But when does the question if sexual preference become ‘wrong’? I mean, if we’re accepting of an individual’s personal sexual orientation, what happens when the preference is children? Or animals? Or inanimate objects? Are there still ‘wrong’ and ‘bad’ sexual things out there? Is there still a line that isn’t crossed in a society that is accepting to all?

Yes, I believe that there is a line that should never be crossed, and that line is consent. Adult, informed, enthusiastic, and ongoing consent. Sexual preferences, orientations, and practices can be wildly varied, as you pointed out. (Marshmallow man! Love it! And there probably is a fetish community online somewhere for marshmallow man lovers, but I am not going to Google it. If you do, please inform me of your findings.) But the point at which a preference that’s fine and dandy crosses over into a problem, as far as I’m concerned, is when mutual consent ceases to exist, or even becomes uncertain.

Consent is a very broad term in my view, in that it applies to many different situations. Consent can run the gamut from two adults in a monogamous relationship deciding to try something new in the bedroom, to that same couple agreeing not to try anything new. It can range from to somebody paying to see a peepshow in an adult store to somebody else going to a bondage club where the kinky play is negotiated beforehand. It can mean deciding to be in an open relationship in which both partners are free to have sex with others, to monogamous D/s relationships, to all sorts of other, wilder things. But the important part of all of it situation is that those involved are adults who are aware (insofar as they can be aware; obviously we can’t see the future) of what is to take place, able to voice concerns or dissent, and in control of their actions. Consent must be, in my opinion, not just assumed but actively shown and continuous, and can be revoked at any point, no matter what has already happened.

So, while sexual preference or orientation generally should be nobody else’s business because the people who are preferring whatever-it-is are all consenting adults, where the problems come in is where consent either is absent or fuzzy. Like if you cheat on somebody, you’re basically then exposing the cheated-upon party to possible STIs and they* have no idea; they didn’t consent to possible exposure to infection. That’s not cool. And of course consent is the sticking point when it comes to pedophilia and bestiality: a child cannot consent to sex, even if that child thinks they can, because children do not yet have the critical thinking skills, nor the emotional experience and understanding,  to make decisions with far-reaching implications, like sexual decisions. Animals can’t either. (Well, maybe some animals can, but we don’t have the ability to communicate clearly enough with them to know for sure that they’re ok with it, so the safe assumption here is that they can’t give consent. And anyway, I think it’s safe to assume that most animals are probably better off having sex with their own species than with humans. So let’s leave them alone, mmkay?) Similarly, in cases where sexual assault is at issue: if consent is not enthusiastically and continuously given by both parties, something is wrong. I believe, personally, that the moral code when it comes to sex should place most importance on understanding that consent is not only mandatory, but changeable, and that it is everyone’s moral obligation to be honest about their own consent, as well as actively concerned with the consent of their partner or partners.

So yeah, what it all comes down to is consent. Human adults can consent to some things that might seem really weird to other people—there are all kinds of fetishes and philias that the majority of the population might find offensive or inappropriate, but if all the people who are participating in the Marshmallow Man foot-fetish sploshing action fully agree to it, with as much knowledge as they can muster of what the consequences might be, and with nobody outside being involved without their consent , then to each their own and happiness to all of them!

*Please note that I’ve made a conscious decision to use the pronoun “they” when referring to people. I’m using it in the same way that people used to use “he” as the catch-all for an unknown person. I’ve decided to go against grammatical rules and opt in favor of the inclusion of people of as many genders and identities and orientations as possible.

Porn for Two

Is it easy to watch porn with your man…

—Ciara

Well, Ciara… The first time I watched porn with my guy was weird, but that was probably because it was a Harry Potter parody that I had to review for a magazine. But that’s just my weird life. In general, though, “easy” isn’t so much the word. “Awkward,” yeah. The first time was definitely awkward. We both had decided we wanted to try turning some porn on while we fooled around, but then there was this moment of, “Is it ok to look at the screen right now? Will he think I’m not into him if I watch what’s happening?” But after that first time, we talked about how it had been awkward but kind of fun. And then the next time it was slightly less awkward and more fun. And the next time was less awkward, more fun. And so on. But, then, that’s me and my man. I’m sure anything so personal can be very different for different couples.

From your brief question, I can’t tell if you’re interested in watching porn with your guy for the first time, or if you’re wondering if it’s weird that you don’t like watching it with him… or if you think it might be weird that you do. So I might not be able to fully address what’s on your mind. But the one thing I can offer is that the whole “watching porn together” issue is always dealt with best by talking about it. Which, much like watching porn together, is really awkward the first time, but less and less so with each consecutive conversation. I recommend talking before you do it to make sure everyone involved is ok with the idea, then talking about it again afterward so that any insecurities that came up can be aired, stock of the situation can be taken, and you can judge whether it’s a good idea to try it again. Oh, and be honest when you talk about it. Like really, deeply, painfully honest. If something happens or feels a certain way and you are absolutely totally freaked out by it, say so! But if something happens that he doesn’t like, be willing to listen to that, too. (Remember, this is all about consent, and it is much easier to discern consent if you talk honestly.)

Try talking about it first when you’re not in the bedroom. Do it when you’ve got a clear head and some space from the issue, so that you won’t be as tempted to get confrontational, and neither will he. Calmly and rationally explaining your feelings is always the way to go.

Hopefully this will lead to many good times for you and your man!

The Age-Old (Ex) Dilemma

Dear sexpert,

I hope you’re a romantic/relationship expert, too. I have an age old dilemma on my hands: boyfriend still talks to his ex. They had recently (within the month) called it quits before he and I started casually dating. He’s been in contact with her since they split, even after things got more serious with us. While their correspondence is limited to texts and Facebook it still makes me uneasy.

In the early part of our relationship he would tell me I should worry about her (instead of this other woman whom was making me uneasy at the time). I know he omits me from things he tells her, and recently in a conversation with him he told me he’s not completely over her. I don’t know what to do. I hate to give him an ultimatum and hope there is some reasonable alternative.

A little background: we’ve been together for six months. Also I’m terribly terribly insecure and paranoid. Also, our sex life has been having problems lately—he hasn’t been into it. I fear these issues might be related.

Help. Am I being unreasonable in having this anxiety? What can I do?

Ever concerned,
Audrey

Hi, Audrey!

I’m gonna be  honest. This is a toughie. I’m not sure anybody is enough of an expert for this kind of situation. But first things first: you are not unreasonable for being anxious, and everybody has insecurities and paranoias. So don’t beat yourself up over this! Instead, let’s talk about how to take action rather than letting all the negative feelings stew.

Basically, the way I see it, the entire situation is based on a tricky foundation. You two started dating very soon after his previous relationship ended, and it sounds as if he has simply not had sufficient time to emotionally process that breakup. It also sounds likely that she hasn’t entirely gotten over it, either, if she’s still in contact with him. Maybe they’re trying to be friends, which is commendable. But after only six months, it’s not too easy to keep old feelings out of the picture.

I hate to draw a really clear line here, because I think every person and every relationship is different, and I don’t know you guys that well. But the feeling I’m getting from your letter is that he isn’t going to be able to get over his ex without some space, from you, or from her, or from both of you. He needs to get his head on straight and take some time to mourn his old relationship before he will be really, truly ready for a new one. And so far he hasn’t had that time.

It’s likely that even though you’re trying not to let your anxieties get the best of you, you might be asking a lot of questions, hovering over him when he’s texting, and trying really hard to be cool but just no actually being that cool. (This is not a judgment! We have all been there! If you can not behave like that, you have my admiration.) If you’re letting insecurity show, that makes sense. Even though you know it’s not sexy and it might be giving you both issues in the bedroom, it’s terrifically difficult to cover it up. But that kind of anxiety coming from you might get him thinking about his ex even more. What it comes down to is that he’s not going to have the time and space he needs to get over it in the current situation.

If he stops talking to her entirely, he might be able to give himself over to this new relationship, and let the old one go after he’s had some time to think. But he’d have to decide to do that himself, because he wanted to, and you can’t really make that happen. If you get him to promise to stop talking to her, it’s not the same thing as him deciding he needs to move on. It’s not organic. And it won’t provide the results you want, because you won’t fully trust his decision.

So back to what I said before: let’s talk about what you can do. Not what you hope he will do. Clearly, being insecure is not helping. Making yourself stop being insecure and jealous, though… that’s one hell of a task. So rather than focusing on trying to overcome these particular obstacles, focus on the bigger picture. Are you the kind of person, or in the kind of relationship, that can be ok with stepping back and giving him some space? That doesn’t have to involve an ultimatum , but rather a demonstration of your independence and willingness to let him breathe. You could tell him that you can see he needs to work out his feelings for you and his ex, then start seeing him only twice a week instead of five times. Or if you live together, start spending more time out of the house with friends or taking yoga classes. That sort of thing. This would let you get your head out of that icky jealous/insecure space and into doing other things with your energy, while giving him time to get his priorities sorted out.

Of course that scenario only works for certain people, and it might not go the way you ideally hope it will, but I believe that this is the type of thinking—taking control over yourself and giving him some space—that will help. You can modify the ideas I’ve listed above however works for you. But continuing to do what you’ve been doing isn’t going to make anything change, and forcing him to do something by giving him an ultimatum won’t give either of you clear answers. These types of issues are usually worked out more slowly, and in the absence of coercive factors. You both need to find a way to step back, figure out what your relationship means to you, and think about whether it’s worth the stress you’re putting on one another. If it is, then having the space to figure that out will be well worth the anxiety it might cause in the meantime. But if it’s not, then spending more time and energy on it isn’t really worth it anyway.

IMAGE courtesy of the author.

—-

Lynsey G is a writer, reviewer, interviewer, columnist and blogger writing for and about sex, feminism, and porn since 2007. Formerly a smut scribe for Fox, Juggs, and Tight magazines, she’s also written for xoJane, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Corset Magazine, TOSKA, MadisonBound.com, and WHACK! Magazine. She’s still on a high after winning a 2013 Feminist Porn Award for her short film, “Consent: Society,” and is now at work blogging at her own website and working on a few books of various types.

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