Archive for sexploreum
Short answer: yes.
Long answer: strap in, we’re going for a ride.
For the sake of accuracy, I should point out that this question posits sexual orientation as being intrinsic ("nature"), by contrasting it with “lifestyle choice” (a conscious decision or choice, something that can be changed, "nurture" in the classic debate). This stance is still occasionally under discussion, both in queer culture and in society at large, though it's less fiercely debated than it used to be. I’ll tell you in a little bit why I don’t think it matters.
This question pops up a fair bit at parties or at polyamory munches or online discussion forums. I personally think that any sexual behavior has both an orientation component (“nature”) and a social/cultural component (“nurture”). You’re born with a capacity for the thing, but your upbringing and other personal/social/cultural circumstances will determine how you decide to act on it or manifest it, and even whether or not you even notice it as a possibility for yourself.
I hold my answer to be true not only for this question, but also for any other question about whether any given non-mainstream sexual behavior or activity or identity is an orientation or a lifestyle choice.
These things are complicated, and also vary from person to person. One person may believe strongly that they have always been polyamorous and never had a moment’s doubt about it, while another person may have never really thought about it until they met a potential partner who was, and then they read up about it and went to munches and talked to people about it and tried on polyamoury and found that it was a fine way to conduct relationships, if they wanted to, but it was just one thing in their relationship toolkit, not essential, just handy if they happened to fall in love with a polyamorous person.
I confess I do sometimes wonder about why this question gets asked, because I have seen what happens in socio-political movements sometimes. It’s a short little process that goes something like this:
- People in the group try to find proof or arguments that the thing they are talking about is intrinsic and “born with.” They are helped by the fact that scientific research into these identities often picks up when the identities in question are starting to make waves in the larger culture. We saw this a lot with gay and lesbian movements in the last thirty years; the trans movement has also been subjected to this. Being "born that way” is a crucial component to the next step…
- Armed with the proof that they were “born that way,” people’s pleas for tolerance can then be justified. Who would be so cruel as to deny folks their rights to just be? (Turns out lots of people.)
In other words, this question so often seems to be a prelude to “don’t deny me my rights, I was born like this.”
Do you see what a bullshit construct this is. We know that things that absolutely, incontrovertibly are intrinsic parts of a person—skin color, where someone was born, etc—are easily used against individuals. And we also know that in some places, there are lifestyle choices—religion, having children, even (in the US) owning guns—that are fiercely protected as inviolable. What aspects of a person’s identity are important enough to be defended in court are simply subject to the winds of politics and public opinion.
So I hold to the radical option of IT DOESN’T MATTER how you got to be you, as long as you’re not hurting anyone nor trying to use your views to change anyone else’s behavior. Doesn’t matter if you were sneaking kisses with multiple other kids in kindergarten, or you took the workshop last week and are giving it a go because you like the conferences.
Whether it’s intrinsic or a lifestyle choice, IT’S ALL FINE, and should not be the basis for stigma, prejudice, or discrimination.
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FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: “Aristotle thought sex was a distraction from “more important issues.” What are your thoughts?
As a self-identified slut and sex-aware writer/performer, I have to take a step back and acknowledge that there are sometimes down-sides to the sex-positive movement, at least the stuff that gets mainstreamed. One of the down-sides is:
You’re supposed to want sex all the time, everywhere.
Never mind the numbers of asexual people and celibate-by-choice folks for whom this is quite patently not going to be true. Even those of us with unusually high libidos will sometimes just Not Want It, by virtue of circumstance and/or personal feelings. In the world of Cosmo, that doesn't really exist.
This piece, with its frisky and vaguely tongue-in-cheek suggestions for sex positions when your child is sleeping in the next room and you’re too wiped out to do anything more than stick your hand down your panties, does kind of acknowledge that new parents will have it rough for getting it on. And the positions make sense for folks who are tired, for whatever reason (I for one have discovered a pretty good variation on position #2).
But the writer doesn’t give any space or consideration to the idea that new mothers can DEFINITELY NOT WORRY ABOUT THIS FOR A BIT. It assumes that women should work hard to snap back to sexual, in the same way that they can lose all of that baby weight pronto, if they just want to badly enough.
I feel like the extent of practical sex advice to parents should probably be “make out for a little bit if you can, see how that feels, you know, like, see if you manage to stay awake.” Yes, there are going to be people who want to go for it, but in general, as I understand it, having a child changes your life, and if you’re just not having a good time getting it on, it’s totally okay and not your fault, and you can ease up on yourself and your partner a little bit.
Trust Cosmo not to leave some respectful and understanding space, but to double down instead, taking on infant and early-childhood parenting as some kind of a sex challenge that needs to be worked around in cleverly named ways. In that spirit, I came up with some other really difficult times when you should be thinking about having sex:
YOUR DOCTORAL THESIS IS DUE IN THREE DAYS
Crunch Time. Hold your partner down on the floor between your legs in the study carrel at the library. Shhh!
Sleep No More. Get on your hands and knees while you’re finishing the bibliography. A swat on your ass each time you nod off. Exciting!
YOU’RE INTERVIEWING FOR AN APARTMENT
Push the Button. Lean against the elevator wall while your partner fingers you and shields you with their body, from both the door and the security camera that you already located. You did clock the security camera, right?
Test Drive. At the overcrowded open house, when the other couples are jamming the kitchen, take a moment to test drive the counter in the upstairs bathroom.
YOU’VE BEEN DETAINED AT HEATHROW AIRPORT AND ARE WAITING IN A DANK BACK ROOM FOR IMMIGRATIONS TO INTERVIEW YOU.
Footsies. How high can you take your naked foot before the guards notice? Seriously, I wanna know, because I’ve been there, in Heathrow Airport, and those fuckers are paying attention.
YOU’RE BOTH RECOVERING FROM FOOD POISONING
The Dandelion. Do a blow job the way you used to think they were done: blowing air at their junk.
Delicate Spoon. Sideways, carefully curled up, with the barf bucket by the side of the bed
See what I mean? Putting pressure on people to be sexual at all times… that’s kinda terrible.
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FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: Do I have to identify as bisexual if I enjoy sex with men, but am otherwise totally a lesbian?
Before I did phone sex for a living, I would have told you that I didn’t have a dominant bone in my sexual body. Didn’t want it, and didn’t think I could do it. But then I started phone work and I had to learn it, because that’s what women with my kind of voice (“mature”) get slotted into with phone sex.
Fortunately for me, I discovered a few approaches that worked to get me in that head space.(Read about some of my early domme strategies here.) Fortunately for you, these approaches work for any kind of role play. So if your partner wants to try something that just “isn’t you,” give these a shot to help get you there:
Take traits that you already have and BLOW THEM UP. Really push it out to extremes. As I mentioned in the linked post, I found that some of my clients really enjoyed it when I would get super articulate on their ass, teasing them, fencing with my words. It was one of my favorite fem-dom things to do, because it wasn’t really removed from my usual self so it was easy, and if a challenge ever did come up, I could respond well because I was really grounded in my own self.
Find some traits that you don’t have and PLAY. These could be psychological traits or just facts. Are you a nice girl in real life? Try on being a Steel-Toed Bitch for a night; really let loose with some viciousness. Are you a sub with a slutty streak but not a stitch of bad-girl clothing to your name? Take some time with your dom/me to describe your fantasy wardrobe in excruciating detail.
Get or give information in character. Start your playtime before the playtime starts by getting in some kind of character before asking your lover for details. If you are the boss, have the conversation about what you want to do, while your lover is in a computer chair and you are sitting on the desk above them. If you are a slutty house-wench in the queen’s castle, pull your blouse down a heap and try talking with your face always downcast.
Respond to uncertainty in character. If you’re playing a student in a role-play game, and you don’t understand what your teacher dom/me is asking you to do, ask for clarification as if you actually were a student: ask for permission to speak, maybe raise your hand, make sure to use the correct form of address. Stay in character!
Of course, you should deal with the important details—safe words and who has the bedroom with the thickest, most soundproof walls—before the scene, face to face, as two consenting adults. But once you’ve gotten that stuff down, you can learn and internalize the ropes surprisingly quickly if you just step into it and calibrate your exact shade of role-play both to your own personality AND to the character itself.
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How do I get my wife to embrace her innate, wonderful, amazing ability to squirt? (Every time. it's amazing. but she's embarrassed.)
There are some things that I do during sex. I don’t even deliberately do them, they are just part of my array of physical reactions, like sweating or my pussy lubing up or my chest flushing like a polluted-sky sunset when I orgasm. I have no control over them, they just happen.
If my partner went on about any of these, I would get really annoyed, really quickly.
The way that you write about this feels just a touch fetishizing, is my point. Your wife didn’t learn to squirt; it’s just the way her bits are set up. She’s probably tired of soaking through towels or having to buy puppy pads or whatever she has figured out to do to accommodate this aspect of her sex response. Do you praise her for squirting every time? Stop. Take a break from that while you figure out other strategies, because if she’s embarrassed and having other emotions, your lavish enjoyment is pretty likely to kick up some push-back.
The whole situation is complicated by, well, how complicated societal response is to manifestations of women’s sexuality. On the one hand, women are told in mainstream sex media (Cosmo and other “advice” purveyors) that they should be able to squirt, and there are ways of learning to do this, and what kind of uptight prude are you if you can’t? On the other (sticky) hand, and in the broader media, women are shamed for natural bodily traits or functions like discharge spots on knickers or floppy labia or gushy orgasms. (This is very much slut-shaming, by the way, in which neutral physical traits have become symbols for "loose woman.")
Your wife may have internalized that dichotomy—sexually liberated woman vs soaked-sheets whore, all for a quality that she doesn’t actually control—and so this whole topic is going to be a fucking mess. But you can’t “get” your wife to do anything with her own attitudes about her own body; you can only be supportive. What does that look like?
I would definitely focus for the foreseeable future on mixing up your praise repertoire: make sure you are TALKING ABOUT THINGS OTHER THAN HER SQUIRTING FUNCTIONALITY. What other things about her body do you like? What are things she actually does sexually that you like? Is she a champion deep-throater? Are her nipples unbearably nommable? Make sure you tell her about those things!
Check your own behavior around her squirting: don’t sniff the towels, don’t gleefully dance off to the washing machine with the soaked sheets. And don’t try to hide your love of her squirt in euphemisms like, “I love how juicy you are.” She knows what you’re talking about, and she’s heard it before. I know this may feel like you are repressing your own sexual enjoyment, but if you know she doesn't like to hear it and you keep talking about it, you're kinda being an asshole. If you sincerely want to be present for your wife around this, you have to turn off the spotlight of your attention and leave room for her complicated feelings.
After you’ve dialed back on the squirty love for a little while, maybe consider asking your wife what’s going on when she gets embarrassed. Don’t have this convo right after she gushes; maybe leave it for the post-coital cool-down period, when everyone’s got their favorite hot beverage and you’re basking but you've got your verbal skills back. Ask her something like, “I’ve been wondering, sweetie, you often seem to have strong emotions about your squirt, and I don’t understand. Can you tell me a little more about that? What is going on in your head during that time?”
(I should mention that in general I would prefer to have this sort of conversation about sexual issues outside the bedroom and not immediately following sex, but I’m not recommending that here because if you aren’t regularly checking in with your wife in this way, this will not be the best time to start.)
Just keep your questions gentle and open-ended. If you want to be supportive, you need to get a better idea of what is actually happening for her emotionally. At the same time, be prepared to drop it, if she’s not down with talking about it yet. Just let her know that you’re ready to listen, and then go back to gushing about things other than her squirt.
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The quandaries of festival sex: HOW DO I GET THIS GLITTER OUT OF MY CERVIX???!!!
If you’re having painful penetrative sex post-festival, and you feel pretty sure that extreme intra-vadge glitter is the culprit, I would get thee to a doctor and ask for their opinion. My general understanding is that vaginal douching is a terrible thing—it would just push glitter further up, for starters, and irritate the membranes—but I imagine that it might be medically necessary in some specific instances, and the doctor would be able to advise on best practices, if not actually do the procedure for you.
If you’re NOT in pain, and you’re just worried that every time you wipe after peeing you’re getting glitter on the TP, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. Burlesquers and strippers have been living with glittery bits for ages. A well-functioning vagina has mucous that will keep the glitter moving along.
This question made me think of all of the other challenges of festival sex, and what are some preventative measures that festival-goers should take:
- MUD IN ORIFICES (or playa dust, for Burners). This is kinda unavoidable, when you’re doing the deed out in nature. However, you can minimize the impact by reducing the exposure of your fucking area to the elements (e.g. a tent) and keeping a wash cloth or sponge and a bit of clean water aside to wash up before and after, whatever your bits are. If you have a good way to keep your garbage together, there are wipes for before/after that work. I will say that the idea of having certain kinds of sex, like butt sex, out in festival conditions makes me feel a little queasy—like there is no way to be as clean as I need to be—but you do you, darling. Just remember that you’re not going to have running water anywhere near you.
- Drink enough water for a number of reasons, not the least of which is keeping your pussy in proper working order (natural lube!). And normal pounding sex can be exhausting under normal conditions, never mind when you’re tired and hungover and layering more booze or drugs on top of that.
- 99 percent of festival goers the world over agree: clothes are a pain in the ass when it comes to fest-sex. They get in the way, and if they don’t get lost or left in a stranger’s tent, they get juicy spots on them that are not going to smell or look nice after 72 hours of not washing. Consider going commando, and definitely pack in skirts, whatever your gender, if you know you want to be fooling around. Skirts or kilts are the ultimate easy-access sex attire.
Y’all, these are clearly a very specific set of circumstances that I will, god willing, never be in again (I went to Burning Man in 1999 and 2001). I am not a neat freak, but I do like a shower nearby for freshening up as and when needed, and that is not something one can really expect at a festival. So all I can say, when I look at the issues of glitter vadge and spoogy fest clothes is: good luck, and isn’t that the sort of thing you like to tell stories about anyway?
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