Y'all, I was too tired to put it down in writing, but this question from one of the Smut Slams kinda stuck in my head and made me want to respond.
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Y'all, I was too tired to put it down in writing, but this question from one of the Smut Slams kinda stuck in my head and made me want to respond.
Good lord, yes. Here are but a few of the things that remain mysteries. I don’t need to “solve” them, per se; I feel fine with leaving them in the realm of “other people like them” or “not important why.” I am also fine with discussing them and trying to understand them better. But they are still very much open questions in my book:
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I won’t say that I have absorbed anything dramatically new to my own pleasure/fantasy/sex/kink palate. (I assume you’re talking about my years in phone work; Sidewalk Smut is very much the same kind of work.) I’m a little more curious about men in feminine clothing, from talking to a couple of phone clients about what they really liked about cross-dressing, but that’s curiosity, not taste or desire.
I think I’ve probably gotten better at articulating what I want, just saying the damn thing, whatever it is. That has to happen in phone sex; whatever’s going on and however you’re feeling, you have to say it, or at least let out some very convincing groans, or else your partner isn’t going to know that you you're doing anything. But that is really about using my words, which is an excellent transferable skill and not a new deposit into my sexual imagination.
Truth is, indulging other people’s fantasies for a living has never added anything significant to my wank bank. I pick up what people want for long enough to create an experience, spoken or written, that they want, and then I set it aside when I’m done. I’ve got enough going on in my head, I don’t need to store everyone else’s shit.
The same has NOT been true when I indulge my partners’ fantasies. If I am playing with someone not for pay, but because I really like/love them and find being with them a fun time and trust them not to be dickheads, then yes, over time I have picked up a few new fantasies/role plays/activities for my repertoire.
Mostly they have been things on the rougher or more violent side of the spectrum—things like wrestling hard, or hand-on-throat play, or consensual non-consent--where if they came from someone with whom I have no foundation of trust, I would be all, “Gah, no, what?”
Makes sense: these sorts of things require time and exposure and repeated reassurance, in both word and deed, in order for me to feel safe. Someone blathering about them on the phone line just makes me roll my eyes. I have no way of knowing that they know what they’re talking about; mostly, they sounded like they didn’t. With people I trusted, I could explore the extremes and still feel safe.
More than anything else, though, the biggest shift in my sexual life that came about from working with people’s fantasies for pay was in my head, about myself. I learned to judge others less, and learned to judge myself less, too.
In both of these lines of work—phone sex and Sidewalk Smut—I had to keep my non-judgmental face on at all times, even if I was judging them hard. I had to act like it was all good, and that act had to be pretty air-tight, because people can tell when you’re judging them.
And the thing about faking it ‘til you make it? Eventually you do make it. I believe it; it happened. My body was keeping the non-judge-y muscles going, and eventually that sank into my consciousness and I increasingly found myself not judging. I never stopped judging people's level of douche-baggery, but as far as sex and kink went, I learned to say "right on, not my thing, but cool" and really believe it.
It was not inevitable that I turn that kind of radical acceptance around on my own life; most people are harder on themselves than they are on other people. I certainly don’t remember sitting down and consciously thinking about giving myself more room to explore and not judging myself for my fantasies. But that’s what happened.
I am a lot less weird about my own “weird,” which is a much more comfortable place to be.
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You really like this dude; he is the sweetest, smartest, super good looking, smart, loving person, BUT he's the worst in bed with a tiny penis. What would you do?
For the record, I want to state that having a small penis is not necessarily a factor in whether someone is good or bad in bed; the converse is also not a given, that is, a large dick is not something that can automatically render acceptable an otherwise appalling waste of a human meat-bag. There are undoubtedly a few people for whom penis size is a make-or-break trait; the rest of us will at least try, and some will succeed in making do with what we got, plus some sex toys.
In other words, the tiny penis is not really the crucial point. Check yourself, dear Fuckbucketeer, about your biases here, because being "the worst in bed" is the real problem.
What you do about it depends on two things:
Some people don’t care as much about sex; for the purposes of this discussion, we can leave the asexual people alone. Such a relationship might be sustainable for them (although not if sex is really important to their partner and the partner doesn’t think they are doing anything badly and therefore are unwilling to change anything). But if sex is even moderately important to you, then you will want to do something to change the situation.
In case anyone is sitting there reading this post and thinking, “oh my god, that poor smut slam attendee, what a terrible situation!” please don’t stress. I think this question is a hypothetical one; the writer is not presently in this situation. But the issue of compatibility does come up frequently and it is a tricky one, whether you’re talking about who is doing a lot of work in bed or how to put the forks in the dishwasher the "right way." (Handles down, tines up, in case you were wondering.)
If you should ever find yourself in a situation like this, just know that you are going to have to use your words. You may decide to initiate a conversation or series of conversations, outside of the bedroom, about what you want in sex and how he could help you get that. There are even ways that you can communicate your needs better during sex, but it all comes down to the question: how much time do you want to invest in this? Sometimes—many times?—people don’t change. You have to decide for yourself when, if ever, you stop trying and get out.
Whatever else you do, please don’t write off your wanting better sex as “oh, it’s not that big of a deal.” It is that big of a deal. And don’t feel silly or shallow if it turns out that you end the relationship over whatever the issue. However perfect this person may be in all other respects, and however awesome they appear to outside people—people who are not you—you are the one who is going to have to live with this person. If an issue is important to you, then any irreconcilable differences there will eventually overshadow all the other great things about that person.
My short advice: figure out how much further time and energy you want to put into sharing your concerns with your partner. Set a limit, and if you reach it and nothing has changed for the better, leave.
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I’m … not sure why one wouldn’t? If you are also compatible in other important areas, and there doesn’t exist a legal impediment against it, and both parties are capable of giving consent (of age, having a sound mind, not being a car or a corpse or an alpaca), then go on ahead and marry that fucker, if that’s what you both really want!
I did not get the sense from this question that this was a situation in progress for the writer. They were asking a hypothetical question only, but it had a certain sense of anxiety about it, as though they are looking ahead at a period in their life when they might be expected to “settle down”—or may also want that for themselves—but they’re looking at it from the vantage point of a period in their life when they are getting some good action going on, and they’re wondering if the wild sex life stuff ends at 30.
“When I settle down, will I have to just settle?” is perhaps one underlying question. “Maybe I will get to a point where I don’t have much choice,” this person is thinking, “or I have less than I do now. Maybe I will have to relinquish some of my expectations and settle for less than what I want.”
To this I say, fuck that noise, DON’T FUCKING SETTLE. If getting married or otherwise into a long-term, emotionally committed relationship is something you want to do, please hold out for the things that are most important to you, and if your sex life is important to you, keep that bit close to your heart. It is not weird or one-track to make one’s sexual compatibility and excitement an important part of your relationship quest, it’s just keeping your priorities clear.
There is, of course, that sexist notion that still persists in some people’s minds, that there are some women you can have a great time fucking, but you would never “bring home to meet your mother,” e.g. a good time versus a good wife. But this is patent bullshit. Like, I’m not even going to waste two more sentences on this terrible dichotomy. Get you a person who can be both.
The more I think about this question, the more sex and relationship myths I see, lurking underneath the surface. Yes, you can be both smoking hot and a suitably stable partner. No, marriage/cohabitation/whatever does not mean a death knell for your sex life. Yes, sex lives can change after you marry/move in, but that’s more to do with New Relationship Energy wearing off and maybe you taking each other for granted; it is not a sign that you have sacrificed your sex fantasy on the altar of domestic bliss.
If your fantasy fuck has all the other qualities you need for a life partner, whatever those may be, GREAT. Sit down and talk with them beforehand about things like date nights, and bucket lists and games and workshops and anything else you might be able to use to keep tapping into that molten core. It takes effort, in the face of real life, to keep fanning the flames of whatever kinky shit you’re into.
But you can do it. So go ahead and marry that perv. If they think about you the way you think about them, you’ll deserve each other.
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If this is your first conversation that the two of you will be having about things that might be accompanied by feelings of insecurity and jealousy, then you probably won’t be able to do it without some amount of hurt. These conversations, and the feelings that happen on both sides of the equation, are fucking challenging for most people, even if you’re used to having them—like many polyamorous people or open sex workers—and the first time out can feel scary and bad. Just remember: you aren’t unevolved or “basic” or whatever for having either the initial feelings of insecurity OR for feeling anxious about the conversation. They don’t teach this shit in school, although they should.
The best thing you can do going into such convos is for both people to assume the best intent and mutual investment on both sides. (If you can’t do that, then feeling insecure and jealous is not the deepest level of challenge that you have, and I recommend seeing a couples’ therapist pronto.)
Another basic thing is to really make yourself physically present. Sit across from each other so you can have eye contact; turn off the damn phones. And be prepared to breathe a lot and stay silent and listen.
I talked about this a while back, about leaving lots and lots space in tough conversations. You’ve got to leave room, take time to hear the other person and then come up with your response. This is basic conversational respect: don’t be preparing your response when you haven’t even listened completely to what they are saying.
It’s worth going into these with similar sorts of ground rules that you establish together. Whether that’s my “asterisk” concept (setting up a code word that indicates that you have finished speaking for the moment) or an understanding that one of you may cry when upset, but that doesn’t mean ending the conversation, whatever your particulars are, it’s good to get them out on the table to support the process.
Also, and maybe this is obvious, do some thinking ahead of time about what is really going on. Take notes for yourself if you need to; it’s easy to get lost in your head when emotions are running high. At the very least, spend a little time thinking or journaling about what happened to bring up this conversation, so that it’s not all unfolding real-time during your discussion.
Okay, enough about prepping. How about that actual conversation?
When you tell your partner about those feelings, hook them up to a specific event or situation where you feel them; that is, avoid sweeping statements like “I’m just feeling so insecure lately!” Try phrasing it as a cause-and-effect thing: “when you stay out so late and I don’t hear from you, I feel anxious/insecure/angry (whatever the tough emotion that you feel).” The cause, however, is not them, it’s a behavior or situation, and you are reporting your feeling about that situation, NOT THEM.
Spend some time digging in with your partner. Are you worried about losing your partner to someone else? Do you think that their co-workers are more attractive than you are? Are you missing some intimacy at home? Are you dealing with so much instability in your life that you just need one spot of stability, and you thought that was your partner, but now this is happening? Go deep. Because yes, there are things that they are doing or ways that they are being that are bringing these things up, but you are not a blank slate or a puppet with strings waiting to be pulled: you are bringing your own history and feelings in as well.
When you’ve hashed out what is really going on, and how they feel, and actually what are the facts about the situation, it’s time to ask for what you want. Can you lay down some action items, and make a date to check in on them? Sometimes the remedy is as simple as a phone call or text; maybe you do need a therapist together. What is something that they could do, or the two of you together, that would help you feel better?
Remember also to think about the things that you could do to help yourself. I’ve heard this called “self-soothing,” and holy crap, is it something that I have had to work on constantly when it comes to my own relationship insecurities. Basically, you’re looking at non-harmful things that you can do when you’re feeling bad, and also just committing to sitting through the uncomfortable feelings. Sometimes you need to share with your partner when the shitty feelings come up; sometimes you can share with trusted friends, or work on it by yourself through journaling or making art. You get to decide for yourself, hooray, self-sufficiency! (That was only partially sarcastic.)
Then at the end? Your partner might still feel hurt or whatever; you might still feel insecure. But make sure that you have something good to do together afterward, making dinner or watching a movie or a bath together, something bonding. Because you did it. Feeling insecure and hurt are normal things, but you talked about it, and you planned for change, and you still love each other and the world did not end. Well done!
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