The most important lesson I have ever learned regarding my adult sexuality was about personal responsibility and the necessity of communication. What do I mean by "personal responsibility," you ask? In my first article on Kinkly, I opened up and told the world the embarrassing story of how I lost my virginity. In the years after my first time having sex, I stumbled through relationships with partners who were no better than my first at giving me pleasure - or guaranteeing my safety. Some didn’t care, and others just seemed completely lost. I would have liked to steal a phrase from Miranda on "Sex and the City" and said, "It’s my clitoris, not the sphinx."
It's been a long, arduous journey, but finally I learned that my bad sex was all my fault, because the only person you can really count on in the mission toward a better sex is yourself. Here's how to take charge today for better sex tomorrow.
During the first few years that I was sexually active, I didn't have orgasms. At first, I dismissed this as wholly the fault of my partners, but soon I realized that I was also to blame. Instead of being complacent while my partners failed to get me off, I could have spoken up and said something. If I didn't trust a man to bring condoms to the party, why would I wait for him to offer me up an orgasm? While I understand now that many partners do care about my pleasure and will do whatever is necessary to ensure it, I realize that you can't always bank on it. Nor can you guarantee chemistry, or that your partner's "moves" will be the right ones to get you fired up. I now realize that it's up to me to say something if things aren't going quite as well as I had hoped. And I do!
These experiences have taught me something that sounds simple, yet is one of the most important things I've learned: Only I am in charge of how much fun I'm going to have and how safe I'm going to be. Now, not only do I make sure that I always have condoms with me instead of trusting my partner to remember, but I have also spent a lot of time getting to know my body and the things I find pleasurable. Most importantly, I make sure that everything I do is by choice, which gives me the freedom to take charge within a situation and ask for what I want. (Learn more about the importance of consent - and how sexy it can be - Yes! Why Consent Is Totally Sexy!)
Talk It Out
I chose my career in sex therapy because I'm fascinated by sex, and love conversing about it, but not everyone is so comfortable talking about these things. My job has allowed me to speak with people (who might not usually be so open) about all kinds of sexual endeavors, as well as their likes and dislikes, their curiosities, their fantasies...
Communicating with your partner about sex may seem simpler than talking with strangers, but in reality, it can be an even more difficult endeavor. Most of us have a pretty good idea of what we like and don’t like. Some of us are even advanced enough to know what we'd like to explore. That’s the simple part. The hard part part is actually initiating a conversation and being honest about our desires and hang-ups. (For more on the importance of talking about sex, check out My No. 1 Tip for Having the Best Sex of Your Life.)
Communication Leads to Enjoyment
Without the ability to communicate about sex, where would we be? I can use my own experiences to shed some light on this. I know that if I hadn't learned to speak up I would be in one of two positions, neither of which are pleasant: I would either be having unfulfilling sex due to my inability to voice my desires and fantasies, or worse, I would perhaps be doing things I'm not comfortable with because I never had the guts to say how I truly feel.
All of these lessons have shaped my self-confidence, which in turn is a key asset when mustering the courage to communicate with one's partner. My experiences have also shaped how I work with clients and the advice I give them about their own communication issues. Each person, their body, their likes and dislikes, wants, needs and desires are unique - which brings us to another important lesson I have learned: What works for one partner doesn't necessarily work for the next. (Do you need a confidence boost? Read 10 Things You Don't Know About Self Love to find out more about how self-confidence leads to better sex.)
Now that I have taken responsibility for my own enjoyment and satisfaction, I am able to ask for what I want and get what I need. In turn, communicating my desires to my partner has opened me up to asking my partner what satisfies him. Now I am excited to hear about the new positions he wants to try and fantasies he wants to explore, without my insecurities or feelings of personal failure getting in the way. Rather, I see these wishes and desires as an aspect of my partner's unique self, and talking about them helps me feel even more connected to him. I am also able to use the things I've learned about being responsible for my own enjoyment to help encourage clients and benefit their relationships. If I can do it, so can you - so take charge of your sex life. Because the only one who's truly responsible for bad sex is you.