30 Nov How to have Safer Hotter Sex
You might think this article is going to be about condoms and the safer sex speech. While those are great ways to have physically safer sex in terms of assessing your risk for STIs (sexually transmitted infections, not diseases), what I’m talking about today is how to have emotionally and physiologically safer sex. Sex that is more in alignment with how you are really feeling and what you are really wanting from moment to moment. When you get in tune to that, that’s when things really get hot!
(That said, for tips on how to have the safer sex talk, go to: http://reidaboutsex.com/safersexelevatorspeech/)
Have you ever had sex that you didn’t want to have? Yes? #metoo. There are extreme cases in this category like rape, coercion, and abuse (and thank the goddess that these transgressions are starting to receive widespread attention! Hallelu!), but what I’m speaking to today are the times you’re having sex that maybe you thought you wanted, but it isn’t turning out so well. Or maybe you are feeling half in and half out. Or you want to express love for a partner but what is happening doesn’t feel good physically. Etc. Etc. Etc. Ya dig? So what to do about that……
Step One: SLOW DOWN……
Our minds move very fast and often makes decisions without consulting the messages from the body. And we are socially programmed to respond in certain ways, ways that may go against what our body is actually saying. For example: Be a good girl and please others! **Grrrrr….that’s me getting upset about that bullshit** But I digress…
By slooooowwwwwing doooowwwwwn and giving ourselves the time to check in with our body before we make a reactionary response, we have the ability to voice our body’s needs over our people-pleasing or other such programming.
“But Emily, won’t that be weird if I don’t respond right away”? Maybe! But who cares? Embrace the awkward; value your experience enough to take the time to check in. This is your life! Only you can protect you! And with practice, this will become second nature and take less time.
The autonomic nervous system is responsible for responding to threats to our safety. When a threat is detected, a whole series of body processes and impulses get activated with the goal of escaping or disarming the threat. What your body perceives as a threat is not always what you rationally think is a threat. It could be anything and will vary for a multitude of reasons.
For good sex to occur, most of us need to feel safe. (There is also thrill seeking adrenaline fueled sex, but I’ll save that for a different episode). When we feel safe, we can let go of the hypervigilant threat scanning that keeps us in the more analytical part of our brain and move into our limbic system, or animal brain. This is where trance states live and a heightened ability to feel sensation- in other words, our primal sexual superpowers.
By slowing down you can check in with your body, adjust to get what you need to feel safe, and if sex is still going to occur or is occurring, have a more pleasurable experience. WIN!!!!!
Step Two: SPEAK UP
I get how hard actually opening your mouth and speaking the words that communicate your needs properly is. I was terrible at it until recently- and I’m still far from advanced. But here’s what I’ve learned…..
If it’s hard for you to say something, you can say that! Preface the statement with something like, “Hey. I have something to say but I don’t how to say it or I’m scared to say it”. Or “Hey. I have an unspoken.” Then say the thing. That let’s your partner know this is hard for you and can lend itself to increased empathy.
Speak in ‘I’ statements. “I’m feeling ___”. “I thought I wanted this, but now it doesn’t feel good and I don’t know why”.
Or if you are the receiver of sensitive information, a good response is, “Thank you for taking care of yourself.” That affirms that you heard them and congratulates them for taking the hard step.
It is ALWAYS OK AT ANYTIME to say what you are feeling/need. You are never too far into something to back out or change course. Your body is yours. Your partner isn’t a mind reader and you are probably pretty good at pretending things are OK. We are enculturated to do that. Also, the most important part of sex for most people is knowing that their partner is enjoying it. Most likely your partner will be happy to know something isn’t working for you and to make adjustments. Just please avoid the “you’re doing something wrong” statements. That creates a spiral of sexual shame and often leads to defensiveness.
Step Three: KNOW THYSELF
The better you know how you work- your sexual anatomy and how your parts function, how arousal works in your brain and body, and how your menstrual cycle relates to your sexual response- the better sex you can have. It’s like going from being lost in the woods without a map, to having a state of the art GPS system to guide you. Three books I recommend to shine light on these topics are…
Women’s Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston. The title says it all, plus more.
Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski. This book is full of scientific nerdery about how arousal works, amongst other fascinating things.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility. This is a big book and resource for all things menstrual cycle.
Books are great resources and learning tools, but beyond that, knowing thyself is about taking the time to get to know yourself and how you work. It’s about being curious, compassionate, and exploratory with the landscape that is you. Guidance and support are crucial on the journey. It let’s you know you aren’t alone, broken, or fucked up, and can even help you to discover magical mysterious goldmines that you weren’t able to spot on your own.
Keep it Real, Safe, and Hot.