Building Trust with New Genitals
Your palms are sweating, mind racing, uncertain as you step into this foreign space; elusive and mysterious. Unknown sights, smells and sounds bombard you as your system fights to make necessary adjustments. It's time to meet the subject of desire, likely experiencing similar levels of distress.
Trying your best to hide the redness of your flushed face and chest, you push down a myriad of thoughts from worry and negative self efficacy to anticipation. Making room for overthinking every move, ensuring a performance consistent with some presumed image, expectation of pleasure and craving for acceptance.
You've been in this situation hundreds, if not thousands, of times before. This is no big deal, right?
But no, every time is like the first time because every body is totally unique. And this time.. them... unique, handsome. Direct. Outspoken with eroticism exuding from every pore. This time feels different. What will they think of me? How will they touch me? Will I--can I respond in ways I'm supposed to? Ways that I want to? Ways that will make them come back again?
If only there were a button, a pump, a surefire cue to be sure all my parts, psychological and physical, respond in the ways I want. But no. It's floppy, wet. It's hard, pulsing. It's confused, writhing, hungry and impatient. Ready but fearful, novelty overshadowed by flooding thoughts and feelings of past interactions, perceived successes and failures.
Few things in life are both as ridiculously exciting and anxiety provoking as a first sexual encounter with a new partner.
(Before we dive in, a few key premises we believe. All bodies, genitals, expressions, and genders are valid and deserve pleasure just as they are. Sex is broad and complex, not defined by acts, orientations or genitals.)
As a kinky-polyamorous-queer-cis-female my sex life is as diverse as it is weird (you know you do weird stuff too, just admit it). From a scene re-enacting Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin with my ass, to bowling with massage balls knocking suction bulbs off my back, to group wrestling and pegging, I yearn to express my full erotic palate. Finding your brand of sex weirdo is a feat, and one that I commonly fail at, finding myself blue-ovaried in a pile of condoms, toys and cum. So when I meet someone with whom my erotic template aligns closely, in addition to immediately squirting profusely in my panties, presuming I'm wearing any, I strategize ways to connect and facilitate mutual touch, pleasure and exploration until we've exhausted every orifice and appendage.
After a recent encounter, a partner said to me "My dick trusts you." This was a profound idea to me. So often, we are so consumed with our experience, the swirling gurgling confluence of hormones, emotions, neurotransmitters, and body fluids overshadowing the underlying truth:
Showing up fully for sex means trusting another human being with your genitals.
How do you create space for another's genitals (and their other parts too) to feel safe, vulnerable and capable of giving and receiving pleasure and connection?
Here's a quick guide:
1. Show up for yourself first! (I know this list is about facilitating other's trust, but I promise this relates).
Practice present embodiment, knowledge, awareness and insight into your own experience. Get really good at being in the moment: noticing and interpreting your own sensations, thoughts, feelings so you can communicate them when needed, or adjust activities, requests, or a setting to suit your own well-being. When you're balanced, grounded and comfortable in your own skin your partner can tell and can feel comfortable doing the same.
1a. In the opening vignette I highlighted a few things which interfere with our ability to show up for ourselves: Performance. Expectations. Your Value. "Success."
Focus on any of these 4 pitfalls keeps you stuck, unable to engage and be present in your own pleasure, and detached from the interaction with another.
SEX IS NOT A PERFORMANCE. THERE ARE NO PREDETERMINED EXPECTATIONS.* YOUR VALUE IS NOT TIED TO YOUR SEXUAL SKILLS, BODY or ABILITY TO GIVE ORGASMS. SUCCESS IS SUBJECTIVE AND INFINITELY POSSIBLE.
Read those sentences again. Do you believe that? How do you notice those pitfalls creating walls in connection?
2. Listen to their words, non-verbal cues, and body language.
Pacing is hard when you're hard and wet! Meaningful connections, even brief one night ones, start with present engagement in your partner's experience too. Who are they? What identities do they have (i.e.: race, gender, orientation, sexual preferences, disability etc) and how can you be sensitive to their experience? What questions do you need to ask to show awareness of them and gain information about how to give pleasure?
3. Slow the fuck down. Repeat that again. SLOOOWWW. THE. FUCK. DOWN.
There's no rules, no routine, no requirements. Talk. Feel. Experience. If you want to snuggle with their balls in your face for 10 minutes, that can be cool. If you want to nuzzle their chest and blow raspberries like a 6 year old, rad. If you want a lubey finger exploring you while you lay back and fantasize about Michelle Obama, awesome! ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT AND LISTEN TO THEIR WANTS.
4. Befriend Lube and Accessories.
Seriously, lube and other accessories are your friend. Don't be afraid to stop and get accouterments that can help: toys, lube, rope, water, whip cream, or clothes pins.
5. Literally treat every set of genitals you encounter as if they are goddamn *magic* because the are, TBH.
Genitals are the center of pleasure for many, the home of the most nerve endings in the body, the elusive and finicky cat who sometimes requires a specific pattern, stimuli, image, fantasy, or approach to react. And sometimes, seem to act distinct from the rest of the body. Cast a spell on that shit. Try some different mixtures with curiosity, admiration, appreciation and intrigue.
6. Use things besides your genitals.
I know you love your goods, that's great! But hands, mouths and toys only make you more of a rock star, or perhaps Edward Scissor Hands is more fitting (minus the sharp spikey things).
7. Touch other things besides genitals!
Get consent and ask how, but then go to town. Grab, pull, twist, stroke, bite, lick, suck. You've got a whole other person (or people) to explore! Explore them!
8. Accept whatever happens (presuming no violations of consent or safety occurred), and take joy in it.
Success can mean your bodies fit together well, or you learned something about this person, or you tried a new thing, or perhaps an orgasm occurred. One of my partners always says... "Did it feel good? Did you have fun? Then it was a success, regardless of orgasm, erection, lubrication, intensity, or comparison."
For TRAUMA SURVIVORS:
As an aside, if you're a trauma survivor these steps may look different, specifically adding in a lot more conversations around who is in charge, what your needs are around trigger activation, and how to identify when something is activating. Get some support with creating your own individualized plan.
So as you go into the world of exploration, set a goal to build trust with a new set of genitals, and see how that goes!
*Expectations that are necessary include: safe sex practices, negotiation of wants and needs, and comfort in setting your own boundaries/ respecting another's, particularly if one or both parties are trauma survivors.
This was originally published on another blog, This Sexy Life, a few years ago.