Not that Into You (Or maybe I am, you could just ask)
A friend linked to this on Facebook, and it got me thinking. I am going to ignore the misogynist, ableist, and homophobic language in the post, because that’s not what I started thinking about.(Well, not initially.)
There’s a massive industry built around teaching women (and men) how to be good partners, the perfect date, the most amazing wife, a better lover. It’s one of those situations where we can’t win (and there’s many) because the books teach us to be happily alone, perfectly available, and alluringly aloof. So much of the advice that’s around (He’s Just Not That Into You, I am looking at you) denies women any agency over their relationships, preferring to assume that all women want is marriage and babies, and that we are so desperate for them we’ll sacrifice ourselves for that goal.
I recently had a conversation with another friend, who described herself as a “bit of a prude”. (Another way we can’t win – you’re either a prude or a slut, there’s no inbetween.) The money quote: “I think anywhere other than the bed is dirty”. I think maybe it’s just because I have mostly extremely liberal friends, but I had forgotten what it is like to talk to someone who really does like it Vanilla. (I am not hugely fond of that term, but it is 6am, and I can’t think of anything better.) But when she talked about her partner, and how they liked it, I was a little jealous. Because they know what each other likes, and they are comfortable together.
Because really, that’s all the sex advice I am going to give you. Hah! I bet you were expecting a bullet point list of titillating tricks and advice, right? No. Tallulah’s definitive guide to sex and relationships boils down to two words: Be Yourself.
Listen. Be kind. (Unless you’re specifically asked not to be. In which case, be as cruel as you can.) Ask the other person what they like and DO THAT. And darlings, for God’s sake, tell your partner (whether they are there for that night or for the rest of your life), what you like, and ask them to do it. There’s no shame in knowing. There’s no shame in having done it before. Or having not done it before, for that matter. Basically, I’m echoing Dan Savage’s Good Giving and Game here. (And yes, many feminists don’t like him. I’m aware.)
Ask for consent. It doesn’t have to be verbal, and it doesn’t have to be every step of the way, but making sure the other person is ok is a fundamental part of lovin’. If you’re going to do something a little out of the box…it pays to prepare them.
There doesn’t really need to be millions of words written about that. Sure, there’s techniques, positions, tricks and toys, but what it all boils down to, is finding someone who is willing to give you what you want. But first, you have to know what that is. We’re all different, and we all find different things attractive.
Three last points. First, be safe. Second, The advice from Mr Godek to “try to make love as quickly as you possibly can. Time yourselves! Try to improve on your time every few months” is unlikely to ever win you a repeat performance. I have never heard anyone say “we had the most amazing sex last night. It was so quick!”.
And lastly, from Tallulah herself, a quote that works on a number of levels, if you put your mind to it:
“I’ll come and make love to you at five o’clock. If I’m late start without me.”
[Want more advice? I actually do know some tricks. Send me your questions here.]