sex, money, and miscellany: talking about what matters

good sex

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2009 at 6:07 am

If there’s one then there are thousands: books, videos, advice columns that claim they’ll teach you to have good sex, better sex, perfect sex. Seems like no one is satisfied, everyone wants something better.

So what is good sex?

It all depends on what you want, doesn’t it? And that’s more than what turns you on. It’s the whole picture: what happened before, what happens afterward, the environment, the person, the possibility, the reality. And as long as everything is safe, sane, and consensual, who’s to complain?

So it turns out that good sex turns on good communication. Even if it’s solo sex, you’ve got to be honest with yourself. But for the sake of discussion, let’s assume at least one other person is involved. How do you know what they want? How do you know what they don’t want? How do they know what you want?

It takes a lot of courage to be honest about desire, because then the person(s) across from you can choose to meet your desire or choose to disappoint you. They could have judgments about what you want or like or are curious about. They could misunderstand, and then you’d have to try again, be more explicit, be less shy.

Good communication is hard; good communication about needs and wants is harder. But it can also be very freeing. When you don’t get what you want, the first go-to place is your communication: Did I really make clear what I wanted? Is it possible that they misinterpreted what I said? How can I be clearer in the future? It puts you back in the driver’s seat, even when you’ve been disappointed. That one claim to your own power can be profoundly transformative, and it makes the whole world look like a more inviting place. When you know you were absolutely clear, there’s no way to make excuses for someone’s failure to step up: they had the information they needed and they made a choice. If that choice wasn’t graceful or polite or nice, that can inform your opinion of them. It can also influence your future relationship.

Maybe if you tell them, they will choose to change.

Or not.

But in the case of sex, being a good partner is all about being responsive, assimilating new information and working from it. Which means practice, not just practicing sex but practicing the communication. Given our cultural taboos, that can be tricky. But if you’re serious about it, start a group or find a class. Try your local clean, well-lit sex toy store (see my blogroll for links) or your local UU congregation for an adult sexuality education course, or get a group of adventurous friends together for tea and conversation. Pick a topic or choose a book, take a deep breath, and go.

Your lovers and your body will thank you.

Addendum: couldn’t resist linking to this citation of a related study. Enjoy!

  1. hmmm. wonder if my local UU church will offer a course in adult sexuality. I think I’d probably sign up for that.

  2. @ Dawn: you could talk to the chair of adult RE and the DRE; they’d be the ones who could try to make that happen. 😉

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