Recently I celebrated eight years of partnership with my counterpart, Jonathan Mead.
I am in a state of awe about this. It’s such a blessing (and nearly miraculous!) to be with someone for this long; to, in spite of the tough spots and crazy transitions, still feel incredibly in love and turned on by him—even after nearly a decade.
The relationship Jonathan and I have forged together is one of my greatest accomplishments. It has taught me so much and has allowed me to come home to my truest self.
And the sex. . . The sex gets more ecstatic every year.
In honor of the 2,930+ days we’ve spent committed to each other, here are a few things I’ve learned about sex and sexuality by way of our relationship.
1. There ain’t nothing prudish about the Missionary Position.
There’s a whole lot of emphasis put on the more zesty, exciting-to-look-at sex positions, like “The Torrid Tug of War” or “The Erotic Accordion,” but I’ve found that one of the most tried and true ways to get us both off is the good ‘ol vanilla missionary position.
The way I can gaze deeply into his eyes; the feel of our bellies pressed together, skin to skin; the ease of the position as a whole (not a lot of energy is being exerted in holding and moving in an unnatural position). . . Missionary is the most underrated of sex positions, and is one of my favorites (with “69” coming in at a very, very close second).
2. Sex is much more pleasurable when I’m in a high state of arousal.
One book I read this year that completely changed my erotic life was Women’s Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston. In it, I learned that my uterus (and yours too, if you have one) moves in different positions depending on what state of arousal I’m in.
During non-arousal, the uterus stays where it usually is, but in high-level arousal, the uterus actually moves upwards and out of the way, making other pleasurable nerve centers exposed and ready to play.
I’ve always been puzzled about why it is that “pounding” sex never felt good for me. And it turns out that this is why: I’ve been having sex without being fully aroused, thus his pounding was actually knocking into my cervix! No wonder.
Now that Jonathan and I have been properly educated about the way my body and clitoral erectile network operates, sex (and the pounding) is much more pleasurable and not at all painful.
3. Consent is still important, and asking for what you want is key.
Conventional thinking led me to believe that one conversation about sexual preferences is enough, and that if there’s a problem with the way things are going your partner will tell you, otherwise you can keep going along like you have been—a kind of “set it and forget it” approach to relationship.
But one thing I’ve learned is that consent is a living, evolving contract. It needs to be revisited and renewed, as a Yes today maybe be a No tomorrow. So Jonathan and I have made a consistent effort to ask each other for permission and check in to make sure we’re still on the same page sexually.
We don’t do this every moment we’re in the throes of passion, but we do keep a continued line of communication going about our needs by asking for what we want.
Most of the time, as far as consent goes, the answer is usually Yes, which leads to more Yes’s in the future.
4. Non-monogamy makes the lust grow stronger.
It seems counterintuitive (and it is) but there’s been a level of novelty that has entered our relationship because of the practice and exploration of non-monogamy. There is something very tantalizing about the way my partner desires another—and vice versa.
I love watching him flirt and be flirted with. I love hearing about the way he finds other people beautiful, about his sexual attractions to them. When I see my lover openly and unashamedly engaging in desire with others, I desire him. Because his desiring others blatantly shows me his autonomy, and it is that autonomy that attracted me to him in the first place.
There’s also something about watching him flirt with someone and knowing that he is making a conscious choice to come home with me. He could be with anyone else in the world, but he chooses me, actively, over and over. I appreciate that. And that appreciation transforms into heart-melty, puddle-of-lusty feelings on my part.
5. Orgasm is great! But not the point.
When I entered our relationship, I had a very dysfunctional relationship with sex. I was dealing with all kinds of shame and faked my orgasm constantly—not just because I didn’t know what I needed in order to access it, but because I thought that faking it is what women do, that all sex is is just theatrics and pantomime.
A frustrating way of seeing sex for the both of us—he was frustrated that I wasn’t coming and blaming himself for it, and I was resentful of him for even wanting to have sex with me since I didn’t enjoy it anyway.
But I had an idea once to take orgasm out of the equation in sex, and to instead sit back and enjoy the dance of erotic energy and see what happened. Like (almost) clockwork, my orgasm arrived out of nowhere, which proved to me that I just needed to get out of the way of it.
That getting out of the way was the hardest part, by the way, because it meant that I had to change my relationship to orgasm, a task that isn’t capable of being resolved over night. So I started small by beginning to enter sex with the mindset that orgasm was not the point—that opening to pleasure and creating a safe environment to experiment erotically was.
6. Tantric sex is boring. . . and awesome.
I’ve tried many, many times to dig in to the sacred aspect of sex, to educate myself on and practice tantric breathing and holy sex positions and kundalini energy. But whenever I begin to sit down and read through the spiritual jargon, I can feel my head begin to tighten and strain.
It’s all so technical. And so boring.
I used to think that tantric sex was for seasoned practitioners, but a whole new world of exploring sex magic has been opened to me now that I understand that it is available to all. All we need to do is set the intention and create sacred space.
Jonathan and I have been slowly exploring the sacred in sex over the last year, starting small with mini rituals and getting curious about the basics, like mindfulness, breath work, and deep eye-gazing. When we play lightly with tantra, keeping it feeling easeful and down-to-earth, suddenly our breaths are synced and our bodies are writhing rhythmically like snakes and we’re coming from all of our chakras.
That’s when it’s awesome.
Otherwise. . . to sit down and devote serious time to study tantric sex is snooze-worthy. For now.
7. Good porn (that suits both of our preferences) is hard to find.
We used to watch porn together. We’d go to the nearest indie video store and venture down into their “18+ only” section to find an erotic video that would get us both off. We even had a membership at one point to a porn site whose films suited both of our needs. Those were the days.
These days, however, it’s become increasingly difficult to find porn that we both want to watch.
It’s mostly because of me. I’ve become very, very picky about the porn that I watch. If there’s even just a hint of unrealism to the film, my arousal deflates and I begin to view it with the eyes of a critic rather than a deviant.
I want girl/girl porn that is not being performed through the male gaze. I want guy/girl porn between people of color that doesn’t reek of racism or fetishizement. I want queer porn that doesn’t involve kink. I want to watch men get off solo without homophobic ideals or beef-cake tones.
Jonathan is a simpler man. It seems as though his wants and needs to get off are easily found by the ready-made labels on porn sites. Porn that gets the average man off is easy to find (and make). Porn that delights and arouses the political, ethical, pragmatic horny feminist (i.e., me) is apparently not.
This one is a work in progress. I haven’t given up hope; I still desire to make viewing porn a shared experience. But until I find something that we both will enjoy, we’ll keep it to ourselves.
8. Sex is hotter when you break the rules.
I used to only associated sexy time with nighttime. Morning sex (or afternoon sex) felt nearly sacrilegious and not within the right rhythm. Jonathan, on the other hand, can have sex anytime of the day, anytime of the week. My preferences somehow out-won his, and the only sex we had for a lot of years was right before we went to bed.
And then one day. . . I wanted him right after breakfast. No reason for it other than that I was madly desirous. So I had him—on the couch on a Sunday morning, and it was hot. Not just because it was spurred by my vicious longing, but because we were breaking the rules.
We never had sex in daylight, let alone outside of our bedroom. It went against everything I’d ever known, but my goodness. . . was it delicious. And the sheer deliciousness of it made me seek out other moments of sexual spontaneity.
Now, we fuck in the afternoon in between client calls. Or right before I begin to make dinner in the kitchen. We flirt and grope as we pass each other in the hallway, and send each other explicit emoji sequences via text when we’re co-working with others.
I should say here that it is not just by the grace of God that my sex life slightly mimics a Beyoncé song. He and I actively choose to make and keep our erotic life novel and exciting. Not all the time, of course—it’s simply not sustainable to “be all night” every moment of everyday. But we’ve seen the importance of taking the sexiness out of the bedroom and spreading it in other areas of our lives (and house).
So our mission has been to make the mundane sexy—which yields for some very interesting stories shared amongst my girlfriends with a bottle wine.
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8 things Jonathan has learned from fucking me. . .
I asked, he answered, and I love him for it.
1. Absence makes the cock grow harder. And the nipples. And the clitoral erectile network.
2. Preparation (lighting, music, incense, massage) makes magic.
3. But sometimes the magic is just in the way you show up.
4. Dark energy and the unexplored edges are the juiciest and most terrifying.
5. Trust and surrender are the openings to yogic sex.
6. Even an “okay” fuck is still a good fuck.
7. Connection > Orgasm.
8. Following the erotic energy where it wants to go is always better than staying attached to plans and expectations. Always.