Early sexual experiences Part 2

Continued from Part 1

Both this and my last post were prompted by this musing on twitter. My twitter comments were in turn prompted by seeing yet ANOTHER young woman asking for help to fix what was wrong with her that she couldn’t come from intercourse.

early sex

It hurts my heart that young women think there is something wrong with them because they can’t come from penis in vagina (PIV) sex. And obviously the men they are with also think that most (or all) women come that way. While stats vary, in 2005 Dr. Elisabeth A. Lloyd analysed 33 studies conducted over the last 80 years: only 25% of women had orgasms often or very often during intercourse without clitoral stimulation. Another 25% sometimes did (Psychology Today). A whopping 75% come more reliably with clitoral stimulation. Well, fancy that.

I’m one of the 75%, and I think that I cut out a lot of unsatisfactory, cock-focussed, bad-early-experience sex because my first real sexual relationship was with a woman.

I know I *just described* my first sexual relationship and first orgasm, and it was with a man, and I recognise that I got lucky with him, but it didn’t *feel* like a sexual relationship. It felt like a relationship in which we did some sex stuff. I know it’s a weird distinction to make, but it’s meaningful for me: I never felt like I was experiencing my own sexuality in it.

My sexual experiences in my relationship with my girlfriend were the standard by which all of my future sexual relationships were compared for a long time. NOT because we were awesome in bed: we were, but that’s not the point. It’s because the sex was how I believed sex *should* be: an impossibly hot mutual experience full of lust and crazy desire. About exploration and intimacy and touch and all the things that make sex so damn good.

I kept a journal even then, but I was paranoid, so never talked about our sex in any detail. I would obfuscate it and the entries about sex would read ‘We mucked about for about 3 hours’ / ‘…and then we mucked about for 5 hours’ *laugh*. Times yes (long, drawn out), details no, which is a shame.

The sex we had was rich and leisurely, pleasure-focussed rather than goal orientated. Incredibly sensual and varied with sensation ebbing and flowing over hours. We didn’t have any toys and never missed them. Penetration with fingers was a side dish. She came a lot more easily than I did, to my absolute delight. She could come while rubbing against my thigh, frantic and sweaty in her small bed, always trying to be quiet. And sometimes we would tease each other just for the incredible hotness of it and not come, going out with this intense tension palpable between us. Knowing looks, electric touches. This was capital S Sex that I would crave, sneaking out of my bedroom window at night to grab even a few minutes of her, climbing back into my house before it got light and my absence was discovered.

I got lucky.

I took a detour past those young hetero fumblings that seem all too often to be all about what was happening to, and with, his cock. I didn’t have to deal with odd expectations about how my body worked, or pressure to try and conform to some heterosexual standard of ‘what sex was’ (hint: mostly PIV sex).

By the time I decided I was again interested in men three things had happened that changed my sexual experiences for the better:

1. I knew what good sex was, what it looked like, what it felt like, and I wasn’t going to settle for less

2. I was more mature, confident enough to tell a man what I wanted

3. Men my age were no longer inexperienced teenagers, they were in their mid twenties, more eager to listen and pay attention to what I wanted.

So in a lot of ways, those years of being a lesbian saved me from having a lot of those godawful heterosexual experiences that many young women have where somehow sex is all about his penis in her vagina, where coming with some dude pounding at you was a natural expectation, or where sex was defined as the time between him getting hard, and him getting off.

Truly, I got lucky.

 

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13 Comments

  1. The way you tell the story, it sounds as if it was the man’s fault that so much attention was concentrated on ‘how his cock worked’. I think the man in question, your first partner, was as much a victim of expectations about PIV sex and ‘what sex should be’ as you were yourself; and hopefully he later on learned that there is a lot more to it than he seemed to think.

    I think women often go through such “underwhelming initiations” because sex is still too much of a ‘taboo’ (for lack of a better word — it isn’t really taboo anymore, but it isn’t a normal topic either), and if your first experience is with a sex-appropriate partner, then chances are he knows as little about his body and yours (and how to have ‘relaxed, playful, fun-based sex’).

    My own first experience with a woman was very similar to yours, “mutatis mutandis” (heh heh). PIV sex is never really very pleasurable for me (for some reason, it is slightly painful and uncomfortable), which I noticed the first time I tried it. The girl in question, who was very aroused because she had gone for quite a while without it (which is why I got ‘lucky’ then) so she was open to my advances; she had more experience than me (3 previous partners) but not so much, because she was genuinely surprised when I didn’t come in the first few minutes, or in the minutes after that… in fact not at all, even after she herself had come. She was glad I could wait, but then worried when I seemed unable to come at all in her vagina. I explained that it was a little painful, but she either didn’t believe me or didn’t pay attention, she just kept trying, with little success. At some point she just said “let’s stop this, shall we?” with a mixture of sadness and puzzlement on her face. She apparently believed I didn’t find her so ‘hot,’ because I had just been trying to come in her for half an hour without success (‘and I know what men who are full of lust are like’, she said, happily overgeneralizing), which was slightly offensive.

    I suppose she must have felt pretty much like your first sexual partner. It’s probably rarer for women to be in this position, but it does happen.

    1. “The way you tell the story, it sounds as if it was the man’s fault that so much attention was concentrated on ‘how his cock worked’. I think the man in question, your first partner, was as much a victim of expectations about PIV sex and ‘what sex should be’ as you were yourself; and hopefully he later on learned that there is a lot more to it than he seemed to think.”

      A bit confusing here. PIV wasn’t on the table with my first partner, so that bit is irrelevant: I don’t blame him for anything. I think my experience with him is better than most (he asked about my orgasm, he wanted to fix it, he knew the answer wasn’t ‘my cock!’).

      And hell yes I blame men when they think their almighty cock is the be-all and end-all of sex and they project that onto women. Because that’s being an arsehole!

      “if your first experience is with a sex-appropriate partner, then chances are he knows as little about his body and yours”

      *sigh* Fine. If I am being super kind (which I’m generally not), I will concede that young people (boys AND girls) might *genuinely* believe that his cock has the magic powers of coming in it because they don’t have a clue. And if I am being super kind, I can imagine a kind of baffled disappointment on both sides when it doesn’t work its magic.

      But if that WERE the case, I’d expect to see a bunch of young men wailing “What’s wrong with my cock that it doesn’t do the coming magic?!” but that’s not what I see.

      It’s almost ALWAYS the case that boys AND girls are asking what’s wrong with HER, and we have to ask why that is. If young people tried to work it out together, I’d have no rage-fest over it: go you ignorant, wonderful kids! But that’s not how it works.

      “My own first experience with a woman was very similar to yours, “mutatis mutandis” (heh heh).”

      *smile* Indeed.

      I explained that it was a little painful, but she either didn’t believe me or didn’t pay attention, she just kept trying, with little success.

      Ugh, yes that sounds horrible. I’m sorry your experience wasn’t good.

      I have no idea how you resolved this, but you are right: Your experience would be similar to a lot of young women’s if you removed the pain, but had that EXACT SAME EXPERIENCE over and over. For months and months. With a boyfriend who looked at you with the same sadness, puzzlement, disappointment every time you had sex and who thought something was wrong with you. Ugh.

      Ferns

  2. (Sorry about the above post — I just pressed the wrong button… Maybe you can delete it?)

    A bit confusing here. PIV wasn’t on the table with my first partner, so that bit is irrelevant: I don’t blame him for anything. I think my experience with him is better than most (he asked about my orgasm, he wanted to fix it, he knew the answer wasn’t ‘my cock!’).

    Indeed, you did not blame him here; it’s other guys who are assholes, not he. It’s just that the way this description is given before your breakthrough with your first female partners seems to blame him indirectly — as if he was guilty himself for what he didn’t know. My first female sex partner was not so enlightened as yours; I imagine that, if yours had been as unenlightened as mine, you might have had a second experience not so different from your first. Without any of the two people in question being assholes, just not as experienced as they thought they were.

    And hell yes I blame men when they think their almighty cock is the be-all and end-all of sex and they project that onto women. Because that’s being an arsehole!

    I agree partially with you there, because there undoubtably are (oh how many) self-centered arrogant pricks who go through life thinking exactly like that. But… assholes, I think, are not born this way (I tend to have the starry-eyed optimistic idea that we’re all born with the capacity for empathy), they tend to be formed by circumstances. Sometimes being an asshole comes from a place of pain, and the solution is not simply to blame but to open their eyes. At least in some cases. You usually see it’s working when they begin to blame themselves without you having to do it for them.

    (That is not to say it’s not their fault, that is to say that they are not evil, and that there are solutions.)

    Your experience would be similar to a lot of young women’s if you removed the pain, but had that EXACT SAME EXPERIENCE over and over. For months and months. With a boyfriend who looked at you with the same sadness, puzzlement, disappointment every time you had sex and who thought something was wrong with you. Ugh.

    But that was indeed my experience (well, not many months, more like two, two and half months; a total of some 10-12 attempts). My first girlfriend thought it was my fault, because (she thought) she had ‘more experience’ and she knew ‘what boys are like’, and even though she never said that in quite so many words, it was quite clear in her attitudes and her eyes (she had a way of frowning when confronted with a problem that made her thought process unmistakable). And I don’t blame her: she really thought she had been with sufficiently many men (3 at the time) to ‘know all about men’. She was gentle with me (she thought it was ‘cute’ that I was a virgin) and I have good memories of her. But a boost for my ego and self-confidence she was not. She slowly distanced herself from me, so as not to have to deal with ‘my problem’, and actually left me thinking there might be something wrong with me for some time.

    And the funny thing is, there actually was something — a mild form of a problem called ‘phimosis’, which makes retracting the foreskin more uncomfortable than it usually is. (It’s not quite exactly pain, it’s more a discomfort that I like to compare to what you feel when you try to go on masturbating after having already come many times.) After a little treatment, it’s mostly gone, but I continue not to be a great fan of PIV sex. But she didn’t know anything about it, and she thought (or so I interpreted her words) that I was ‘weird’ in some way.

    But all in all I don’t blame her. She was, as I said, gentle and considerate with me, and she was a good, upbeat person (she was the only girlfriend I ever had who had a nickname for her own clitoris: ‘Tinkerbell’, in Portuguese ‘Sininho’, a lovely name; me going down on her — something she had not tried before me and which she took to immediately — was ‘waking up Tinkerbell’). Even her interpretation of my lack of orgamsmic success with PIV sex was not due to ‘evil’, just to the stereotypes in our society about how men are plus her previous (limited) experience. And it affected her negatively, too, since it made her feel as if she weren’t hot enough. (I tend to think that ‘patriarchy’ — a word I see as a misnomer, but which I keep using in quotes for lack of a better term — is at least as bad with boys as it is with girls, in the sense that there is really little we really know about what men are really like. We know what they’re supposed to be; but there doesn’t seem to be much widespread knowledge about which behavior or personality traits are really statistically frequent among men. Mostly claims — by both women AND men — about ‘what men are’ result from anecdotic experience and stereotypes about what men should or should not want. I sometimes call that ‘the Cosmo mindset’.)

    And hell yes I blame men when they think their almighty cock is the be-all and end-all of sex and they project that onto women. Because that’s being an arsehole!

    Indeed. But in my experience assholes aren’t born this way; they’re made by circumstances. Even in our enlightened day and age, it is not difficult to conclude that ‘the penis’ is the center of action in sex. So much of porn, for instance, still suggests that when the ‘money shot’ happens then everybody’s happy, including the lady in question. So much of being an asshole boils down to not seeing that there are other options, other possibilities for explaining something other than the ‘obvious’ one…

    Judging by what other people (men and women) have told me, it seems we still often grow up with all kinds of misconceptions about what sex is supposed to be like. This means first attempts are often unsuccessful, and explanations stereotypical. Only later do we learn better — either by, as in your case, having a partner who actually knows better and who can show us the ropes, or, as in my case, by comparing experiences, thinking, reading (the internet, which came in my early 20’s, was a life-saver), until one finally has an epiphany.

    But if that WERE the case, I’d expect to see a bunch of young men wailing “What’s wrong with my cock that it doesn’t do the coming magic?!” but that’s not what I see. […] If young people tried to work it out together, I’d have no rage-fest over it: go you ignorant, wonderful kids! But that’s not how it works.

    I don’t know the stats on this, but what you describe here was, in fact, my experience. Not in highschool — the guys there tended to be too self-centered — but in college. I’ve been with many a young man who broke down in tears because he thought his penis was the reason why his girlfriend couldn’t come.

    My suggested explanation is something like this: because in our society ‘the penis’ is still stereotyped as center of all action, the obvious conclusion, when things don’t work, is indeed that there’s something wrong with the source of orgasmic magic, i.e. the aforementioned penis. The ‘bad sex = bad penis’ equation seems so obvious, I am sure it’s hard to miss. Boys then immediately try to protect their egos by deflecting the blame towards their girlfriend — ‘it can’t be me, because bla bla bla, so it must be her’ — but the idea that it was, in fact, their ‘fault’ keeps haunting men. When they grow up a little more, they finally admit it to themselves — and then Niagara Falls… Those who were still blaming their girlfriends got so defensive when I mentioned the possibility that it was their fault that I felt sure they had had that thought, too. Porn also helps them deflect the blame, since women seem to come so easily from the ‘money shot’ in porn that, if the girlfriend doesn’t, it must be ‘her fault’…

    There are also, of course, the guys who couldn’t care less whether or not their female partners come. Those self-centered types are the ones I think of as the prototypical assholes. Curiously, though, they seem to be a dying breed (at least in public, like racists…)

    1. Thank you for your long and thoughtful comment.

      I’m not going to address your points one by one because underneath it all, I think we are going to have to agree to disagree:

      “Boys then immediately try to protect their egos by deflecting the blame towards their girlfriend — ‘it can’t be me, because bla bla bla, so it must be her'”

      Because THIS makes the dude an arsehole.

      Ferns

  3. OK.

    Because THIS makes the dude an arsehole.

    Or dudette. :) Sure. But the reason is extrinsic, not intrinsic. Everybody is an asshole, in some way or other.

    (Sorry if I seemed too confrontational. It was not my original intention, I just got carried away with the topic.)

    1. I’m bothered by the ‘yeah but WHAT ABOUT THE MEN?!’ you are bringing into this.

      I haven’t the appetite to bite off a whole bunch of ‘why sex for young women is problematic in the culture we live in’ to counter it.

      I’ve pointed out one particular thing that young women encounter frequently, and despite you recognising that men’s egos make them blame the women they are with (i.e. they are arseholes about it) you still want to claim somehow that it’s blameless and/or happens equally to young men.

      That’s bollocks.

      Ferns

  4. “where sex was defined as the time between him getting hard, and him getting off”
    I had never thought of that, but you’re right, that seems to be the distinction for what sex is to so many young people. Are we taught that in schools? How is that the overwhelmingly defining factor? Heck, even some days still, I will view our times starting and ending around his penis.

    1. I think all sex educations is about procreation, so there’s that. Add in cock-focussed porn with women as ‘holes’. Women as objects of male sexual attention socially and culturally. Lack of representation of women’s sexual desires ever. Women’s pleasure rarely being the focus of any depictions of sex. Even mainstream movies that include sex without *showing* anything always depict PIV sex under the sheets with her coming from the awesomeness of his cock.

      A 2006 documentary “This Film is Not Yet Rated” looked at US movie censorship: They talk about the denial of female pleasure. A few of the movies they talk about were given NC-17 (i.e. unmarketable) ratings because the shot of the face of a woman orgasming was too long. Her fucking face! Because women’s pleasure is obscene, natch. What the ever loving fuck?!

      *sigh*

      So yeah.

      Ferns

  5. Hi Ferns hope you don’t mind me jumping in here. There is a very good reason you don’t hear about men that have sexual problems. Roughly 1 in 7 men will have a sexual problem in his lifetime. How do i know it is at least that big a number if not larger, 1 in 7 is the current number of men that will be sexually assaulted in their life times. I am not trying to take any thing a way women their their numbers are 1 in 4 twice as bad! But there is a big difference in how men and women are raised. Women are taught that it in ok for them to seek help, men are taught a whole bunch of macho crap that prevents them from seeking the help they need.
    I should know I was violently raped at knife point when i was 11 in 1968, I just had my 58th birthday so that is roughly 47 years i have been trying to fix myself, a few months ago I admitted defect And decided to go to the VA for help only time will tell if I made the right choice.

    1. Oh Clifford, I am so very sorry you had that horrifying experience. So sorry.

      I feel uncomfortable discussing your comment here given the very personal nature of what you have shared: I’m honestly unsure of how to navigate around it. Please feel free to drop me an email if you would like.

      Ferns

      1. Ferns, I did not mean to make you uncomfortable. I do have some questions that i would like to ask you but before you could answerI need to give you some background about whats been going on between me and a certain young girl I’ve gotten myself invoved with yes this is about a flr relatioship. I try to write a email tomorrow afternoon.

        1. My discomfort is not your issue, it’s mine: I’m often terrified of saying the wrong thing in the face of someone’s traumatic experience/s and making them feel worse.

          I’ll look out for your email *smile*.

          Ferns

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