What Is That Called?

Last night I had an interesting experience. A great experience. I had a great time and my partner in crime had a great time too. He thanked me afterwards.

I went home with an acquaintance. We had sort of met before, but talked for real for the first time last night. He had an easy face to talk to and I guess he felt the same way about me. We were out with a group and ended up being the last two left, with still so much to talk about I went back to his house for some 3am tea. We talked about family and his new anti-anxiety-medicated life, work, all sorts of things.

He told me how beautifully I ran my hands over the textured surfaces in his house. The ridges on my teacup, the grain of the wood table, the cracks in the granite countertop. Every once in a while I’d mindlessly touch something and he’d stop talking, just stare at my hands and tell me how distracting it was.

I felt so serene and I suddenly wanted to gift him that serenity. So I turned off the light, sat on the table, put my feet on his chair “I’m going to take off your shirt so I can touch your back.”

And then I held him, ran my hands up and down his back, across his shoulder blades and through his hair for close to an hour. Breathed into his neck and felt his whole body relax under my touch.

And then we moved to the bed and continued doing that, clothed, no kissing, no touching bathing suit parts, nothing untoward. Just enjoying the delight of caressing and being caressed. Hugging and being hugged. Enveloping and being enveloped.

It was so wonderful.

Is there a good name for that?

And why don’t people do it more often?


Consent, Dating

Getting Out From In Between

Friday’s post was about the word crazy.

Getting over the fear of being labeled crazy by a guy, because really it just means that you’re a person who stands up for herself, and that is nothing to be ashamed of.

The post was inspired by this article which argues that there is a kind of sex that isn’t exactly consensual but also isn’t exactly rape. The word she is looking for is pressure. She felt pressured to have sex with him. Maybe not by him directly, but by society’s suggestion that if she stopped what was happening then she’d be a tease/disappointing/awkward/making a big deal out of nothing.

I’ve experienced this weird kind of pressurey sex before. I usually end up in it once I’ve fallen out of like with someone I’m dating. I’ll get physical with them again to try to convince myself that I’m still attracted to them. And then I’ll feel like I’m in too deep and I can’t go back even though I’m not really enjoying this and I should probably just end things (the sex and the relationship) right now. It’s always that moment when I realize they have no idea how not really here I am that I know I need out.

But when I’m in a similar situation involving alcohol I have another trick. I hesitate to write this even now, for fear that it will be misconstrued as judgement or blame on women who didn’t do what I did.

However, in case I have any young readers out there who have not experienced this and who are going to be around guys and alcohol, I want to tell you the one sentence that has worked for me a number of times. I want you to memorize it, tattoo it on the back of your eyelids. Because the kind of guy who will listen to this statement is the kind of guy who doesn’t want to have non-consensual sex with someone. And the kind of guy who will ignore this sentence… you should run.

If you are drinking with a guy and you end up in bed and things are moving a little faster than you’d like, then try this sentence out.

“You’re not useful to me when you’re this drunk. That’s what the morning is for.”

Fumbling with my boobs is easy but pleasing me? That takes effort, a clear head, and a complete lack of ‘whiskey dick.’

In the morning you can make clearer decisions. Maybe you’ll both wake up and realize that this is a bad idea. Maybe you’ll wake up, realize that he’s your cousin and run screaming. Maybe you’ll wake up and realize that he listened to you and change your mind. Either way, that statement has never been a bad decision for me and it has never gotten a bad reaction. Of course your mileage may vary, but considering how well it’s worked for me, I couldn’t keep it to myself.

Bodies, Friendship, Intimacy

Light Petting

The other night I got to engage in some light petting. As in the opposite of heavy petting. As in, he literally pet me like one pets a pet. No kisses, no touching any swim suit parts, no sexy times, just petting. Palms and finger tips on backs and shoulders, arms, hips.

And damn was it good.

This summer I’ve had (some good, but also) some of the worst sex of my life. Dissociative sex, sex that made me feel like I didn’t even need to be in the room, checked into my body for it to be happening. You know, in the bad way.

But this was the opposite. For the most part at least. There were a few moments when I thought, “Is he going to want to progress from this and then we’ll have to figure out what that is,” but then he didn’t, or we didn’t.

I had fleeting fears of ‘what if he feels cheated, like I owe him something,’ but then he didn’t.

And when I said I couldn’t stay too long because I had a lunch to attend, he jokingly said I should cancel it and stay and get petted a little longer. Which was the moment I realized that he was enjoying this delicious sensual (not sexual) moment just as much as I was. And that he was enjoying being the petter as much as I was selfishly enjoying being the pettee.

On my way to the lunch which I did eventually make, I realized that this petting could have served as foreplay but that it would have cheapened the deliciousness of having a purely sensual moment. And at the same moment I realized just as sadly that it not being foreplay for something else was a waste and left me a tad… dehydrated. And I couldn’t decide which thought left me more sad. I guess there are pros and cons for everything.

Bodies, Dating, Intimacy, Media

First Kiss

I am loving this video right now. And it keeps reminding me of this post about watching someone put on a condom.

What makes a kiss such an intimate thing is that when it’s over you know something about them you didn’t before. You know how they taste, what their lips feel like, what makes them hungry, what makes them want to kiss you and what doesn’t.

This video just makes it a little clearer because you know there wasn’t a date part that helped along the knowing. We know everything they know about each other except for the little bit they found on each others lips.

And everything is different from the knowing.


Don’t Touch Me

There’s a problem I’m having lately. I’m a very touchy person. I like to come up behind my friends and hug them. I’m always down to cuddle and play with your hair. But at my job there is a group of people I like and like to touch and another group of people who don’t know me very well who think its fine to assume a level of intimacy with me.

And I don’t like it and I don’t know what to do. I find myself in the uncomfortable position of thinking I should just say ‘don’t touch me’ but I don’t want to make drama.

I’m very fortunate that I don’t find myself in this position too often. Mostly because I can usually very clearly express my discomfort. Even in this instance I feel like if they just opened their eyes instead of assuming they’d realize I don’t want long and awkward hugs when I’m trying to put my stuff down.

I think tomorrow ill try “we can hug when I come to you. Otherwise stop trying.”

Update: Someone at work said “What’s up” and I said “He doesn’t need to hug me anymore.” My friend looked at him and said “Don’t hug her anymore” and then we all went about our business. I think that went quite well.

Dating, Sex, Sexism

Condom Police And The Introduction Of The Yankee

Much like The Comedian, or Marlboro Man, or The Yeti, I’m starting to think that the dude I’m seeing right now needs a title, and The Boyfriend isn’t it.  Let’s go with The Yankee.  I like that.  Let’s hope this situation sticks around long enough to warrant the knighthood.  So, now that that’s out of the way.

I was reading This post of Emily’s the other day and had a lot of feelings about it.


My first thought was Yeah, why is it that women always have to be the condom police, insisting on our own safety?  Why is it that men put their own pleasure above their partners safety?  That’s so… un-partner-ly.

Plus, as Dan Savage says, if a guy tells you he doesn’t want to wear a condom because he can’t feel anything through it, tell him that we know there isn’t a big difference between condom on and condom off because condoms break and men (wait for it) don’t notice.

And then I realized that even though this is the cultural narrative, and this is the script I always hear, I’ve actually never personally had this experience.  In my life the sentence “Condom?” or “You should grab a condom.” has always meant, “Yeah, I think I do want to have sex with you.”  And then a condom was retrieved; end of story.  No one has ever fought with me about wearing one, no one has ever tried any funny business without one.  In fact the closest to ‘funny business’ I’ve ever gotten was when a guy grabbed one and I laughed in his face “What’s that for? I’m not having sex with you. Drop it cause we won’t be going anywhere near needing that.” Yeah, I said that to a naked man’s face. I’m very motivational. You may take notes.

In fact The Yankee is SuperCondom Man.  He has on occasion said “We’re not going to have sex, but I’m going to [put our organs near each other] so I’m going to put on a condom now, ok?  But we’re not going to have sex so put that out of your mind, ok?” He’s so darn nice to me. I can’t be the only person in the world turned on by that sentence can I?

I don’t know what it says about me that I’ve never been on the receiving end of such funny business. I wish I did so I could turn it into some advice.

What I do know, however, is that our society teaches

that sex is a contest, and that men win and women lose when sex or nudity happens. It’s an archaic, prudish, creepy concept that derives from twisted notions about female purity and women-as-property. [x]

If you don’t believe me just go watch Seth McAsshat’s opening number from the Oscars.  And then read Seth D. Michaels wonderful article about it.

And when we teach that sex is a commodity for men to buy/win from women through trickery/bribery then it fits into the same model that men win bigger from women losing bigger.  Sex without a condom being a higher score, or in the butt, or whatever else they consider more degrading.

People are fond of saying ‘men are jerks.’ but I hate that notion. I know too many good guys to believe that they’re just naturally predisposed to nastiness and I’ve magically stumbled on a treasure trove of good ones. Men aren’t the problem. The patriarchy, the kool aid, the polluted airwaves telling Seth McFarlane that ‘I win because I tricked you into letting me see your boobs’ is funnier than anything Amy Poehler has ever said, is the problem.

So if the guy you’re seeing is a jerk about using condoms teach him a lesson about what you expect and deserve. By dumping his ass.

So I guess the only advice I can give on how not to be the condom police is to say No early and often and when you mean it.

I tell my niece, “if a guy offers to buy you a drink and you say no, and he pesters you until you say okay, what he wants for his money is to find out if you can be talked out of no.”  The rapist doesn’t listen to refusals, he probes for signs of resistance in the meta-message, the difference between a target who doesn’t want to but can be pushed, and a target who doesn’t want to and will stand by that even if she has to be blunt.

It follows that the purpose of setting clear boundaries is not to be understood — that’s not a problem — but to be understood to be too hard a target. [x]

Say what you mean and mean what you say.  If a guy presses you in a common interaction he’s going to try to press you later.  Make your boundaries clear and firm and you’ll naturally weed out the people who aren’t going to respect them.

And you’ll be changing the paradigm a little at a time.  That should make you feel good.

Bodies, Hope, Intimacy

Someone Like You…To Pet

I wish I was doing this right now.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to play with hair.  Sometimes guys react to this like they’ve never encountered it before.  Why do you think that is?  Do you play with hair?  What reactions do you get?  Do you like having your hair played with but no one ever does it for you?  Do people do it and usually it sucks which is why it’s so nice when someone does it right?

I’m curious and want someone to pet.

Intimacy, Sex

The Promise And Peril Of Sexual Hierarchy

So I was faced with an interesting topic recently.

A friend of mine has a new beau and the other night in bed after messing around in various ways they ended the night with him touching himself and her giving a gentle assist with her tongue nearby (The Joy of Euphemisms).

In the morning he asked her if she was upset by this.  That they didn’t “have sex.” (before I go off on this, points to the boy for asking questions!)

When she brought this up to me I was really confused because in my opinion that is sex.  It’s not intercourse but it’s sexual contact.  And if it was enjoyable and pleasurable and consensual for both parties then it could even be considered good sex.

In our society we have this notion that there is a hierarchy to sex.

Kissing, groping, naked groping, oral sex, and then at the top of the pyramid is intercourse which we refer to as ‘real sex.’

Well I don’t like that hierarchy.

We say that sex is one act and that everything else is just foreplay but is that really how it feels?  Is sex just when tab A goes into slot B?  Or is it when you get to feel vulnerable and beautiful with another person?

I know plenty of women who have activities they ‘enjoy’ more than intercourse and those activities are treated like condiments.  Optional.  Some places offer them and some just don’t.

While the activity most men favor is made literally the standard.

sex |seks| noun

1 (chiefly with reference to people) sexual activity, including specifically sexual intercourse : he enjoyed talking about sex | she didn’t want to have sex with him.

(Also, do I need to point out that freaking ‘use in a sentence’ sentence?  Patriarchy!)

Studies show that women are just as orgasmic as men, but while men orgasm from intercourse 78% of the time, women only orgasm 25% of the time.

So, again, why is intercourse of all things, made our proverbial yardstick?

Do what makes you happy.  Don’t pay attention to whether you’ve made it high enough up the list.  Are you happy?  Is your partner happy?

Good.  Go to sleep.

If you want to see the lecture that got me thinking about this Check Out Lisa Wade’s The Promise and Peril of “Hook Up Culture.”  You won’t regret it.


The Second Rule Of Fight Club Is…

My mother had this theory when I was little (I assume she still has it, but now it’s mine too) that everyone needs a certain amount of touch in their lives.  It’s why we massage, and have sex and kiss and hug.  Ladies are smart about it.  We know.  So we ask, we approach.  We put our arms out for a hug and make it last as long as we need.  I’m not afraid of the awkwardly long hug.  Sometimes I need a hug and sometimes it’s gonna take a while to fill up on touch.

Guys wrestle because they crave the touch just as much but, like the slow child at the passover seder, do not know how to ask.  They’re big fakers.  Pretending it’s a show of strength, making a big show of trying to throw his opponent off him, while grappling him to the floor trying to hold tight as long as possible.

I know your secret.

Do you want a hug?


Love Me True Never Let Me Go

Sometimes the best feeling is just holding someone.

Kissing is nice.  Sex is good.  But…

To hold someone’s head in your chest and feel their breathing slow.

Feeling their shoulders relax as you rub them.  Drawing lazy circles on their back until their weight starts to drop and they start to settle into calm sleep.

Physical proof of their trust in you.

In the last few years I’ve discovered that I prefer holding someone to being held.  Don’t get me wrong, being held is great.  But for me it doesn’t compare to holding someone, playing with their hair, hearing that extra exhale when you touch that special spot on their back.

There are two main cuddles that I love.  There’s spooning which I don’t need to explain at all.

I think it goes without saying that I like to be the big spoon.  Little spoon is nice of course.  Though be aware that if I can feel your breath on my neck I won’t be able to sleep.  I like it too much and within a matter of minutes I’ll be turning around to kiss you.  Breath on the back of my neck just feels too darn good.

Then there’s what I like to call the K cuddle.

I have no idea what this picture is but it demonstrates why I like to call it the K cuddle.  He’s the straight part of the K and she’s the diagonal bits with her arms and legs.  I usually like to be the dude in this situation.  That way I can play with his hair, run my hands over his back.  And generally curse the gods over how little sleep I’m getting as I listen to him snore.


I guess it’s kinda worth it.