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The Naked Truth
Article appeared in LesbianNation Magazine

Saying what you want,
leads to getting what you need

I started thinking of things I’ve done recently that pertained to the sometimes touchy subject of talking about sex with a partner. What popped into my mind is the work I’ve been doing for one of my clients. Along with being a wild lesbian writer, who strives to help women worldwide have a better sex life, I also build online businesses and one of my largest clients owns the Bi Men Network.

Yeah, I know what some of you may be thinking—about the same thing my friends think when they get halfway into my office then stop dead in their tracks with their mouths hanging open, totally in shock at the image of a man in all his naked, hard-on glory, fully exposed on my computer monitor: “Tracey! What THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?”

To which I calmly explain that with many of our LGBT bookstores sadly going the way of the dinosaurs, this lesbian needs to make some money. Besides, who better to do this kind of work? Looking at naked men all day does absolutely nothing for me!

Lately I’ve been typesetting stories BI and gay men have written about their sexual escapades. Talk about eye opening! These guys are so up front with their sexuality and their no-holds-barred way they go at it that it makes me wonder why any man would ever be totally straight! Reading these stories made me think about the differences between men and women as far as sexuality is concerned. The biggest difference I noticed is that many men see sex as a purely recreational activity, kind of like playing a great game of basketball, and many women see sex as a magical merging of the souls.

I started wondering if maybe these basic differences in how women perceive sex may be the key to why so many of us have problems saying what we really want. If you were playing basketball, you sure wouldn’t beat around the bush if you had an opening to make a basket, right? You’d be pretty direct and yell something like “Here Sally! I’m open!”

Sally would hopefully hear you, pass the ball and you’d make a damn good effort to score some points without dribbling senselessly all over the court.

Well, satisfying sex is kind of like the thrill of slam-dunking the ball right into that basket. Just like basketball, communication is a great thing to have to make sure that your team, you and your partner, are both happy winners, and you sure don’t want to dribble senselessly all over the court—AKA: your partner’s body, unless of course, she’s really into spit lubrication!

With that said, I’m going to turn this over to Kathy, whom I call The Goddess of Communication, in hopes that if you ever have problems during your game, this pep talk will help you score the best points ever!

When I think about sexual communication, I always remember a Farside cartoon I saw a few years back. It’s the one where the first panel shows a man shaking his finger at his dog, and the caption says something like, “What We Say: Bad Dog, Ginger! Bad dog for getting in the garbage!” The second panel is titled “What Dogs Hear” and you see Ginger sitting there with a puzzled look trying to understand, “Blah, blah, Ginger! Blah blah blah!”

Now think about your sex life. What you do— heavy breathing, a low moan, a heavy and loud moan, and perhaps some ohhhhs and ahhhhhhs.

What you are thinking—That’s pretty good. OK, Yeah... I’ll do a low moan to let her know she’s close to the spot. Oh, crap! She’s moved from there too soon. Now she is totally off the mark! OK, I’ll shift my hips so she hits the spot... That’s it! That’s where she needs to be so I’ll moan louder...

Sound familiar? From all the messages we get in novels and movies, most of us think that lovemaking is instinctual and that we are supposed to read our partner’s mind and know exactly where to put our hand or mouth, when to do it, how hard and fast, or slow and gentle.

Life would be wonderful if it worked like a movie or book but most of us don’t get to the point that we read each other’s minds until we’ve been together so long we start finishing each other’s sentences. Even then it’s a hit or miss proposition. It’s not really romantic to say this but in order to get what you want in bed you are going to have to say what you need.

Most of us give up a full sex life by relying on moans and groans to tell our partner what to do. Problem is, what if our partner is so into what she is doing to us that she doesn’t even hear our cues? Wouldn’t it be better if we just said what we needed instead of relying on the sounds that may go unnoticed in the heat of the moment? Good sex means getting verbal.

To start out, both partners need to make a list that includes the following: what you like and don’t like; what you are willing to experiment with or not willing to experiment with; and areas you are willing to compromise on. Your list probably won’t cover everything and as you talk about what each partner has written you may think of things to change or add to your list.

The next step is to schedule a time to talk about what is on your list. So how do you go about saying what you want or don’t want without hurting someone’s feelings? The best thing to do is to just have an honest discussion with your partner about what you like, what you don’t like, and what your turn-ons and turn-offs are. It’s best to have this talk outside of the bedroom and at a time when a hot roll in the sack isn’t your goal. The reason to have this conversation outside of the bedroom is because if you get into a disagreement of some type you don’t want to associate the bedroom with fighting. It can also be uncomfortable to have this type of discussion, so it’s better not to put that energy into your bedroom.

Never agree to do something that you are scared of or uncomfortable with. For example, your partner wants to try tying you to the bed post. You aren’t sure if you will like this but you are willing to experiment. The first thing to do is to talk about what will happen ahead of time. Be precise and explicit in these talks and set up a safety word— some word you can say that will tell your partner to stop doing what she is doing right away. This word should be something that you both agree to use and the word should have nothing to do with what activity you are doing. You don’t want your safety word to be anything that could be confused with you giving directions. Examples might be ketchup, football, or Yo-Yo. When you are trying out your new sex activities and you decide you are willing to push the boundaries, then also have a word that lets your partner know this too. Always respect each others boundaries. If you don’t, it could lead to breaking trust.

After you’ve had “The Talk,” you are finally ready to go off to the bedroom or some other exciting place. Remember the original scene. Heavy breathing means, “I’m turned on.” Low moans mean “You are getting warmer,” and heavy moans mean “You are right on target!”

Now imagine that scene differently. You’ve had your talk and you are in bed and she is doing all the right things but just not in quite the way you need. Do you go back to your original language of heavy breathing, low and heavy moans? You could do that and get really frustrated, or you could go for the gold. Let your partner know that what she is doing is good, but if she would just go to the left a little more, up a little higher - Oh, yeah! That’s the spot! Or if she is going down on you and you just aren’t into the tongue twirling that night, gently let her know by saying something like: “That’s nice, but tonight I need to feel you inside me. I will have an awesome orgasm if you go for the G-spot.”

The fingers and tongue of all this is really about communication and taking control of what you need. Not being shy about sex and taking an active hand in your orgasms is the way to a happier sex life and you may need to have several talks to clarify things that come up in the sack. Think of your talks as creating a recipe and having to refine it as you try different versions. Sometimes you may want more hot pepper, and sometimes you may not. Talking can clear up a lot of things. Guessing can cause confusion. Take an active part in your own sexual fulfillment. Talk clearly, concisely, and honestly with your partner. Your orgasm will thank you!

The advice in this column is the opinion of the writers and is not intended as a
substitute for medical or psychological treatment from a health care professional.

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