Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How I met Holly

[Guest post by Rowdy]
(a not-rape-culture narrative, and why we need more of them)

I’d seen her before, she’s in my group of friends - a bouncy-happy girl with a cherubic face and bright red hair. We were out for coffee with a group of friends, and we started talking. The conversation was easy and engaging, meandering through various topics in feminism, kink, and affirmative consent. It was getting late, and it was time for the coffee shop to close. We stood out in the brisk nighttime air as our friends said goodbye for the night while others made plans to meet at Denny’s.

“Yeah, I never quite know how to bring up my interest in a person," I said. "I’m not the best at reading people, so I don’t know if they’re into me, and I usually end up not saying anything. Sometimes I’ll find out later that they were into me, but they thought I wasn’t into them. It’s a conundrum.”
“Well, which way do you live?” she asked.
“Just up the road by the parkway, not too far.”
“Want to head back and have sex?”

The conversation continued as we walked, turning to experiences of new partner sex and communicating interest. Then, standing in my room, the conversation continued a bit and then died down into an awkward moment, both of us caught in an instant of “um, what now?” We embraced and kissed, tentatively at first and then passionately.

She spoke up. “Ok, thing you should know. I really really don’t like direct clit stimulation; it’s so intense it’s unpleasant. Any things I should know about you?”
“Not that I can think of; if anything comes up I’ll let you know”, I said.
We wrassled each other’s clothes off, joking and laughing and touching and kissing the whole time. "So, how do you like to masturbate?” I asked.
“Usually indirect pressure, on the pubic mound.”
“Like this?” I asked as I pressed my hand just above her vulva and tried to imitate the motion she made.

Holly adjusted my hand a bit and it was clear to my neighbors I’d hit the spot. We fucked, cuddled, exchanged backrubs, and fucked some more into the wee hours of the morning. In Holly’s words:
It was by turns cuddly and athletic, and always... happy. I love happy sex. There was something so delightfully straightforward about it.
That’s how I met Holly a year ago last night. We had sex purely for fun; there was apprehension and passion, it had its awkward moments, but both of us wanted it, both of us communicated it, and look what disastrous things came of such casual and communicative sex! It’s been an amazing year filled with more love than I can put to words, and more good times than I can count. Dinosaurs and robots and hovercrafts and sex, lots of sex.

Stories like this are important: narratives are how we learn to interact and relate. When we don’t have the time or inclination to think critically about our actions, or when we’re looking for direction or affirmation, we look to the behavior of others to model our own actions after. If our sex-positive, affirmative consent, relationship self-deterministic culture is to gain traction in the mainstream, we need our narratives to get out there - for examples of how it’s done (even partially or imperfectly) to be readily at hand.

I’ll write more on narratives later. If you’ve got a narrative to share, I encourage you to do so: on your blog, in your feed, or in the comments.


  1. That's pretty awesome Rowdy. It really reminds me of my new partner and myself. Very similar circumstances, with the mutual connections to other people, then to each other, then the A-MAZ-ING intimate connection to each other. Open communication (something I'd never experienced with sex, at least not like this) makes all the difference in the world, and for some reason, it gets very little attention. Weird. Anyway, congratulations on what sounds like a wonderful year to both you and Holly!

    Less dinosaurs, robots and hovercrafts (but with fire apparatus, oddly)

  2. That is truly beautiful. *grin*

    I hope you two are happy for a long time to come. That sounds like a platitude, but it ain't. I've been with the same guy for . . . uhh . . . 20 years now. Wow. So I'm wishing for you guys to have as much love as we've had.

    Good luck to you both, and much happiness.

  3. Long time reader, first time commenting, but I am so passionately in agreement with what you say about the importance of narratives that I wanted to share one of my stories.

    The first time my boyfriend got me off – which was the first time I ever had an orgasm brought about by somebody else – it was through manual sex. My boyfriend is a little older and had sex with previous girlfriends, and I was super angsty about being the inexperienced one, which he handled (and continues to handle, when it comes up) very gracefully.

    So, when we took that step, I was 19 (I'm 20 now) and it was morning. We had talked about it a lot – what I wasn’t ready for (any attempted insertion of even the smallest finger), what I was nervous about (too much wetness, being “gross,” him seeing me naked) and why I wanted to do it in the first place (because the way he talked about wanting to do it turned me on.) A few days before, when I was sleeping over and we were kissing and cuddling, each in just pajama bottoms and no top, he moved his hand over my panties and said, “So, when we do this dance, what position do you want to be in?” I said I wanted to do it spooning because it was cuddly and relaxing, and he said that would be nice.

    So that morning, we were topless and we were necking and he was feeling me up or whatever and I kind of wiggled into a spooning position, and he put his hand at the band of my pajamas and asked if I wanted to try it. At first I hesitated because I was very sleepy, and I wasn’t sure how sleepy was too sleepy to take a Big Important Step like that, but I was also horny as allgetout so I said sure and he slid my panties off.

    He went VERY slowly and gently, which was what I needed at the time. All in all it took twenty minutes for me to come – an eternity compared to how long it usually takes me now – and I was a little nervous and overwhelmed by the sensations and I remember thinking the little whimpering noises I made sounded stupid, but I could tell from his breathing that he was really into it, so it was okay. The orgasm was different from the ones I had by myself and I felt like I was simultaneously inside myself coming and outside watching myself thrash around. Afterward, I giggled uncontrollably for ten solid minutes, which was mutually kind of hilarious.

    tl;dr - I started doing sexual things with my older, more experienced boyfriend after we'd been seeing each other for like six weeks. I fucked him - my First Time - maybe a month later. I did it because I felt like it, it was totally untraumatic, and it brought us closer, not in a "now we are inextricably linked because I gave him my Precious Gift" way but in a "now in addition to everything else, we bond over all the awesome sex we have together" way.

  4. This really just made me smile. Great story to start my day with. I agree, we do need more sex-positive narratives. :)

  5. Thanks for sharing this. I agree with everything you've said!

  6. This story is ridiculously cute. If I had to imagine the perfect way to start a sexual relationship, that would have been pretty much it. Oh, the lack of drama, of pressure, of shame, of guilt, of ulterior motives, oh the plain simple communication!
    Not that I would be presently capable of such miracle of simplicity,but I've still got time.

  7. This is a good story. :) I think I have a decent one of my own to add:

    Back when I was single, I started talking to a guy on OKCupid. He was American, and lived at least an 8 hour drive from me, but he was easy to talk to and we had compatible kinks (also, he was HOT). Eventually, it was decided that he would drive up and spend a weekend with me.

    I told him outright that, although it was likely that I'd want to have sex with him if we met in person, chemistry can be a strange thing and there was always the possibility that one or both of us wouldn't really be feelin' it. Also, if he arrived expecting sex, the pressure on me would be almost incapacitating. He totally understood and said that he would assume that he'd be sleeping on the couch, unless I said otherwise. He was a travel buff, so the idea of seeing a bit of Canada with free accommodations was appealing in and of itself.

    (I'm going to pause the story here to relate an awesome conversation we had, soon after we started talking: he talked a lot about how much he loved giving cunnilingus, and implied that he was really good at it. I asked him what made him so good - fully expecting him to brag about a particular move or technique that All Women Love. To my astonishment, he answered that frankly he's not sure that he's good, but he hopes so; he tries hard, is open to suggestions, and pays close attention to a girl's sounds and body language. I melted.)

    Long story short, he came over, I was instantly attracted to him, and we had an amazing weekend of kinky, communicative sex - after which he remained friends with me instead of getting all weird and distant like most guys do.

    But this is my favourite story about this particular boy: long after our weekend tryst, when I'd met and moved in with my live-in boyfriend, TrystBoy messaged me on Facebook. He said that he was going to be travelling through my neck of the woods soon and could easily swing by and have some sex with me if I wanted - and added, "I know you have a boyfriend, but I wasn't sure what your arrangement is." (TrystBoy is poly, so he thinks in those terms).

    I loved that a) he propositioned me in such an open and matter-of-fact way and b) he acknowledged my relationship status but didn't see it as a dealbreaker - the one and only "dealbreaker" would be me not wanting to fuck him. Which I didn't - because at that time my boyfriend and I were strictly monogamous. So I was like "Oh, thanks, but we're not doing the sex-with-other-people thing right now" and he was like "Okeedokey! Talk to you later."

    Incidentally, my boyfriend and I have been slowly opening up our relationship...so TrystBoy may well get another shot someday. :D

  8. I love this idea. The sex positive, feminist blogoshere spends a great deal of time talking about the things that are wrong and bad and need fixing. And, this talking is good and important and often healing and empowering. It can also be a bit depressing and leave me feeling like everything is wrong with the world. So, it is also wonderful to hear a good "not-rape-culture narrative."

    Here's mine:

    I have a fuckbuddy/play partner that I met on the internet two years ago. We chatted online for awhile before we met in person. He asked a lot of questions about my sexual preferences, we discussed sti's and safer sex, and we both filled out a worksheet of interests and fetishes. The worksheet thing is pretty common in BDSM circles, but can you imagine if you whipped out a fetish worksheet during your average bar hook-up? I bet people would be less appalled if you whipped out your cock.

    Anyway, we eventually met for dinner, and when we finished our meal, he asked if I would like to go back to my place to play. I said yes, and we did, and it was nice. And, we have been playing and fucking ever since. He has never once failed to respect my limits. He treats me kindly, and I him. And, we have a lot of fun together.

    The end.

    It's such a simple story, their are no interesting plot twists or surprising moments of drama, I would probably never really thought to write it down. But, I absolutely think you are correct that the world could use more sex positive narratives.

  9. I thought there were so few women who got off on the vulva grind. Always good to hear of others :)

    (genuinely thought I was a freak when I was a teenager)

  10. "If I had to imagine the perfect way to start a sexual relationship, that would have been pretty much it. Oh, the lack of drama, of pressure, of shame, of guilt, of ulterior motives, oh the plain simple communication!"

    This pretty much describes my thoughts. I do however see how the more inharmonious views can be expressed in a less combative and more convincing way. Though as a introverted and shy sex positive feminist *leaning* male, I do find the individualistic arguments and "sex isn't degrading" aspects as well as posts like these to be more helpful and convincing than "attraction and contact with woman isn't (technically) evil, but here's a trillion ways you mess up and you're evil for every one of them" type of posts I see from the feminist segment of the internet.

  11. @Respexy- I recently had a First Time (PIV) that was sweet and sexy and amazing and didn't create any Big Hairy Problems- much like the story you describe. The whole time it was happening I kept thinking, if more people had awesome Firsts like this, the world would be a better place. Or perhaps it's the other way around- if the world were a better place, more people would have awesome Firsts. Regardless, I really enjoyed reading your story and I'm glad it was so awesome for you. I think a lot of people don't believe that the story ever plays out that way, or ever could.

    Rowdy is right, in order to create more narratives like that, we need to share those that already exist and show people that it is possible and it is what they deserve and should expect from First (Tenth, Fiftieth, Hudredth) Time sex.

  12. @charthemagicdragon Iknorite? What I think needs to be reinforced with these narratives, almost as much as how AWESOME enthusiastic consent and sexual communication is... is how EASY it is. Can we make that a hashtag or something? #ConsentIsEasy. Or an essay series with that title? "TRUE LIFE: I had painful involuntary tightening and clenching of my vagina that made intercourse hurt even though I didn't have a hymen. But I really wanted to do it, so we lubed up and did it until it hurt too much and then I told him I wanted to stop and we stopped. We did it like that a few times until it stopped hurting." I want to disseminate narratives that make our children expect their sexual initiation to just be, like, *nice.*

  13. Awr, happy anniversary you two! <3

  14. OOH - new series for Positive TV!

    REAL FIRST TIMES: A series that documents people's altogether pleasant first sexual experiences. Conducting interviews with both partners ("I was told it would bleed a ton, but it only bled a little bit!" "I was a little worried about her being my first when she had already been with other people, but in the moment it was obvious she was just happy to be with me and wasn't comparing me to anyone." "Neither of us orgasmed from the penetrative part the first time, so afterwards we had oral sex."), their parents who are glad they're practicing safe sex, and their friends who agree that nobody seemed any worse off for the experience. The show would feature both people who were still with their first partner at the time of filming and people who had broken up since. The latter group would all agree, no matter what their feelings toward that person now, that they felt respected and ready for sex at the time and they're glad they did it when and how they did.

  15. We're approaching our 6 month mark.

    Despite the fact that we were both active in our local community, we just hadn't been at the same event. He messaged me on FetLife. The message was non-threatening, polite, and was joyfully absent of unwarranted fetish fantasy stories.

    We spoke via text and phone for a couple of days, and happened to be in the same area of town at some point and met in person. We talked for a bit, and as we said our goodbyes (he had to go to work), I kissed him on the cheek.

    We set up a date for that Friday. Dinner, munch, and Power Exchange (he had agreed earlier to bottom for a scene with someone in the Mentors Program who needed the practice). In the lead up to the date, we discussed all manner of things sexual and kinky. We went through my very short kinky history, and his very long one. We worked out safewords, limits, likes, dislikes, etc.

    Dinner was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him flutter around as a social butterfly at the munch. At Power Exchange, I watched him in his scene.

    We went to my apartment, and it was warm, loving, fuzzy, thuddy, stingy, hair-pully, sweet, bruisey, and every other thing that makes me happy inside. It still is.

    We moved in together practically immediately. Although we have discovered that we don't have EVERYTHING in common, none of that is a deal breaker. We are individual persons with unique interests, and support each other in these endeavors.

    At this point, he is the best partner I have ever had, and quite possibly the ONLY true PARTNER I've had.

  16. Awww, that story is so sweet; I wish I could have happy-sex!

  17. I met him near the beginning of freshman year; we were members of the same social circle, people who hung out together on account of mutual friends but didn't really know each other that well for a good while. That winter I went through a rough period in my life and suffered my first episode of depression; when I finally got up the courage to tell my friends what I was going through, he was one of the ones who supported me most, and I began to get to know him better. I would go over and study in his room when I didn't trust myself to be alone, and I soon found that I could talk to him about absolutely anything; on multiple occasions we ended up sitting together at lunch an hour or more after the rest of our friends had left, absorbed in conversations that shifted between deep and personal, intellectual and philosophical, and trivially silly.

    I fell hard for him, but was too shy to say anything. Luckily for me, one day when I was having a bad day and had gone over to hang out with him, he told me, "I've been thinking more and more recently that I like you as more than a friend."

    A few days into our relationship he asked if he could kiss me. I said, "I think I'm coming down with a cold, so that's probably not a good idea right now, but otherwise I would totally say yes."

    Within the first month or two we got into heavy petting and manual sex, further than I'd ever gone before. And of course there were a number of times when things were awkward/messy/etc, but we laughed about it and made "Biology is awkward" a bit of a catchphrase. With his sweetness and gentleness and how easily I could talk with him about anything and the way he set my libido on fire, I'd already started thinking I wanted him to be my First, but his sense of humor about when things didn't go smoothly was really what decided me.

    So one night when we were cuddling, I told him, "I've been thinking I'd like to have sex with you sometime in the relatively near future." And he said that he didn't think he was ready yet. And I said that was fine, I understood. And we discussed personal philosophies about sex and agreed that we were both glad we'd had this conversation at a time when we both had all our clothes on and then cuddled some more.

    And a month or two later he told me he thought he was ready. At that point we were in different states for summer break, so we made plans for when school started again and discussed protection and I made an appointment to get a prescription for the Pill as soon as I got back to campus.

    (And a few weeks later I mentioned to my mother I was planning on having sex in September and she said "Okay; use protection," and I told her what we'd discussed. I love my family.)

    When our First Time actually happened, it was a bit of a comedy of errors: trouble getting the condom on, him bonking his head on the frame of the top bunk when getting into bed, trouble finding a comfortable position, me putting my underwear on inside out afterwards... We laughed a lot. It hurt a bit, but he went as slow as I need him to. I bled some, and he was really apologetic, but I was just like, "eh, whatever, it's okay, these things happen," and put in a pad. And even with the awkwardness I felt it was a very good experience overall, and it's only gotten better since. And afterwards I felt like we were closer, but as Respexy said, not in a "now we are inextricably linked because I gave him my Precious Gift" way but in a "now in addition to everything else, we bond over all the awesome sex we have together" way.

  18. This story is so cute. :) Thank you both so much for sharing, and allowing it to be shared!

  19. This is a story about my current boyfriend and I.

    I had turned seventeen a few months before, and he was several weeks shy of his eighteenth birthday. We came back from a date, parked the car in my driveway, and started to make out. I decided that I was probably ready for something more at this point, so I held his hand and placed the back of it gently on my chest. If he wanted to stop, he could pull his hand away. If he didn't, he could turn his hand over.

    He started to touch me through my shirt, but then he stopped.

    "Um, how far am I allowed to go?" he asked.
    "Honestly, as long as your penis doesn't go into my vagina, I'm fine with whatever," I said.

    Our entire relationship has been this way. I've never been forced, shamed, or pushed into anything I wasn't ready for, and we set the pace together. One of us will suggest something to try, and then, if the other person agrees (so far, nothing has been rejected), we do it. We take things at the pace we agree on, don't pressure, and ENJOY things. It's still spontaneous. It's still sexy. It just incorporates our wants and desires into the equation, which SHOULD be the way everyone has sex.

  20. Happy one year!! You two are so fucken cute!!!!

  21. My boyfriend and I have been together for over 3 and a half years. Last night was I think the first night I've finally been able to communicate with him how direct stimulation to my clit is not pleasant. It sounds silly, and in so many other aspects of our lives we have incredible communication skills, but when it comes to saying what things feel good/bad/meh when it comes to sex, I just find it really hard to find the words and tone. Usually I just take over (with the masturbation side of things, anyway) and let him focus on something else.

    However he took my comments in stride and adjusted and we had some awesome sex. So all in all, I'd say that's pretty positive. Makes me feel more confident about speaking out about these things in the future.

  22. I was 21 and a virgin. He was my age and very experienced (with both genders). He went to my university - we were even in a lot of the same lectures as each other - but we actually met at a Pride event over the summer. We talked about science, Doctor Who and the invisibility of bisexuals. We became friends.

    A few months later, we admitted a mutual romantic interest and each other, and started dating. We discussed our sexual histories, and I told him I wanted to take things slow. He respected that, and was careful to check in with me regularly when we were fooling around, especially if we were doing something new.

    I had a lot of first times with him: the first proper "what do you enjoy in bed?" discussion I ever had; the first time I was naked with someone else; the first time I brought someone else to orgasm; the first time being manually stimulated (and, on the same occasion, the first time someone else brought me to orgasm). He helped me feel comfortable making these steps, without being pushy, emphasising his desire to give me pleasure over everything else. After a while, I decided I wanted to have penetrative sex with him. We'd already discussed STDs and testing; I had easy access to birth control (long live the NHS); and more to the point, it turned me on.

    This led to more discussion. He warned me about his blood phobia, so I was prepared for the fact that he might end up acting a little weird afterward, and knew not to interpret any such weirdness as being my fault. In the actual event, I didn't bleed at all, which was probably fortunate. And it wasn't the greatest sex ever, nor was it a super-special-magical-mystical experience of virginity-loss, but we both enjoyed it, both got off, and continued doing it for quite some time afterwards. It got much better.

  23. I love the story of how my wife and I met.

    We were in culinary school, and her arm was tired. She was straining a bechamel sauce, and I was exploring the kitchen as a newbie, so she snagged me and asked me to help her strain her bechamel. A couple weeks later we struck up a conversation, and I reminded her of the bechamel assistance. She didn't realize that that had been me.

    She called me to ask me out (I was coming off a two+ year dry spell and she basically had to hit me over the head to get my attention) and I took her out. Things progressed and we discussed getting physically intimate. We decided that six months would be a good getting-to-know-you period to wait. We made it six weeks. It was the best sex she and I both had ever had. We've been married for almost 7 years, together for over 10.

    But the first attempt was aborted. She was on the pill, but we were young and stupid and didn't have lube, or time. So we attempted penetration but it hurt me, as I am uncircumcised. So we stopped. I didn't make her feel guilty, we talked about it and said, oh well, next time. I didn't force anything or do anything else. And sadly, that was something that surprised/impressed/pleased her. She has in the past thanked me for always respecting her boundaries, and I'm at once grateful to be appreciated, and sad that she feels the need to say that out loud.

    I know this is an old post and you will probably never see it. But I love your blog, and enjoy the mushy stuff, and wanted to share.