Single and Sexual: The Negatives. Part 1

Image by Prettysleepy from Pixabay

“You are all wondrously made, girls. Remember that: wondrously made, and you should carry your sex proudly, a badge of honor.

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Hello fellow Adventurers! I know its been a LONG time, but I am back and ready to tackle this New Year and tell you more of the ridiculous adventures from my life. I have been working on this piece for WEEKS now. Originally it was going to be a quick vent about certain things involved in jumping back into the dating game. The more I wrote the more I realized I had a lot to process and A LOT to say! So it grew into multiple pieces, I really hope you decide to read all of them!

If you hadn’t guessed from the title already this post is going to be about my sex life. So anyone who isn’t comfortable knowing about my sex life might want to stop reading now. For the rest of you, buckle in and get ready to know me just a little bit better. Specifically some of the more bizarre, uncomfortable and negative experiences I’ve had recently.

Here’s the thing, I am no stranger to sex. Sorry mom and dad if you haven’t figured that out yet… surprise! Really though my parents were pretty sex positive. Though it wasn’t something we discussed in great length or detail; they made sure I had a responsible education on the matter and it was never something they made me feel like I should be ashamed of.

Like many people my first sexual experience was less than ideal. In writing about my first heartbreak I wrote about how my college boyfriend was my first experience, however its what I consider my first real and good sexual experience. In reality, I was with my high school boyfriend and he was in the military and he basically guilt-ed me into it. He was being stationed out of state and leaving soon and made me feel like I owed it to him. He was still living with his parents at the time and we “fit time in quickly” while they were out. I was uncomfortable, I felt rushed, and it was painful. I know a lot of woman say that its a myth that your first time hurts, I’m making the assumption that mine did because it wasn’t a situation I was comfortable with and therefore wasn’t relaxed. After we broke up he told just about everyone we knew how much a “lousy lay” I was.

If you consider a woman less pure after you’ve touched her, maybe you should take a look at your hands.

Kaija Sabbah

One of the things I miss the most about being in a long term relationship is that I really really enjoy sex. And when you have a long term partner, you spend time getting to know what each others likes and dislikes are. You spend the time getting better at it. That is if you’re in a healthy enough relationship to communicate about it. My last long term boyfriend and I (Lets nickname him “Jack Daniels”) weren’t very good at communicating about most things, but sex we were really good at communicating about.

In fact as our relationship started to fall apart instead of working on what was actually bothering us, we for some reason thought if we worked even more at our sex life it would start to fix things. Needless to say… it didn’t. Because of that, I started to feel like I was exchanging sex for attention and it made me no longer enjoy sex. So after we broke up, not only was the thought of sleeping with anyone new daunting but my sex drive was basically gone.

You would think that because I was terrified of putting myself out there with a new partner, not having a sex drive wouldn’t be a problem for awhile. But for some reason this wasn’t the case. Maybe its because I reeked of desperation after the breakup, or maybe these things always happen to me but I’m better at putting up boundaries when I’m in a relationship. But people just kind of started popping up, throwing themselves at me, and “Vulturing.” Vulturing, as I’ve learned, is when people wait for a failing relationship to die to just swing in and take advantage of the heartbroken person they’ve had a crush on. It was overwhelming, and it was hard to know how to navigate because I craved love and affection so badly.

It would be one thing if these people were having conversations with me. Asking me out, or actually confessing feelings they’ve had. But that wasn’t what was happening. I was being ambushed, and its not the first time men have done this to me.

Why Do You Feel Entitled to My Body Just Because I’m Single?

Right after “Panda,” my college boyfriend and I broke up, I was  determined to live it up without him. I drove into the city to celebrate New Years Eve with friends. We drank, and danced, and took pictures. It was amazing to be having fun again.  Up until we got back to our friends house, the night was amazing. At that point the 6 or 7 of us all found places to sleep in her living room. There was a pullout couch that two of us nabbed, and a few people got comfy on the floor. The guy sleeping next to me had also gone through a breakup earlier that year, with one of my really good girlfriends. He rolled over and started making out with me. I stopped it, but because I was drunk it took me longer than it should have. At first affection felt good, but this wasn’t something I was comfortable doing with my friends ex. So I got up, he was drunk and not thinking it seemed like the best option was to move to the floor.

As I joined the others on the floor, another male friend must have taken that as an invitation. Like I had moved to purposefully get closer to him or something. And also started trying to make out with me. The worst part was, the girl who I knew had a crush on him was lying on the other side of him. I know she saw because she had strategically placed herself next to him hoping she would be the one he rolled over and kissed. At this point I was thinking much faster and immediately got up again.

Hoping the first guy had gone to sleep on the couch I made my way back to the pullout. He hadn’t. As I tried to go to sleep he stripped down naked next to me, and started pawing at me. Clearly he was out of his mind because we were in a room full of people. I got frustrated and told him to stop as quietly as I could to not wake anyone else or call attention to what was happening. I moved again and found a spot on the floor that wasn’t next to anyone. I was so uncomfortable. I didn’t want to be kissing either of these people

Both of these men saw an opportunity and went for it. They didn’t ask, I didn’t give either of them a reason to think that’s what I wanted. They just thought they could kiss another human being and expected it to be reciprocated. These guys were my friends! But it didn’t matter. To make matters worse, I didn’t have any control of the narrative after that night. The girl on the floor had seen what happened and chose to believe I betrayed her, and told people I did. She never forgave me. The guy from the couch got to tell his ex girlfriend I was responsible about what happened. 

I really never have understood this behavior. I know there is the mentality that women want a partner to dramatically just push them against a wall and kiss them. But the truth is we want that from people we’ve already consented to. We definitely don’t want it to come out of nowhere from just anybody. We watch movies and television were the “accidental” drunken evening either leads to a romance or is an excuse to live out pent up feelings of attraction with someone. And that’s just not a responsible narrative. Just because we are there and YOU are interested doesn’t mean you can just attack our face. Reality Check! You can ask permission to kiss someone and it absolutely doesn’t ruin the moment.

That was almost 10 years ago and its something that I notice still happens all the time to a lot of people. After “Jack Daniels” and I broke up, someone very very close to me, we will call him”Puppy,” did something rather similar. It didn’t seem bad at first but the more I step back and look at it the more uncomfortable the whole thing makes me.

What Ever Happened To Just Asking A Girl Out?

“Puppy,” and I had been friends for at least 8 years. He was one of my closest and best friends.  I will never buy into the argument that men and women cant be friends because “sex always comes up.” It’s a childish notion. If that were true that would mean anyone who is anything other than straight would never be able to have friends. That argument says we are not in control of our actions, when in fact we are. If you just cant control yourself around EVERYONE you find attractive… you need to seek serious help. And in my personal opinion, if you’re with a partner that can’t handle their jealously over your platonic friends, just get out of that relationship. It means they don’t trust you, and more often than not its not going to work out because of that anyway.

I never really thought of “Puppy,” that way. Its definitely not that he wasn’t attractive! I just didn’t consider it. We were friends and my attentions were elsewhere. There was a moment about 2 years prior that “Jack Daniels,” and I had been on the outs. He would do this thing where he would disappear for days and sometimes weeks at a time. We hadn’t exactly split up but we were at a difficult crossroads and I was tired of routinely being put on hold or jerked around. I had dabbled in putting myself out there again.

“Puppy” knew this. We had both gone out to the pride parade and ended up having a few drinks back at my place watching movies with a group of friends. After everyone else left he just started making out with me. At first I didn’t really mind. We were just enjoying the moment. And as far as I was concerned I was tired of “Jack Daniels” treating me like an option so I could do whatever I wanted. But after awhile I realized its not something I wanted to do. So I told him to stop, and fortunately he did. He asked me if I was Okay or uncomfortable and I told him I just didn’t want to be doing that. We never really talked about it after that. Things just sort of fell back to normal so I made the assumption it was an in the moment thing and that it wasn’t a big deal. “Jack Daniels” and I made up soon after that and reconnected. I even ended up telling him about the encounter, even he wasn’t threatened or hurt by it.

It wasn’t until last year, after “Jack Daniels” and I broke up, that I realized it was absolutely something “Puppy” and I should have talked about. I was devastated after the breakup. We had been together for 4 years and had seen each other off and on for at least two years before that. “Puppy,” being one of my oldest and best friends, was one of the main people I was reaching out to to get through it. Things immediately felt different and weird. He asked me if I wanted to meet up to talk about what I was going through, and took me to get burgers. I sat in front of him and cried about it for most of the night. We took a walk and I kept talking about it until we ended up at a park, that conveniently, overlooked all the lights of the city.

This is where my gut started to realize something about this felt off/different. He pushed me on the swings, where I cried some more, and we climbed over the jungle gym and went down the slide. He kept ‘happening’ to bump into me or crash into me on the slide. Then he’d linger for a minute and I’d instinctively put my head down because I got the vibe he was going to try to kiss me. He was always a touchy person, but my gut started feeling like he was doing it more than his usual self. It all felt so…. strategic. Thank god my stomach was KILLING me from the burger place we ate at. I really needed to go home and it was an excellent excuse to head back.

I really wanted to believe that it was just his normally overly physical self just trying to be comforting. He walked me to my car. Hugged me a little longer than normal… still I had been crying all day. He looked at me, and again I immediately put my head down, where he ended up kissing my forehead.

I really want to stress that “Puppy,” has always been a really affectionate and touchy person with everyone. He loves holding his friends hands platonic, is open about talking about it, and really enjoys when a large group of friends cuddles close on a couch when watching movies. Touch is absolutely his love language. So, despite that fact that it sounds like I was being purposefully naive, it was pretty easy to convince myself he was just using his love language to help a grieving friend in front of him. Or maybe I just really WANTED that to have been what was happening.

One evening we went to the movies, we had gone to see the new live action Aladdin, we were both huge Disney fans after all. It was a packed weekend matinee, with families and kids, we settled in with our giant pile of snacks and were ready to watch. Not even 10 min into the movie he had put his arm around me, again this not being super unusual, I just relaxed into it. Except at that point he leaned over and full on starting just MACKING on me. Like intensely. I remember freezing at first because I felt AMBUSHED. I subtly tried to pull back because we were SURROUNDED BY KIDS AND FAMILIES. But he wasn’t getting the hint.

I want to take a minute here to point out something about human behavior. When we feel scared or uncomfortable. Its no longer just “fight or flight.” Its “Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Fawn.” For years psychology said our reactions were to either: fight back or run away when scared or uncomfortable. However studies are proving that many people or animals will also either “freeze” which is pretty straight forward we literally just like deer in the headlights just freeze, or “fawn,” which is the idea that we make whatever is making us uncomfortable also feel safe and wanted. For example if someone was kidnapped and had the instinct to “fawn,” they would say things that would make the kidnapper feel like they are friends and that they understand them. In an attempt to get them to let their guard down or just encourage them not to hurt them.

My point is in this instance, I froze. I kind of just kept letting him kiss me, eventually I think he realized I wasn’t kissing him back and we went back to watching the movie. After the movie he walked me to the car, we already had plans to meet a group of friends at an event downtown after the movie and we were taking separate cars. He again kissed me. I again froze, not really knowing what to do or how I felt about it. I felt overwhelmed. I BROKE DOWN into tears on my drive downtown. I felt bombarded not only by his actions but also the huge amount of new information to take in. No matter what, it meant a complete change in a long standing friendship dynamic. I did deep down always suspect he had feelings because of the pride incident but I didn’t really KNOW. And I definitely didn’t know how I felt about it because I was still grieving my lost relationship and it was never something I had considered.

Later that night at the downtown event, he continued to “make moves.” Even my other friends at the event were concerned. They kept pulling me aside and asking me if I was okay. I kept explaining I just needed to figure out what to say to him. However this time he was finally picking up on the fact that I wasn’t really fully reciprocating. Having had a little bit of time to process all of this new information, that and a few drinks to help relax, I was finally able to tell him the truth. I was surprised and overwhelmed, I didn’t know how I felt about the whole thing. Most importantly I needed to tell him that everything that happened with “Jack Daniels” had killed my sex drive and physical intimacy was something I wasn’t comfortable with at the time. Like a good friend he said he understood. That didn’t matter to him, and embraced me.

Something about my comfort and feelings being acknowledged had a tranquilizing effect on me. Suddenly a possible future with one of my oldest and dearest friends seemed like an enchanting idea. We got along so well already, we knew so much about each other, plus hes defiantly an attractive person. The discomfort and negative emotions I felt earlier were gone and all at once I was extremely open to the opportunity.

Despite the fact that I had pushed him away all night and confessed my discomfort with sex/physical intimacy at that time. We made out on the dance floor the rest of the night, because our brief conversation made me feel safe. (I will also point out that my drunk alter ego just really enjoys making out with people lol)

It was nice to end the evening on a more positive note. The next day we went to lunch, things were different, but we still didn’t talk about what was happening. How he felt, or what he was looking for. It was so early on I thought it was okay because why push anything? As the days went by we definitely talked more often than we normally did. We flirted for the first time in our history of knowing each other. It was fun. At a time in my life when I needed to remember I was someone worth wanting, it was alleviating. But I still wasn’t exactly sure what was happening, and I still wasn’t sure what I wanted from the whole thing. I needed to keep the sex boundary because I really wasn’t at a place where I was comfortable with that with any one.

Despite that though, sex inevitably came up in almost every conversation. If you were to ask him now, he would probably disagree with that statement. He felt like just verbally exploring our likes and dislikes didn’t mean he was pushing sex. Because he wasn’t “asking me for sex” he just wanted to know. Not just wanted to know, but in his defense, was looking to make sure we were comparable enough to keep exploring the possibility of a relationship. Sex is a huge part of any romantic relationship after all, and he had some very specific kinks. VERY SPECIFIC. And truthfully my kinks were somewhat similar, so despite the head space I was in at the time, I would ultimately end up embracing the conversations. Which I acknowledge ended up giving mixed signals. Not just to him but to myself and what I really wanted at the moment. The desire to be wanted pushed me want to do whatever made him happy.

As time went on, we texted. (Or more specifically snap-chatted that will be important eventually) All the time. But we were both such busy people that we weren’t really able to spend time together. The first time we got to hang out after being downtown together we stayed in and watched movies. I remember sitting on the couch with him, as I drank a glass of wine. He kept pulling me closer and making out with me.

He didn’t even give me time or space to put my glass of wine down! It was actually rather awkward. It kept escalating to more than just making out as his hands were all over me. I enjoyed making out! However I’m not going to lie, I remember being annoyed and uncomfortable as he was so focused on physical activity I had to inconveniently kept just trying to keep my wine glass balanced in my hand. The point where he finally stopped is when he started encouraging me to start ‘touching’ him back. That’s when he checked in to see if I was comfortable, since he “knew how I felt about sex right now.” I told him no I didn’t want to go any further and we stopped. Before he left, there was a little more making out, and because it was a thing we had verbally established we enjoyed, some “spanking,” happened before he left.

Photo by Charles on Upsplash

This isn’t even close to the end of the story, however I want to talk about this for a second. The more I think about this night the more baffled I am at certain straight cis men, because somehow we have different definitions of what counts as “sex.” That night his hands were all over me. ALL OVER ME. And yes it was consensual, it felt good, I was enjoying myself. Nevertheless I still would have rather been watching the movie and drinking my wine and enjoying that TIME with him. But from the experiences I had with him. Including that night. I’m assuming in his mind, sex is only defined when a penis is involved. In fact he made a point to tell me “no penetration until your ready.” Which don’t get me wrong I appreciated. I appreciated that he was TRYING to understand my perspective and give me space. His intentions where to put my comfort first. However when I said I wasn’t comfortable with sex, I meant MY definition of sex. Which includes all of the things that for example a lesbian couple would also classify as sex. His hands exploring me EVERYWHERE, that to me counted as sex. His incorporating kinks like spanking, counts as sexual.

The next day I texted him and let him know I still wasn’t comfortable with sex still, though clearly I didn’t do a good enough job of explaining what I meant. Also, in retrospect I was at war with myself about it. I wasn’t comfortable with what was happening, however I thought that’s what I needed to do to make him happy. Or really to have anyone be interested in me. Which was my error, and very unhealthy of me. If I had made a stronger clearer boundary, our interactions hopefully would have been very different.

This is how our dynamic continued for awhile. We would talk every day, always incorporating verbal kinks and one way or another something physical would come up. And the few times we spent actual time together it was a very similar experience. As time when on I did slowly get to be more comfortable with the idea of physical intimacy and sex and I embraced it more and more. But again I was at war with myself about it and was pushing myself harder than I should have at the time. We still never talked about any sort of feelings or about the change in dynamic. So I started asking. I explicitly asked things that I thought were important. Such as: “How long have you felt that way?” and “What about me made you want to change the dynamic?” His only response was, “lets ‘define’ this later,” which isn’t an answer to either of the questions I asked. And didn’t really have anything to do with what I was asking. In no way is wanting to know how long and why someones into you asking to define a relationship.

Again though, when it came to physical penetration he continued to draw a line, which I was so grateful for. In fact it made me feel somehow closer to him. That’s when he started bringing up a very specific kink that he had. Now I cannot and will not  ever in good conscious “Out” another persons kink, OR kink shame in any way. So I’m going to to my best to tell this part of the story while not giving away to much.

This was a role playing kink. So pushing forward with it, in his perspective didn’t classify as sex. More of a dynamic and a mindset. Part of that role playing kink is something that I’ve always enjoyed and participate in quite a lot. In regards to a Dom/Sub relationship. I’m pretty open about the fact that I’m naturally a sub, and I have no shame. His specific want though, was something more intense than anything I’ve ever done.

No matter what my feelings on sex at the time, I am really big on embracing my partners kinks. I really enjoy and get turned on by knowing I’m making someone else feel good. And until then I had been fortunate enough to be with partners who were excellent at communicating through everything, especially if it was something new or asking a lot of me. “Jack Daniels,” for example was especially good at continually checking in on my comfort level. So when “Puppy” started bringing it up, I wanted to be all about it, yet I still felt like sexually we were moving to fast.

When he brought up moving forward with some of the more non physical aspects I finally did do a bit of a better job at expressing my comfort level. I specifically remember telling him, I was definitely open to embracing that with him but reminded him I was still not ready for anything. I specifically remember telling him we needed to slow down a bit, that I wasn’t against the idea as a whole, but all of this was SEXUAL to me. When he oddly…. felt like that was his way of showing “affection.”

That didn’t really detour him from moving forward. One day he showed up at my door for a hangout (still no actual date!) With an object relating to the kink. An object that reflects the idea of ownership. Which isn’t something casual, even within the BDSM community getting to that point is a big deal. He presented it to me as a “surprise,” like one would do an engagement ring! He was expecting me to be thrilled. Instead, I froze. I really froze. I didn’t move or speak for probably a good 5 to 10 minutes. I could feel the blood drain from my face. This was to much to fast. This was so presumptuous. This was pushing something. My head spun, I went through all the things I should say, and all the things I had already said. I thought to myself, I did tell him I wasn’t against the idea, but I thought I had clearly indicated I wasn’t ready.

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

He saw the look on my face and was devastated. He had expected me to respond with glee, and instead, I wasn’t saying anything. He sat me down on the couch and began “lecturing” me about how I needed to communicate. How important communicating was and he couldn’t know unless I told him what I was feeling. This from the man who REFUSED to answer simple questions about what he was feeling. The Audacity! When it came to communication he was all about getting into deep detail about a sexual relationship but wouldn’t go near feelings or even the logistics of changing our friendship.

Story To Be Continued…

Things To Think About

I am a constantly working on being a self-aware person. I have spent a lot of time over the last year stepping back and looking at my habits and how I contribute to ending up in these situations. I see where I should be firmer in setting boundaries. I see that I have a history of being a people pleaser and how that works against my self interest.

That being said, that doesn’t mean men should be allowed to invade my personal space just because they make the ASSUMPTION that its okay. Because they HOPE I am interested in them too. It isn’t okay that I get to sit and take responsibility for my self destructive habits when they cant take responsibility for their feelings or how their actions impact other people. Maybe they didn’t know I was uncomfortable, but why did they think it was okay to just kiss me without permission to begin with? Whether I ‘allowed’ them to or not. Whether I kissed them back or not. If you do not already have an established physical or sexual history with someone, you do NOT have permission to touch them. Just because I am single and enjoy sex doesn’t mean I want you. What wrong with asking a girl out? Or telling them how you feel? Why is it their first instinct to jump directly into physical activity? Even on a casual sex level I guarantee you asking “can I kiss you” doesn’t ruin the moment. Even a kiss can be a big deal physically for some people. Stop telling yourself it isn’t.

I enjoy sex. I enjoy casual sex. Not every interaction has to be because you want a future with that person. However that DOES NOT mean I don’t also deserve respect.

Thank You for reading the first half of this story. Please check back in later in the week for the rest of it as well as a few more. In the meantime tell me what you thought. Spill the tea about experiences you’ve had that made you angry or uncomfortable. And share this post with your friends, maybe they are going through something similar and need to remember setting boundaries is okay.

“There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persist. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. Women are so much more than that. You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist and a feminist – whatever you want to be – and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.”

Beyonce

 

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