It all happened so quickly. The shock of it. One minuting we’re having sex and the next… BAM.
Yes dear reader, a man jizzed on my face post penetration. The physics of it all still haunt me.
As I sit there in the sticky mess, disgusted and eye stinging, all I could hear him say was, “I can’t believe you reacted like that. I thought because of your work you would be more sex positive than this.”
I tried to cool off. Took a walk. But as I ran my fingers through my cum encrusted hair the rage bubbled up again. Where was this coming from? Accidents happen. It shouldn't be a big deal.
Angrily throwing my semen coated sheets in the laundry, the words rang in my ears, "I thought you would be more sex positive than this." I realized it wasn't the act that upset me, but the assertion that I, proponent of female sexuality, educator of the youths, trailblazer of discussing vaginal infections, was not sex positive.
Was this true? Was I a prude masquerading in a sexy sex facade?
Although I wished 'the incident,' as I now refer to it, never happened, it did inspire me to figure out what being sex positive looks like for me in my relationships.
What sex positivity is not.
I think the problem for this man, and many of us out there, stemmed from a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be sex positive.
Being sex positive does not mean that you are down for whatever and your partner can make assumptions about what you’re okay with in bed. Examples of this include but are not limited to, getting a face full of jizz without warning, ‘accidentally’ slipping it in your butt because you mentioned anal one time in a casual conversation, recording a sexual encounter of an unknowing partner because you had watched porn together before, taking a condom off midway through because your partner mentioned they had an IUD, the list goes on. (These are all, by the way, true stories I’ve heard from numerous women).
Being sex positive, hell being a decent human being, is about having these very warranted discussions before these acts happen, so you and your partner are absolutely sure you're on the same page.
Being sex positive is all about an open dialog.
It’s been a long, and sometimes awkward, journey for me to feel comfortable discussing sex with a partner. Often times I was concerned that if I voiced what I wanted I would be met with judgement, or if I wasn’t open to do what they wanted I would be labeled a prude. And there's the added fear that if we talked about sex, before or during sex, it would kill the mood.
It may seem obvious to some, certainly not to my early/mid twenties self, but talking about sex acts before having sex will NOT kill the mood. I've learned through experience, talking about what you want (and don’t want!) can easily segue into foreplay, dirty talk, p-in-v, butt stuff, a good cry, a good nap, and many various other activities not listed. Starting a dialog about what you’re willing to try, what crosses your personal boundaries, and what may take some time to work towards*, is the only way to ensure that both parties are having a consensual and satisfying experience.
*I’m looking at all you dudes out there that “accidentally” try anal, you know who you are––maybe if you had discussed it and tried some prep beforehand you both could have had an enjoyable time.
What should NOT be in your sex positive discussion?
Judgement towards your partner about their various kinks. It can feel extremely scary and vulnerable to ask for what you want, so do not reply “oh that’s gross” when your man wants a finger up the butt or your girl wants some light choking action. Responding with disgust or judgment is a recipe for closing off communication; your partner no longer feels comfortable sharing due to fear of shame or rejection.
It’s a two way street
In the same way that you shouldn't judge your partner for their kinks, you shouldn't judge them for not wanting to participate in your kinks. For example, I’m not super into a face full of jizz. It’s messy, I don’t like having to wash my hair afterwards, and, without a warning, I find the assumption that I want cum in my eye extremely disrespectful.
One of the pillars of the sex positivity movement is the acceptance of sexual practices “as long as the participants consent and feel safe, without moral judgement.” Both parties have to consent, feel safe, and if this isn’t the case, a sex positive person “acknowledge[s] that sometimes they won’t want to have sex and that partners might not want to have sex with them.”
A lot of times we focus on the willingness to try new things while shunning those that speak up about their own boundaries. Not consenting to a sex act does not make you any less sex positive and your partner should not make you feel like your SP card has been revoked for saying no. Which brings me to my next point…
When openness starts to feel like pressure
Wanting to have an open dialog about sexual preferences does not mean either participant has an obligation to participate in said sexual preferences.
I’ll admit that after 'the incident' I began to question if I was uptight for not accepting his ejaculate with open eyes. My desire to appear open had been wielded into a false sense of pressure and created, in my mind, the idea that if I wasn't cool with everything I would lose my sex positive status.
For those curious readers, after taking time to cool down and rinse the jizz out of my hair, I talked with this man again. We sat down and had a long discussion about why his words incited such rage, why not everyone wants his divine spunk in their ears, and the difference between a sex positive conversation prior to a sex act and a non-consensual incident.
It wasn’t an easy discussion. In theory, we can all have open discussions about sex, fulfill and unabashedly discuss our kinks, all while not exercising any judgement––but in reality these conversations are difficult and downright awkward the first few times. We’re all dealing with our own insecurities, baggage, previous history, social conditioning, etc. etc. and being vulnerable enough to discuss them when we’re on the hunt for an orgasm can be overwhelming.
I am certainly still fumbling through many of these conversations, but it’s getting easier to say “hey I’m not into that, but let’s talk through some scenarios where we can both feel confident and satisfied exploring our bodies.” Need to work on less cheesy phrasing, but you get the point.
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