There was a Kickstarter doing the rounds on social media last week. It’s called LOVESYNC and it’s an app that you and a sexual partner share. It features a “button” which either one of you can “press” to let the other know that you would like to have sex.
The promo image features a white cis heterosexual couple and the man is pumping his fist in delight. Yep. You read that right: pumping his fist in delight that he does not have to actually talk about sex but can, instead, merely request it via a handy app, very much like an upper class person might have rung a bell for tea sand scones back in 1910.
The app may rely on modern technology but our (very english) terror of talking about sex, particularly our desire for it from another, or others, is an age old problem.
I can see why these kinds of apps SEEM like a good idea. It SEEMS like it is solving a problem, it SEEMS like it's HELPING but, ultimately, it merely reinforces the idea that all of us, especially men, don't need to learn how to talk about sex because, whoop! fist pump!,“there’s an app for that”.
So, okay. You’re a person. And you’d like to have sex more often or, perhaps, you'd like slightly different types of sex with another person that knows you and who has, perhaps, even made a life commitment to you or is sharing your bed / room most nights or frequently.
What can we do help you?
First, it’s important to acknowledge that talking about sex can feel really awkward, uncomfortable and difficult and that, oddly, talking about it with someone you love and/or have been with more than 18months can be even harder. I know. It’s odd, but true. All I can say is, that if you don’t start learning to talk about this now, it will only get harder.
Set some time aside to talk about the talking (ie. Talk before you TALK). Organise a calm, distraction free time to talk about the need to talk. Acknowledge to each other what you find hard and what your concerns might be. Talk about anything that comes up - some people I know feel nervous the moment someone even says they want to talk so it's important to offer reassurance that this is about getting closer and building now hat you share not the start of the end.
Think and consider if there are there more complex issues getting in the way - often how we feel about ageing or changed bodies can affect how we feel about sex. It can be hard to talk about these things but it is important. Also, all too often, resentment over something from a while ago can be getting in the way of your intimacy. What underlying issues might you need to take a look at and do you need support in doing that?
Once you have a good base level of communication, you can talk about preferred times and spaces for sex and begin to make sure that you have these available. If one of you is a night owl and the other feels sexier in the morning, then you need to think about how that might work. Kids and work, as well as just life itself, makes many demands on us all. If one of you finds scheduling sex a bit unsexy then plan enough space in your week to make sure that you have the room to be spontaneous. Also, cut back on other commitments if necessary, tired and stressed people rarely feel very sexy which is fair enough. If you feel you can't do this then take a good, clear-eyed look at why you might feel this way and be honest with yourself about what be behind the resistance.
Acknowledge and agree that this is a fresh start and agree to focus on where you are now and what you both need now rather than where you were. Needs and desires change over time and honesty, with the self as well as each other, is crucial here.
Listen and share with open minds and hearts - if one person’s ideas alarm or concern you or are way off where you are there is no need to panic. Take one step at a time. Avoid being judgemental and try to be receptive whilst knowing that you are never going to have to do anything unless you are super enthusiastic about it.
If there are new things you wish to try that involve toys or new equipment or skills then take the time to find out more before getting started, for example, playing with a small anal plug, sensation toys (such as wheels and soft floggers) can be fun but any more serious impact play (i.e. whips etc) needs to be taught properly by an experienced person.
I have seen/been thinking about... or I am curious about xxx can we watch / read this together… are good soft starts for introducing new ideas.
Visit a women and LGBTQ friendly sex store together. Sh in Hoxton is great and the staff can help you make good choices. It is all too easy to get carried away and end up with toys that are way too big or that you won’t use so start small, buy one or two things and experiment before buying any more.
Write on a piece of paper things you might like to try or are curious about - a yes, no, maybe list can be a great idea (try here)
Consider power dynamics - do you prefer to be in control or more passive? What roles do you like to play? Do you have a good healthy level of attraction / chemistry to build on as well as compatible dynamics / preferences?
Come along to a NEXUS social and meet other people who are learning to explore similar issues. The next one is at SAMA Bankside on Friday March 1st from 18:30
There is very little to make this EASY but it can DEFINITELY be made easier. Just know that even just a small start will make it easier to have more conversations and that making time for you and your partner and sexual and intimate needs WILL make a difference to your life. If you can do this, you can almost literally do anything :)
You cannot control the future, nothing is static or fully knowable, but you can take these steps to a braver, more honest and authentic sexual connection today.