Sex Ed in Bed

If you don’t read the menu, how will you know what to eat?
By Jallen Rix, Ed.D. (c).

One of the best reasons for enjoying erotica (as if there needs to be a reason) is to help discover where your proclivities lie. I’m not just referring to gay and straight attractions. I’m referring to the various flavors of sexual activity. Are you into blondes? Is size a factor? Do you like getting it up the arse, giving it, or both? Do you like it outdoors wearing a bunny suit? Do you need a wide variety of experiences, or are you best with a routine?

I’ve been pondering this subject because a good friend’s lover just ended their five-year relationship after he discovered that he had a very specific sexual taste, and my friend could not fulfill it. Wasn’t it a little late in the game to figure out something like that?

Historically, cultures did not often take sexual compatibility into account when it came to the bonds of marriage, especially with the conservative notion of waiting until the wedding night. Sure, when marriages were arranged, why not wait until the honeymoon? Hell! There wasn’t any choice in the matter so it might as well be a big surprise. This could have been good or very bad, and don't forget all the pressure to produce offspring. By all means know how much the dowry is, but never mind whether or not they’re attracted to each other. Thank God the vast majority of sex today is not for procreation, but intimacy and pleasure. Still, making a commitment in a romantic relationship without knowing your partner’s sexual turn on’s (much less your own) is the norm, not the exception.

Waiting too long to be sexual with a partner can even be detrimental. Take the extreme example of my roommate in college. He patiently waited until the wedding night, but then he had to wait much more. Months went by and it wasn’t until several visits to a therapist that his spouse was diagnosed with frigidity originating from some deeply repressed sexual abuse. Unfortunately, when she refused to deal with it or acknowledge anything out of the ordinary with their sex life, my friend sadly ended the marriage.

In gay culture, we have a different kind of spin on missing the opportunity to explore a well-rounded sexual diet. It’s "coming out" and going right into a monogamous relationship. I’m sure this has worked for some couples, but there’s really something to be said about sowing your wild oats. It takes time to explore your sexual self. So relationship or not, give yourself (and your partner) the freedom to discover, grow and change.

There are always people who respond to this subject with, "Oh! I don’t have any specific sexual inclinations." This may be true for them, but usually they fall into two categories. Either they have tried it all and love it all, or they just haven’t given themselves the time to read the menu, so to speak. Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t force yourself to like this or that. It’s just like when you originally discovered your orientation. Over time, with exposure and exploration you find certain stimulations, patterns and high points that you’ll want again and again. We might like to eat all kinds of food, but we have our favorites too. Conversely, I’d bet there is some food that you can do without for the rest of your life.

The important thing is that you need to go around the block enough to have a pretty good idea of what really turns you on and how to experience it again. If you’re single, knowing what you want can really help you zero in on a suitable partner. Of course, there’s always the risk of being too picky (which could be the subject of another column).

Even if you’ve found the right lover whom you can have wild passionate sex with, it doesn’t mean your sexual evolution should stop dead. Many people find that as their love grows and changes, so does their sex life. That’s why, if you’re desiring a life-long monogamous relationship, you had better find someone who is both close to your ideal, yet flexible enough to adjust to changes in the years to come.

That's why erotica is a helpful tool. Just hop on the internet and see what leaves you soft and what really gives you a stiffy. With a little effort you can find every size, shape and activity imaginable. You can also try people watching in safe gay settings, like a Pride Festival, a local bar, or how about the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, which was just last weekend. As the largest BDSM gathering in the world, Grrrl, you know it was a day for people watchin'. There was someone for everyone. As for me, I love to get my teeth caught in them hairy chests, so I was in heaven!

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