Myth busting Monday: Queering up our sex could help many of us.
This one is (most likely) true.
As a society and within our own sexual encounters, we have sexual scripts. That is what encounters usual look like: what events took place, the sequencing of events, who initiates what, etc.
What I have mentioned in past writing is that same sex relationships or relationships that fall outside of the cisgender/heteronormative/mononormative narrative (here: “queer, ie different, anomalous) require more communication 1) because of all of the possibilities and 2) a reduced ability (or even desire) to make assumptions. Interestingly, being in a long-term relationship might sexual communication in some way. Byers estimated that 60% of people in long term relationships knew what their partners liked and only 20% knew what their partners did not like1. (Pretty scary, all of the assumptions and unknowns in that statement, particularly around what people do not like).
Same sex encounters for women tend to have greater orgasmic potential2. Here, some suspect that this is because the typical heteronormative and cultural script focusing on penetrative intercourse (what some call PIV, or my preference – the more accurate, script flipping – VEP https://www.jacquelinehellyer.com/lovelife_blog/do-you-piv-or-vep-when-you-have-sex ) is removed (though some of the women may have a penis; see previous paragraph – assumptions are jettisoned). Further, queer sex tends to make foreplay into coreplay (for more, see the work of Ian Kerner, all of his books, and Dr. Laurie Mintz of Becoming Cliterate) – people with clitorises often need external stimulation to orgasm, but that clitoral stimulation is considered by the cultural script to be “foreplay”, secondary to and less important than, the “main event” of penetration.
And queer sex tends to be more diverse than heterosexual couplings. Encounters between gay-identifed men demonstrated 1308 unique combinations of behavior and bisexual men when with other men3,4.
Similarly, when Kleinplatz interviewed folks for her book Magnificent Sex: Lessons from Extraordinary Lovers, she found that stellar encounters did not look a certain way, which runs counter to our cultural, heteronormative sexual scripts. For instance, “magnificent” encounters did not always include genital contact. Magnificent sex may be, in part, related to the willingness to question conventional thinking and ways of doing things (i.e. see “queer” above ~ a way of thinking and being that is by definition non-normative). And this work parallels that of MJ Barker, in their work Enjoy Sex (our book club selection for Oct 2021): consider being present in, creative with, and curious about the sex you are having.
My suggestions to improve the sex you are having, if you are interested:
- Get curious about yourself, your partner/s, and the potential encounters or activities that might interest you – ie challenge what you think you know
- Use this curiosity to tap into creativity and desire and move away from routine and well-worn (and tired) scripts
- Have you honestly considered what you find pleasureable? Or have you centered those considerations outside of yourself (ie focused on your partner/s’ pleasure verses your own)
- Analyze your own scripts
- Related: what did you learn was “proper” sex or what you “should” do? And who did you learn that from.
- Take adult sex education seriously – take classes, read books, explore meetup groups – again, challenge what you think you know.
- Reconsider your approach to coreplay and if you have a “main event”
- See boldened components above – how does these show up in your encounters? If they do, how do those components serve you to enhance your experiences? If not, can you apply these to your encounters?
My other suggestion for the reader: honor the work of queer individuals that they have gifted to our culture. We learn from their very presence and way of doing things and their relentless social justice work, as we do with other marginalized folks. How have they inspired you? (and no, they don’t owe anyone inspiration or education, but nevertheless, our culture can learn from them)
Thank you, community for reading.
- Byers ES. Relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction: A longitudinal student of individuals in long-term relationships. J Sex Research 2005; 42: 113-118.
- Fredrick DA et al. Differences in Orgasm Frequency Among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Heterosexual Men and Women in a U.S. National Sample. Arch Sex Behav. 2018 Jan;47(1):273-288. doi: 10.1007/s10508-017-0939-z. Epub 2017 Feb 17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28213723/
- Rosenberger J. et al. Sexual behaviors and situational characteristics of most recent male-partnered sexual event among gay and bisexually identified men in the United States. J Sex Med. 2011 Nov;8(11):3040-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02438.x. Epub 2011 Aug 24 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21883941/
- Kerner, I. So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex: Laying Bare and Learning to Repair Our Love Lives. (incredible book; highly recommended and will be a feature of our book club in 2022)
Additional, Highly Recommended Resources:
- Mintz, L. Becoming Cliterate
- Kleinplatz P, Menard AD. Magnificent Sex: Lessons from Extraordinary Lovers
- Barker, MJ. Enjoy Sex (How, when and if you want to)
- My blog piece referenced above: http://ignitewell-being.com/talking-about-sx-douses-the-spark/
Note to the reader: my use of the word queer is not meant to upset anyone. I do not use the term in a dismissive, hateful, or any way that is intended to diminish or appropriate the queer experience.
Please note that the above is not specific medical advice, nor is it meant to speak to/for everyone. Please seek the consult and time of a trusted healthcare practitioner or sexuality counselor for personalized, contextual care.
Written by Dr. Allison Mitch, wellness practitioner working to awaken and re-center joy and pleasure through Ignite Well-being. PT (DPT), CHEK practitioner, RYT500, sexuality counselor and educator; copyright protected, please cite accordingly.
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