Silent, except for the rush of fabric on fabric, two bodies clash together. They fold and fall, almost choreographed in their descent onto the bed. Tangled up, their clothes come off, falling like puzzle pieces onto the floor, all the while silence holds the tension at a perfect simmer.
I remember fantasizing about this perfect scene. Built on a foundation of films that never quite showed the heat of the moment, but rather just sexy build-up with a well-placed cut to the morning after. So I thought my first time would feel natural. I thought everything would be smooth and painless and perfect.
Never have I ever been so wrong.
My first time came as a rude awakening, and I discovered the chasmic silence of awkward first-time sex. Always the optimist, I thought this was perhaps just a characteristic of the inaugural event.
The next time would be better, I told myself.
That wasn’t exactly how things panned out, and now I can say that I have had a lot of really terrible sex. But I’ve also had some pretty good sex, too. Through trial and error, I believe I know what has been the key to my best sexual experiences and what could help to improve yours.
With Mr. Silent But Deadly, I thought I was in for something gentle, maybe even boring. I walked away thinking he might genuinely have broken my pelvis, and at no time during the experience realized that I should tell him I didn’t particularly enjoy the 8.0 magnitude earthquake he caused.
Or, take Mr. Fake It ‘Til You Make It, who talked like we’d been cast in a particularly vocal adult film, and for whom I felt the need to feign a quick orgasm because the awkward truth was that I literally couldn’t feel anything the guy was doing.
School sex ed always told me the most important part of intercourse was consent, followed by a condom. This is true, but what they managed to leave out was any indication of how much sex could hurt, how to tell someone (with the utmost respect and love) that vagina DJing doesn’t feel good or how to figure out what actually works for you.
I soon learned it wasn’t any physical quality of my partner that needed to change for sex to be everything I had dreamed of, but the way we interacted with each other. My best sex came from being asked what I liked and what I didn’t like. Communication — which I thought would just be awkward and a bit clinical — was actually the key to some of the best sex of my life.
It’s time to abandon feeling shame for asking for what you want. Quit being scared to ask your partner what they want. Don’t be scared to be wrong, don’t be something you think you should be or pretend to like something you think you should like — just talk about what feels best for you and your partner.