Something we’ve covered in our zine ‘Make Your Own Sex Manual’ and our recent podcast is the idea that sex can be about very different things for different people.
We got this idea from Urban Tantra author Barbara Carellas. She says that some people are really into the kind of trance state that they disappear into from the sensations of sex which can be quite detached from anybody else who might be present. Other people are really in it for the intimate connection with the other person or people who they’re with. And others are all about the excitement of taking on different roles: being dominant or submissive, cheeky or nurturing, for example.
Of course we might be into more than one of these things, or other things as well. But it can be very helpful to chat with people we have sex with about where they’re at and whether – and how – we can have sex which enables everyone to experience what they’re looking for from sex.
On page 4 the ‘Make Your Own Sex Manual’ zine we’ve got a resource to help you, and your partner/s, talk about how this might work for you. Here we thought we’d give you a few examples, so you can see the kind of thing we’re talking about, and how it works for different people. When we were writing our book ‘Enjoy Sex’ we found that a useful way of doing this was to give a bunch of examples of different people’s experiences.
‘For me sex is all about zoning out into this amazing spacey kind of place – like a kind of high. Even when I’m with another person it feels like quite a solo place to go, and I’ve had partners who’ve struggled with the fact I feel quite detached to them. Now if I’m with a partner who’s looking for intimacy we tend to agree in advance to have some more connected sex to start with, and some cuddles after I’ve gone off, in order to reconnect.’
‘I’m asexual so I’m not into sex, but it’s been helpful for me to think about what I’m looking for from more sensual activities. This idea of trance, intimacy, and roles was very helpful to me. I realised that I love the kind of trance-space of high energy dance, so I’ve been seeking that out more. But with other people intimacy is more about deep conversation than any kind of physical touch or contact. Roles aren’t such a big thing for me, except that I do like getting into a kind of fun, childish place with one of my best mates where we just do really silly stuff like spending the whole afternoon crafting or something.’
‘Over the years I’ve realised that for me sex is all about roles. I could be doing the exact same thing and it’d do nothing for me if we’re just in a kind of mutual intimacy, but it would turn me on completely if somebody was telling me what to do, for example. Like somebody running their fingers over my body is generally pretty dull for me, unless they’re dominating me and making me take it, in which case all my nerve endings spring to life! Nowadays I seek out relationships with friends, partners, and professionals, where I can explore these kinds of roles, and I also enjoy them in my fantasy life. I’ve stopped telling myself that I ‘ought’ to enjoy sex without that element.’
‘I can flit between the role space, trance space and intimate space really quickly with my partner and usually visit each space in turn. In my trance space I can have several really intense orgasms – usually my eyes would be closed and I feel like I’m in a different state of consciousness. I’m totally aware that my partner is there with me which is great because I also can feel pretty vulnerable if I’m in that space for too long. Sometimes in our intimate space it’s an opportunity for us to explore being in role space (for example by exploring power exchange during sex) or it can be a jumping off point for them to be in their own trance state for a while. We’ve found talking about this afterwards (at the pub) really helpful.’
If you want to think more about these things, do check out our zine and podcast. If you want to share any of your own experiences – anonymously – feel free to comment below or send them into us and we can chat about them on our next podcast.