“What if my partner is secretly like, Ew, she’s doing it wrong?”
Lola, but her hair’s all messed up: Whew! So, in summation, don’t do a sex thing because you heard it works, or because you made an assumption about someone’s body, or you saw it in porn. In what other domain would people do things exactly as they saw them happen in a movie once? “Oh, I took you whitewater rafting because I saw it in a movie.” “But I hate whitewater rafting!” “Well, the girl in the movie kind of looked like you, so I figured you would like it, too.” I can’t swim this date sucks and I want to break up with this person. I recently covered a very similar concern in a Just Wondering answer:
Doing stuff with a real live person isn’t going to be a face-off between your “weird” sex map vs. their “normal” one. Even in the most casual encounters, people shouldn’t just be “having sex.” They should be having sex with EACH OTHER, specifically! You’ve got a certain way of getting off, and so will your partner. Every single person in this world gets off in a different way! When you get there, how will you figure out what your partner like, or help them figure out what you like?
But I learned this the hard way, because before this…
LIVED TO BONE ANOTHER DAY: LOLA
I was once a 16-year-old worst nightmare sex partner who judged my first girlfriend for “not doing sex right.” When I met my first girlfriend, G.*, the only sex I’d had was a certain kind of three-way: myself, whichever cis dude I was into, and the Boring Sex Mean Girl who lived inside my brain and determined how sex was “supposed to” look and feel. G. and I spent a lot of time using the money her mom would leave for us on the dining room table for ice cream and teenage-lesbian-movie rentals from the ice cream/video store downstairs, and we’d cuddle together in one big comforter on her couch, eat ice cream, watch movies, and intermittently make out.
One night, after watching Lost and Delirious and But I’m a Cheerleader one right after the other, we ended up in her bedroom taking each other’s clothes off. SEX WAS AFOOT. She took off her pants and, as I extended my hand to touch her, she declared that she didn’t like to be fingered. This aroused (!) my Boring Sex Mean Girl: “UM, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THIS HAND, THEN!?!?!! Excuse me. Who doesn’t like that? That’s what you’re supposed to like.” Imagine both my and the BSMG’s surprise when G. straddled my thigh and started grinding on me. WHAT IN THE HELL IS THIS. CERTAINLY NOT SEX. NOT SEX AT ALL. JUDGMENT EMERGENCY! WE NEED EVERY EYE TO THE SIDE, STAT!
BSMG was a part of me that couldn’t…deal, so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have. G. got off, and then asked for what I wanted. I told her I wanted her to go down on me. BSMG was pleased. Of course. That’s what lesbians “did.” So G. started, checking in with me to see if what she was doing was all right, or good. I was like, “Yes!” Because it was all right! I mean… it looked like all the times I’d had sex with cis dudes, and what I’d seen in porn. It was all right…because I liked having sex with her. But it was not all right in that I got no pleasure from it, which I figured that was her fault for not doing it right, even though she had a pierced tongue, must be a technique thing, couldn’t be me. I thought, Well, guess I’ll just have better sex next time. Aaaand I faked it.
That story features one of the only ways to do queer sex wrong: the way I did it, sacrificing pleasure because I wanted to stick to what was “right.” G. went for what she knew would get her off, even though it was “wrong.” I judged her and…well, one of us had a lot of fun, one of us didn’t. And it was all my own damn fault. It took a lot of really, really boring sex over the next 10 years to get to the place G. was at that night. From my best, Facebook-educated guess, G. spent those 10 years joining a church of goddess worship and now spends her time in flowing white linen gowns and earthly bliss. One of us won that night and is still winning. LESSON LEARNED.
Krista: There is just no “right” way to have queer sex, except however feels really good. I mean, funny stuff and mistakes can happen during sex (and, trust me, we’ll discuss those!), but putting a big ol’ rubber stamp reading WRONG on a whole encounter? Nope! Not unless your idea of queer sex is, like, going to feed ducks at the pond. Thaaaaat might be construed as “wrong,” from a sexual standpoint.
Lola: As an honest actual intentional practitioner of celibacy right now, I’d like to respectfully interject support for the feeding of ducks as an expression of queer sexuality.
Krista: Interjection accepted. All right, since every person’s body is different, every person has a different set of things they like and different things that get them off. The only way to “screw things up” is to not listen to your partner, and/or not communicate what you want. Sex is not like this magical wordless movie scene of passion where no one has to say anything—they just look deeply into each other’s eyes and don’t speak a word and are suddenly going at it and having orgasms.
Sex also does not occur in a library (usually, anyway)—you’re allowed to talk during it! You can say things like, “Could you put your hand here?” and “I don’t like that” and “Can you put another finger in?” and “OK, what if you tried that a little…slower?” This can be “dirty talk” or not—don’t be afraid that vocalizing what you want is going to “kill the mood.”
* Some names have been changed.