Sex Starts With You
on 22 Oct 2021
As some of us might reminisce, the thrill of hooking up freely is often one of the burning anticipations for new students moving out of their parents’ home for the first time.
We’re surrounded by sex in adult entertainment, on-screen and in sound, and so when we’ve decided we’re keen to explore sex, we recreate those visions for ourselves: seamless bindings with hot strangers, cinematic sex and, crucially, instant pleasure.
But here’s reality: (good) sex involves an above average amount of communication somewhere along the lines. And on-screen sex is choreographed. So, as again some of us might reminisce, it can land as a bit of a shock and a burden if sex often feels underwhelming, whether it’s hours or months after laying eyes on your other. But why should it be shocking? Sex is as varied as people are. Chances are your desires aren’t all at the surface.
What they don’t tell you is that it gets better if you work on it with yourself. Some are lucky to know this from experience, others may still be hoping. Personally, it was through overthinking my way through the lessons of trapdoor smiles and late-night calls and the valiant genre of sexual health/wellbeing content (and Twitter?) that I realised the foundation of my own pleasure isn’t who I’m with. For consistency, this foundation can’t rest with anyone but myself. But accepting this makes it easier to invite people into the process, and for them to do well.
The story for many students is that having left for university, you have your own space for the first time. You have new notions of privacy and separation to explore yourself in many senses, one option being sexually. The aim is simple: find out what you enjoy. No one’s watching (Read that again.) Try things. Note things. The principle here is that the more confident you are about having a good time in bed and what that feels like to you, the easier it is to unfold towards a good time when someone joins you; the idea of communication goes from being a hurdle to becoming second nature.
The sweet ingredient in having a sexual relationship with yourself is that there’s no pressure to please or perform, beyond how patient you are with yourself. My honest experience? Having a sexual relationship with yourself can be as fulfilling as an “active” sex life—discovering a new sensation you like is the only time you tell yourself a secret. And there are times I haven’t necessarily wanted someone new in my life; I doubt this is a rare feeling.
Let’s roll it back a bit, back to the idea of trying things: sex toys of this day and age are wondrous. In many cases, you press a button and it does something different. There’s your roulette, if you’re too overwhelmed to think strategy over your own body. But even more significantly: people aren’t made to order, but toys are. Hence you can truly explore everything in between to find your fit, if you still have your uncertainties over shapes and sizes in anatomy. As you become familiar to yourself, you might even find yourself journeying through shapes and sizes to build the intensity of your experiences and gently broaden your limits, with or without a goal in mind. I did.
The best thing about becoming proactive about your sexual fulfilment is that somewhere along the journey, you might set yourself up to see a sunrise refracted in a glass dildo. Sounds peaceful, right? Crack on.
Written by Farida Yusuf. Farida studies artificial intelligence so she’s got a lot to say about sex toys and how their design can work for you.