Sex After ‘Me Too’.
When it comes to sexual healing, or any healing really, it’s so important to celebrate progress.
If we sit in the mud too long, if we focus on what hurt, we become victims. It’s a thin line between owning your story and feeling past emotions in order to integrate and become whole, and taking on the identity of one who was hurt, living there, closing yourself off from new possibilities.
So today, I’ve got to talk about good sex, current sex.
When I think about my best sexual experience, I don’t think about anything in the past, the way I used to — I remember all too many tolerated sexual experiences where I zoned out on the person I was with, choosing instead to focus on especially hot moments with a previous lover.
One of my best sexual experiences
You and I are wary. We’ve been having sex for a month, and I’ve gotten two yeast infections; you’ve somehow gotten a random penis injury that takes you out of the game for five days. We’re making jokes about how we might never get to actually have sex again, to cover up the uncertainty, the “Why, if this person feels like such a deep soul connection, is it this fucking hard?”
Our first time together was right after #MeToo exploded.
And I was dead sober our first time, in the middle of the afternoon. I don’t think I’ve had sober sex the first time since high school. The sex we have is too fast and too hard for me, and puts me in sort of a trauma spell, lifts me up and out of my body, makes it hard to speak.
We’re in our roles: you’re trying to impress me, doing what worked for other women; I’m trying to please and appease you, not yet knowing how to bring voice to “Can we pause? Can we go slower?”
Wait, I’m talking about good sex, right? We’re getting there.
For that next week, I ran the collective’s anger. I felt the second-classness of womanhood. I sobbed and I raged and I didn’t fucking get it. It was bigger than you and me; we were in context.
We were the wounded feminine and masculine in our culture, personified. I wondered: why didn’t you feel me, when you’re so emotional and awake? And you wondered, I found out later, how I had gone so cold after what you thought was a connective experience?
I go to my therapist. She makes a space for my rage, for the years of trauma unfelt, and then gives me nonviolent communication tools. She tells me it’s my choice whether I tell you about my experience or move on. I come back to you, and after something like three hours of uncomfortable small talk and silence, muster up the courage to tell you I need you to go ¼ of the speed.
Those of us who have been silenced in the past, we have such a hard time speaking even the simple truths.
So, you go ¼ of the speed.
I give you a tantra book, which you devour. You end up being more present than I’ve ever been in sex. You teach me. I realize that all this cliche masculine presence I’ve been asking men for—I’ve been shifting the blame to some extent; I’ve never been all that present, I’ve never accessed my own inner masculine. Of course, sexual trauma has made me partially incapable. But as soon as I realize this, the tools arrive in forms of teachers and mentors.
Though I’d been working on making my sexuality my own for a couple of years, being with you is different. You’re the next level: how can I stay present with a lover who isn’t passive, who is passionate, who is right here with me?
So here we are. Freshly healed from our infections and injuries. My amazing therapist has given me breathing exercises to help me stay present and relaxed during sex. We undress each other. The room has soft music and candlelight. We’re on your bed, facing one another, sitting up, my legs over yours. I’m so aware of your skin, running my fingers over your arms, your legs, your back.
My gaze is staying with your eyes, more so than I’ve ever been able to with anyone. We are both so totally here, and I’m amazed at how here I can stay with you when I’m breathing, when I’m continually checking in with myself.
I begin to guide you inside of me; I go so, so slow, oscillating between closing my eyes in pleasure, and coming back to you. Centimeter by centimeter, breathing deep, deep, deep into my pussy to stay relaxed, to stay open to you. I’m safe here.
When we are finally fully connected, after literal minutes, the ecstasy is overwhelming. There is nothing else but your skin, your heat, our sounds, our tiny movements and connection. There is nothing but feeling, energy, sensation—nothing but this moment, and the next, and the next.
More than anything else, what’s spurred this healing is finding my own unique sexual code, and attracting a partner who honors it. For me, I need to feel safe, and loved, to fully let go. All these years I’ve spent having sex on the first date, and come to realize, while my sexual motor might run that fast, the rest of me really doesn’t.
Empowerment looks like choosing our own sexuality, and what works for me is going deliciously slow, slower than my mind or body has ever known. What works for me is a partner who checks in, and asks if I’m okay every few minutes. What works for me is giving myself true permission to slow down or stop sex completely, to choose holding one another for a moment instead. What works for you?
Lynn Wolfbrandt is a writer and intimacy guide who seeks to support people in healing from sexual trauma and shame. She believes that sexuality is Divine, with a capital D. In her writing, nothing goes untouched, no dark corner goes unswept. She believes in integration, whole-ing, exposing shadows, and love. Find more of her at her website. To learn more about standing in your power, sign up for a free guide.