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Sexual Experience

Sex Improves with Age

Are You Sexually Experienced?

Sexual experience shapes our outlook on sex
and relationships. Is practical experience with
other sexual partners helpful when it comes to
knowing what to do with a new partner?

I don’t think it’s a question that can be answered
in the abstract. As a woman, I feel more confident
and comfortable with my body now, at 35, than I did
when I first started having sex at 17, with a partner
who was 31 and much more experienced than I was.

At the same time, approaching a new partner means
in some ways forgetting everything you might have
learned about “what people want” and focusing on
what the specific person you’re sleeping with wants,
and how your desires and theirs interact.

For me, it boils down to sexual confidence.
Sometimes I have it, sometimes I don’t.

Some of that depends on the person I’m seeing,
but a lot of it depends on how I feel about
myself at any given moment.

Even when I’ve had great sex with someone but
I’m having an off day, it’s hard to remember
I still have whatever it is they liked about me.

It’s complicated by the fact that people I’ve dated
will casually say things like, “So I know you’re
polyamorous” (or “submissive”).

Statements I don’t consider to be true.

Like Wine, Sex Improves with Age

There are very few aspects of my sexuality that I think of as concrete, immutable, part of my identity. Some people bring out certain elements in me and some people don’t.

Am I inclined toward polyamory and submission? Yes, sometimes, but I don’t have an ideal arrangement and can’t conjure one in the abstract.

I’m pretty good at tuning out the white noise of past relationships in their specifics when I’m with someone new. It’s not that those experiences are forgotten, but I pretty quickly adjust to the here and now, to the dynamic between me and who I’m seeing.

This is why I’m actually pretty bad at polyamory, because switching on and off, from one mode of interaction to another, makes me feel too much like I’m putting on one costume, then rushing backstage to change into another, and never fully being myself.

For me, there is somewhat of a danger of all sex then feeling like a costume rehearsal, because I’m usually so concerned about how I come across to the other person that I can lose sight of what my own instinctual reaction is.

As for my partners’ erotic pasts, I’m curious about where they’re coming from, mostly because I want to know how that shapes them.

I might want to know a certain story, but I don’t want details about their exes, and the times I’ve probed, either verbally or via Google, I’ve usually found out things I didn’t necessarily want or need to know.

I don’t think, save for a few moments with people I wasn’t all that invested in, I’ve ever approached sex in a rehearsed way.

Even if I’ve done whatever it is we’re doing before. Even if I’ve done it with the same lover I’m about to do it with, before. The whole point of sex, to me, is that it feels somehow new, and invigorating because of that newness.

Technology’s hardcore impact on human behavior doesn’t mean that porn is bad. But many people wind up using porn as their entire sex education and then fail to live in the moment and listen and be open to their flesh-and-blood sexual partners’ actual desires.

In some ways, I envy people who have a very clear-cut idea of their sexuality, who are either dominant or submissive, who have not just precise boundaries but precise fetishes, exacting standards that they can instruct others in how to meet.

That sounds, perhaps, cold and mathematical, which to me is exactly opposite to how I experience my sexuality. I like being sexually curious, I enjoy finding out novel nuances to myself, even if that just means a momentary lust and fuck for the fun of it.

Ultimately what I appreciate most about being in a sexual relationship with someone else is the interaction between us, the give and take, and the process of joining forces to create something that’s bigger than the sum of our parts.

Of course, physically, there are things I can do with a partner that I can’t do alone, but for me the physical rarely stands separate from the mental.

I know this because the times when I’ve been intimate with a partner who was only going through the motions of some kind of kink, with no actual heartfelt humanity behind it, we both lost out.

I’d rather hear about someone’s outlandish, even off-putting fantasy, if it’s real and raw and sincere, than some rote idea of what they think their fantasy should be.

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