Monday, March 16, 2009

The Talk

The most important thing one can do to begin an intimate relationship is to share with your partner what you know and feel about your body and your sexuality. It takes a little getting used to, but it will give you both the best chance of a deep and enjoyable intimacy.
Do you fear that they will be repelled by some aspect of your body, such as thin legs or scars? That they’ll be put off by your weak bladder? That they will be disappointed if you two cannot have sex like porn stars? For someone renewing their sex life after disability, or approaching first sexual experiences with a disability from childhood, there are plenty of opportunities to fear that you don’t measure up in some way. The good news is that plenty of people have proven over and over that these issues are over-amplified. In genuine relationships, they really don’t matter as much as you might fear, and are more manageable than you might imagine.
Self-confidence is the most attractive thing there is. “The talk” is your chance to demonstrate that. And if you are not feeling really confident, then honesty is the next most attractive thing. Maybe it means saying something like, “I’m nervous because this is new for me, but I really like you and think you’re beautiful and want to learn how I can please you, so let’s explore together and find out how my body works making love.” Give them the chance to accept you for what you are.
If your relationship is at the point where sexual intimacy has become an option, then there’s obviously some chemistry going on. That means your partner is interested in more than whether you fit some social stereotype of sexuality. It means you enjoy being together, have come to care for each other enough to want to please each other. These qualities quickly outweigh self-consciousness (which everyone struggles with, anyway), and makes the risk of a little dampness from your bladder, or your skinny legs, pretty meaningless. This is what many people with disabilities have found in their successful relationships.
What matters most is that you be open about your sensual needs and desires, and let your partner know that you want to please them. Let them know that you want to openly express and explore your sexuality with someone you trust. If your partner is sincere in their interest in the whole and real you, they will appreciate your honesty. Better yet, they will be freed of feeling that they need to tread lightly on the topic of your sexuality. As in any successful relationship, the ability to communicate openly is critical, and having “the talk” about your sexuality is an early rite of passage that helps establish that crucial, early bond of trust.
There is, in fact, no greater mistake you could make than to not explain in advance how your sexuality works. There is no more effective way to douse your passion than in the cold water of unanswered questions or unmet expectations.
It is no different than what any partners should do. “So, what do you like? Is there anything you’d like to try that you’ve been curious about? Can I show you exactly where I’d love you to put your tongue?” And so on.
In the end, you won’t scare anybody off if you’re honest. And if they do run off—painful as that would be—they probably wouldn’t have been a very good partner for you. A person you share an authentic mutual attraction with will want to join you in finding the best ways for you to please each other.

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