Monthly Archives: November 2015

Master these two words for better sex and healthier relationships

When it comes to having the best sex of your life and healthier relationships, you need to master these two words. Because it's all about healthy boundaries and honoring your own needs and desires.

The past several years have been an incredible journey for me. Transformation is inevitable when you start to dig around in all your softest spots and darkest places.

One of the most difficult realizations I’ve had about myself is just how hard it is for me to use my voice. I silence myself a lot.

Looking back, it’s no wonder past relationships left me feeling exhausted and resentful. I rarely spoke up, always rushing to fix things for others, never prioritizing my own needs. In fact, even now I struggle to find the words for my needs sometimes.

It’s different for each of us. For me, setting boundaries feels like I’m taking up too much space. And as a fat person, I’ve been conditioned to take up as little space as possible to offset my physical size. It’s a mind fuck, to be sure.

But many of us have these mechanisms of taking up less space because we feel unworthy of love or are afraid of being alone or worry that if we actually draw a line in the sand and say “this is me” that people won’t be able to handle us.

The paradox is that the clearer we are with our needs and boundaries, the more we set ourselves and our partners up for success. If you aren’t sure where the edges of the sandbox are, it’s difficult to surrender and trust that you’re on the same page.

Though our language is full of beautiful words that sound like poems and terrifying words that evoke powerful feelings, the two most powerful words that we have at our disposal are yes and no.

Sadly, most of us don’t use those words in a way that serves our soul. There are countless ways that we silence ourselves or water down our experiences: social obligations, guilt, insecurity, a mindset full of lack and fear, shame, family dynamics, community expectations, peer pressure, our own internalized judgment.

Why is this important and how can we begin to find and strengthen our voice? Well, the good news is I made a video for you.

 

When you give yourself permission to get crystal clear about your yes and your no, especially in the context of your sexual self, things begin to shift.

Too often we consider a maybe a yes.

Too often we default to yes when we’re on the fence, when we’re ambivalent, when we’re kind of interested but not entirely sure. And each time we do this, we send the message that our boundaries aren’t important, and we end up losing ourselves in the process.

Too often we want to say no, but we make excuses, we over apologize, we try to soften it with lots of flowery language that leaves people confused or thinking you really mean yes. We anticipate the other person’s feelings and try to control for it by changing our own answers.

But here’s the thing.

You are not responsible for someone else’s experience or feelings (and this can be SO hard to embrace if you’re a people pleaser). You can be kind and say a simple, “No.”

It’s on them how they deal with it.

Because “No.” is a complete sentence. No doesn’t require an explanation. No doesn’t need to be defended.

WHEN YOU SAY NO, YOU ARE SAYING YES TO YOURSELF.

Imagine you are feeling really sexy and turned on. You want a night of raw, hot, sweaty sex. When you ask your partner if they want to join in the fun, they kind of shrug and say “I guess.”

Once you’re in the bedroom, they only half show up. There’s no energy. No fire. You start to feel resentment because it feels lonely each time they check out, and the night ends in either a fight or silence.

Put another way, has an experience ever been improved by someone showing up who really doesn’t want to be there and then complains or drags their feet the whole time?

Wouldn’t you prefer that person stay home so all of the rest of you can enjoy the fireworks or the parade or the day at the park?

Start saying no when you’re anything other than an enthusiastic yes. A fuck yes, in fact.

And guess what?

You can be an enthusiastic yes about stuff that sucks. You can say, “Hell yes, I want us to talk about that last fight because as uncomfortable and awkward as it will be, I know we can work through this.”

Don’t second guess your yes, either. If you want to put on lingerie and dance around the house, do it. If you want a threesome, ask for it. If you want to re-enact a scene from that movie Secretary, make it happen.

No one ever owes you sex or physical affection, but that shouldn’t stop you from asking for it and getting creative in ways to meet your own needs in a way that respects everyone involved.

Your yes and your no are literally what define you.

When you don’t honor your boundaries – in life and in the bedroom – it leads to confusion, mixed messages, hurt feelings, resentment, and you compromise the potential for your own pleasure and joy.

What have you not been saying yes to out of fear? What you have not been saying no to because you’re worried of hurting someone’s feelings?

Pick one thing this week where you can say “no” without explaining yourself and “yes” to something that feels juicy.

The amazing thing is even if it’s a dinner date or an appointment with your business, each time you honor your voice, you strengthen your sexual self, too.

The stronger your boundaries are, the more space you have to play. So, get clear on what you do and don’t want and then ask for those things.

Pleasure and joy are your birthright, but only if you’re willing to totally own your own experience.

[callout title=”Work with me” link=”http://www.dawnserra.com/work-with-me/” class=”hb-aligncenter”]Wondering how to find your voice and use it in bed? That’s what I do. [/callout]

7 Is one kind of orgasm better than another?

Some self-proclaimed experts claim certain types of sex or orgasms are better or more evolved than others. Sex Coach Dawn Serra calls BS on that, and sets the record straight on orgasms.

The number of crappy sex myths that exist in our culture is literally endless. (I know, because I’ve been compiling a list for a course I’m building based on those myths and it’s already a few pages long at this point.)

The tight vagina/loose vagina myth.

The virgin/slut myth.

The simultaneous orgasm myth.

The bigger is better myth.

The you don’t need lube if you’re truly aroused myth.

The list goes on.

Frankly, these myths are incredibly damaging to all of us.

Not only do most of us have no idea that we can literally define sex for ourselves and it may not look anything like what we’ve been told, but many of us have internalized these myths to the point that they feel like facts – facts that we don’t live up to. Which in turn leads to anxiety, stress, damaged self-esteem, and disappointing sex.

Within the sex positive community, there is a deep commitment by sex educators, sex bloggers, sex therapists, sex coaches, and other sex professionals to provide the most accurate information we have access to while also inviting people to explore their own sexual truths.

The only universal fact when it comes to sex is that no one rule applies to everyone. We are all outliers in some way.

Why? Because our sexual experiences are based on our unique body landscape, the context of our lives, our past experiences, our community upbringing, our religious beliefs, and many other factors.

The way a specific clitoral stroke feels to me may yield totally different feelings in you. And that is OK. The way that stroke felt to you today at 2pm may feel really different to you tomorrow at 9am – different time, different context, different energy, even different levels of hydration and diet…

But there are some sex “experts” that have come on the scene and do something super dangerous. They preach their personal experiences as universal fact.

They also tend to make completely unfounded claims like how to make a cock bigger or that all women want men who “claim” them or that you don’t need birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancy or that condoms make sex less sacred so you shouldn’t use them.

Yesterday, I saw someone post a link to an older blog post written by one of these self-proclaimed sex gurus in a Facebook group I’m in. The article claimed that clitoral orgasms were distractions to the REAL orgasm, the REAL feminine experience – which is the vaginal orgasm.

I’m calling bullshit (as well as about a dozen other sex educators that I ran it past).

And I made a ranty video all about orgasms.

I’d like to add a disclaimer that I’ve said before but didn’t say outright in the video.

Orgasms are NOT the goal of sex.

Sex is not about goals. Sex is about pleasure. So, maximizing pleasure, doing what feels good in your body in that moment, is where the good stuff is. This might include an orgasm, and it may not. Sometimes sex feels super good, and no orgasm happens.

That doesn’t ruin sex or make it pointless.

But if you are orgasmic, the bottom line is no matter what anyone says, your orgasm – the one that feels best in your body – is the sacred kind of orgasm.

It can be a clitoral orgasm, a g-spot orgasm, an anal orgasm, a breath-gasm, an energy orgasm, a laughter-gasm, a tear-gasm – it doesn’t matter. It’s the release that feels most aligned and in integrity for you in that moment. That’s the magic.

And it is OK to strive for a certain type of orgasm – as long as you don’t internalize the lack of that kind of orgasm as some type of personal failure or physical problem.

 

If you have a vulva, some of the sacred sexuality gurus will talk about energetically opening to your partner and welcoming them into your sacred vaginal space. That’s cool. But it’s not the only way and you don’t have to put anything inside of you in order to be sacred or fully embodied in your sexuality.

You can energetically open to someone and NOT take them inside any of your orifices.

You can have an energetic orgasm with all your clothes on.

You can shed all of your masks and bare your soul to a partner in the most painfully vulnerable way without any sexual contact at all.

Just like you can penetrate yourself with whatever and whomever you’d like and it doesn’t diminish your value or your sacredness one bit.

And yes – there are some ancient traditions and decades-old sexual rituals that some people choose to follow. You can choose that for yourself, as well. But you can also create your own traditions. Barbara Carrellas has done this with her version of tantra and it’s spectacular, inclusive, and honors each person’s own body and journey.

So, worship your clit. Orgasm spectacularly from ass play. Have delicious sex and never cum at all.

As long as you’re honoring yourself and your body and the moment in a way that feels really good, then you can connect with whatever is sacred for you.

Boycott bad sex advice. Find your own truth and live it unapologetically. Because no one else in the world knows your body like you do.

/rant

[callout title=”Work with me” link=”http://www.dawnserra.com/work-with-me/” class=”hb-aligncenter”]Are you curious about finding your sexually empowered self? I can help. [/callout]

 

4 What does kinky mean and should I try it?

What does kinky mean and should you try it? Sex coach Dawn Serra explores kinky sex and all the ways it can enhance your sex life and your relationship.

My first real foray into kink was when I stumbled across the Sleeping Beauty series by Anne Rice. I must have been 19 or 20 years old.

My wildly inexperienced but ferociously sexually curious self had never encountered such explicit material before. This wasn’t my mother’s romance novels. This was masochism and group sex and living inside of BDSM 24/7 and pony play and anal play and all manner of public humiliation*.

I never would have had the words for what I was reading back then.

I don’t remember much about that first pass through the books other than feeling really turned on by some of the Dominance play, some of the group sex scenes, and even by some of the public displays of sexuality. But as things got more intense, as the ante was upped in the final book, I know I hit some kind of disgust because I never finished the story.

Kinky wasn’t a word I knew or understood back then. But it was clear that the sex acts in that story were unlike anything else in my world at the time, and that was intriguing. To know such things were even possible as fantasy blew my mind.

Fast forward to a few years ago when I re-read the series. Things that seemed totally foreign and horribly embarrassing to my younger self have now become things I’ve done, enjoyed, or witnessed as part of my sexual journey.

Now I can appreciate the delicious bite of rope, the thrill of being told what to do, the surprising normalcy of being naked in public, and much more.

But that’s my journey, and the beauty of sexual expression is your sexual journey doesn’t have to look anything like mine and it can still be deliciously, beautifully pleasurable and valid. There is no one way of doing sex, of living out fantasies, of keeping things fresh and new.

If that’s true…if there is no one way of doing sex, then what does it mean to be kinky?

Google defines kinky as “involving or given to unusual sexual behavior.”

But what is unusual to me and what is unusual to you are probably different.

For some people, missionary penis-in-vagina sex is highly unusual (in fact, this is a serious kink for some folks because it is so unusual to them). For others, it might be unusual to have their toes sucked on or to have sex in the backseat of a car at the beach or to sexualize needles.

Kink is simply activities that are edgy for you. This broad, fluid definition allows each of us to have our own personal experiences with sex and kink instead of labeling only certain activities as either kinky or vanilla.

Unfortunately, the term vanilla has taken on a somewhat negative or boring connotation. The truth is vanilla is delicious and, depending on what kinds of things you enjoy, vanilla may appear on your menu more or less often than some others.

Most people define vanilla sex as traditional, penis-in-vagina sex, often encompassing a handful of basic positions. But if we apply a similar lens to vanilla that we did to kinky, then instead we might say vanilla sex is the kind of sex that you usually have, that feels normal to you.

Your normal may vary greatly from someone else’s normal.

Kinky is a gigantic umbrella, the vastness of which most of us can’t comprehend.

Needle play. Age play. Impact play. Bodily fluid play. Role playing. Pain play. Sensory deprivation. Public play. Blood letting. Branding. Leather. Sacred sensuality. Humiliation. Worship. Denial. Literally, the list is endless.

That said, often when people are talking about kinky activities, there is a general assumption that you’re probably talking about things like bondage/restraints, Dominance and submission (or power exchange), impact and sensation play like flogging or spanking or temperature, public or group sex, and the community associated with such activities.

And speaking of community, it’s worth mentioning here that there are many communities within kink that have decades of history and protocol that some people consider a core part of their identity.

Many gay, lesbian, and queer folks have found acceptance and family within the leather community. Many people who realized monogamy wasn’t a good fit sought solace in the swinging and poly communities. Many individuals who have complex relationships with their bodies have discovered deep, emotional healing in masochism or other kinds of pain.

Kinky is a personal definition, and one that’s a lot more fluid than some older resources would have you believe. But I also want to take a moment to honor and pay respect to the safe havens that many kinky spaces have offered to marginalized folks over the years.

*steps off soap box*

OK. Back to your regularly scheduled post…so, if kinky sex is sex that is unusual or out of the ordinary, the question is should you try it?

My answer is wonderfully biased and that is a resounding yes.

If you get to define what kinky means to you and your partner(s), then kinky sex means playing with your edges, exploring new things, trying on new identities and fantasies. That kind of playfulness and curiosity will only set you up for a lifetime of interesting and engaging sex.

Of course, anytime you try something new, there are a few basic ground rules that will help set you up for success, even if the act itself is a miserable failure (and that is a perfect opportunity to come together, too).

First up, make sure you and the person you’re playing with both truly want to engage in the activity in question. Let’s say you want to try some rope bondage. It cannot be overstated how important it is for you to allow your partner to choose this for themselves, too. No coercion, no manipulating, just good ol’ fashioned discussions about wants, needs, boundaries, and feelings.

That’s not say you will always be comfortable with what you’re about to do.

Discomfort is natural for new risks, and in fact, you may be trying something that is intentionally awkward, scary, humiliating, painful, or shameful. That can be part of the fun. Being informed and choosing something doesn’t mean it’s comfortable. Play with that edge a little bit. You might be surprised what you find.

Second, safe words are important for a number of reasons, especially if you’re engaging in something potentially dangerous (danger can be physical, emotional, or psychological – you may not be in physical danger during a Dominance/submission scene, but you may be in psychological danger if something triggers or upsets you). Safe words are typically very easy to remember, very easy to say, and decided well in advance of your scene.

Simplicity is important because often when you start doing things that lead to altered states of consciousness, your brain begins to turn off (this can be a yummy, delicious place to be). Remembering and articulating “arachnophobia” may be difficult. The person in the position of giving or topping also needs to be able to understand the word easily.

That’s why some folks like the red, yellow, green method which equates to stop, slow down, and I’m good. Others like plain language and simply saying “please stop” or “slow down”, but depending on the roles you’re playing, this can be confusing.

Finally, do your homework. Some kinky activities are learned skills that can take years to master such as suspension techniques with rope, needle play, or whipping. There are places in most major cities that offer 101 classes and demonstrations. You can find mentors, watch videos, and read books. Safety should always be your number one concern followed by a sense of playfulness and curiosity.

Sometimes people get hurt. This is true of any kind of sexual activity, even the “traditional” kind (I know I’ve knocked my head or stubbed a toe during vigorous sex).

If you’re playing with someone you trust, give them the benefit of the doubt that they didn’t intend harm, but also be clear about asking for what you need to feel safe – that can be stopping a scene, asking for cuddles, or any number of other things.

Kinky sex doesn’t have to be extreme, it won’t ruin “normal” sex, and it doesn’t lead down a rabbit hole of sin and transgression.

Often people jump to the most extreme case when they hear someone say they want to try something kinky. But bondage can be a blindfold and a silk scarf lightly wrapped around your wrists. Sensation play can be an ice cube trailing down the skin of your lover or a feather tickling the inside of their elbow.

And yes, you may have a riding crop which can be a stingy, incredibly painful tool. But who is to say you can’t use the the tip of the riding crop to gently spell out words of love and devotion across your partner’s back? Who is to say that scary knife some people may use to cut flesh can’t simply be used for the coolness of the blade or for an implied threat that never actually touches skin?

Kinky activities can be as innocent and sweet or as dark and intense as YOU decide them to be.

In fact, many people experience kinky sex as sacred, transcendent, and healing. It can be a place to shed the day-to-day and experience your body in a way that is primal, connected, and totally present.

I know that when I receive a flogging, it’s like a sensual massage – every inch of my body is tingly and alive, I’m breathing and connecting with my top, the sensation is flowing through me, and I become utterly relaxed. As someone who is chronically stressed and anxious and in control, surrendering and receiving so deeply is freeing in a way I don’t have words for.

Kinky sex offers many, many tools for your sexual toolbox. And the point of having a diverse, well-stocked toolbox isn’t to use all of the tools all of the time at maximum strength, or to use one tool over and over again to the point of complete boredom, but so that you have many options for the myriad of situations you may find yourself in throughout your lifetime.

The tools you use on a day when you’re stressed and tense will likely be different than the tools you use on a day when you feel languid and sleepy.

Yes, some people organize their entire lives around their kink. Still others dabble in their version of kink once in a blue moon.

Like all things sex and relationships, kink is but a spectrum and you get to decide how and when and to what degree you’d like to use it.

What is something kinky you’ve been curious about trying? What would you like to know more about?

Comment below and I’ll create some blog posts or videos just for you.

——-

Edited to add this link. This does go to playboy.com, but the video is not racy or sexual and it is REALLY terrific advice about doing kinky stuff safely.

[callout title=”Work with me” link=”http://www.dawnserra.com/work-with-me/” class=”hb-aligncenter”]Want to explore what kinky means to you? Need help talking to a partner about your desires? [/callout]

*For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, the Sleeping Beauty series are erotic BDSM novels that includes sexual servitude, Dominance, submission, group sex, pony play, public humiliation, forced sex, punishment, and much more.