July Musings: Being a great lover takes practice. How have you challenged yourself to level up?

July Musings: A daily blog series on sex, relationships, marriage, desire, passion, dating, self-love, confidence, rejection, communication, and more. Day 2: How can I be a better lover? How can you be better at sex? Practice and curiosity.

Every day I talk to people who are unhappy or struggling with their sex lives. From lack of desire to a complete communication breakdown to secret fantasies or trauma to feeling stuck and uninspired, I see a lot of frustration and confusion when it comes to sex.

Truthfully, sex is one of the least understood, most desired interactions in the world. The chasm between what we see on TV and in the movies, what we learn in school (if anything), and what the lived experience of sex and pleasure actually are could not be wider.

Most of us stumble along, figuring things out on our own, using friends, Cosmo, and porn to guide us. Which also means it’s really common to feel abnormal, awkward, and lost – none of us have clear maps to guide us or the tools to find our way on our own.

The good news is a skilled lover is not simply born with all the gifts of Casanova.

Being sexually adept takes practice. It also takes self-awareness, communication, curiosity, creativity, and most of all, the resilience to be wrong often.

I’ve had some bad sex in my life. (Bad sex is different from traumatic sex.)

I have been the person who checked out during sex because I wasn’t really invested. I’ve been the person who avoided sex at all costs because it always led to a fight with a partner, or to tolerating sex I didn’t really want to just get past it.

I’ve even been the person who freaks out when their partner shares a desire because I had no idea how to do The Thing and completely shut them down as a result of my own shame and ego.

To this day, I still struggle with articulating my needs and desires at times.

But it’s a process. It takes practice. And I know that. Most people don’t.

Once the newness wears off in a relationship, folks often find they’ve become bored – never taking new information in about the person they’re with, assuming they have a magic technique that always works, going through the motions or expecting sex because that’s what you do.

Sex can be many different things to many different people, and even different things to the same person on different days in different moments. Sex won’t always be immersive or mind-blowing, but it can be a powerful source of connection, pleasure, and enjoyment when you do have it.

In my own journey, both personally and professionally, I’ve discovered what it means to be a skilled sexual partner. It’s endlessly simple, but not always easy.

A skilled lover understands that context matters, that the kind of day you had and the way you’re feeling in that moment can profoundly impact the way you experience touch and pleasure. So, they practice curiosity.

A skilled lover is attuned to each gasp, each sigh, each muscle spasm, and takes all of the information in, constantly adjusting and reading their partner as the moment unfolds. They nurture and cultivate mindfulness, staying present and in the moment.

A skilled lover is not concerned with ego or goals, but instead, remains open to the endless mystery that is their partner. They know that no two moments are ever the same and allow themselves to be surprised by just how much they don’t know – and delight in that. They communicate openly and frequently, asking questions instead of assuming answers.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that sex takes practice.

Practice means failing, messing up, being awkward, and trying again. It means no end point. No moment of final achievement. Mastering sex is mastering comfort with the unknown.

If you want to be a great lover, practice curiosity and curiously practice.

Click to tweet that statement!

Ask questions. Check-in. Read erotica. Turn a critical eye towards everything in the media. Seek out information that feeds your creativity.

Know that your pleasure is entirely your responsibility, so a skilled lover also knows how to ask for what they need and want – specifically and unapologetically.

Awkward is OK. Failure is OK. Having no fucking clue what you’re doing is OK. As long as you remain open to what comes next and stay curious. You’re learning. We all are.

The moment you lose your curiosity and wonder is the moment your sexual experience starts to become stagnant and disconnected.

So, marvel at your body and the pleasure it’s capable of both giving and receiving. Get profoundly interested in your partner’s reactions and requests. Introduce newness – from new questions to new locations to new techniques to new fantasies – whenever you feel yourself slipping into a routine.

Let yourself be imperfect in bed and invite the same in your lover(s).

Sex is not about obligation or expectation. Sex is about exploration and discovery. Check your attitude often.

My question to you today is what are you curious to learn? In what ways could you be inspired by your experiences or partner(s)? What is one small thing you can practice today that will set yourself and a lover on fire?

July Musings: What are you prioritizing in love?

31 Posts of July: A daily blog series on sex, relationships, marriage, desire, passion, dating, self-love, confidence, rejection, communication, and more. Day 1: Is your partner your priority?

The pure and simple truth is the things you focus on are the things that grow and flourish. It’s not magic, though it seems to be something almost all of us forget once our lives settle into a routine.

Relationships are not complicated. They just take practice.

Despite what so many people believe thanks to all of the “happily ever after” stories we’ve been fed, there is not an end point to practicing being in relationship.

You don’t get to coast after doing a certain amount of work or doing a handful of helpful things. Though, as you strengthen your skills, it does become a heck of a lot easier and less awkward.

Think of a relationship like a garden.

As long as you are tending to them with a tiny bit of daily maintenance, they can be gorgeous, breathtaking, and thriving. A place of comfort and peace, something that blooms and buzzes with life, even offering nourishment and sustenance.

Ignore a garden for a few days, and you’ll have some weeds to pull and a little tidying up to do.

Let your garden go unattended for weeks, months, or even years, and you’ll have a whole lot of VERY hard work to put in for a fair amount of time before you’re back to healthy, manageable soil and plants. (I implore you, dear reader, do not wait until you’re in crisis mode and then expect to transform your relationship in a matter of days at the do-or-die stage).

So, what are your priorities?

Take a good look at where you’re putting your limited time and energy each day.

How are you fostering connection? How are you inviting vulnerability and laughter? What small gestures are you taking EVERY SINGLE DAY to check in, to share, to connect, to admire the wonder that is this person in your life, to let them know what they mean to you?

It’s not about whisking your sweetheart off to Paris once a year. Research has shown that small, daily gestures are endlessly more impactful than rare, grand gestures.

Folks in thriving relationships know how critical it is to take 30 seconds or a few minutes several times per day to reach across the divide and strengthen that bridge.

A long hug.

A sweet text with an inside joke.

A compliment that’s well-timed and sincere.

A question about their day and then actually listening with curiosity.

A ritual before bed.

These are not time consuming, but they are love-nurturing. If you’re too busy for these, you need to take a serious look at why you’re even in relationship in the first place.

And no – deciding on dinner, negotiating who will go to the grocery store, or rushing through a quick phone call about your hectic day doesn’t count.

Prioritize what and who is important to you. I guarantee it isn’t your phone.

Click to tweet that statement!

Because my guess is that the person sitting next to you is a heck of a lot more valuable to you than seeing if you got any comments on Facebook, and yet how many of us have our phones out when we’re sharing a meal or settling in for bed?

Here is my invitation to you.

Get crystal clear on how you’re prioritizing your connection with a partner by finding ways to really share yourself at least once per day.

Ask yourself what you want to be cultivating in your life. If it’s love and joy and playfulness and feeling seen, then take a look at how you’re showing up for the people who love you.

In the end, will it be the number of social media shares or the points scored in the football game that matters or seeing the eyes of your lover crinkle with joy when you ask about their day because you genuinely want to know?

1 On loving two people at once (inspired by Ben Higgins on The Bachelor)

Inspired by Ben Higgins of The Bachelor, this week on the blog I examine what it means to love two people at once - brain versus heart, logic versus fear.

My brain and my heart are embroiled in a fierce disagreement, and over The Bachelor no less.

Thankfully, I’ve learned that I can hold two contradictory truths inside of me, two realities, and as uncomfortable as it may be and as confusing as it may feel, it’s more honest than trying to force an outcome.

In fact, we do it all of the time, don’t we? Contradicting ourselves, espousing a truth with deep passion, only to claim a different stance as soon as the circumstances change.

For instance, I can be the most confident person in the room one day and then feel unlovable and unworthy the next. It is not a character flaw or something to be fixed. It is simply a truth that I am learning how to navigate – it does not make the confident days any less confident, nor does it make the unlovable days any easier.

We are walking contradictions, especially when it comes to love.

You see, The Bachelor – Ben Higgins – is in love with two women and it all will come to a head tonight (March 14th) on the season finale.

I’ve seen countless tweets weighing in on the drama, many of them angrily insisting you can’t possibly love two people at once, that it’s not REAL love if you love more than one person, that true love is a one-time-only deal (until, of course, that relationship ends and then there’s another true love waiting around the corner).

Ben Higgins has even said he wishes there was a book that told him how to love two women at once (there is – Tristan Taormino’s “Opening Up” is a great place to start).

And I am angry…

I am angry that Ben is being forced to choose between the two women he loves. I’m pissed that the world is insisting he can only be with one woman.

Because I know that it’s possible to love two people (or more) at once, and to do so successfully. It might be a tad unconventional for mainstream television, but it’s not all that uncommon.

More and more people are exploring open relationships, non-monogamy, polyamory, relationship anarchy, and all sorts of relationship configurations that upend the Disney (and biblical) fairy tales of one true love.

After all, we know that 50% of first marriages, and 75% of second and third marriages, end in divorce. We know that serial monogamy is considered normal…that it’s not about being in love with one person for life but being in love with one person at a time.

Logically, it just doesn’t add up. (And the truth is that all of these sad statistics are less about monogamy, and more about communication, expectations, and sexual awareness…but that’s not what this rant is about.)

We love multiple family members easily and effortlessly, multiple friends for all their differences and the various ways they support us, and if we’re parents, we can love multiple children, unique as they may be.

Love isn’t limited in quantity, but it is bound by things like time and energy.

So, I wonder, why can’t Ben Higgins, or any of us, for that matter, love more than one person in a romantic way at the same time? Where is that against the rules?

If each woman (JoJo & Lauren) feels loved, valued, respected, seen, and nurtured, is it all that different for Ben to romantically love two of them than to…love one woman romantically and also love a good friend or a sibling that he enjoys spending time with, too?

My head understands all of this and fiercely defends his experience of loving two women at once.

It doesn’t make sense that he has to choose one over the other…because if the one he chooses doesn’t work out, what happens next? He labels the relationship a “failure” and then finds someone else to love?

What if loving both of those women at the same time is what creates the kind of support and connection that means all three of them are endlessly happy for many decades?

Love isn’t the fairy tale we’ve been led to believe.

Love, once the rush of new relationship energy fades, is more about hard work, turning towards each other through the mundane and the pain, and TRYING a lot. Trying every day.

Love isn’t terribly glamorous when you get beyond that drunk stage.

In fact, I could go on for days about the ridiculousness of how we’ve been trained/tricked into valuing romantic and sexual love above other kinds of love, but that’s a different post for a different day.

My brain gets it.

I know many people who are polyamorous or non-monogamous or in some form of open relationship and they are happy. They thrive. It makes sense – not having to choose just one, but instead getting to live in a way that honors the different people who come in and out of your life, the different types of relationships that might form.

But, my heart sings a different song.

My heart worries that if I speak these things out loud, they may come true for me. Because, as much as my head may know one thing, my heart isn’t quite sure what it believes just yet.

I know that I crave depth, intimacy, connection that grows deeper and stronger as time passes, finding novelty within the safe container I’ve built with someone who I finally let all the way in. I know that I want to know that when shit gets tough, people aren’t going to give up or turn away because it’s easier and less painful or because there’s someone new on the horizon.

My heart, in the end, really just wants to know I am special.

And so I get it. I understand why people are reacting so strongly to Ben’s confession that he is in love with both of these amazing women. He is turning the fantasy that so many of us cling to on its head.

It all comes down to fear and worthiness.

That little demon inside which whispers, “If the person I love can be in love with two people at once, then why would they ever choose me?”

If Ben can love JoJo and Lauren, have the stories we’ve been telling ourselves been wrong all along?

The uncertainty is terrifying. And then there are the personal fears that start to bubble up as we question the ways we define love and what makes us lovable.

We may not know how to name it, but that discomfort is a mask held up by our fear.

The fear of not being enough, or of being too much. A fear of how worthy we are that someone would ever choose us if they have other choices available to them.

Fear and unworthiness can make us do and say wild things. It can force us to the edges, to either-or, black or white, yes or no, instead of recognizing the power of remaining fluid and uncertain and curious.

For many of us, we wonder…if we can’t make one relationship work, what makes us think we can successfully manage two or three or more?

Despite all of the fear, though, on a personal level, my heart does break for Ben, JoJo, and Lauren, knowing that these are real people, with real feelings, and because Ben will be forced to choose one, someone will be devastated on tonight’s finale.

I can imagine the collective sigh of relief that millions of people will share when Ben makes his choice and brings his story back into alignment with the fantasy so many of us are desperately clinging to.

All of us wrapping ourselves, once again, in a blanket of false certainty that offers us a sense of relief in an uncertain world, even if it’s a lie.

Because even though there are no guarantees in life or in love, we like to tell ourselves that there are.

I’d love to know…what do you think? Why are people so angry at Ben Higgins for loving two women at once? What might happen if he decided to choose them both, and if they, in turn, chose him, too?


 

*Note: I am a fierce believer in successful monogamy, but only when the two people in the relationship are consciously choosing it for themselves, and not as a social default. I also believe open relationships, non-monogamy, solo polyamory, polyamory, and all of the other relationship styles can work, too. But again, only when everyone involved is choosing it and living in integrity with their needs and desires. I also believe that you can move in and out of monogamy, polyamory, and various relationship styles as your needs and circumstances change – it’s not a one-and-done, no going back thing, either.

 

Can you find a way to forgive yourself?

Can you find a way to forgive yourself for all the ways you've beat yourself up, for all the ways you've abandoned yourself?

Forgiveness has been on my mind a lot lately.

Certainly, forgiveness is something we have to revisit again and again with the people in our lives – for the ways they let us down, for the times they hurt us, for the little ways their words or inaction cut into our hearts and souls.

But, more importantly, I’ve been thinking about how to cultivate forgiveness for myself.

It’s something I struggle with constantly.

How can I forgive myself for the ways I’ve hurt someone I love or fallen short? For the times I’ve broken my own heart? For the failures and broken promises?

I’ve beaten myself up so many times for so many years, how do I begin to forgive that? But even more than that, I’ve silenced my own truth, put someone else’s needs before my own, and abandoned myself over and over again.

It’s a deep wound that I keep reopening each time I tell myself my feelings aren’t valid or worthy of attention. It’s difficult to forgive when everything feels so raw and tender, isn’t it?

Sometimes I don’t even realize I’ve hurt myself until long after the damage has been done – because it’s easier to focus on the people I love and what they need. It’s simpler sometimes to ignore the stuff that’s scary or uncomfortable like taking up space, putting my foot down, or using my voice.

But then, when I feel resentment or heartbreak, it’s so natural to turn on myself.

So, why is forgiveness so important?

Forgiveness is a cornerstone of trust. If I can’t forgive myself, how can I find a way to believe my own wisdom and trust my voice?

Brene Brown has a new course on trust over at CourageWorks.com. In it, she breaks trust down into seven smaller components like respecting boundaries, repeatedly showing up, integrity, non-judgment, and assuming generous intentions.

As I watched the videos, it struck me that forgiveness, trust, and empathy are ultimately about connection.

When we forgive…

…we can turn towards ourselves and towards the people we love.

…we can build bridges. We can connect across even the deepest chasms.

…we can find the grace to treat ourselves and our loved ones with kindness even after being wounded.

Forgiveness does not undo what has been done, but it does mean letting go to make space for something new.

What are you clinging to that you can begin to let go of?

Where are you holding on to something that just keeps hurting you over and over again, and if you invited some forgiveness you might find a little more ease and movement?

A better question may be, do you trust yourself? Do you trust your decisions, your ability to set boundaries, your inner worthiness?

If the answer is no, or not entirely, find the spots where you feel like you keep letting yourself down. That’s where forgiveness may be a beautiful way to heal and move forward.

But don’t be fooled by how simple it may seem to forgive someone, especially yourself.

Forgiveness is not a one-time magic pill. You don’t waive your forgiveness wand and suddenly find everything is behind you.

In my experience, forgiveness takes practice. It is an on-going choice, and sometimes you fumble it and lose that spaciousness. But it is always there, waiting for you to pick it back up and gently nurture.

Sometimes it hurts to move into forgiveness because it means examining and admitting the wounds you carry.

When I think of all the ways I’ve held back or silenced myself, it can feel devastating. All those times I decided someone else’s happiness was more valuable than my own…toes hanging over the ledge of that deep, dark abyss that is all of the ways I didn’t listen to my own heart.

But I can only start building the bridge of that forgiveness by understanding where I am and where I’d like to go.

Forgiveness takes practice. Trust takes time. And you can only find your way to love and joy by doing the work and showing up, over and over again, even on the tough days.

Forgiveness isn’t linear. Neither are healing, love, or growth. There is beauty in the chaos that is our stumbles, fumbles, and falls.

As we move towards a new year, I invite you to find ways to begin forgiving yourself.

When you forgive yourself, you can begin to trust yourself. By trusting yourself, you can start to set boundaries, ask for what you need, grow into deeper love with yourself and the people around you, and then that’s when the really juicy stuff starts to unfold.

No matter how many times you’ve been vulnerable and courageous, no matter how many ways you’ve failed, you must find a way to forgive.

Stop clinging to old beliefs and wounds that weigh you down and keep you trapped in the dark. Open to the possibility that at any given moment you are doing the very damn best that you can with what was available to you in that moment, and that makes you pretty damn amazing.

Open to the truth that you deserve to forgive yourself, and let yourself see all of the space that creates in your thoughts and feelings.

Breathe into your healing. You deserve this.

And so do I. Even if it’s hard to believe sometimes.

———

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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=”https://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=”https://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=”https://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.

 

Addyi: Is it safe and should I consider taking it?

The new pink Viagra, known as Addyi or flibanserin, was recently released. Is it safe? Should you take it? Why is it not at all what the pharmaceutical companies are claiming? Learn more about this dangerous drug and what you can do instead if your libido is suffering.

I’ve always been the fat kid. Rather, I’ve always seen myself that way.

Looking at pictures of myself in elementary and middle school, I was taller, thicker, and stronger than most of the girls my age, but in a very athletic way. Still, I’ve spent my entire life feeling like I was fat, which until fairly recently equated to feeling unwanted, undesirable, unlovable, and a host of other inferior things.

When I was in high school and college (and even now, on bad days), I would comfort myself with this fantasy of a mystical being granting me “the perfect body”.

This fantasy was beautifully alluring because instead of learning to appreciate what I had, instead of loving myself in the moment, I could pretend it all away by taking a magic pill that turned my body into that of Sofia Vergara or Jennifer Lawrence.

Of course, the assumption being if I had a body like theirs all of my problems would be solved.

*poof*

The truth is that while these fantasies allowed me to escape the pain I was experiencing in that moment, they caused me so much more harm in the long run.

I spent countless hours wishing for magic instead of using all of that time to embrace myself, to find ways to love myself, to nurture myself, to appreciate my body, or to simply be present in my life and find a way to navigate my truth.

Everything around me, even “inspiring” magazines like O Magazine, shouted at me to lose weight, to shed 10 pounds, to find clothes that “flattered” my shape, that cast the fat girl as the sidekick (because who could actually want someone fat?).

By trapping myself in an unrealistic dream, largely defined by forces outside of myself, I was feeding my shame and self-loathing.

Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out how to undo some of that damage. But now I’m much better at looking inside of myself for the answers, even if they contradict all of the messages around me.

So, what does wishing for a magical cure to be skinny have to do with Addyi, the new female arousal drug that’s been called the pink Viagra?

A lot more than you would think.

The fact is that most women in committed, long-term relationships are under the impression that they should be wanting more sex without understanding exactly how desire works. Our world is conditioning us to feel like we are broken when it comes to our desire for sex.

In fact, even though Addyi has only been on the market a few days, one woman has already told me her doctor is pushing her to try it, and that breaks my heart.

Addyi is being touted as the magic pill that “fixes” arousal, when the truth of the matter is the pill doesn’t do what it claims AND 99.9% of the time nothing is actually broken.

There is a lot to say about Addyi and women’s desire. Enough to fill a book (which is exactly what Emily Nagoski did with her AMAZING book “Come As You Are”), so this is just the tip of the iceberg.

What is Addyi? How does it work? Are there any dangers that come with taking it? (Yes!) And, if you’re considering Addyi, what can you do instead? Let’s take a look.

Addyi: the not-so-good, the bad, and the ugly

When you think about Viagra, you probably get a pretty vivid picture of a guy taking a pill and suddenly finding himself rock hard. Of course, the assumption is that a hard penis equals wanting to have sex (but we know that isn’t the case at all – just because your body is doing one thing, doesn’t mean your mind is on board).

Basically, Viagra forces a physical response of rushing blood to the erectile tissue and creating an erect cock.

Addyi does not do this. It does not force blood to erectile tissue, it does not cause your vulva to swell with blood or your vagina to lubricate itself with more gusto.

According to Georgetown University Medical Center, Addyi – original name of flibanserin – “failed efficacy trials as an antidepressant and was rejected twice for its current indication before being approved.”

Instead of targeting your genitals, Addyi affects your brain’s chemicals: serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Why? Because Addyi is a rebranded antidepressant.

Let’s take a look at a few things that we all need to be aware of:

  • Unlike Viagra, which you take only when you want a hard penis, Addyi must be taken every single day.
  • People in the studies experienced higher rates of fatigue, sedation, unconsciousness, hypotension, and it interacts poorly with many medications, including oral contraceptives.
  • If you take Addyi, you cannot consume alcohol. Since Addyi is a daily pill, that means no alcohol consumption until you decide to go off of Addyi.
  • Your physician is responsible for prescribing Addyi, however, only a sex therapist/professional would know whether Addyi is appropriate for a patient. Physicians do not receive sex education training in medical school (it’s an elective even for gynecologists, which means many gyn’s can opt out of sex education in med school).
  • Speaking of physicians, doctors are receiving seven slides’ worth of training on Addyi. This means most doctors will be woefully under-informed about the risks, side effects, and limited benefits when they prescribe it.

 

Is all of this a problem if it really does help women to experience improved desire for sex?

Sadly, based on the trials, Addyi doesn’t appear to have much of an impact on patients.

Before we dive into that, let’s consider one thing.

“Hypoactive sexual desire disorder was recently dropped from the latest edition of the DSM-5. Disorders of desire and arousal have now been combined in the term ‘female sexual interest/arousal disorder’ (FSI/AD), which takes into account the fact that for many women, desire follows rather than precedes arousal.”

That quote comes from a fact sheet put together by Georgetown University Medical Center. You can see it here.

What that means is the American Psychiatric Association now recognizes that women’s desire is much more nuanced and complex than was previously thought. Back in the old days, the baseline for human sexual desire was that of 18-22 year old males. That was considered “normal” for all of us, regardless of gender, age, race, health, etc.

As a result, women were often considered lacking when it came to sexual arousal and desire – simply because they weren’t experiencing it as spontaneously and as often as young men.

Now, most mental health professionals and sex professionals recognize that our desire is actually much more dependent on context.

And so they removed “hypoactive sexual desire disorder” from the manual. But Addyi’s instructions says it treats “hypoactive sexual desire disorder” – in other words, this medicine claims to treat something that doesn’t even exist anymore.

So, what were the actual results from the flibanserin (Addyi) trials?

Women reported 0.7 more satisfying sexual events per month than women on the placebo.

Less than one. In a month.

Some experts are attributing that small increase to something else, though. The participants were asked to journal about their sexual satisfaction and sexual experiences. By simply placing a higher emphasis on thinking about sex and prioritizing it, it’s no wonder participants experienced a small bump – where your attention goes, energy flows.

What does all of this mean to you?

Addyi may offer a slight improvement in sexual satisfaction for pre-menopausal women who have had a sudden, steep decrease in sexual enjoyment.

However, due to the potential side effects, the possible drug interactions, and the lack of long-term studies on this repurposed pill, most sex professionals are strongly discouraging use.

We do expect more doctors to begin pushing patients to use this drug, but as consumers, we need to be willing to push back.

Desire is a beautiful, complex, tender beast.

If you’re truly struggling with a lack of sexual enjoyment or sexual desire, find a sex positive sex coach, sex therapist, or sex educator to help you explore and navigate what that means.

Often I find that clients are under the impression that they’re broken or that they should want sex more, but when we dig under those beliefs, we find so many other truths.

As you begin redefining sex in a way that fits with your life and your desire, without all of that noise from the outside, you set yourself up for a lifetime of sexual awareness and empowerment.

Instead of wishing for a magic pill to fix you, if you give yourself permission to begin accepting what is, exploring the beauty within, and creating something meaningful for yourself, you’ll find so much more pleasure and desire in the long run.

My advice? Avoid Addyi entirely.

Instead, unpack your sexual experience with the help of a professional. Roll around in your fantasies. Say the scary stuff. Confront the parts of your life that aren’t lifting you up. Do the work that unleashes your sexual self.

[callout title=”Work with me” link=”https://www.dawnserra.com/work-with-me/” class=”hb-aligncenter”]If you’re considering Addyi or you’re ready to explore your own desire, I’m here to help. [/callout]

1 Healthy relationships & sex: One skill to rule them all

Sex coach Dawn Serra talks about the one skill that can help create healthy relationships, great sex, and even a better life for yourself. What is it? Find out in this week's blog post.

People like to dismiss the thing that is simple in favor of the thing that is more complex and validating.

Why?

Sometimes we just aren’t ready to change, and if the answer is simple, we’ll look for any way to avoid actually solving the problem because change is scary.

Sometimes knowing that the thing we’ve been struggling with for weeks, months, or even years had a simple solution makes us feel foolish or ordinary. And we like feeling like our pain is unique and important.

Of course, simple does not mean easy, and sometimes that frustration can make us want to find another way.

Most of our relationship and sex problems stem from three things: assumptions, beliefs, and expectations.

The single most powerful skill that I’ve found that invites a healthy relationship and a sexy connection is curiosity.

Curiosity fosters openness and allows us to let go of those unhealthy behaviors that can keep us stuck. This is true of friendships, love, sex, business, family, and even your own inner thoughts.

We are a world built on labels, rules, and expectations.

While rituals and frameworks do lend a certain efficiency and stability to our lives, too often we cling desperately to the “supposed to” and the “should” or we remain rigid in the face of new information, unwilling to change a belief because it’s too uncomfortable or scary.

After all, being right gives us a sense that we have some control in this world.

If you can’t be right, what can you hold on to?

Let’s take a closer look at how curiosity can strengthen and heal your relationship with yourself, with a partner, and with sex.

The path to inner peace and self-awareness is paved with curiosity.

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein

I am famous for beating myself up. The perfectionist in me is loud and bossy. The mean girl inside loves telling me all the ways I’m not good enough, especially if I make a mistake with someone I love.

For years, I lived a life that wasn’t what I wanted because I believed I didn’t deserve more – who could love me in this fat body with all these flaws? I settled, over and over again.

Our internal dialog creates the life we live. Our thoughts and feelings birth the experience we have. That’s why when we’re caught in anxiety or worry or a shame spiral, things can feel so utterly bleak.

One of the most powerful tools I’ve learned is that of mindful curiosity.

When I react to something, instead of beating myself up for my reaction, if I invite honest, open curiosity about my response, I’ll usually find a powerful truth hidden under the feelings.

This kind self-inquiry means you can tap into your real needs and emotions a lot faster than if you force, criticize, and insult yourself.

It’s also really powerful to use this kind of open, honesty curiosity when you want to release old thought patterns or change a habit.

Imagine you come home after a long day to a filthy house and your partner is sitting on the couch watching TV. You completely clam up and stomp around the house silently fuming. Each thing that isn’t done makes you more angry.

How would this moment be transformed if you caught yourself, took a deep breath, and then got curious.

Why am I so angry?

Because you-know-who couldn’t be bothered to help around the damn house.

Why does this bother me so much?

Because I’m exhausted. I had a long day and I just cannot relax if the house looks like this. It’s gross.

What can I do to let go of this anger so that I can try to relax a little tonight?

I could talk to my partner and ask for help instead of punishing myself and being passive aggressive.

What can I do to make myself feel better right now?

Take a deep breath and pause for a moment.

Real curiosity isn’t manipulative, assumptive, or dishonest.

It takes honesty, vulnerability, and openness to be curious which is why it’s such a magnificent tool. If you aren’t tied to an outcome, you invite flexibility and space for a real experience to happen.

Wouldn’t a little more space in your thoughts feel luxurious?

When you’re curious about your partner, you create an invitation for connection rather than building a wall of assumption.

“Curiosity begets love. It weds us to the world. It’s part of our perverse, madcap love for this impossible planet we inhabit. People die when curiosity goes.” Graham Swift

Having a routine means things can run more smoothly when days get busy and you’re short on time. But sometimes routine means putting your partner into a box where you assume you know what they want, what they’re thinking, and what they’ll say in response to you.

When your partner no longer has any mystery, they become two-dimensional. There’s no spark, no sense of other, which is critical for desire.

And when your partner doesn’t behave in a way you expect or want, it can be so easy to get frustrated with them. Making demands of each other and assuming your partner will always stay the same is a recipe for disaster.

So, what if, instead, you both approached each other with curiosity?

Because we all want to feel seen, heard, and valued. When our partners start to take us for granted we start to feel invisible inside of our relationship, even lonely.

How might curiosity help us through a situation that would normally lead to an argument or hurt feelings?

Let’s imagine you buy a new outfit or get a new haircut or do something special around the house and your partner doesn’t even notice. What’s your first reaction? Frustration? Disappointment? Feeling like they just don’t see you or want you anymore? Maybe even anger, if you’ve told them how important this stuff is to you?

What if instead, you pause and get curious?

Wow. I was hoping they’d notice my new haircut. Why do I feel so disappointed?

Because I think I look really nice, and I thought they would, too.

What can I do to appreciate myself and enjoy this feeling of my fresh haircut anyway?

Maybe take some selfies and post them on Facebook. I know my sister will love this look.

What can I ask my partner that would engage them in this moment?

Maybe we can play the appreciation game or let them know I got a haircut and I’d love to show it off for them.

When you get curious, you allow space for your partner to have their own set of experiences and you realize they can’t read your mind. Curiosity means approaching each other with mindfulness.

Instead of assuming your partner wants the same thing for dinner again or the same kind of sex or that their day was the same as yesterday, getting curious shows your partner that they matter, that you care about their feelings and experiences, and that you’re showing up for them.

Sometimes we have to show up a few times before our partners realize we mean it, especially if they’ve felt invisible or unheard for a long time.

Often when you model openness and vulnerability, it creates space where the people in our lives can slowly begin to do the same.

This same curious approach is great with children and family members, too. Instead of yelling at your kids for doing that thing you’ve told them not to do, if you get curious and engage them in a conversation, digging into the why and the how, you may discover something new.

And nothing feels better than having someone who really wants to show up and listen to you, right?

Curiosity does take time and it takes self-awareness. That’s why it’s so powerful.

When you and your partner both feel important and autonomous, like it’s safe to have your own experiences and feelings, that’s when you can thrive together rather than drift apart.

Sex is an adventure, and an adventure requires a curious spirit and a willingness to explore the unknown, otherwise you end up lost or never going anywhere.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity.” Dorothy Parker

Sex is often one of the first things that gets stale in a relationship. There are many reasons for this: we aren’t taught how to navigate sexual conversations, we are never told all of the amazing options available to us when it comes to sex, we can be too tied up in what’s normal or what we’re supposed to do instead of what would feel good, and prioritizing our pleasure can feel selfish when there are so many other things to be doing.

Even sadder than that, for many of us, we’ve never had truly spectacular sex, so it can feel like something we do out of obligation rather than for the sheer joy of it.

People are so scared of saying the wrong thing, or of being rejected by a partner, or we’re ashamed of what we don’t know or secretly want.

Add to that the societal roles that tell us women shouldn’t be too aggressive or slutty (or frigid, for that matter) and men should know how to please a woman and always get hard, and it’s a mine field with any number of bombs just waiting to go off.

Curiosity in bed can transform you from an awkward or stale lover into a spectacular lover overnight.

What happens if you ask to see how your partner likes to touch themselves and try to mirror it?

What if you try a new position or a new toy and then have an after action report where you laugh and share all the wonderful and disastrous ways it totally worked or totally didn’t?

What could change if you ask your partner if they’d be willing to try exploring you in a different way that you think might feel good?

When you hold genuine curiosity about your partner’s needs, wants, and desires and get curious about your own body and experiences, everything changes.

It’s not about getting anything right. It’s this big curious experiment where no matter the outcome, you tried something new and have new ways to talk about sex.

Curiosity allows your ego to take a back seat while your child-like wonderment can come out to play.

Sex from a place of play is so much more fun than sex from a place of dread, guilt, or shame.

So, what can you get curious about in the bedroom? How can you explore your own body and needs in a new way? How can you connect with your partner in a way you never have before? What is something new you could try that would invite a sense of play?

It’s time to let go of old ideas, patterns, assumptions, and expectations.

Adopt a mindset of curiosity in all things and experience the honesty, vulnerability, and openness that it invites into your life.

[callout title=”Work with me” link=”https://www.dawnserra.com/work-with-me/” class=”hb-aligncenter”]Do you need help tapping into your sexy self? Are you feeling stuck in the bedroom? I’m here to help. It’s what I do. [/callout]

 

8 Strap-on sex: It’s fun for everyone!

Despite popular assumption, strap-on harnesses and strap-on sex isn't just for lesbians or queer folks. Strap-ons can be a fun addition to any bedroom in any relationship dynamic with any kind of body. Find out how with sex coach Dawn Serra.

The first time I was with a lover who used a strap-on harness, they pulled out a tangle of leather straps, unzipped their goodie bag and showed me three different toys to choose from. Short and thin, long and thick, and something in the middle. I felt like Goldilocks, trying to find a porridge that was just right for me.

Thanks to brave and pioneering shows like The L Word, and more recently Orange is the New Black and Sense8, most people associate strap-on harnesses with lesbian and queer sex. I know I certainly did in my lesbian and trans relationships.

After all, what could a straight couple possibly want with a strap-on harness? It turns out, a lot!

But, that’s part of the fun when it comes to sex – there’s always something new to learn or try. Sex, like life, is a never-ending journey, full of as many adventures as you’d like it to be.

So, we’re going to talk about strap-on harnesses and why you may want to explore one in your own sex life, if you haven’t already.

Strap-on 101: What is a harness?

Harnesses are devices built to hold certain types of dildos or vibrators. They can be worn for sex, for fashion, for your gender expression, or for performance (like the sexy drag kings I used to worship).

There are harnesses you wear like underwear in a variety of styles from g-string thongs to corset-laced hip huggers, harnesses that look like boxer briefs, harnesses you strap around your thigh, and even harnesses you wear on your hand or your chin.

Harnesses come in so many styles, there’s something for everyone these days. Red satin, black studded leather, feminine, masculine, utilitarian. You name it, it’s been made for you.

Most people think of harnesses as being a series of leather straps that wrap around your legs and waist, but my favorite harnesses are made by SpareParts. Their harnesses are washable, soft, sturdy, very comfortable, and most come in sizes up to 3X or 4X, which is perfect for larger bodies.

Harnesses are amazing for folks with varying abilities and bodies, too.

Imagine the power in being able to please a lover using a hand harness if you don’t have mobility below the waist or a thigh harness if you have big belly.

But, if you’re able-bodied and heterosexual, why would strap-on sex ever be something you’d want to explore?

One of the most common questions I get as a sex educator is about pegging.

What is pegging, you ask?

Pegging is when a woman uses a strap-on to perform anal sex on a male partner.

Why would that be fun to try? Let us count the ways:

  • If your partner has a prostate, anal stimulation can lead to other-worldly orgasms. If you’re curious about just how epic, check out Cooper Beckett’s piece on his hour-long prostate orgasm. Wow! Imagine being the person to give that kind of orgasm to a partner.
  • For folks with a penis, sex tends to always happen outside of the body. It’s an external experience. Something magical can happen when sex becomes an activity that happens inside of you. You do NOT want to miss this Charlie Glickman piece on why the world would be a better place if more men took it up the ass.
  • For the strap-on wearer, you find yourself in a position of power. You get to try new muscles – literally and figuratively. You get to take that penetrating energy you probably usually receive and flip it on its head. Now you’re doing the penetrating. Now it’s your energy, your power being used to enter your partner. It’s a lovely way to flip the script on sex.

 

Pegging can be beautifully bonding. If you’re in a heterosexual relationship, pegging launches you into new territory where you get to practice your communication skills and take on different roles. It can be invigorating and enchanting.

But do expect it to be a little awkward the first few times. From finding a toy that’s a size you both like to learning how to thrust just so, learning a new skill can take practice. Be patient with each other, and use loads of lube. When in doubt, add more lube.

(Don’t worry about pegging being gross, either. As long as everyone showers ahead of time, and you slap a condom on the dildo, there’s not a whole lot you’ll need to worry about as far as clean-up goes. But we’ll cover more anal basics in another post.)

And no, anal sex and anal penetration is not about being gay in any way, unless you want it to be. Our anus is loaded with tons of nerve endings, so anal stimulation can feel absolutely incredible. Pleasure does not determine your sexual orientation.

Double penetration: table for two.

I don’t know about you, but most double penetration (DP) scenes that I’ve seen involves three people – the receiver and two penetrators.

But what if you’re not into threesomes? What if you don’t have an open relationship? Is there still a way?

Yes! Thanks to harnesses like the SpareParts Deuce or Sportsheets Menage a Trois, your partner can either use their penis in one hole and add a dildo to the second or put two dildos in the harness and go to town.

Some people may consider this varsity level play time, but it’s still fun to know it’s an option for you.

Breaking the taboo – men can wear a harness, too.

As a society, we place a tremendous amount of importance on whether someone’s penis can get hard and stay hard. It’s a sign of masculinity, of value, of power, and when your penis doesn’t perform the way you’d like it to, it can feel devastating, embarrassing, and like you have less worth in bed and as a person.

That stress, of course, makes getting hard even more difficult. Stress is the fastest libido killer in the world.

So, what if it wasn’t a big deal if a penis isn’t cooperating? What if it was a tiny piece of a much larger, much sexier puzzle?

The good news is it doesn’t have to be a show stopper when a penis goes soft – from hands and mouths to toys and shower heads, there are dozens of ways to please a partner without the use of a hard cock.

But, when you bring a strap-on harness into the mix, things get even more interesting.

Maybe you like experimenting with different sized insertables.

Maybe you like fantasizing you’re playing with lots of different people by having your partner swap out various toys.

Maybe your partner’s body just doesn’t feel like getting hard, but both of you want to have penetrative sex. Strap-on and go to town.

There are countless uses for a strap-on harness, even if you have a penis that gets erect. It’s not about being broken. It’s about being open to possibilities.

When you frame a harness as just another way to add pleasure to the mix, it becomes less about a person’s body and what it’s capable of and more about having permission to feel good and have fun.

One of the most amazing things about sex is that there is no right way to do it. It’s an endless sea of possibilities and discoveries.

As long as you and your partner(s) are focused on maximizing pleasure rather than following a script laid out by someone else, there is no shame in trying things even if they run counter to our cultural stories and expectations.

So, what are you waiting for? Strap-on and have fun!

PS – I do sell the SpareParts harnesses and accompanying toys. If you’d like to learn more, just shoot me a message and I’m happy to hop on a call to discuss the options, sizing, and how to introduce them into the bedroom.