Words by: Lauren French, MSexol (Curtin) Australian Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine
The scariest question to get during sex; ‘What do you like?’.
I was doing a talk at a university recently about consent, how sexy it could be, but also all the nuanced layers of consent in practice. Someone asked the question; “I’ve realised I consent to a lot of things with my partner I don’t really want to do, because I have no idea what I actually want”. If that sounds like you, you're not alone! So often I work with people who all have trouble finding answers for that question, who all have no idea what their own body is craving.
Now, I’m not just talking about kinks, preferences or types of partners we might like. I’m talking about in the moment being able to articulate how you want someone else to touch you, kiss you, and ultimately give you pleasure. Notice I said pleasure, not orgasm. (Small orgasm rant warning) Our partner’s job isn’t to ‘make us cum’, or give us an orgasm, but to create an environment in which if we wanted to, we could have an orgasm. So often we think the outcome of sex needs to be an orgasm, that sex without one is a huge fail. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it some more, sex is about pleasure and pleasure alone! (Orgasm rant over).
When we think of explaining to a partner what we like, we might realise we’ve never truly taken the time to explore yourself to find out that answer. Do you actually know what neck sensation you enjoy? What kind of pressure, or tempo works for you? Have you explored different ways of giving yourself pleasure, so you know what you don’t like just as much as what you do! If that question seems daunting, take this as a sign to invest in your own knowledge. The knowledge of your own body. Make a date with yourself, set aside the time to learn all the new things, and keep making those dates until that question sounds exciting, not scary.
Lauren French is a proud First Nations woman, a member of the Society of Australian Sexologists & a clinical Sexologist working with the Australian Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine. Lauren is also a sexuality educator with Body Safety Australia, a non for profit organisation specialising in childhood sexual abuse prevention.