Top 10 Reasons You Didn’t Make Me Come With Your Mouth

You didn’t even try. Come on, dude. I blew you for like 20 minutes, and you gave my clit little more than a cursory graze with your hand. I’m not even convinced you’re aware women can have orgasms, ’cause surely, if you knew that, you’d’ve made at least some minimal effort to give me one. Consent is, of course, vital, but you seemed content to touch all my other bits for your own pleasure – you just made no effort to pleasure me. I’m not a Fleshlight or a sex robot. For heaven’s sake. Who raised you?! Who taught you this was okay?!

You expressed zero enthusiasm about giving head. You asked whether I wanted your mouth on me, without indicating at all that it’s something you wanted, too. You approached my vulva with a tentative slowness that made me think you weren’t so keen on the taste, the smell, or pussy in general. (I know it’s not me; my hygiene is impeccable.) Or worse yet, you told me straight-up that it’s something you do rarely and begrudgingly. Once you meandered down there, you neglected to make any noise, grab my thighs or hips, or express any excitement whatsoever. I can’t help but feel like this is a favor you’re doing for me, rather than a mutual pleasure of which we’re partaking together. If that’s the case, why are we doing this at all?

You expressed zero enthusiasm about my body overall. You’ve never complimented my curves, my shape, my bits. You’ve never called me hot or pretty or sexy or beautiful. You’ve never verbally admitted to finding me attractive in any way. Maybe you do, but the verbal admission is important to me; “words of affirmation” is my love language. You might be faceplanted in my vulva with fervor but I’m still wondering if you even think I’m cute. I need clearer signals, bro, or my anxiety will kidnap my orgasm and hold it ransom for compliments.

You ignored my instructions. No, “That’s too intense” does not mean “Double down and go harder.” Yes, I really did mean it when I said “Softer and slower, please.” No, I was not lying when I explained how sensitive my clit is. Yes, “Keep doing that” really means I want you to keep doing that. No, “A little higher” does not mean “Stay exactly where you are.” Are my thighs muffling your ears, or do you just think you know my body better than I do? I assure you, you don’t.

You ignored my nonverbal signals. Hey, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but moaning during sex is usually a sign of pleasure. So is gasping, breathing faster, grabbing at your head/shoulders/arms/hands, grinding into your face, and spreading my legs wider to give you better access. Several times while going down on me, you found a perfect spot, rhythm, or pressure, and I reacted accordingly – but you missed the memo and moved on to something else. There is some value to the “channel-surfing” technique, but once you find a channel I like, I’d love if you could stay on that channel. (And please, for the love of god, if I say “Ow” and pull away, don’t fucking do that thing again.)

You didn’t stay down there for long enough. Sorry, pal – for me, cunnilingus is not a “get in, get ‘er done, and get out” type of activity. You gotta be there for the long haul. It might take ten minutes, twenty, thirty – but I can assure you it won’t happen at all if I feel like the timer’s on. I don’t necessarily need to take a long time; I just need to know that I can. I need to know you won’t be glancing at the clock, rolling your eyes, and sighing dully into my labia.

You have no sense of rhythm or consistency. Okay, I get it; tongue muscles are easily fatigued – but you can exercise them to make ’em stronger over time. Maybe you just have no rhythm; you can practice that, too. The difference between oral sex that feels good but doesn’t get me off and oral sex that feels good and gets me off is consistency. That’s the whole secret. Find a motion and location that seems to be working, and keep at it. Seriously. I’ll tell you if and when I want you to stop.

You attacked my clit too directly. Eight thousand nerve endings, buddy. The clit is surrounded by two sets of labia and a clitoral hood; there’s no reason for you to glom onto my exposed clit directly unless I’ve told you I like that, which I absolutely do not. Drift around the periphery. Lick my clit like you’re coyly flirting with it, not like you’re engaging it in combat. There’s no faster way to desensitize me than to overload my nerve endings with direct sensation; it’s often painful, always uncomfortable, and never results in an orgasm for me.

You didn’t stick your face right in there. I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but tongue-flicking from a distance, like they do in porn, is not an effective approach for me. Not only does it feel physically bad, but it makes you seem hesitant to have my clit in your mouth. What are you so scared of? Lower your lips down; close them around the shaft of my clit. Let me feel the warmth and wetness of you on me. Your tongue feels lovely but you have a whole mouth’s worth of other sensations you could give me alongside all that tongue. Besides, when I come in your mouth, I want to feel like I am indeed coming in your mouth.

You put too much pressure on me to get off. Orgasms are fantastic, but they’re by no means a foolproof measure of sexual enjoyment overall. And frankly, the more you tell me you’re definitely gonna make me come, the less certain I am that you’re right. Just tell me to relax and enjoy what you’re doing to me; orgasms do not often result from pressure. Unless we’re talking about the pressure of your lips and tongue on my clit.

5 Awkward But Effective Ways I’ve Initiated Sex

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Being a sex blogger, contrary to popular belief, isn’t all sensual sweet nothings and longing looks all the time. My approach to sex has never been what I would call “sexy.” I am, instead, a dorky goofball in the sack. And fortunately, that’s worked out pretty well for me.

I don’t know how “normal people” initiate sex. Maybe there’s no such thing as “normal people” when it comes to sexuality. There’s only what’s common, and what’s less common – and I’d wager that awkwardness in bed is far more common than most folks would admit.

Below are five actual things I’ve said in an attempt to get the sexy ball rolling. These are all lines that worked, i.e. happy and enthusiastic sex resulted soon thereafter. I share these not so much as prescriptive suggestions, but as a reminder that you can be silly and strange in bed and still be sexually successful (whatever that means to you). If you’re a weirdo and someone is excited to bang you, that excitement is partially because you’re a weirdo, I promise. Own that, use it, and don’t be ashamed of it!

“I kinda wanna cuddle you. Would that be weird?”

A lot of my sexual initiations begin with “I kinda wanna,” actually. It’s less anxiety-provoking for me than a cocksure proclamation of intent, but it still communicates desire. “Would that be weird?” is really just another way of asking “Would that be okay?” or “How would you feel about that?” – a.k.a. requesting consent.

I said this while lying in bed talking with someone who I found intensely attractive but whose feelings about me I wasn’t sure of. I wanted to do much more than cuddle him (and eventually we did), but I figured this request would be a gentle way to test the waters. He laughed and said, “No, that wouldn’t be weird!” and I breathed a sigh of relief as he pulled me in toward him, because I had a much better sense of where I stood.

“Hey, you should spank me, if you want to.”

“You should…” is definitely bolder than “Do you want to…?” or “I kind of want you to…” but I felt okay being bold in this case, because the person in question had already told me he enjoys spanking people. And we had been flirting a bit, so I ventured to guess he’d be open to spanking me.

Knowing this was a ballsy way to phrase my request, I opted to soften it by adding, “If you want to.” This builds consent into the statement. I probably wouldn’t use this approach with someone shy and accommodating, because I’d want to make sure they actually wanted to do it, rather than just agreeing out of a sense of obligation. But the person in this case was someone I believed would state his objections if he had any. Lucky for me, he was on-board.

“I wanna kiss you, but I’m nervous.”

I said this to someone who made me feel even shyer and awkward-er than I am normally. So much so, in fact, that my eyes were squeezed shut when I said this to him. Admitting my desire felt monumental, embarrassing, huge, even though I knew he wanted to kiss me too.

I often find that owning up to my anxiety – speaking it out loud – helps diffuse some of its power. Built into my confession is an unspoken request for validation. An understanding partner would respond with something like, “Aw, don’t be nervous. C’mere.” I think the person in question did indeed say something like that to me. But I can’t really remember; the excellent kisses have blurred my recollections.

“Would you like some boobs in your face?”

I said this to a friend while cuddling with her and another person in bed, and it ended up leading to my first threesome. She had mentioned that cuddling made her slightly uncomfortable because it’s so intimate, and that adding a sexual element can help mitigate that for her. So I offered up a solution that might make her feel better. All three of us knew we were headed toward threesome-town; this was my gentle way of setting that process into motion.

A lot of folks bristle at the thought of direct consent-asks – “Would you like…?” “May I…?” “Do you want me to…?” It’s true that these can sometimes be a bit clunky or unnatural, but I’ve never found that asking for consent “kills the moment,” no matter how artlessly it’s done. I’d always rather be too sure of my partner’s “yes” than not sure enough. Don’t let anyone shame you out of directness; it’s a good, useful, conscientious approach.

“I really liked going down on you and would love to do it again sometime.”

I sent this via Twitter DM, buried in a paragraph of spluttering explanations and excuses, because I was embarrassed by the intensity of my hunger for dat dick. This initiation probably would’ve been more effective if I’d just said it straight-up, instead of insulating it with clauses like “Sorry if this is crass and un-chill, but…” and “Feel free to ignore this if you think I’m being weird.” I already knew this guy liked having my mouth on his junk, so I didn’t need to be so cagey about what I wanted.

Enthusiasm is such a key part of an effective sexual initiation. In fact, I’d say that the basic recipe is “express enthusiasm + ask for consent.” Initiating sex isn’t just about asking, “Do you want to do this?” – it’s also about establishing, “…because I really, really do.”

 

What are your favorite ways to verbally initiate sex? What are the best initiations other people have said to you?

 

How to Get a Vanilla Person to Spank You Properly

Photo on 2016-06-21 at 3.36 PMI date and bang people who are older than me. Always have. They’ve ranged from one month to eight years my senior, with the average coming in at 28 to my 24. When asked why I skew older, I usually tell people, “I’ve always been mature for my age, so I get along better with older people. Plus, they know what they’re doing in bed!”

I’ve been saying this less lately, though, because actually I’ve given a lot of sexual instruction in the past year. It’s not that my partners are inexperienced or unknowledgeable; most are neither. But several of them were of the vanilla persuasion, so they had little to no experience with one of my biggest kinks: spanking.

Let me be clear. Sometimes it is not worthwhile, or even possible, to get a vanilla person on-board with your kinks. It depends on how “out-there” the kink is, how much commitment it requires, and where your partner’s personal boundaries are. If your partner isn’t interested in fulfilling your kink, or if your enjoyment would rely on a far higher level of enthusiasm from them than they can comfortably conjure or feign, then you may need to have a tough conversation about whether the two of you are sexually compatible.

But assuming your vanilla partner is willing to give your kink a shot, there are ways to help them along. I wrote this about spanking specifically, since that’s the proclivity I’ve schooled people in, but I’m sure these tips apply to various other kinks, too, with a bit of tweaking.

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Broach the topic casually and confidently. If you cringe, blush, wring your hands and apologize as the word “spanking” falls from your lips, you won’t exactly set your partner at ease. Granted, talking about what you want in bed is hard, but the more coolly you can approach the discussion, the calmer your partner is likely to feel about it. Remember: there is nothing immoral or shameful about consenting adults participating in risk-aware kink together, and you don’t need to feel bad about wanting what you want.

Identify and address their fears. Do they think they’ll hurt you? Explain that you want to be hurt. Explain how pain can feel good, euphoric, cathartic. Remind them of the existence of “good pain,” like stretching your muscles or getting a deep-tissue massage. Teach them about safewords and check-ins. Practice and drill these skills together. Tell them “no” when you need to, so they know they can trust your “yes.”

Does it baffle them that you enjoy being spanked? Watch spanking porn or read spanking erotica with them. Tell them what turns you on about it. Explain what Jillian Keenan says about the common iliac artery and its role in spanking-based sexual arousal. Listen to “Why Are People Into… Spanking?” together. Explain the emotional and psychological appeal of being spanked. Tell them your specific fantasies. Tell them about a time spanking got you soaking wet, rock hard, or even made you come.

Do they worry they’ll look silly or be “bad at” spanking? Teach them some concrete skills (see below). Watch porn together where the top/dom turns you on, to give them an idea of what you want. Assign them a character or archetype to play, if they are dramatically inclined. Remind them that you’ll be so deep in the throes of lust and carnal gratitude that you won’t be paying much attention to how they look.

Put safety measures in place. So basic and so important. Make sure they know what a safeword is, what your safeword is, and what they should do if and when you use it. Keep post-spanking treatments on hand, like arnica cream or refrigerated aloe gel. If bondage is part of your play, have your safety scissors, keys, etc. at the ready. Make sure your home is stocked with possible emergency aftercare requirements, like blankets, ice cream, Gatorade, and Pixar movies. Be slightly overprepared, if possible; the knowledge of these protections will help your partner feel more confident and capable.

Prepare them for what might happen. When I get spanked, I tend to go into subspace. I get nonverbal, finding it difficult to form thoughts more complex than “Yes,” “No,” “More” or “Stop.” I might scream or cry from the pain, but that generally doesn’t mean I want to stop. And I might get very, very wet. These are all things I tell a partner when they’re about to spank me for the first time, because these are things that could scare or startle someone if they’re not prepared. Whatever knowledge you have about how your body and mind react to being spanked, you should share that information upfront with your partner so they’ll know what to expect.

Additionally, make sure to explain to them what aftercare is, and what specific aftercare you tend to need after a spanking. If they’re a gold-star vanilla, they might never have encountered the concept of aftercare before, so explain this thoroughly – it’s important!

Give them specific dos and don’ts. A spanking veteran might assume that the instruction “Slap my ass!” is detailed enough. But for a true novice, it isn’t. They might not know where to hit you, how hard they can go, how hard they should start, how much to vary the position and power of their smacks, how to hold their hand, how to wield a spanking implement, what to say to you while they spank you (if anything), when to know it’s time to stop, what else to do to you while they hit you, or whether they’re allowed to leave marks on you. And that’s just for starters.

Lay this stuff out really clearly for them, in advance. “I like to be hit here, here, and sometimes here – but never here.” “It’s best if you start off slow and light, and build up from there.” “Don’t hit the same spot a bunch of times in a row… unless you wanna be really mean.” “You can pull my hair/hold me down/call me ‘dumb slut’ while you do that.” “Stroking the paddle over my skin in between hits feels really nice.” Whatever your particular preferences are, communicate them lucidly and with gusto. The better your partner understands what you want, the likelier they are to give it to you, and the lower their anxiety level will be while they do it.

Teach them to use a 1-to-10 scale. This is an absolutely invaluable tool that I’ve used time and time again, not just for spanking but for other things too. Tell your partner to ask you two questions when they check in with you mid-spanking: “Where was that?” (as in, where would you rate that last hit, pain-wise, on a scale from 1 to 10?) and “Where would you like to be?”

This is fantastic because numbers are really easy and quick to say, even when your brain is addled with pain/pleasure and words are hard. It’s also a useful tool because it gives your partner a concrete way to understand how much pain you are actually asking for. I’ll always remember the time a fuckbuddy asked me how hard he was hitting me, and I said, “I dunno, a 3 or a 4?” His eyes bugged out of his head, and he replied, “I’ve never hit anyone this hard in my life!” With the knowledge that he was currently at a 3 and I wanted to reach an 8, he knew with increased certainty how hard he could actually hit me, and didn’t have to be so scared about overdoing it. This tool rules; use it often!

Give honest but affirming feedback. It’s all too easy to lie about your sexual enjoyment level – especially for folks socialized as women, who were taught to be polite and accommodating even at the expense of honesty. But it’s vital that you tell the truth about kink, not only so your own experience will improve, but so that your partner can trust you.

When you’re learning a new skill and you ask the person teaching you, “How can I improve?” it’s because you actually want to improve. So when you’re lying in bed with your partner after a spanking and they ask you (once you’re able to speak and think again) for feedback, be honest and get specific. A comment like “You could’ve hit me a little more on my upper thighs and less on my buttcrack” might sound like nit-picking, but the more you display your willingness to communicate about details, the more your partner will trust you to tell the truth about big and small aspects of your sex life together. And that means they’re likelier to give you the proper thrashing you’re after!

That said, as with any topic as sensitive as sex, you’ll want to be diplomatic in the way you phrase these suggestions. Tell a kinkster-in-training that they did a bad job, and they’ll never want to try again; tell them they did [a, b, c] right but could improve monumentally by working on [x, y, z], and they’ll be eager to give it another shot.

 

Have you ever taught a kink newbie to enter the life less vanilla with you? How did you do it? How did it go over? Got any tips?

My Clit is a Diva and I’m Sorry-Not-Sorry

“Higher.”

He moves his fingers a centimeter higher on my clit, and keeps rubbing.

“No, higher,” I say again.

He looks at me quizzically. I grab his hand and move it where I want it. Ah, yes. That’s better.

A couple minutes later, his hand slides down to my opening and he pushes two thick fingers inside me, finding my G-spot and then my A-spot with ease. And that’s nice. Fuck, he’s good at that.

When he comes back up to my clit, though, he forgets everything he’s learned. Goes straight for the exposed bud in the middle of my folds. I wince.

Higher.

Without even looking at his face, I can feel his confusion in the slow way he drags his fingers upward an inch or two. Maybe this is the time when he’ll remember, when he’ll get it. I love that moment.

Later, after drinks and dinner and sly sex chats in a noisy pub, we walk back to his place together. Boots crunching in the snow, arms bumping against each other casually as we walk. “I think I’m starting to figure you out,” he says. “It seems like you like the shaft of your clit to be stimulated, not the clit itself.”

I brighten. “Yeah! Exactly.” And I want to hold his hand, but both of our hands are stuffed in our coat pockets to hide from the cold.

“In my experience, you’re definitely an outlier,” he tells me, “but it’s nothing I can’t work with.”

Later that night, he gets it just right, and I don’t even have to move his hand.

This is a process I’m used to. Because my clit, like me, is a finicky princess. It likes to be stimulated downward through the clitoral hood, or sideways through the inner lips. When I use vibrators, I usually hold them over my clit hood, or on one of my outer labia. My pussy can handle a lot, but one thing it cannot handle – one thing it actually hates – is direct clitoral stimulation.

I was inspired to write about this after reading JoEllen’s post about the Womanizer, a clitoral stimulator I tried and admittedly liked. In her review, she writes about her hatred for direct clitoral stimulation, and her distaste for the common sexual discourse which says, “Touch a woman’s clit and she’ll definitely come!” It got me thinking about how sexual outliers are often shamed, even within the sex-positive communities which claim to unjudgmentally accept all preferences and tastes.

As a sex toy reviewer and a routine user of vibrators, I’m often accused of having “desensitized” myself. When I explain to laypeople or even “sexperts” that I have trouble coming from the touch of a partner’s tongue, fingers, or dick, sometimes I’m told I should lay off the vibes for a bit and see if my sensitivity returns.

Granted, I am more sensitive when I take a vibrator sabbatical. And I make a habit of avoiding vibration and orgasms for 2-3 days before a scheduled encounter, so I’ll feel everything my partner does to me and reach orgasm more easily. But it’s not vibrators that made me this way. I think my body’s just naturally a tougher nut to crack.

You know how I know that? It’s because my orgasm difficulties aren’t related to a lack of sensitivity, they’re often caused by an excess of sensitivity. When a partner’s tongue grazes my exposed clit, it hurts and I get wrenched out of the moment. When a vibrator slides too low on my clit hood and makes direct contact with that bundle of nerves, I feel overloaded and have to crank down the power. When someone’s fingering me and goes straight for my clit, instead of spending time turning me on by touching the rest of my vulva first, I get overstimulated and that makes me feel numb. It’s like my clit panics and hides under a blanket, if by “hides under a blanket” I mean “gets desensitized by the onslaught of sensation.”

It’s been nearly two years since I’ve had an orgasm from oral sex. This is big news, considering how obsessed with cunnilingus I used to be. But, yes: the last person to get me off orally was my ex, with whom I ended things in late 2014. I’ve slept with several more people since then but none of them have made me come with their mouth.

I think that’s partly owing to how my body has changed: I tend to need more intense stimulation now than I used to, for a longer period of time, to reach orgasm – and tongues get tired sometimes. I also rarely come without some form of penetration these days, which – let’s be real – is a difficult thing to incorporate into cunnilingus and often isn’t done very well when people try, at least in my experience.

But the other reason, and maybe the main reason, I haven’t come from oral in ages is that I haven’t had a partner stick around long enough to learn how I like it. Most of my sexual flings in the past two years have been short-term or one-offs, always with people who had other partners at the time and therefore couldn’t be expected to keep my Very Specific preferences programmed into their muscle memory. My ex had time to learn my rhythms, signals, noises, and most importantly, how to lick my clit without causing me actual pain.

My clit needs to be romanced, seduced, won over. It needs you to play hard-to-get, while knowing the whole time that you’ll eventually give it what it wants. I want you to ignore my clit for a long, long time, while you kiss my mouth and neck, suck and lick my nipples, smack my ass and thighs, bite my mons and fleshy hips. I want you to shower my labia and vaginal opening with attention, because most people don’t. I want to be at the point of begging you and punching the bed and moaning in despair for at least five whole minutes before you even hint at going near my clit.

The reason for this rigamarole, you see, is that it amps up my sensitivity while also increasing what I can handle. If I’m halfway to coming by the time you make clit contact, I will almost certainly come at some point. What guarantees me not coming is if you jump straight to my clit and short-circuit the whole system. Be careful. Approach with caution. Don’t cannonball into the pool; just trail a few fingers in the shallow end and see what happens.

My ex understood this. He also understood how to use his lips and tongue around the periphery of my clit instead of stroking it directly. He knew when to wander away from my clit for a while, to lick my opening or nibble my labia, so the main attraction could take a breather and gain back that original fervor to be touched. And when the time came to buckle down and do identical tongue-circles for a couple minutes to actually get me off, he knew how to do that too.

Once, he asked me, “Is there ever a situation in which you want me to lick your clit directly?” My first instinct was to shout “NO! NEVER!” but when I thought about it some more, I reconsidered. “You can try it, as long as you’re very gentle,” I told him. After that, he would occasionally – as sparse punctuation in a widely varied cunnilingus session – pull my clit hood back and press the lightest, softest, slowest of licks to my exposed clit. It felt almost like an act of kink: I was giving him the power to do something potentially painful, and he was doing it without hurting me. I trusted him, handed over a particular power I rarely trust partners with, and he used that power for good. It was kind of magical.

Going down on someone with a picky clit is a complicated business, man. It requires showmanship paired with tenacity. Decorum married to determination. A sense of flair, and some elbow grease. But yeesh, those orgasms were worth it.

In fact, since my ex, I haven’t had any orgasms with partners that didn’t involve me assisting in some way: holding a vibe to my clit, or rubbing it with my fingers. Because, as I said, none of them were in my life long enough to learn what I like, remember it, and get good at it.

But I live in hope that I will have another partner who’ll put in the time, effort, and brainpower to figure me out. Who’ll get to know my clit’s weird ways, the same way he gets to know mine. Who’ll learn me like a video game, patiently, and never get annoyed that there’s no cheat codes.

Because, dammit, my clit’s an outlier, but it still deserves pleasure.

How to Prepare For a Casual Sex Date

I’ve written to you before, dear readers, about my fascination with casual sex. It was one of my sexual goals for 2015 to have casual sex at least one time, and I defined it thusly: “sex with someone I am not, and do not intend to be, in a romantic relationship with.” And by that metric, I have indeed achieved this goal as of late. Hooray!

As an anxious person, I like to be hyper-prepared for every eventuality. And this is why, before a potentially nerve-wracking situation like a hook-up, I have a pre-game ritual that gets me happy and hyped while keeping me safe and sound. Whether you’re finally gettin’ physical with a long-time crush or just looking to meet a fuck buddy online for a quick bang, I hope these tips will be helpful to you!

 

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Physically…

• Do whatever “body maintenance” is going to make you feel sexiest and most confident. Shave your legs, trim your pubes, groom your beard… Condition your curls, paint your nails, exfoliate your lips… Rinse your vag, scrub your balls, wax your butt… Whatever’s going to amp up your self-esteem for the evening, do that. Try not to let conventional beauty standards muddle your own personal standards too much, because if your date doesn’t enjoy the typical state of you, you probably shouldn’t be fucking that person anyway, right?

• Pick out an outfit that makes you feel hella desirable and cute. Bonus points if it’s relatively easy to remove in a hurry (you never know when things will suddenly get sexy) and if your undergarments are on-point.

• Get checked for STIs if it’s been more than a reasonable amount of time since you’ve done that (i.e. if you’ve engaged in any potentially risky sexual activity since your last test). Know the score before you get in the game. That way, you can confidently tell your partner what’s up and neither of you will have to worry. (Hopefully they’ll be as considerate as you in this regard!)

• Stock your bag and/or pockets with any sex supplies you’ll need. Fragile stuff like condoms and dental dams should ideally go in some kind of hard case to keep it safe from heat and warping (don’t cram your condoms into your back pocket and then sit on them all night!). If you bring a vibrator – which, if you like vibration, you should; don’t let anyone shame you! – do your best to pick one with a travel lock function, or at least place it in your bag in such a way that it won’t turn on before you want it to. If you want to be extra prepared, bring along some lube samples as well.

 

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Mentally…

• If you have any hangups whatsoever around the sex you’ll be having or the person you’ll be having it with, I prescribe a good long journaling session. Ask yourself: how do I feel about this? What do I hope will happen? What do I hope to get out of this? What is it that I like about this person? Where do I see this going? Some people are blessed with the ability to have sex without overanalyzing it, but if, like me, you just didn’t get that gene, journaling may help you get your head on straight.

• Consider your dealbreakers and know when you’d walk out. This is a scary thought, but it’s worth thinking about in advance. If someone exhibits a red flag, like refusing to go down on you or making a weird comment about your body, it’ll be that much easier to get up and leave if you’ve already identified your red flags in your mind.

• Figure out where you’re going, how you’ll get home, how much transportation will cost, etc. Don’t get stranded! And since casual sex goes hand-in-hand with intoxicants for some people, make sure you know this information well enough that you could recall it even if you were kinda tipsy (or more than “kinda”). Don’t be that shitfaced sadsack on the subway who can’t figure out where the hell they’re going.

• While you’re getting dressed, doing your face/hair, etc., put on a playlist that puts you into the optimum sexy mood for your fuck-date. I am all about Alina Baraz and Reverie Sound Revue; there are also tons of sultry mixes on 8Tracks that’ll help you get your vibe right.

 

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Verbally…

• I know it’s hard, especially if you’re shy, but try to establish some expectations with your sex-partner-to-be. It’s tough to be brave and say exactly what you want and what you don’t want, but it’s worth doing to avoid the hassles that accompany miscommunications. What if you like your casual sex with a side of cuddling and talking about feelings, but your potential fuck-buddy just wants to get ‘er done and leave? What if you absolutely hate sleeping next to someone but your dalliance expects to stay all night? You don’t necessarily have to spell these things out so explicitly, but try to read the person’s tone in your communiqué, at least, to get some sense of whether you’re on the same page.

• Think about what you want and practice asking for it. This can be especially hard with someone you’ve never slept with before and/or don’t particularly intend on sleeping with again, but it’s worth doing if you want your experience to be a good one. People generally enjoy knowing what’s expected of them and being asked to do sexy things in a respectful, polite way, so if you can nail that skill, you’ll ensure a more fun time for both of you.

• Tell a friend or two about your plans. Fill them in on where you’re going, when you expect to be back, whether or not you’ll be reachable, who you’re going to see, and where potential sexytimes might be taking place. If you’re worried about your safety, maybe set up a codeword system with a friend: she’ll call you at a specific time and you’ll have a fake conversation, during which you’ll casually use a particular word if everything’s fine, and a different word if things are going downhill and you need her to send help.

 

What’s your pre-sex-date ritual? Do you define “casual sex” differently than I do?

 

Note: this post was sponsored, but as always, all writing and opinions are my own!