Dr J's Sex Facts

Fun sex facts and accurate information from a clinical sexologist for a hotter and more fulfilling sex life.

Friday, November 17, 2006

“I Can’t Do That!”: Climbing out of the Gender Rut and Having Some Fun

“When both genders feel free to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ with no concern for anything but their own desires, a truer understanding, and a more positive sexuality, can be achieved.”
Dossie Easton and Catherine Liszt, The Ethical Slut

Most of us are no longer bound by the restrictive gender roles of the past. Society is changing: as more women enter the workforce, more men are actively parenting, and people generally feel freer to express themselves.

Masculinity and femininity—formerly engrained as sugar and spice for girls and snails and puppy dog tails for boys—are now far more diversely defined by the culture in which we live. For instance, in Paris, many men carry small clutch purses—that’s considered masculine. In Italy, it’s not uncommon to see men walking with their arms around each other as a comfortable extension of male comeraderie. These cultural definitions of feminine/masculine are changing all the time. For example, 20 years ago, an earring on a man was considered feminine; now it’s the epitome of masculine.

How Sex Roles Affect our Pleasure:

· She might be thinking: I like being on top because it’s the best position for stimulating my clitoris, but what if that makes him feel inadequate? (Women take care of others’ feelings—often to their disadvantage)
· He might be thinking: Once in awhile, I’d love to just lie back, be passive and not have to initiate everything. (Men feel inadequate if they’re not taking the lead; and face it, sometimes behind that big macho top there’s an acquiescent bottom)
· She: I’d love to try initating things sometimes, but he never gives me the chance because he always seems to want sex. (Men feel like they’re supposed to always want sex)
· He: I’d love to ask her what she likes, but I’m supposed to know everything, or I’ll look like a wimp. (Would it be worse if I find out I’ve been doing it wrong?) Even if you’re doing it right, wouldn’t it be great to find out how to do it even better?
· She: I’d like to share what kinds of touch I like, but isn’t he supposed to know? (What if he thinks I’m a freak?)
· He: I’m afraid to allow myself to be vulnerable. (What if she thinks I’m a freak?)
· She: I’d love it if he’d just relax and not be so macho. I really can’t keep my hands off him when he shows me his vulnerable side.
· He: Sometimes I might like to try dressing up in sexy clothes just like my partner, but won’t she think I’m “unmanly”?

Get out of that Rut!

Sometimes it’s easier to tell a partner your secret desires or curiosities by presenting them as just a fantasy. Here’s a fun way you can each share some previously unspoken desires in a non-threatening way. I call it “build-a-fantasy”:

One person starts the fantasy with a sentence, then the other person adds another sentence, and so on. It might go something like this:

She: I’m walking on a tropical beach, wearing nothing but a see-through blouse
He: And then I walk up and offer you a beautiful flower before I kneel down before you and start kissing your feet and ankles
She: And then I throw you down, put whipped cream on your nipples and start licking it off
He: Oooh.

He’s just told her—indirectly—that kissing her feet and ankles turns him on, and she’s just told him that she might like to play with his nipples.

Another fun experiment is doing everything the opposite of what’s usual for you. Ask him to do a striptease, or ask her to hold you down and kiss you all over. Try on these new behaviors and see which ones you’d like to experiment with further and/or keep in your repertoire. They don’t have to replace all your old patterns, but let yourselves be open to experiment with a variety of possibilities. Try them on like you would a costume just for the sake of variety.

As you were reading the above, did any of it make you uncomfortable? Exploring that might help you learn something important about yourself and your desires. And if there was anything specific that piqued your interest or made you uneasy, let me know. I’d love to hear how you felt about these issues.

Next week: Sexy Holidays!

As always, the doctor is in for your questions and comments.

With Pleasure,

Dr. J


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