Reid Mihalko: Make a Joyful Noise
For someone, like me who has long been a sex-positive advocate (although not really an educator), I was super geeked to attend one of Reid Mihalko‘s talks in Denver. I had seen his keynote address at Beyond the Bedroom back in October, but unfortunately was unable to make his other classes that Weekend. So this was a real treat for me.
It was only about 2 years ago that I really discovered my own personal trick to my orgasms. See, while I’ve been experiencing great orgasms by myself since I was 11, I was very reluctant to share those with others. I was happy to be on the receiving end of someone’s orgasm, but I wasn’t going to share mine.
Part of the reluctance came from the fact that I had worked with several older men in my adolescence, and for better or for worse, I learned quite a bit from them. And each day for almost 4 years I heard them complaining about how selfish the female orgasm was. How they had to “waste” their time trying to get a woman to cum. They hated giving a woman oral and often complained about the taste or smell. It left a clear impression on 15 year old me, so that by the time I finally gave my virginity to a high school senior a year later, I treated the whole experience as an experiment in -being the opposite of all these selfish women I had heard about.
Now, with the caveat in mind that I have known very few men to ever complain about a blow-job in general, I do consider myself rather adept at that particular skill. That has been my sure-fire claim to fame for almost all of my sexual life. Hell, I was coached by my first boyfriend, who is now gay. I listened to my male co-workers describe what they liked and what they didn’t. I am a quick learner and proud of the way I take time to learn a man’s body well enough to tease and please quite well.
By it wasn’t until I met Warrior that I found a cock that I couldn’t use those same tricks on. Hence, why I think classes like Reid’s are quite necessary. It doesn’t matter how much you think you know about sex, because there is always something new you can learn and a new way to approach each person’s individual likes and dislikes. And at the very least a new way to frame how you decide to look at your own abilities.
But more important than just learning technique is the breaking down of the shame and guilt we experience about sex. For a while after meeting Warrior I felt I was losing my touch and thus unenjoyable as a partner because i couldn’t make him cum from a blowjob. It took months before I realized that he needs a lot of sensuous build-up, because while his body is “online” and ready, his mind is in twelve different directions. And now I hold the honor of being the person (male or female) who has given him the most orgasms from oral ever. Why? because his orgasm isn’t about me. I could use the best technique in the world and it still might not happen. I could be the hottest woman on earth and it might not happen. But I can create an environment and experience where if it is going to happen it can and we will both be happy simply because we are together.
So, what does this have to do with my own realization two years ago or the class last night? We pick up some fucked up ideas about sex. I mean, here I was growing up to grown men moaning about how tedious the female orgasm is. I already had a lot off self-judgment around selfishness in general and wasn’t about to become the type of lover who was selfish and wouldn’t give the same level attention being given to me. In fact, I was the type of person who was determined to give and pamper, but never fully receive.
Because of those conversations growing up, I was terrified to ever bring up my orgasm to a partner in high school or later in college. I refused to let a man go down on me, because I didn’t want to appear selfish, and frankly it was just too -much- attention/spotlight on me which made me even more anxious and self-conscious. And frankly i just really enjoy the sex act itself so what’s the problem? Because while I was reveling in the full intimacy my partner was giving me, I wasn’t trusting him or her with the same in me. In short, my encounters were imbalanced.
Want to know a secret? one of the reasons i married my husband is because the very first time we ever had sex, i came hard from just penetration. it felt right. i wasn’t embarrassed or self-conscious. it was one of the most natural orgasms i had ever had. And it has been a part of our lives ever since…that level of sharing.
but those other demons continued to still be there and would surface with my poly partners. These were all men who delight in orgasms, who would put in the time or effort to be able to experience mine with me. but it was still a lot of pressure. And i would hate myself if I couldn’t cum for them. I hate, hate, hate disappointing people and I would feel like a failure for not being able to share my orgasm. And I would stay silent so I wouldn’t cry from the shame I was feeling for being so damn broken as a supposed “sex goddess”.
Then one day i figured out what was really stopping me. whenever i felt aroused i would derail the whole thing and jump in with my judgmental self-talk (“you’re never going to be able to do this.”, “you’re not meant to cum”, ” you’re wasting his/her time”). The silence kept in all of these ideas and my partner’s silence would confirm it.
But once i figured that out i changed the story i was going to tell myself during sex. if I was with someone that I really, really wanted to share my orgasm with (that is my first requirement–I don’t want to share with just anyone) I would catch those negative thoughts, the ones putting both pressure AND shame on my arousal and orgasm and I replaced them with “yes” instead. “Yes, this is going to happen.” “You are building your orgasm.” “Yes, you are allowed to cum”. And when those yes messages go through my head I “seal” them with a moan or a dirty word. I say something….even if it is just yes.
One of the things I love about Reid Mihalko is not just that he gives great information in an easy to understand way (Vulcan gang sign as a way of starting the turning on process) but he weaves in a lot of truth about how our society does or not does talk about sex. And this post is less about the techniques he shared with us in Denver last night, but more about the bigger message of talking about sex. Talking about our own experiences. Letting go of the guilt and the shame. And saying….something.
So thanks, Reid, for reminding us to make a joyful noise.