It's Not What You Think
When I picture group sex, my mind tends to leap right into the climax of things: a tangle of limbs and bodies, a symphony of long moans and sudden gasps, flushed skin glistening with sweat, a male grunt and an answering female cry.
Yet when we finally exhausted all the pre-play confessions of nerves and the discussions about expectations and assurances all around that no feelings would be hurt if someone opted out of something, I had no idea how to get things started.
Without the game, I might still be sitting there, trying to get up the courage to kiss a girl. But with the game, I discovered that I didn't have to. Onyx started us off easy, with assignments like "remove Regina's shoes and stroke her feet for 30 seconds, telling her fortune as you do so."
We had plenty of chances to laugh at ourselves as we made our first circuit around the board. Our man had to take off his shirt, stripper style. I had to run my hands all over a girl, above her clothes, and tell her what I thought about her curves.
After a while, it no longer seemed odd to have so many people in the room, or to be doing things like standing with one's hands against the wall being frisked for clandestine sex toys by one of the other players.
A little while after that, we noticed that we had become impatient. When would the real sex stuff start, anyway? Why were we still half-clad? How much longer before we were a licentious anemone of our own, lost in desire and pleasure?
It amazes me what a difference it makes to have "permission" for new sexual experiences, and relief from having to a) think about what you might like and b) ask for it. Creativity and communication are essential to a healthy sexual relationship, of course, but in a situation as new and foreign as this one, I was grateful for the guide.
With the game directing me, I knew exactly where each action was going, and for how long. Surely I could stand to have a woman's fingertips on my nipples for 30 seconds!
Had she touched me there without the structure of a game, I might have tensed up so much I could not have enjoyed the moment out of fear of the next moment. Instead, I had time to breathe deeply and notice how soft her skin is, and how delicate her touch, compared to her husband's. And then my turn was over and I could reflect upon the experience.
In May, I spooked at the slightest touch between me and my girlfriend. By July, she had her fingers where I never thought I could be touched by a woman outside of a pelvic exam. By September, she had her lips and tongue in my most secret places — and I responded to it.
Even more gratifying is how the relationship has grown. I went into our Onyx date thinking this would be a fun experiment, a sexual adventure I would learn from and a story I could tell.
I came out of it secure in a comfortable groove of love. It's like we skipped all that annoying new relationship energy and stepped right into a mature, contented intimacy that has us all twitterpated and sensible at the same time.
We do still play Onyx sometimes, because it comes up with things that we would not think to do on our own. But we — I — no longer need it. I know now that if I hit up against a boundary, I might get past it if I sit with it for a while. If I don't, that's fine too.
But if I do, what a wonderful world of closeness and bliss awaits me, all because I let a game lead me out of my fear.