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"Sweetheart," I said to my lover of five years, "I read this article online about five positions that are suppose to make sex hot." I had practiced saying this to myself for hours. Talk with my man about positions? Are you kidding? We just did them, we didn't talk about it.
Finally I looked up from my breakfast plate. He was staring at me, his face expressionless. What was he thinking?
"What are you thinking?" I asked.
"What's wrong with the positions I do now? Do you have a problem with how I do it?"
I had no problem with how he did it. How we did it. We were in our early thirties, and had been living together for five years. Our relationship was easy going, we seemed able to manage our lives well. We even bought a house together.
I had come across this article online, and was sort of excited about doing something different.
I must have started this conversation all wrong. "No, honey. I just thought that maybe you might like to try something new. There's a whole article on it, and I wondered if it would be fun to see what happens if we change things up."
Robert got out of his chair, threw his napkin on the table, and was out of the house in seconds. Yikes! I didn’t see this coming. Here I thought I was giving him a gift, helping sex get even better. And he thought I was criticizing him. What might I have said instead? How could I have protected his fragile male ego?
How about this: "I read this article about five sexual positions that are hot. Can you imagine having to read something like that when our sex is already good?" And then wait to see what he does with it.
Or I could have said: "This article gives five positions that are suppose to be hot, and we already do three. We're good, huh?" Then see if he is curious to see what the other two are.
Then I thought of saying, "I was reading about five sexual positions, and I liked a new one where I am facing away from you. I think I would feel comfortable doing that when I am feeling bloated. Would you try it with me?" If I make it about my need then he can’t think it's about him. It sucks that men believe they need to be great lovers.
After cleaning up the unfinished breakfast, I got in the shower to get ready for our Saturday. We were planning to shop for a comfy spread now that we had bedroom furniture we loved. We had actually agreed on colors and style with no problem. I wondered if I would be doing it alone.
Robert tapped on the glass door as I was turning off the water.
"I'm sorry, Hon. It's just that I have to think I'm really good in bed, and if you want something different it makes me wonder. I've been curious about other positions too, but didn’t know how to bring it up. We don't talk, right? We were suppose to just figure it all out. And then try to make it work."
I dried myself, looking at my towel instead of him. Even after I put on my robe, I still couldn’t look at him. Why did this conversation make me uncomfortable?
Robert continued. "We don't talk. When we say even a little about what we're doing, or try to say what would please us, I lose my erection. It's like I go into brain freeze or something. Or penis freeze," he said, laughing.
Robert paused and then looked right at me. "Sharon, he said. "What's going on? Your face is white."
I started shaking. "I think I need to practice talking before I can try something new." My mouth was shaking too. "I have been glad that you direct us, you decide what we will do next so we didn't have to talk."
"And we're missing out, aren't we? I think it would be great to talk while we're making love. I want to tell you when I'm really turned on. I want to describe the difference between gentle, warm flooding and the hot kind that comes when I am close. I want you to know that when I am really turned on, I feel full of love. I want to tell you when I am coming. I want to shout it out."
His whole face was smiling. My stomach was in a knot and I couldn't focus on anything. I had read about sexual shame in a book somewhere. Maybe this was it. But I'm not the only one. No one talks openly. They just tell dirty jokes or double entendres or describe an act like it was just so hot. I think the author called it the "shame compartment." That place where you don't feel bad. She said that porn gets us into the "shame compartment" because sex is defined as bad or dirty or shameful, and it makes it easier to get really turned on because we don't feel the shame. We transform that dreadful emotion into arousal. We had tried porn and it worked. But I felt bad after. Robert didn't want to do it anymore either, probably because he wanted to think he was all that was needed. That performance thing, right?
But I don't really know because we don't talk about it. I'm not sure I want to.
"Babe, come on, lets go to bed and try one of those positions." He started taking off his clothes, and already had an erection. My fear eased a little. Only a little. I knew it was right to go ahead even if it was scary. "Tell me about one of the five positions," Robert said. "Show me how it goes. But, Sharon, first tell me. Use words. I want to practice talking. I want to make that feel normal. Is that okay?"
I nodded. I couldn't speak. How was I going to describe a position? Robert put his arm around my waist, and we walked into the bedroom. As we pulled the covers off I tried to breathe to get my heart to slow down. Looking at the bed, not at Robert, I explained what we were to do. Keep reading...
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