Post 3.1 - As Easy as 1-2-3

Let me start out by saying I am not a therapist. I have no degree in psychology (although I've considered it). I am not a sexologist. I have just dated a lot and started having sex rather young, so I've seen and done a lot. Everything I say here and going forward in the form of giving advice is my own opinion based on my own experiences and observations, and is not intended to replace other outlets you may have available to you.

Having said that, I think one of the reasons we need therapists and sexologists is that we don't really talk to our kids about how to run a relationship, and the US as a whole is sexually dysfunctional with our simultaneous recognition of our (normal) sexual obsession fighting against our Puritan forebears.

My intent is to hopefully create an atmosphere where people feel free to discuss, if anonymously, what is going on. It isn't necessarily a sort of one-size-fits-all how-to scenario, because all relationships are still different based on who is involved. But we all deal with similar issues regardless of the configuration of our relationships, whether we be male, female, straight, gay, bisexual, pansexual, monogamous, polyamorous, or whatever. A lot of my friends have these kinds of conversations with me, and they come from all walks. One memorable experience was sitting at my kitchen table discussing blowjob technique with an old [female] friend. While surreal in one way, I also thought it was healthy, as well as intimate - but I was actually honored to be asked my thoughts. It wasn't about titillation, but real information.

And I know a lot of people - GREAT people - who understand intellectually how things should be in a relationship, but still have tremendous difficulty translating it into their own relationships for various reasons. Romance, feeling desired and feeling loved are intensely personal wants and needs, and whether we admit it or not, it attacks our self-worth to be rejected, no matter when, where or how it happens - even if you are married or otherwise in a long-term, committed relationship.

Because it happens, and we're all human.

In my own case, I had really bad role models for showing me how relationships work. Both parents were married more than once, and the relationships I was able to observe were incredibly tense, only occasionally loving, and almost always adversarial. I don't know that mine have been - you'd have to ask one of my ex's - but I know for myself, I have always focused on communication and had to unlearn how to manipulate and control and "win".

And sex? Hmph. Well. We didn't talk about it in my family, except in very limited, sometimes juvenile ways.

I can remember riding in a car with my mother and she wanted to talk to me about wearing something with my bathing suit because of a concern that when the water was cold, I might get an erection (apparently, this had already been an issue?). Um, kinda thoughtful, I guess? I don't know. But this was one of maybe three conversations ever about sexuality. I don't think we talked about what boys go through generally during puberty again until some time in the last year ("Erections just HAPPENED to you???").

But this discomfort wasn't limited to the women in my family. My grandfather worked a lot with electronics in his career, and after he'd retired, we were at his tool area in his basement - I was like 9 or 10. He was showing me various plugs and was explaining why they were called "male" or "female". He put two together and absently said, "see? THIS is why." Then blushed bright red, yanked them apart, and never talked about plugs again. We just went fishing.

Now, I am not suggesting that either of them should have given me any sort of how-to information - but there was this whole fear/shame thing going on for innocent topics that were very natural and normal. While charming to look back on, it illustrates to me all the more why we have to learn so much from our peers about these things, but never feel comfortable asking even our partners how to do anything that might be left out. Sam Kinison summed it up well when describing cunnilingus - "We didn't know what to do when we got down there... we were ON OUR OWN!"

And nothing comes naturally. And when I grew up, there was no internet to look things up.

So ask questions, suggest things you'd like to talk about. I have a few ideas of my own that should keep us going for a while, but I'd love this to be a dialogue.

Happy Humping. :-)

Have a question or a topic for a future post? E-mail me at facetsblog@gmail.com, or comment below - either may be anonymous, if you wish.

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