In the leadup to our third issue, we launched an anonymous sex survey. We wanted to hear from you about your experiences with sex, your thoughts and feelings and your best stories. And you told us! This is the final installment in the Open Secrets Sex Survey: we’re so grateful for all the incredible, honest answers we’ve received – you can check out the whole Open Secrets series here.
We wanted to preserve your voices and the spirit of your answers, so we haven’t edited any of the responses.
This was the last question of the survey, and we wanted to round up anything we has missed. Here’s the question we asked:
What else? Do you have stories, thoughts or feelings about sex that don’t fit into any of these categories? Share them here.
- I realized last year that when I dance I only gyrate my hips in one direction – always counter clockwise. My winding in the opposite direction is laughably clumsy and ungraceful. It made me realize that I only gyrate while fucking in one direction too! WTF! It’s kinda like only being able to kiss with your head leaning to one side.
- Vaginas are high maintenances things! Sometimes I need to freeze mine so that sex isn’t excruciating and my cervix has been cauterized so that it won’t BLEED during sex. This is obviously sometimes weird to bring up with partners.
I just wish people weren’t so awkward about talking about sex.
The best sex I’ve had is with people I felt I could be completely open with.
As a single person, I’m continually confused when I have sex with people who has been in “healthy” long term relationships but who don’t communicate during and before sex. I’ve had experiences where I’ve felt that there was this “I’ve-been-in-a-relationship-so-I-know-best” attitude when really, people who have sex casually normally have more direct ways of communicating what they want, what they need and what they are okay with.
- Some of the most meaningful moments I have ever had, of feeling connected to another human being, have been during sex. Looking in someone’s eyes while having sex, especially if it’s someone you love.
- I’m struggling with a lot of negative feelings that I now associate with sex. I am in the midst of a very emotional one sided breakup that has left me feeling like sex was an element of power in the relationship. Because I was taught that sex=love, I feel very closed off and cannot imagine ever having another partner. I don’t know if/when that will ever change. I wish I had not been raised to associate sex with love.
- Yes! I have one thing that I always try to communicate with new partners early on. It is NOT a race to the finish. Asking if I “finished” or whatever is weird and causes pressure thus making it hard to “finish.” If it’s ll about that (and I do love that!) I don’t want it. A former partner’s obsession with this caused our sex life to totally flop. Maybe I will–maybe I won’t–maybe I will later. Who cares? Let’s just have fun!
- Last week I had sex in my university library. In one of those individual study rooms you are supposed to book in advance. It happened to be open and empty, so my partner and I decided we would use it to study. We both have a lot on our plates academically at the moment, and were working in silence for a solid two hours. We were drinking coffees and eating sour patch kids, neither one of us thinking anything romantic or sexy.
I’m not even sure how it happened, but one of us decided to kiss the other and take a ‘quick’ break from our work. Welcome distraction.
Next thing I know we are both looking at each other with the question “do we dare?” in our eyes. I think we both surprised ourselves and each other; we are not typically the sort of people who you would expect to be fucking in the library of a Sunday afternoon.
- I was raised by unwitting prudes (they regarded themselves as progressive, down-for-whatever types, but you could see that they struggled inwardly with their conservatism). So I, too, thought that there was very little to deter or surprise me, let alone in matters of sex. Lo-and-behold, I found out recently that I actually did not know what an ejaculation looked like (in my mind, I could map out the preamble of a man’s climax: the groaning, heaving, etc. But I would sort of black-out the actual climax, the squirting of semen and so on). Now bear in mind: I’m 19, a “virgin” (in the sense that I haven’t yet had sex with another person; otherwise, my vibrator and I are quite the kinky lovers), and I am very much a porn neophyte (I actually made this carnal discovery, wide-eyed, 2-videos deep in a porn portal). I had an IDEA of what it was for a man to cum, but that idea, it would seem, was far off from the truth and just the result of all the kiddies porn I had been inundating myself with (I blame my sneaky prudish genes). Needless to say, I have thus emerged a more savvy person, and now, I don’t have to fake-grin at all the innuendos, I can grin-grin: appreciating fully how naughty some people’s jokes are!
- Sex can be painful. It can be violent. It can be really damaging it is sexual abuse of children. When the boundary is crossed especially between trusting people or between a parent/child or brother/sister, uncle/niece (so when their is a power and age difference). Sexual abuse is far too common where 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be victims of childhood abuse/assault before the age of 18. That is deplorable and a part of sex that needs to be discussed as well when talking about sex. Non-consensual sex is very common (from assault to rape) and that also needs to be discussed and included in the experiences of sex. Sex is not always a pleasant idea for people who have been violated (especially at a young age by a trustworthy adult or sibling!).
- Sometimes I’m a little insecure with a new lover if he is very slight. I’m not a big woman but I am very tall, so when a guy is super-tiny (which I’m attracted to) I sometimes worry that I might break them somehow. I take it easy on them for the first while, especially if they’ve never been with a woman who’s bigger than them before.
- I recently switched from the pill to an IUD, and have been trying to note the differences in my body and mental state. One blaring difference: my sex drive! It’s back. I didn’t even realize how much it was muted by the pill, but it was. I wish we talked about this more when we talked about birth control. I wish doctors had been more upfront about this to me.
- I have a story related to consent. My first sexual experience was at a party when I was in my early 20s. I felt like I was old to have never had sex and I wanted to have that experience because of feeling like it was expected as well as my own libido. Everyone was drinking having fun and I had my eye on a girl and had met briefly before. We started dancing, then making out, then one of us suggested moving to a more private location. We did, she started undressing, I started undressing and it went from there. At one point I made a move that she sort of backed away from so we just continued what we were doing. Later I circled back to that (thinking it would make this “real” sex and was what she would expect) and we did that to each other a bit. When we left the party I was really happy and thought this was the greatest night and thought she was happy too. I stopped feel so happy when she didn’t respond to my attempts to contact her. I found out later that she had regretted what had happened and felt like she was too drunk to have really consented. I had no idea how to take this because I was terribly sorry that it was a bad experience for her but I didn’t know how I could have prevented it at the time. When she did talk to me I didn’t feel like she was accusing me but I still felt really guilty. I am glad she did tell me her experience because it has changed how I act and how I view consent. People having sex when they are both very drunk seemed totally normal to me, asking if a specific move or step during sex was okay did not seem at all normal to me. These norms are a big part of rape culture and part of what we need to change. My education about sex was very liberal compared to most but I was still too uncomfortable to really communicate that first time and I wasn’t made aware anywhere in my sex ed classes about how to make sure that all participants are enthusiastically consenting to everything that happens during sex. I’m not sure if the boys health class would have touched on that more, but even if they did it is a terrible assumption that women are always the ones to give consent and men are the only ones who need to ask about it. This is really long but I think it is really important that these things are talked about from both sides because people need to know that being unsure after the fact about whether your partner was consenting is a terrible feeling and people need to have the skills to avoid that.
- Around the time I was getting divorced, I started to see someone. I was still trying to make my marriage work while having a physical relationship with another man. Both ended around the same time. I felt gross. It’s been years since I had sex. And I now have a fear that I don’t have ‘it’ in me anymore. It feels exhausting to meet someone and do the whole dance of figuring out if we are compatible. Before all of this, I had a pretty active sex life.
- It’s hilarious being a gay man and not necessarily being read as queer. I feel that I present a bit more ambiguously, but I find that for the most part, women are more inclined to try and hit on me which I find way more uncomfortable dealing with. And that is a fairly frequent issue and ironically guys don’t hit on me ever, so I can’t win. Sex is just this thing that I don’t feel like I really understand. I think that’d change being in a romantic relationship but that doesn’t seem to be a priority for people anymore, and if it is I don’t know where to meet or find these people. I feel like it’s more of a community thing where I don’t quite feel like I fit in a bunch and that makes things a lot more difficult. It’s hard though whether or not compromise to fit in or not.
- The first time my partner and I had sex, before we were monogamous and officially dating as we saw it, somehow, they ended up jizzing in my eye. I couldn’t see properly for a few days. I’m really not sure how that happened… It makes a great story though.
- The best sex I have ever had: My girlfriend and I laughed for ten minutes because we were so happy.
- Okay, here goes the Big Queer Exposition. I was raised by Democrats who had gay friends and lived in a major city during the AIDS crisis, so there wasn’t any real oppression, but non-straightness never really seemed to be an option.Before I entered kindergarten, Ellen came out, Matt Shepard was murdered, and I kissed a male friend- not because I had a crush, but because I liked him, and that’s what boys and girls did when they liked each other. I was going to marry him and his sister was going to marry my brother, because that’s the only way boys and girls could spend time together when they grew up. I think he put more time into the wedding planning than I did.When I was in elementary school, I heard a guy call himself “sexy” in a movie, and asked my parents what it meant. Their reply was: appealing to the opposite sex. I was a little confused how he could tell that women would like him, but I soldiered on.We had neighbors during the era of DADT who were maybe bachelors and maybe gay. We traded favors and had them over for dinner, but the family line was that it wasn’t our business to ask about sexuality.I came out to myself in the winter of my freshman year, my close family sometime before the end of sophomore year, and my extended family during junior year. At Thanksgiving. I’ve never gotten direct flack from the relatives, but my mother is now a PFLAG parent, and expects me to know things like the Indigo Girls’ discography and what to buy for a lesbian wedding gift. (She was looking at a cut-glass heart that gave off rainbows. I wish I were joking.)
- It was supremely bizarre to feel like a born again virgin after getting phalloplasty. I still sort of do feel that way a few years later, in part because I haven’t had my penile implant yet so I haven’t had an erection. But to my delightful surprise, I do ejaculate something white, I don’t know where it comes from, what it’s made of (obv no sperm), but it’s awesome.I still struggle with internalised transphobia around failure to disclose, specifically if I’m with a woman. It was drilled into me by transphobe that failure to disclose was akin to sexual assault. So I automatically disclosed but I hate how it makes me feel to do it automatically. (It’s not that I wish I never did, I probably would to most if not all if I didn’t have that toxic interpretation of my medical history drummed into me.) But I don’t always with guys, and it makes me realise I have more stuff to unpack.It’s been a good learning moment to come into the new configuration of my sensuality post-phalloplasty without a penile implant. It’s offered me a challenging experience around my relationship to erections and visual cues of turn on (since I now have none, no lube production, no erection, nada.) It was hard at first but now I feel that much more confident about myself as a sexual being. I do look forward to being done healing for good.
- Yes, but I don’t know how to talk about it, even anonymously. Sorry.
Thanks so much to all who participated and shared their stories with us! Keep an eye out for the next survey, on MOMS, coming up soon!