How I Have Sex: ‘I Have to Think 50 Times Before I Can Be Open to People About the Things I Indulge In’
This week on How I Have Sex, we bring you the sex life of 24-year-old U.B. and how they navigate kink and consent.
In How I Have Sex, we bring you candid retellings of people’s sexual lives that explore the multidimensional nature of this human experience. In this installment, 24-year-old U.B., who is non-binary and pansexual, recounts their experience with gender-bending, BDSM, and consent.
I’m a non-binary pansexual person. For me, the mainstream method of sex is maybe 10% of my personality. Even if I were cisgender and heterosexual, I know I have so many desires and kinks that I enjoy that would definitely frighten the fuck out of people. The person that I am, my likes and dislikes, is something I don’t see in mainstream media. Even if I do, it’s this unidimensional depiction, like there’s a lot of male dom mainstream BDSM culture where the woman is always submissive. Even if we go looking for not male people who are playing the dominant role, it’s this hypersexualized, very particular, typical idea of this fucked up mistress only effeminate men go to. It’s such a caricature of BDSM.
Now, I have to think 50 times before I can be open to people about the things I indulge in. It’s a subconscious thing — I’m afraid I’ll drive them away. It’s just unnecessary embarrassment. For starters, it’s a baffling thing that I’ve faced — every male partner I’ve had has told me I’m somebody they’ve never come across because I enjoy things that are stereotypically forced onto women. When you engage in foreplay with a male partner, I’m very eager to blow people. I like it. It’s not completely out of the need to please them — I want to see the pleasure, of course — but I think dicks are beautiful. I like playing with them. Then swallowing is also an issue for a lot of people — for me, doesn’t it just make sense to not make a mess?
The other part is people feel like I get too intense some time. They tell me I have an unusually high sexual drive, which they say is not how a woman is supposed to behave. But then again I’m not a woman. And when I talk to people I’m interested in having sex with, I get right to the point — I tell them I find them attractive, so what shall we do about it? I just don’t understand why we have to do so much time pass before. A lot of people have accused me of using my forthrightness as a play — they say, ‘is this your play, having no play?’ In so many ways, it’s kind of a hetero script. It’s fuckall, and it clearly does not apply to me. The more I spend time with myself, focusing on my pleasure, I’m realizing I’m not someone who enjoys the lovemaking part of sex. I want to get to the intense bits. They want to treat me like a breakable thing that needs to be handled with care, and yes show care, but also try some breaking, no?
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If I’ve had a conversation with you about my boundaries, I’ve told you what absolutely doesn’t work, and I’ll say the safe word if I want to, then please try a little. And because I’m pansexual, gender doesn’t apply. I get attracted to how people are and how they are. Hitting on women can also be frustrating because they’re still playing out the hetero script with me. For the life of me, I don’t understand the logic behind the chase. I often feel stuck, like mai idhar bhi nahi hoon, udhar bhi nahi hoon, and often the only options available to me are people who are stuck in the same limbo. But even in the queer community, people will be non-binary-phobic or transphobic and I’m just like I can’t do this. For now, I’ve cultivated a list of people who are my friends with benefits. They’ll message if the house is empty, a simple “do you want to come?” There’s no priming.
Another thing is nudes — I have zero shame about sending people nudes, even if they are relative strangers. But when my ex-partner realized I have no qualms, like I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up on some website, they got so offended by it. There’s this duality of how I don’t have any shame, but I have to experience shame about that fact. And I have a lot of kinks, which outside of my sex-positive friend circle, people would think I need medication. But I’m a mental health professional, and even the International Classification of Diseases has sadism and masochism listed. So I can’t blame the layperson for it.
I’ve only recently started exploring my non-binary-ness in sexual situations. Before that it was very difficult, I couldn’t find anybody who could see me out of being female. I love gender-bending — I had a recent experience, with a heterosexual cis man. I had a strap on and we played out the exact opposite script where he was blowing me and I can’t tell you how amazingly hot that was. My mind was also blown because the whole world was crumbling around me. All the senselessness faded away and it felt like it was the only right thing.
I like being dominating and I like being submissive. I had a recent sexual encounter where both I and my partner were being subs, and we were communicating to each other our need to please the other person without a dom around. I found that so beautiful. I also have little triggers. If I’m standing and both my hands are in front of my stomach, and the person is holding both my wrists and talking to me while looking into my eyes, I instantly become a little. If they put their head in my lap, I instantly switch into the caregiving role. These are non-sexual triggers that can start a very different dynamic.
I have this rule — If I’m unable to laugh with the person I’m sexual with, I don’t think I can have sex with them. I have elbowed somebody in the balls, like sex can be messy, awkward. It’s all hands, all feet. If I queef, or we bang against each other’s noses because we were in a frenzy, or my partner has to fart while I’m going down on him, it doesn’t have to be this textbook sexy thing.
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And finally consent — if I need someone to slow down and not stop, I use the traffic light yellow which says I don’t want you to stop but I want you to slow down. And if I want for it to get a bit more intense, I have to verbally ask for it. I have understood if I feel shy to say it clearly, verbally then maybe I don’t want it all that much. That’s been my yardstick. There have been times when I’ve surprised my own self when I asked for things that I didn’t think I would ever do. I realized I would quite enjoy it if I’m in the right frame of mind.
People don’t understand that kinks don’t need universal acceptance. You just need to understand that the most absurd of things with mutual consent is acceptable. For somebody, marriage is absolutely absurd but you don’t see people who don’t believe in marriage going around telling people “why are you doing this?” and “you are being trapped.” But also, just because you’re kinky doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy every bloody thing. And if people are gatekeeping for kink then it’s clear they don’t understand it at all.
Rajvi Desai is The Swaddle's Culture Editor. After graduating from NYU as a Journalism and Politics major, she covered breaking news and politics in New York City, and dabbled in design and entertainment journalism. Back in the homeland, she's interested in tackling beauty, sports, politics and human rights in her gender-focused writing, while also co-managing The Swaddle Team's podcast, Respectfully Disagree.