Jo, 25, is still figuring out what it means to be gender fluid, but most of their sexual experiences are as a femme-identifying person. They were very lucky: Their first partner was all about sex positivity and talking about needs. But then, especially as Jo started to think about gender and sexual identity, something happened: Other partners didn’t even know where the clitoris was. Jo said:
“So what helped me conquer my insecurities, about asking for things during sex and advocating for myself, was being aware in the first place that I was ALLOWED to have desires and needs that should be met by a partner. I think that reading about sex online — and not watching porn — also helped me understand my anatomy, which led to me being less insecure.
Jo adds, “I also feel like I had to do a lot of internal work letting go of heteronormative ideas of what sex should “look” like. Sex doesn’t always have to mean penetration or even oral sex. And it might be done in a few minutes or it might go on for a few hours and take a lot of “actually could you do it this way?” and that’s OK.”
Emily, 33, told HelloGiggles that she had a similar experience when a recent ex shamed her for asking for certain things in bed. “I had a really unhealthy, damaging sexual relationship with my most recent ex that’s left me pretty insecure. I’ve since decided that anyone who doesn’t want to venture into freaky-town can get off the train right away,” she says.
“I’ve started being more up front and candid about what I want to do and how I want to feel. Instead of being worried about what someone thinks of me, I’ve learned that their negative reaction is probably stemming from their own shame or fear about their [own] sexuality. Not everything I’m into will be a turn on for my partner, and vice versa, but I’ve learned to take a zero tolerance policy on shaming in the bedroom”
She adds, “It seems harsh, but it makes me feel like a f*cking evolved bad ass.”
In addition, she says she gives herself a little homework before meeting someone new.
Whatever works, right?