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Can sex ever be truly equal?

(33 Posts)
Backonthehorse Sun 11-Jan-15 16:00:47

Between men and women?

I'm ready to start dating again, after keeping my distance from relationships for a while. All the relationships I have had with men have been BDSM, where I was the submissive half. I don't want this anymore. The sex was intense and at times extremely gratifying, but now the idea of it makes me feel sick. The men weren't bad men, just average twats, and some did love me in a dysfunctional way that I would now not accept, but they did things that I now see were abusive, and I often was not giving free consent.

I now more than anything want my sexual relationships to be equal, and respectful - without even roleplaying at a lack of respect for me, if that makes sense. I would like to meet somebody special someday, but don't believe I must be in love to have sex, just that they would be somebody I consider a friend, who I like and respect.

I am ashamed to say I have no idea what sex would be like in this type of dynamic. I have never experienced it before, I have no previous experience of it, and my parents had a pretty vile relationship so I didn't grow up seeing a template of a healthy adult relationship. I can't help but worry in case I find it lacklustre and dull, in case I miss the intensity of roughness and extreme sensation.

But you can have passion and urgency and amazing sex while still being equals? Without sacrificing respect? I try to think of great love scenes in Hollywood movies between people who obviously care deeply about each other...but then of course that's not what real sex is like either.

Help.

DrownedReindeer Sun 11-Jan-15 16:17:19

Yes, absolutely both people can be equal.

Of course, Hollywood sex is unreal - no one ever fanny farts or makes squishy sounds, but the whole part about both people care about the other person's enjoyment as much - or more - than their own is 100% real.

HouseWhereNobodyLives Sun 11-Jan-15 16:23:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GettingFiggyWithIt Sun 11-Jan-15 16:24:02

My honest advice? I think you need to be the more dominant partner next time around...namely, you on top with someone who at least gives a shit about you. You can then set the pace and as you feel more confident/safe if you like, then you can tell partner to go faster/deeper as and when.
I am probably fairly 'vanilla' but I know what I like, what I want and have someone I can communicate that with and who is pretty happy when I am happy and will put my orgasm first (we used to be in sync but timing and kids and postbirth and libido tis all a bit off atm) In terms of equality I will make sure he is happy with what we do....and it does not have to be penetrative, in fact I think starting off as friends genuinely, not just fuck buddies, and building from there is the way to go. Because you can set the pace, rediscover yourself/reset your triggers and go gently, although there is nothing wrong with fantasy regardless and many caring couples would acknowledge that sex ing up the brain is as important as the physical but does not have tobe played out/actively role played.
You deserve someone who treats you well and who wants to make you happy. In terms of hollywood sex etc I think it is more down to you getting to know each other intimately such that you can work out between you whether you want lots of massage/ deeper connection eye contact and kissing or whether you just want a quickie;-) I think you are brave to be out of that scene intact, and you now know what you want. There will be someone out there for you, you just need to avoid repeating old patterns and not going for the abusive type (disclaimer: not all doms are abusive but ykwim)
Good luck Xxx

Twinklestein Sun 11-Jan-15 16:36:18

I'm not sure why you think that 'passionate urgent' sex couldn't be equal sex OP? For me the best sex is equal, it has to be otherwise it wouldn't be passionate from my pov. I couldn't do submissive to save my life.

HouseWhereNobodyLives Sun 11-Jan-15 16:38:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Backonthehorse Sun 11-Jan-15 16:45:49

Thank you all. Reassuring to hear it DOES exist, even if I have no clue what it would look like at this moment.

I don't want to be submissive anymore but I also don't want a submissive partner - I just want give and take, with us as kind of a team for sex rather than one person being in control.

I know cognitively passion doesn't equal dominance/submission, but because that's what all my experiences have been to date I feel genuinely at a loss. And it's peculiar, because I would rather slit my throat than go fuck it and be submissive again. I know it would make me orgasm to be blunt but the absolute revulsion afterwards would depress me severely.

I suppose I have to re learn things with nice 'normal' partners, if I am lucky enough to find them.

HouseWhereNobodyLives Sun 11-Jan-15 16:47:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Backonthehorse Sun 11-Jan-15 16:56:42

House, I think the problem may be I don't really know what my preferences are blush I climax quite easily, but want to find stuff I enjoy that doesn't leave me feeling awful afterwards? No idea what that will be.

The things I feel strongly about are I never want to be always expected to give blow jobs, and to swallow. Not because I find giving oral sex gross, but because it was used as something to control and humiliate me before, basically. I hope that with the right person, in time I'd want to do it for them for their pleasure, but worried in case I never get over it. That's a key worry.

I also have vaginismus. Previous bfs either used it to demand oral sex instead or else enjoyed my pain when they penetrated me, and because I was a masochist back then I was able to enjoy the pain too. Now I break into a cold sweat when I think of all this. The idea of that pain makes me feel dizzy, and I never, ever, ever want to go near a man who gets off on that. Even though it was all supposed to be a game, etc. I want a man who would be horrified by that. But then they might not have patience to work through the vaginismus with me sad

Twinklestein Sun 11-Jan-15 17:03:58

There's a difference between BDSM and sexual abuse, and what you're describing sounds more like the latter. (Not saying there wasn't BDSM too).

Twinklestein Sun 11-Jan-15 17:05:18

Honestly you sound like you need some therapy for what you've experienced. The 'cold sweat' and the dizziness sound like a trauma reaction.

HouseWhereNobodyLives Sun 11-Jan-15 17:09:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HouseWhereNobodyLives Sun 11-Jan-15 17:10:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Backonthehorse Sun 11-Jan-15 17:18:46

I think there were elements of abuse there, but I did verbally consent to everything and encouraged it so it's difficult. I feel my consent was pretty warped.

I am having some therapy when I can afford it to deal with it all, sadly it's not a fast solution and I think it will probably take many years to work through things.

The problem is I don't want to put my life on hold until then, until I've processed it all. I feel ready to try dating again.

HouseWhereNobodyLives Sun 11-Jan-15 17:26:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HouseWhereNobodyLives Sun 11-Jan-15 17:26:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Backonthehorse Sun 11-Jan-15 17:34:49

Sorry I wasn't clear - I am having therapy at the moment, but not as often as I should be due to money. Have been going for nearly 2 years. It has definitely helped me re shape some ideas in my mind, and come to the conclusion that I don't want that stuff again. I have a clearer model in my head of how I want people to treat me, and why I want to be treated this way.

Tbh I think reading Mumsnet has helped a huge amount with developing my abuser-radar blush

Twinklestein Sun 11-Jan-15 17:37:27

The problem though when you're in an abusive situation is that your verbal consent is not necessarily a free and un-pressured choice. 'Warped consent' is an interesting choice of words. Do you feel at all that your consent was coerced in some situations?

DistanceCall Sun 11-Jan-15 17:51:48

I should point out that enjoying a D/s dynamics in a sexual relationship as the submissive partner does not mean that you are actually submissive otherwise. And being sexually submissive does not equal being mistreated. In my experience, BDSM relationships require very strong boundaries, very good communication, and being very clear-headed about it (on both sides) to work properly. Otherwise, it's just an excuse for abusive twats to take advantage of women (and men).

I don't think the problem is with your sexual life, but with your approach to life in general.

ElectraInExcelsis Sun 11-Jan-15 18:06:13

I've been through some of the same stuff as you OP. And I can relate to what you say about the abuse and control feeling like passion. In my case, it's still something I've been trying to address.

Backonthehorse Sun 11-Jan-15 18:12:05

Distancecall, cheers for slating on my 'approach to life' like that hmm

For years, I would have written what you just have. I would have said I was an assertive woman who just happened to be wired this way, to like pain and submission. And it did not remotely go outside the bedroom, unless you count the fetish clubs and orgies and private parties I went to.

I am pleased for you if BDSM works, good for you. But I have to say my opinions of the whole thing have changed. I am uncomfortable with the amount of dysfunctional people I met in that scene. Being frank, they all either have one or more types of abuse in their pasts, or else have an adolescent level of emotional maturity for whatever reason. Doesn't make them bad people, some are still good friends, but definitely what I observed. I am sure people who do not fit into either category exist but I never met them.

That just isn't something I want anything to do with anymore.

My consent was definitely coerced in some situations but not all. It's very hard to describe the way stuff happened.

I used to be very certain that playing with ideas like forced sex and extreme pain were all ok because ultimately I was in control, and now I am not so sure. I think my brain still registered it as trauma, linked into childhood emotional abuse which confused sex and aggression.

And when you experiment with forced sex and wanting to push it to the edges (ie deciding to do this kind of 'role playing' without a safeword) occassionally it fucks up and the other person doesn't realise that you really want them to stop. Because they think you are acting. Essentially a situation where I was raped, but there was not really a rapist because he thought it was what we agreed. It's hard to know what it was, because the cruelness of him in that moment seemed very real.

DistanceCall Sun 11-Jan-15 18:19:14

I apologise, I didn't intend to slate you or your approach to anything - I'm very sorry if I put it in a way that could be misunderstood. I was just saying that a BDSM dynamics shouldn't be harmful for the parties involved. If it was hurting you for whatever reason, then it wasn't the right thing for you (and, as you say, you can come across many dysfunctional people).

You have done nothing wrong. If you have decided that you no longer want to do what you once did, then of course you should stop. Nobody should have to do anything they don't want to, sexually.

DistanceCall Sun 11-Jan-15 18:21:10

And when I mentioned your "approach to life" (perhaps not the best choice of words, I agree), I meant that the issues involved don't seem to be only sexual. You mention that you were abused as a child.

Backonthehorse Sun 11-Jan-15 18:26:58

Thanks, DistanceCall. Glad to know I misread your comment.

I agree with you that BDSM should not harm anyone involved and that it should be a positive thing. I found the reality was that it allowed a lot of abusive people to operate under a ridiculous umbrella of D/s. And that unfortunately, people are drawn to BDSM from abusive or otherwise dysfunctional backgrounds because of the familiarity, but this time it is very seductive because it offers a chance to keep what you are familiar with, but do it differently, so it fulfills you and satisfies you, and can be part of your self-actualization. Only I'm very skeptical about how often this happens in a long term context.

Gets off soapbox..

Backonthehorse Sun 11-Jan-15 18:30:18

I have a history of abuse, yes. But I have healthy and close friendships, so my approach to other relationships can't be all wrong wink

Also, I am bisexual and feel none of this fear or concern if it I meet a lovely woman who is also interested in me. Maybe I should just try to ignore men? But that doesn't feel quite right. That feels like denial, when the fact is I could fall for a man or a woman..

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