10 Lessons Learned

My last sexual adventures as a single woman were in my late-teens. Shrouded in uncertainty, guided by desire for a “soul mate,” and with limited understanding of my body and its pleasures, my experiences were mediocre at best

I met my husband when I was 20, we connected quickly and fell in to monogamy without thought or conversation. We had a good sex life before non-monogamy. It was punctuated by crappy miscarriages, subsequent pregnancies, kids, and the occasional headache, but that’s life.

When we opened our marriage after 19 years I had no dating experience, dismal flirting skills, and a sense-of-self honed primarily through a symbiotic relationship with my husband.

Lucky me, I have had the opportunity (with effusive thanks to my trusting partner) to engage in intimate relations as a single woman would. I have pursued all manner of tryst, tested the waters of love, and put myself out there in the modern dating pool.

In the process I have learned some things about sex, humanity, and humility. And a whole mess of things about myself.

1. I’m attractive.
Why does everyone shut up about a woman’s sexiness once she’s married? My husband does his level best to compliment me, but there’s something about hearing that I’m sexy, beautiful, and alluring from strangers or acquaintances that buoys my confidence in a different way. In the swinger/poly/pervy world compliments and accolades are commonplace. In the monogamous world those same niceties toward a partnered woman are suspicious. My relationship with my husband isn’t threatened by the admiration of other men, it’s enhanced by it.

2. My husband is hot.
There’s nothing like a beautiful woman pulling me aside and waxing poetic about how handsome my husband is. I get to see him through another woman’s eyes, I am validated (however superficially) in my belief that this guy is a good catch. I am even more smitten with my husband because of his attractiveness to other women. Yes, I am a suggestible critter. Like most humans.

3. I can say “no” and nobody dies.
In the world of social sex, I’ve had to buck up and speak my truth. I am in charge of my own good time and feeling so-so about a sexual partner is never an option. I’ve become practiced in “No, thanks.” Saying “no” is me saying “YES” to my own to my wants and needs.

4. Expectation kills joy.
Expectations are often born from patterns of behavior. When that pattern is interrupted, our expectations are either dashed or exceeded. Either way, I’m screwing myself out of a lovely time by predicting an experience or person to be something it’s not. Expectations take me out of the present, they lead me away from pleasure, and they engender worry. (Look for a more in-depth post about this topic soon.)

5. Nobody does sex the same.
Everyone I’ve encountered – in bed or in conversation – has their own sexual thing going on. It’s awesome.

6. I’m full of surprises.
At middle-age I thought I had a pretty good handle on my body, my sexuality, and my wants and needs. Nope! Socially and sexually my body and behavior react to situations in very surprising ways. I’ve had orgasms so profound that I’ve wept. I’ve become friends with people who challenge my very fiber. I am more flexible – mentally and physically – than I ever imagined.

6. Lube early, lube often.
Lube is essential with condoms. Essential for my stamina. Essential if you’re a female who ejaculates profusely (“squirt” isn’t as slick and viscous as lube). Caution: silicone lube is super-tricky to get out of upholstery. You’ve been warned.

7. I don’t have a “type.”
Having a type is helpful for monogamy. By having a type you take a whole bunch of enticing people off of the menu. I do have an Achilles heel: tall, dark, and handsome. While that combo never fails to capture my attention, I’ve had a great time and felt real attraction to men of all flavors. Charm, patience, and humility have won me over time and again.

8. Talk to the hottest people in the room.
They are, very likely, as bewildered by this crazy party as you are and looking for connection. I’m batting .900 on this!

9. Sex goes away, relationships stay.
It happens. This can be surprising. You might not be ready for the sex to go away, alas, someone else is ready. Now you’re left with your bag of feelings. In all likelihood you’re going to see these people again. In all likelihood you’re going to have sex with each others’ friends. Be nice when the sex ends. Don’t worry, you’ll find more sex. It’s harder to find relationships.

10. Comfortable shoes = guaranteed fun.
Too often I’ve ruined my own good time with bad shoes. What a waste. High heels are misogyny incarnate, bring along a pair of sneakers.

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