A couple weeks ago, I had the plague.
For eight days, I was a sniffling, coughing and sneezing mess — practically exuding displeasure. Halfway through my illness, my mother — bless that woman — drove up to Williamsburg to take me to dinner. She treated me to Olive Garden’s bread sticks and soup to soothe my soul and throat, respectively. Afterward, she helped me carry supplies into my room, and, of course, she couldn’t leave until she’d made an attempt to clean my room, as mothers are wont to do.
That’s when she saw the dildo box.
My mother shuffled a few things around before asking, “Kalyn, why do you have a vibrator?”
I froze. The dildo box sat, forgotten and discarded, under my bed, with the dildo itself tucked into a drawer of my desk. A partner — and that’s a whole story in itself — had ferried the dildo in question, packed safely in its box, and its harness to my dorm for a little foray weeks before, and she left the former with me.
“It’s not a vibrator. It’s a dildo,” I instinctively corrected her, my brain not quite processing the turn in the conversation. I’m not sure what possessed me after that, maybe a burning need to over-share every facet of my life or a fit of temporary insanity. “I have a vibrator, too.” Once I realized what I had just word-vomited, I tried to recover with, “Didn’t you read my column? You should know the difference!”
In hindsight, it wasn’t the best recovery and instead only worsened my accidental confession.
She took my admission in stride, although I’m sure one day my spontaneous confessions will be the death of her. Consumed by the nosiness and the morbid curiosity that characterizes our family, she then asked who “used” the dildo and why we even needed it, as homosexuals.
I floundered my way through a response, and, just like that, the conversation moved to safer waters regarding the College’s lesbian population. (Nonexistent, I informed her. They’re like unicorns.)
And finally, here’s this week’s segue: communication.
Communication is key to relationships, whether they’re familial, platonic or sexual in nature. In an uncomfortable three minutes, I both embarrassed myself and educated my mother by over-sharing. I expanded her horizons a little bit and informed her that penetration is not an act monopolized by heterosexual couples.
But, more importantly, communication is vital to good sex. If you don’t tell your partner what you want, how are they going to know? Guessing and testing? This isn’t math class. Experimenting and learning a partner’s body can be an exalting experience, but it won’t always be the most liberating experience for you, especially if they mistake unhappy grunts for pleased moans. If you want it slow and soft, tell them. Conversely, if you want rougher sex, tell them. If you don’t want sex at all, tell them. Do you see a pattern here?
And especially don’t be afraid to communicate more sensitive desires to them. Spanking, dildos, anal — the human imagination is endless, and there’s nothing wrong with any of it. If you want your partner to collar you and treat you like a dog, ask them respectfully, and maybe you’ll wind up with something new in the bedroom. However, don’t get angry if they refuse, unless, of course, they treat your request as something bad or abnormal.
Let’s get something straight: No sex is abnormal. Sex is natural and awesome and more than slightly entertaining, even if it is also really bizarre when you consider all the bodily fluids and the concept of penetration. Yet we, as a species, can accept sex’s inherent, gross faults to revel in it — so why can’t we accept the other, atypical things our partners and peers come up with?
I charge all of you to keep an open mind and a tactfully loose tongue. Suggest something new to your partner and see where it takes you. Just hide all the evidence once you’re done with your sexual adventures, for the sake of your roommate and mother.
Kalyn H. is a Behind Closed Doors columnist who now realizes the importance of clean-up time.