Despite the myriad of sexual fetishes and accessories that are now being discussed and explored in our tech-based age of information, most of us are still having sex with what nature has provided (and maybe a dildo or two).
Sex can be augmented, but when most of us first approach it there’s typically more of a focus on our bodies, our mutual desires, and the go-to sexual acts and positions that pretty much everyone has heard about.
So, if on one intimate evening your partner confines in you that they’d like to be penetrated from behind with a strap-on while you spank them and call them a good little sub you’d be confused for thinking ‘…Wait, what?’
When The Kink Closet Opens
The action is often referred to as ‘pegging’, at least when it comes to heterosexual partners, and is the sexual act of a woman penetrating a man with a strap on. ‘Strap-on sex’ is the more gender inclusive term, but it may not turn up as many Google searches initially.
And that might be your first reaction when being presented with a partner’s unexpected sexual fetish: ‘I have no idea what they’re talking about. Why did I ban smartphones in the bedroom? I need to Google this shit!’ etc.
If that is your first thought then great! That shows that, despite where your head might be right now, your first desire is to know more, rather than to shame your partner or have a knee-jerk negative reaction – which is, in the defence of anyone who initially reacts this way, easier said than done.
Sex is something very personal and intimate. It’s something we often gain our own personal style with – which we consider ourselves confident in – and we feel like our expression of desire is what our partner wants.
To hear that, actually, what they want is something else, something you’ve never even heard of, let alone have any experience in, isn’t just an information clash, but also a sexual revelation: your partner wants something very specific, and you have no clue how to provide it, or if you’d even want to. That’s scary and it can feel like a personal blow.
Flipping The Coin
If you’re feeling daunted at your partner’s kinky reveal then sometimes the best initial reaction is to proceed with a sense of empathy.
This is strange to you, scary, and you’ve probably got a bit of mental and sexual whiplash occurring, but what about them?
To have a kink that is not necessarily ‘mainstream’ can, itself, be a very isolating and fear-inducing situation, but to reveal it to others? That can take nerves of steel, especially if you care about that person and are worried about how they might react.
Take strap on sex as an example. Nowadays it’s becoming more visible in sex stores, and has even featured in popular movies (think Deadpool) but usually it’s still the butt of a joke (pun intended, and illustrating the point) and can be used as a point of ridicule.
Many people still associate men who like anal sex with homosexuality or a lack of masculinity. The fact that the P-Spot resides in the booty and that anal sex can allow partners to explore new power dynamics is beside the point. There’s still a lot of deep-seated prejudice against kinky loving, and that means that admitting to finding such acts a huge turn on comes with a lot of mental baggage.
And that’s the tame stuff: imagine if a partner approached you about crossdressing, pet play, an interest in being an adult baby, or a desire to explore urethral sounding. That’s a whole lot of topics that are difficult to explain, come with huge social stigmas, and, even when explained, may just be too uncomfortable for many.
Yourself potentially included.
Okay, so your partner has just confessed to you their deep dark sexual desire and you’re completely lost and overwhelmed. Now what?
Hopefully, you’re able to recognise that your initial confusion is understandable and not a negative reflection of you as an individual. You’ve also, fingers crossed, taken that initial reveal with empathy and have already started asking questions.
If not, the initial work will be to mend the emotional damage that any negative reactions may have caused.
In any instance, it’s important to thank your partner for opening up to you. Communication is so important in a relationship, and to be so sexually honest is a big relationship milestone.
Next calmly explain any emotions that you may be going through. Make sure that you use language specific to how you’re feeling and why that might be informing any difficulties you’re having. Make it clear what you want from your partner and the positive outcome that you’re hoping to achieve from having your apprehensions or questions answered.
An example of this would be as follows;
‘Thank you so much for letting me know that you’re in to puppy play. I must admit, I’ve never heard of it before and so I’m not really sure what to say. The link towards animals makes me a bit nervous, perhaps you could tell me a bit more about what’s involved? That was I can get a better idea of how I feel and what it is you like about it’
Of course, how you go about things will depend on your relationship with your partner and the ways you best communicate, but you get the gist.
The next important step is to do your research. Many people find it helpful to ask their partner a few initial questions first and then to go off and do some research on their own for a while before regrouping to discuss things further.
This isn’t to discourage looking in to things together – that’s actually recommended later down the line – but at first it’s important that you give yourself the space to get to grips with this formerly unknown kink or sexual action before feeling like someone else is dictating it to you.
Even in the kink world, we all have our personal ideas of what exactly constitutes any given fetish, so don’t be afraid to get a variety of views before then talking to your partner about how their experiences compare. This will settle both your minds and give you better footing when you do then go searching for information together, making the experience mutual rather than creating a student/teacher vibe.
Trying It Out?
If your partner has confided in you about their sexual desires then they’ve most likely done so with the hope that you’ll participate in some way or learn to love what they love.
Let us be clear here: You have no obligation to try any sexual act or kink that you’re not comfortable with, and a lack of trying does not make you a bad partner.
If you look in to something and you feel like it’s not for you then you shouldn’t feel pressured in to doing it. Use the above-mentioned tactic to explain your feelings and why you can’t get involved. This may be instantly respected or it may be followed by a difficult relationship conversation, that we can’t predict, but the important thing is that you didn’t feel forced into a sexual act you weren’t happy with.
If, however, you do want to give it a go then, congratulations! The approaches you’ve taken above will have put you in a good position to take things to the next step with your partner: field research.
Plan any kink sessions prior to trying them, at least for the first time, so that you both know roughly what to expect. Don’t be afraid to admit any apprehensions but, remember, this can be a normal part of sex (it certainly is for any first-timer). Take the experience as it comes and support each other as you go along. If you need to stop then stop. Breaks are also good to have.
If you respect each other’s boundaries and move forward with mutual understanding then we feel confident that you can master the introduction of any new kink in to the bedroom.
Oh, and if you didn’t know about pegging before then you do know. Huzzah for sexual milestones!
As the founder of Godemiche, Adam, joked and mimed motions of ‘disgust’ at the thought of female pubic hair, his partner could be heard offering a reasoned defence for the natural growth that most people experience and which some elect to keep.
Adam’s sentiment was not well-received.
Since then Godemiche have offered a very heartfelt apology and have reached out to leaders in the adult blogging community to engage in an educational process involving various articles on the topic of pubic hair.
I am very honoured to be part of this initiative.
The Problem With Pubic Hair
Sadly, the initial attitude that Adam held towards pubic hair is not an uncommon one, and neither is it seen in a negative light by many. In a recent survey by Cosmopolitan it was reported that 46% of their male respondents preferred their women to be completely bare in the pubic region. Comparatively only 6% preferred the natural look.
This is especially interesting when contrasted against the female perspective—with only 12% of women liking their men bare, 70% preferring it trimmed, and a similarly slim 10% liking the natural look.
Perhaps equally worrying is that the main reason stated for grooming one’s pubic hair was the sense that it would make them more sexually attractive.
Let’s set the record straight right away—pubic hair is not a bad thing. It protects our body from bacteria and other unwanted nasties, it provides a buffer from friction, it regulates temperature, and (as an interested tidbit) it is thought to trap pheromones and similar scents that increase our sexual attractiveness to our partner.
These traits are highly beneficial and yet the current consensus is that pubic hair is unhygienic and somehow hinders sexual attraction.
What is going on!?
If there’s nothing wrong with pubic hair physically then there’s only one answer: The problem with pubic hair isn’t the hair itself, it’s our attitude.
Shame or Shave
Unsurprisingly, the history of shaving one’s pubic hair in modern society (especially if you’re a woman) is rooted in the fashion industry.
As early as 1915 companies were encouraging women to keep parts of their body trimmed to compensate for the increasingly revealing design of clothing. By 1922 it was considered an extreme embarrassment for women to allow unshaven parts of her body to be shown.
As fashion continued to get closer and closer to the pubic hairline so, too, did the mounting pressure to make sure that not a single stray hair was exposed.
The ultimate transition to being completely bare has often been associated with pornography, where it was a trend in the 1980s.
From a filmography perspective, the origins of this weren’t intended to shame women but were still catering to a male gaze. With porn being prevalently aimed towards men, shaving a woman’s pubic hair allowed them to see more of the vulva, as penetration occurred.
The perhaps unintended outcome of this was that a gradual expectation grew that women should be shaved and that a shaved vulva was more sexually appealing.
Tie this in with the fashion industry’s desire to profit off women’s insecurity, and the link between showing more skin and less hair and, gradually, a self-regulating attitude of shame and sexual aversion grew around women’s pubic hair.
Of course, these issues affect men and trans or genderfluid individuals, but the mentality has stemmed from an attitude that prevalently criticises women’s bodies. It’s hugely unlikely that a man will be asked to shave his pubic hair in case his partner ‘chokes on a hair’, or something similar, it is much more likely that a woman will be asked this.
It is one of many ways in which the criticism of women’s bodies (followed by an expectation that she will change to cater to the person’s needs) is condoned in our society, and the fact that the presence of a woman’s natural hair is now the subject of jokes and ridicule is indicative of just how used to this internal oppression we have become.
But What Can Be Done?
As with Godemiche, the first move in countering such attitudes is to realize that they’re a problem to start with.
This isn’t always as easy as it sounds. As a species, humans have a predisposed bias towards following the group consensus, even when presented with facts that may say otherwise. This means that to strike out against a common attitude is, itself, inherently difficult.
Once you’ve recognised the possible issues when it comes to problematic or misogynistic attitudes (in any instance) the next step is research.
In the case of pubic hair we have already explored the origins of a preference to keeping trim, but what are the benefits of removing one’s pubic hair?
In this instance, the consensus is none.
The removal of pubic hair can cause abrasions, soreness, or even infections—with up to 60% guaranteed to experience such abrasions. Ingrown hairs increase with shaving and STIs become more of a risk. The process of shaving or waxing is also rather painful, and can even be traumatic for some individuals.
All-in-all expecting a person to shave their vulva is essentially like expecting them to routinely hurt themselves for your aesthetic preferences.
Is this acceptable?
I think most of us would agree that it’s not.
But what if the individual in question shaves for themselves? What if a person feels more confident with a shaven bush and has self-esteem issues that are directly associated with the visibility of their pubic hair?
In such instances, it’s important to make sure that your partner is shaving out of a sense of confidence and empowerment rather than just a fear of rejection or being deemed unattractive. Perhaps they do not know the damage that shaving can cause—at least 59% of women shave because they believe it is for their own health—but do make sure that you approach the issue in a respectful way, rather than trying to explain the factors to them as if they may not know them.
Communication is crucial in any challenging of pubic conventions and taking a self-reflective and reasoned approach to such discussions (whether with a partner, an uninformed individual, or anyone else) is vital.
If the shaven individual you speak to knows all of this and is still perfectly happy with their grooming choices them awesome. It’s their body and their choices and as long as they’re informed and acting from their own agency then anything beyond that is none of your beeswax.
Equally, if someone chooses not to shave and it goes against your preference then this is something you must learn to respect. You may discuss your preference with them but, ultimately, you should recognise it as such—a preference, and not necessarily one that has the best of cultural origins. If this is a deal-breaker then so be it, but it’s important to recognise that such a situation would not be the fault of your partner, who is not obligated to change to suit your needs.
Lastly, if you really wish to cater the negative attitude that exists against people’s pubic choices (natural, shaved, or otherwise) the most important thing is to be fiercely vocal and make sure that you challenge derogatory attitudes towards people’s grooming choices when you see them.
Godemiche have seen the benefits of such activism and now they are trying to be part of it with this educational series. It is my hope (and theirs) that you read this piece and use it to (continue to) be an ambassador for pubic hair and personal grooming choices everywhere.
Here’s to the vulva in all its many states! Let no blame or shame meet its acquaintance.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia