I don’t want to alarm anyone but it has come to my attention that a lot of sex is being sabotaged. That in many bedrooms lurks an unseen culprit that robs many couples (or trios, quads, whatever you may have there) of the, positive, communicative and let’s just say it, bad-ass sex they should be having. This dude is sneaky, he gets into your head. You’re going along feeling all bow-chicka-wow-wow and then maybe it’s time to get a condom or maybe you don’t want to go any further or maybe someone is just inadvertently cutting off the blood flow to your arm and BAM! this bastard shows up and plants himself firmly between you and your bedmate. Awkward…
So, who, might you ask, is this epic douchebag? I call him “The Moment”
Don’t act like you don’t know this guy. I think we’ve all met him. Based on the internet, it seems we’re all discussing him constantly and he’s apparently a terrible influence. “Contraception is for “bad” girls who planned out sex, not girls who got caught in the heat of the moment” ( ?!) “I don’t want to ruin the moment by telling him he’s hurting me” (?!?!?!) “One third of women get ‘swept away in the moment’ and forget about using condoms” (?!?!?!?!) “…asking for consent ‘would ruin the moment.’” (?!?!?!?!?!)
So, what we’re saying is that “The Moment” is anti-contraception and doesn’t care about your comfort or consent. In addition to these wonderful qualities, it seems this charmer is hyper-sensitive and a lot of us live in fear of driving him away. Have you ever done anything really dumb so as not to “ruin the moment”? I’m not going to front, I totally have and as I’m prone to over-sharing here are some of my greatest hits. In the name of “The Moment” I have:
- Made out to “Me and a Gun” by Tori Amos. Yep, that’s the song about her rape. I was horrified but, you know, didn’t want to interrupt. (?!)
- Lost entire nights of sleep because my companion fell asleep in a manner that left no room for me and I was afraid everything would be blown if I woke them up to say “dude, move”. This was mostly in college when the beds were crazy-small.
- Endured countless episodes of inept poking at my genitals in manners ranging from ineffective to painful. I tried the subtle backing away but they just kept coming like clitorally-focused velociraptors and I was afraid to say anything lest I ruin the great thing that was going on (again, ?!)
- Not used protection. Yep, I’ll own that one. I was that girl. I have since cut that shit out but there was a period where Planned Parenthood saw me 3 times in 6 months because I kept going in to be tested for stuff after doing this.
- Slept with someone I didn’t really want to sleep with. (It’s cool, you can reach through the screen and slap me if you want.) It doesn’t actually make sense, there shouldn’t even have been a “Moment” there but the date was good, flirting was happening and I didn’t want to make it awkward. (One more time with feeling ?!)
Just typing that list made me want to go back in time and kick my own ass. Except the Tori Amos one, in retrospect that one is a little funny… I was 19 and an idiot.
The thing is, if any of my partners had demanded that I do the things on the above list I’m pretty sure we’d all agree that they were horrible people I shouldn’t be in bed with but when I felt they were demanded by “The Moment”, necessary to keep this intangible quality, I barely questioned them. I engaged in behaviors ranging from “awkward and dumb” to “dangerous and frightening” and for what? Seriously, let’s go back over that list and see what awesome, special experiences I created for myself by putting in the effort to “not ruin the moment” in each of the above experiences:
- To this day, I remember NOTHING about that experience except the fact that “Me and a Gun” came on and I spent the whole song thinking “This is so inappropriate, I should really shut this off but would he find that weird?” Good times.
- Yeah, the memories of those long, uncomfortable sleepless nights are something I’ll always cherish. No, not even a little true.
- My clit hurts just reading that, also I get annoyed. Those two feelings are exactly what I felt at the time too! Ah, romance!
- Remember when I was really afraid that I had contracted an STI? How much did that rule?
- Have you ever had sex where you spent the whole time thinking “Why am I doing this?” I have. Score!
What I’m trying to say in my native tongue, sarcasm, is that I did these ridiculous things and “The Moment”s I ended up with run the gamut from lame to atrocious, hitting most points in between. Based on the quotes above other folks aren’t faring much better. It’s time to stop the insanity.
Here’s the what: sex is, yes, beautiful and pleasurable but also it’s fun, funny, awkward, ridiculous, occasionally gross, sometimes silly and once in a while completely absurd (seriously, someone recently told me that during sex she was positioned “you know, like a kite” I have no idea what that means and I guarantee it looked completely ridiculous but apparently it worked for her and that’s what sex should be!) Megan Andelloux says “Sex is play time for grown-ups” and I love that. But to get to successful play time you have to be comfortable, you have to feel safe and you have to be present to what’s going on. How can you do any of that if you are afraid to broach subjects like condoms, comfort or even consent because it might cause “The Moment” to go away?
So, I’m proposing that you forget about “The Moment”. Just let it go. Be present with your partner and the hell with Mr Moment- kick that dude out of your bedroom! Any time you feel him creeping back in, notice what’s really going on. I’m willing to bet that precious moment may have been serving as a scapegoat.
- Afraid to bring up condoms because you don’t want to ruin the moment? Is it maybe that you aren’t comfortable asserting yourself with this partner? Remember your health is worth speaking up for. Also, sex is way better when you feel safe, if you can’t get there with this person maybe it’s time to examine whether you should be in bed with them.
- Feeling awkward about consent? Could it be that you don’t know how to work that in in an un-clunky feeling manner? I get that. This piece has some great stuff to say about it, including the mention of one of my all time favorite practices – dirty talk as them means to asking consent, it’s pretty hot.
- Fretting about expressing physical discomfort? I find this usually comes from two things 1. Not wanting to criticize your partner 2. Not wanting to derail your partner’s path to orgasm. There are so many ways to go about this in a way that does neither. From “That feels awesome but I can no longer feel my left leg” to “Wait! I really want to try something!” -then just move into a different position, no big deal!
Ta-da! These dilemmas can solved no dramatic talk of “Moments” is necessary and, just maybe, we can learn a bit about ourselves in the process.
So, stop letting “The Moment” stand between you and the happy, healthy, super-hot sex you deserve. Reclaim your bedroom (or kitchen, or shower, or whatever). Communicate with your partner, be safe, free yourself to laugh, play and have some fun and maybe (who knows?) you might just find yourself having a better moment than you ever imagined.