Even At Rest

Last night we got together with friends to watch Breasts: A Documentary and Private Dicks: Men Exposed, talk about, and generally enjoy bodies. It was a fantastic time. While sitting around after the movies, my girlfriend Kristi was just staring at my balls, watching them move around on their own, the tiny muscles moving my scrotum around. I have to admit, it’s pretty entrancing. Elizabeth has sat and watched it for a while as well. When Kristi said she’s never seen any that move as much as mine do, I got the brilliant idea of making a movie of my shifting scrotum.

So what do I do today? I make that movie!

Twenty minutes of laying as still as I could comfortably manage with the camera trained on my crotch. Now, I know no one but the three of us wants to stare at my crotch for that long, so by speeding up the video I’m not only saving you time, but also showing the movements in a much more dramatic way.

I want to thank Aquaboogie and Kahvi Collective for releasing the wonderful “Intensive Care” under Creative Commons, allowing me to use it as the score for this film. I thought they went wonderfully together.

With all that said, I finally present to you Even At Rest for download.

Creative Commons License
Even At Rest by Gabe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Getting Good at Oral Sex

I joined reddit.com a few weeks ago, and I have to say I’m really enjoying it. I find that the discussion that happens in the comments on reddit tends to be intelligent, informed and nuanced, especially as compared with other discussion forums on the web. That I can easily bounce between /r/OpenChristian and /r/BDSMcommunity and feel at home in both is pretty impressive.

When I saw someone posting on /r/sex about his worries about his smaller-than-average penis, I was hopeful that the comments would be helpful and reassuring. Reddit, as has been the case so far, didn’t let me down. There are quite a few comments from women (who the poster specifically request give input) stating that penis size is not the measure of a lover, and that they’ve had mindblowing sex with men with smaller-than-average penises. All guys have some worry about the appeal of their cock, specifically around size, and these are just the kinds of comments I’d be hoping for from a general audience.

But, and you knew there was a “but” coming, one thing kinda threw me off. In the top comment as of the time of this writing someone says, “Become GREAT at giving oral, read up on it, same for fingering and everything else.” The sentiment was repeated by quite a few other women. The general thought here is that penetrative sex isn’t the be all, end all of a satisfying sexual experience, and I fully agree with this. Good sex includes all kinds of activities and everyone should embrace them.

What bugged me is the idea that by reading up on oral sex someone can become good at it. I know I’m going against an entire industry of publishing here (including that cultural juggernaut, Cosmo), but I really believe that you can’t learn to have good sex by stacking up a library of techniques you can draw from. Writing the alphabet on her clit with your tongue may give some interesting and pleasurable sensations, but that’s not where good oral sex comes from.

Good sex, oral or otherwise, is communication.

Being a good lover, and indeed, eating pussy well, doesn’t come from combining techniques in a way that will get other people off. Each vulva is unique. Each clit is unique. And, despite all the marketing telling us otherwise, each woman is unique. If you want to be a masterful cunnilingist, then the skill you need to learn is listening.

I don’t mean sit down first and have a discussion about what actions will help your partner come. I mean that before your tongue even touches her you need to be aware of her fully. You need to hear the words she says, the way she breathes, the sounds she makes, the way she moves. And with each touch you need to be aware of how she responds. Does she like hard pressure. Does too much suction cause her to pull back. Does feeling your teeth cause her to gasp? Is it a good gasp or a bad one?

Good cunnilingus isn’t a system. It’s a conversation.

And when you know how she responds to different things, and she knows how she responds to you doing different things, then the conversation begins in earnest.

In preparing for writing this, I wanted an impartial opinion on my own skills, so I asked my friend, theshadowsrose, if to the best of her recollection I was good at oral sex. Without knowing what I was planning to write, or the idea I was going to explore she said “[Y]es. You were responsive to what my body said I liked and were willing to be adaptable to its preferences.”

The thing is, that’s not how you become good at oral sex. That’s how you become a good lover. That’s how you become a good partner. That’s how you become a good friend. That’s how you become good at relating to other people.

Don’t read a book on good sex. Read (and be read by) your partners. They are the ultimate text on themselves.

My cock is not comparable to your dead cow

I have an average sized cock. It’s around 5.5″-6″ when hard. Yes, I’ve measured. In the bell curve of penises I fall right about in the middle. And I’m still insecure about the size of my cock. I think most guys are.

Given all of that it was hard today to see Tristan Taormino retweet this:

RT AdriannaNicole Some people don’t like to consume beef, I don’t like to consume small cocks. Same. Thanks for making me smile today.

While I’d certainly not deny that people have and have a right to their preferences, I agree with what Elizabeth said, also on Twitter:

A major sex educator feeding a highly charged issue like that is irresponsible in my eyes.

So let’s turn the table for a moment and put in any other attribute. Substitute any of the following for “small cocks”: small tits, fat thighs, stretch marks, large labia minora, body hair. Am I just stating a preference then, or am I also reinforcing some pretty serious cultural programming and its attendant negative effects? And if I’m a high profile sex educator, then what message is that sending?

Isn’t part of the job of the sex educator, particularly a sex-positive sex educator, to help normalize the variations of the human body? Shouldn’t we be looking at ways to expand the sexual palate instead of reinforcing the cultural standards of what bodies should be like, especially when it comes to issues that carry so much body hatred with them already?

Ultimately I may be a bit of a hippie elitist. If your preferences are to avoid a certain attribute of a particular body part then it seems you’re more concerned with what you’re fucking than who you’re fucking. I would hope that sex-positivity would lead to whole-body sexuality over body part focused sexuality.

Varying Perspectives on Christian Sex

I have for you another unique perspective on a healthy Christian sex life.

Gabe and I certainly do our theology quite differently than the folks at SexinChrist.com. But the writer shows that you can take the Bible literally and still have a super exciting sex life, since there’s a scriptural basis for anal sex, masturbation, threesomes and BDSM, and a biblical imperative to swallow semen.

Rules For Healthy Relationships

I recently ran across another “10 Rules for Healthy ____ Relationships”, this one elevating one form of relationship to the abuse and denigration of others. My initial response was “AAAAARGH!” There are lots of labels and categories used to describe the form of relationships – poly, mono, closed, open, fidelitous, traditional, legal, nontraditional, etc. But health is not a function of form, it is a function of content.

I have a humble yet significant history in a profession based on supporting and growing relationships, and I am right in the middle of my own combination of successes and learning experiences in life relationships. So, with passion, aggravation, and some measure of education, I’ve built this list. I typically avoid universal statements, as I find them dangerous. But it is my firm belief that there are basic truths for healthy relationships. So of course this list is part self-inventory, but it is also part community exercise in finding that common ground. For that reason, I use the language found below.

So, here are some ground rules for having healthy relationships — be they mono, poly, open, closed, or some combination thereof. I happen to list ten rules. I intend these as realities of growing individuals and growing relationships, not prerequisites for relating to others.

1. Know your own learning style. Living and growing is about constantly learning. Know how to help yourself do that. Be willing to learn.

2. Be comfortable by yourself. If you aren’t content with yourself alone, you will not bring a complete self into any company you keep.

3. Know what your core values are. What is most meaningful to you in your life right now? How has that changed over the years? Where does most of your time and energy go? What are your dreams and hopes for yourself and the world? What shapes do your spiritual drives take (your desires for meaning, connection, mission in life)? How do you bring these values into your relationships?

4. Know what your emotional needs are. Learn what demonstrates love and commitment to you. Know what you need from yourself and others to feel fed every day.

5. Constantly learn new communication skills. Learn how to share painful truths in loving ways. Learn how to best involve your partner(s) in your inner life. Learn how to maintain a working knowledge of your partner(s) as you all grow and change. Communication is at the heart of negotiating good relationships and a good life.

6. Practice compassion. You deserve kindness, as do those you love. If you cannot treat yourself and others with compassion, you cannot do the work of building relationship.

7. Know the connections and differences between content and form. There is not one relationship form that works for everyone. The best form for any relationship is what works best for the individuals involved. Learn how to sort the content — the real fabric of a bond — from the options you have for supportive structure for that content. Choices about open and closed relationships, guidelines about sexual behavior, even household chore delegation are about meeting needs through some sort of decision-making around structure; gain some skills at that.

8. Practice integrity of self and relationship through good boundaries. Boundaries are the skin of a good relationship; everything spills everywhere without them. But building and maintaining good boundaries – like just about everything on this list – is a lifelong process, so don’t be afraid to get messy. Find out where your weak spots are and strengthen them. Learn how to say no when necessary. Learn how to avoid nonconsensual behavior. Are all participants in a relationship nourished by the relationship? Become educated about safer sex and decide together how to act in your best interest.

9. Practice detachment. The spiritual journey(s) of those you love will unfold, with certain decisions and growth that they must forge on their own. Intimacy is about supporting them, not rescuing them from growth or helping them avoid it. Another big part of detachment is this: any healthy relationship is countercultural to some degree or another. We are taught to have poor relationships, and are surrounded by poor role models. Going against cultural programming is essential to health, and it will take strength, creativity and hope to maintain that health.

10. Cultivate a talent for flexibility. There’s a reason for all the “go with the flow” mantras and stories about reeds bending in the storm. Life is unpredictable and uncontrollable. Great joy will come unexpectedly; don’t miss it. Great pain is weathered best with some bendy-ness. The self-awareness reflected in the rules above inevitably leads to profound changes; trust those changes.

It Always Hurts To Call Out A Hero

Betty Dodson has gotten a lot of respect in these quarters. That’s why reading this from her this morning has me rather upset and disappointed. (Emphases mine)

What do American men have in common with Middle Eastern and Tribal African men? All three societies routinely perform circumcision on boys while the rest of the world does not. In the United States, we circumcise babies within the first few days or week. Muslims do it to young boys who are between 12 and 15 while African boys are between 6 to 10 years of age. In all three instances circumcision is performed without anesthesia! Perhaps Muslims circumcise boys late to insure they will become angry young men willing to sacrifice their life for Allah. In Africa it’s a rite of passage into manhood, a warrior who now can kill animals and other men. The fact that the AMA does not support circumcision citing there is no health benefit, I suspect it’s the same for Americans: circumcision prepares our young men to go to war. After all, War Inc. has been America’s number one industry ever since 1914 following WWI.

Later in the same article she writes:

It’s no wonder men hate women consciously or subconsciously. Look at what mothers have allowed a doctor to do to them. First Baby feels pleasure with soft touches that get him partially erect. It feels good until the Doc applies a cold hard metal clamp. The searing pain that follows lasts twenty minutes or more like a sustained torture. May I suggest we consider the similarities between American men and their Islamic brothers or a primitive African tribe?

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m bitter over having part of my dick cut off. That is a decidedly not cool thing to do to a kid (or anyone against their will). It is barbaric and it should be stopped. This is not the way to stop it. Dr. Dodson here equates “Middle Eastern” and “Muslim,” then goes on to paint all Muslim men as Islamist suicide bombers. She refers to Africans as “primitive.” Both of these are then compared and contrasted to Americans. “We don’t want to be like those people” she seems to be suggesting.

Dr. Dodson has certainly done some amazing things. This kind of sloppiness, xenophobia, classism and racism is not among them.

The Getting Started Guide for Girls

I was recently offering some advice to a young woman who has never had an orgasm. My first question for her was “Do you masturbate?” She said she did not, and said she should probably invest in a vibrator. This was my response:

A vibrator is good, but I’d suggest you hold off on that purchase for now. Try to get to know how you respond to your own hands first. The feel of flesh on flesh is a good thing. Elizabeth says that it’s important to have some non-goal-oriented masturbation sessions. Don’t set out trying to make yourself come. Just set aside a period of time to explore the way different things feel, what you like and what you don’t. Use different kinds of touch in different places. Get to know yourself.

Later on you can invest in a vibrator, and not only will all the non-vibrator masturbation have helped you learn what feels good to you, it can actually help serve as a guide to what kind of toys you will want.

I know it sounds like a horrible thing to say, but be patient, and keep at it. There can be so many impediments to female orgasm, mental, social and even physical. But getting a deeper working knowledge of yourself will go a long way toward getting you to where you want to be.

This seems to be a pretty common question, and I know there are a few clit-bearers who read this blog. What would you suggest to a young woman who has never had an orgasm? What would you suggest to her for getting started with masturbation? I can talk all day, but ultimately I have a penis.