Him; Last night the lovely Em and I both read this dreadful piece of body-shaming, sex-hating clickbait from Metro blogger Hannah Gale, and came to the same basic conclusion: WTF?? It’s one thing to offer reassurance that ‘hey, just because most people like x, that doesn’t mean you have to as well, and while we’re at it, don’t let anyone make you feel bad or pressure you into doing things you don’t enjoy’. That would be fine, and actually for those of us who hang out at the kinkier end of the spectrum, it could’ve served as a useful reminder that not everyone sings from the same filthy, uninhibited hymn sheet.
But no, instead of something nuanced and thought-provoking, Ms Dale chose to churn out 500 words of joyless, ignorant, po-faced drivel. It’s both prudish and desperately unfunny, but the author’s worst crime is to introduce her list by claiming that in writing it, she’s being ‘honest about sex’. Perhaps she genuinely does hate all 21 of those things (in which case I pity any man or woman who winds up in bed with her), but even if that’s the case, this list is no more honest about sex than the romcoms to which she purports to be responding.
Both of us enjoy provocative articles that challenge our views on interesting subjects. Both of us hate dreary, immature nonsense that makes us do this face:
Instead of just banging on about how crap the Metro’s list is for another 250 words (and believe me, we could), Em and I thought we’d take it point-by-point and explain why, actually, there’s awesomeness to be had with each and every one of them. If you think we’ve missed anything, or if you want to add any general thoughts on the list, please comment on one of our blogs, or hit us up via Twitter.
HER: Oh, you mean that heady smell of satisfaction and pleasure? Call me crazy but I love the smell of sex; it’s musky and makes me want to lie, cat-like, purring in messy sheets. Ok, so it might not be a Yankee candle scent any time soon but to have such an aversion to it seems a bit worrying – it’s you, after you. Your scent, your body.
HIM: Ok, let’s ignore all those occasions when your socks don’t need to come off during sex… You don’t want to mix sock removal and foreplay? Fine: why not make taking off your socks – or your partner’s socks – part of the foreplay? Tie them up and slowly roll each sock down over their ankles, as if you’re rolling a condom down onto a hard cock. Make it part of a striptease. Or just, y’know, relax and accept that just because something is physically awkward (or clumsy, or funny) that doesn’t make it ‘unsexy’. That only happens if you’re too uptight to be able to enjoy life’s little absurdities.
HER: This one really pisses me off; sex isn’t cookie cutter, rom-com toned, tanned limbs effortlessly working their way through the Karma Sutra without so much as breaking a sweat or an awkward ‘watch out, where are you putting that?’ A ‘fanny fart’ is just a build up of air in the vagina – it’s normal and if you like positions like doggy or legs on the shoulder, you’ve probably experienced one. To me, this ‘unsexy’ point is rooted in the fear we are taught to have of our own bodies; we need to be ‘perfect’ at all times and as female sexuality is so fraught with societal judgement and policing, anything that deviates from the Disney princess sex we think we should be having, is immediately ’embarrassing’ and makes us want to curl up and die. Fuck that. Your body will make noises. It’s alright. You don’t need to be banished to a dungeon to live a life of celibacy just because your lady garden made a little noise after a vigorous session; any guy/gal worth their salt won’t give a fuck. If they do, kick them out of bed and think of it as a lucky escape.
HIM: So much of what’s wrong with this list stems from the way the author seems to equate ‘good sex’ with a sort of soft-focus sterility. It’s not hard to imagine her tapping out each point with pursed lips and a disapproving frown, inwardly shuddering at the thought of All. That. Mess. For most of us, farts themselves are not inherently sexy. However, at worst they can be politely ignored, and at best, with a partner who is comfortable with his or her body, they offer the perfect opportunity for some light-hearted teasing, or a few stolen, mock-comforting kisses, or even just the simple pleasure of shared laughter.
HER: Yeah, okay. Cramp does suck but what is frustrating about this bloody point is the bit where she says ‘not knowing the best way respond.’ How about saying, ‘I have cramp.’ Too simple? Do we need some kind of Morse code we can tap out on each other as talking or engaging in conversation is clearly too much to ask? One tap for cramp, two for carry on, that’s good? My view is that if you are getting horizontal with someone, you must like them at least a moderate amount. You’ve probably even spoken to them on a few occasions so piping up and saying ‘cramp’ isn’t that hard. You’re not admitting to killing puppies in your spare time or asking them to donate a kidney so what’s the big deal?
HIM: When I was a teenager, my top bunk was high enough that I could lie on my back, plant my feet on the ceiling, walk them up towards my head, and jizz all over my own face. I’d love to say that I did it in an attempt to better understand the female experience, but really I just liked the taste of cum, and enjoyed feeling it shoot out onto my mouth, cheeks and chin. Maybe it’s not much fun if you happen to get an eye-ful, but everywhere else, it’s all kinds of hotness; if you instinctively think of cum as ‘gross’ or ‘nasty’, or rush to get it off your skin the second the sex is over, you might want to re-examine some key elements of your attitude to the human body.
HER: You know you don’t have to swallow it, right? There isn’t a law or anything babe. Sure, it’s not a taste sensation or anything you’d rush to put on a dinner party menu but it’s not awful. Female come tastes much nicer than semen; it’s sweeter, I think but anyway; you don’t have to swallow, and if you do, you don’t have to PRETEND anything. You don’t OWE anything.
HIM: Maybe you should. Maybe you shouldn’t. I’m probably the wrong person to ask about underwear. I do know that if a partner is put off by the colour of your underwear, they probably shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near it. If you’re comfortable standing in front of me wearing grey, faded underwear, that probably means you’re confident enough in your own skin to be a lot of fun in bed, and that’s very sexy. Also, surely a use can be found for that hole in the back…
HER: I haven;t actually experienced this and it sounds a bit worrying tbh, but again: it’s your body, your business. As long as you AREN’T bleeding or in pain, fuck it.
HIM: This just feels like someone trying to invent a problem. I get that you probably don’t want it all over the carpet, but jeez, maybe keep some tissues by the bed? You can store them next to your penis beaker. Or, if your partner’s anything like me, get him to scoot down between your legs and lick/suck it all out of you: believe me, that generally leads to more good things happening.
HER: You could use a condom, just an idea. If not, keep some tissues by the bed? Baby wipes? Also, it does wipe off and it isn’t radioactive so you’ll be fine for the few seconds you have icky semen on you. There is so much body loathing going on in this article; sex isn’t sterile.
HIM: Pro tip: avoiding ‘willy’ would be a good start. Without wanting to sound like a stuck record, dirty talk works when you’re relaxed about sex, and when you see it as something joyful and uplifting. We all have particular words, phrases and images that don’t do it for us, so dirty talk with a new partner can be a bit hit-and-miss, but it’s not hard to iron out those initial creases, and turn it into something that has one or both of you clawing at the walls with lust. And of course it doesn’t have to take place while you’re actually in bed with someone: often, the best dirty talk happens hours or days beforehand, on the phone, or over email, or whispered into your partner’s ear in a crowded bar…
HER: Put some music on. Talk. Tell him/her what you want them to do to you when you’re naked. It doesn’t have to be an awkward silent affair. Plus this one makes me think that she isn’t a fan of sober sex – bit worrying. My view is that my body is fucking epic and if you’re invited to attend, you better bloody enjoy it. Maybe ask for help stripping? Make it sexy rather than this clinical image you’ve managed to conjure up of you silently removing your clothes, full of foreboding about future wet patches and come faces..
HIM: Even if you ignore the crude, clumsy attempt at humour, this is errant nonsense. Don’t like your own orgasm face? That’s fine: it sort of falls into the same category as listening to your voice on audio recordings, or watching yourself on video, and plenty of us inwardly shudder at those. However, in terms of sexiness there’s not much in life that beats giving your partner a toe-curling, leg-trembling, face-scrunching orgasm, and everything about that – the noises they make, the way they grip your hand/cock/fingers/hair/etc, and yes, the sight of them completely undone by the pleasure of being with you – is a world of Yes.
HER: As someone who prefers the fur-free look downstairs, I can’t say much about pubes. I think oral feels much nicer when I am bare but on him? I can’t say I’ve ever really thought of them as a ‘hazard’ tbh.. I’m worried now about the kind of sexual partners she’s had, with their angry pubes.. Ask them to trim if you want.
HIM:The sweat! Fucking hell, yes, the sweat. Even as someone who would rather be too cold than too hot, I absolutely love rolling off my partner’s body after a hard, fast, breathless fuck, and dissolving into a puddle of my own perspiration. It is a physical marker of time well-spent, and also contains all those lovely pheromones that get us so worked-up about each other. Sweat is unsexy on the Tube, or in a cramped office environment, but in bed, it makes me want to lick all the salty, tangy goodness off someone’s skin, and go at it all over again.
HER: Lube is your friend. Use lots. I love lube, it’s a gift from God. Makes everything feel amazing. Also, spend more time on foreplay to get you going – don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and to expect pleasure.
HIM: Oh boy. Where to start? Ok, here’s a list of all the people in the world who dislike doggy-style:
1. Hannah Gale
2. I dunno, maybe the Pope
Trust me, that’s exhaustive: I’ve done the research. Look, I’m all for saying that different people like different things, and I’m trying to make this as non-judgey as possible, but unless there’s a specific physical reason why doggy doesn’t work for you (maybe your boyfriend’s cock is stupendously large?), this is a tough one to get my head around. Doggy has something for everyone, whether you’re M/F, M/M, F/F, or some other wonderful combination of body parts. We’re kind of built to enjoy it, in fact. Hannah, I gotta say, I’m really struggling with this one…
HER: Mix it up babe, use your hands to ease the jaw lock.
HIM: Willies are ugly. Vaginas suck. Sweat is icky. Cum is slimy. Pubes get stuck in your teeth. In fact, when we fuck we should probably just wrap ourselves in giant, full-body condoms, put a sheet between our bodies, and close our eyes so we don’t have to look at each other’s orgasm face. Right? Wrong. Hannah Gale asked us to ‘think about this one’, and believe me, I’ve thought about it. I’ve also thought about all the fucking beautiful cunts I’ve had the pleasure to get up close and personal with over the years, and I’ve thought about my own cock, and how I’ll be damned if I let some sex-phobic, body-hating excuse for a blogger tell me it’s ugly. Fuck you, Hannah Gale, and fuck you, Metro editors, for publishing this piece of shit.
HER: Keep tissues by the bed to sort this out, or just go with it. It’s not like you are having a bath in come, is it? It’s just a bit damp and it feels kind of naughty to be revelling in it.
Em; To me, these points all stem from unrealistic expectations we have about sex and how it ‘should’ be. My first thought was how boring and tragic Gale’s sex life must be if she is so anti all the things that make sex messy, fun and enjoyable. I love the idea of breaking down those barriers that exist around sex and opening up about what we like/dislike but this just reeks of insecurity and body loathing. She thinks vaginas are ugly; hates come; thinks orgasm faces are comparable to murder victims and is too afraid to say she has cramp or fanny fart. It doesn’t sound like she is enjoying sex at all so I would recommend Hannah stays in with a bottle of wine, some literotica and her hand for a bit and figures out what pleases her and what she wants in a bed buddy.
What do you think?