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14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners

Sex partners are about a whole lot more than sex. Real talk.

Sex

Every time I have a conversation with a friend or I'm interviewed about relationships and I mention that there is something unique that I've learned from each person I've had sex with, I get a reply along the lines of "C'mon. Every single guy?!"

Yep. Every single one.

I know most people don't believe me. I think it's because I've never sat down in an open forum and broken down what my takeaway was from all 14 of those dudes. Hmph. There's no time like the present…right?

Why do I feel that this is a relevant thing to do? The answer to that question is about a book long, but here's the gist—I firmly believe that each of our bodies is sacred. I also know that oxytocin—the hormone that makes us bond to the people we have sex with—is very real. Plus, nothing that happens to us (especially something as profound as sexual activity) is empty or pointless. There is something that can be gained from each and every experience. Something that can change us for the better—if we allow it to.

So, my hope is that after I conduct this brief rundown of the 14 physical and 14 emotional things that I gathered from each person I slept with that it will encourage you to see the good, bad and indifferent sexual adventures of your own life as moments. My hope is that you will be open to seeing that just like sex is a physical and emotional experience, every experience you have has carved out something sexual and emotional that you probably still carry with you—even now. These were my experiences:

Partner #1

Sexually, he taught me that first-time sex isn't all that painful, messy, or scary so long as your partner cares about you. Emotionally, he taught me that when you come from a broken family dynamic, you should heal before getting into a relationship—with anyone.

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Partner #2

Sexually, he taught me that just because a man goes down on you, that doesn't mean you're special to him. Emotionally, he taught me that a man can always make time to cheat on his girlfriend; even if that means hiding you in his closet whenever she comes over.

Partner #3

Sexually, he taught me that men are just as vulnerable about trying new things as women are. He also taught me that the 69 position is awkward as crap. Emotionally, he taught me that a man who is content with just being in your space, sex or no sex, is the sexiest kind of man there is.

Partner #4

Sexually, he taught me that not all men like to receive oral sex even if they enjoy giving it (weird but true). Emotionally, he taught me that if a man doesn't want anyone to know that you're sleeping with him, he isn't worthy of sleeping with you. Point, blank and period.

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Partner #5

Sexually, he taught me that men can be in love with one woman and sexually sprung on another (men really do compartmentalize more than we do). Emotionally, he taught me that being sexually sprung doesn't equate to there being a true emotional connection.

Partner #6

Sexually, he taught me that uninhibited sex will give you memories (and chills) to last a lifetime. Emotionally, he taught me that there really is such a thing as the perfect man at the wrong time; that you really can "pluck fruit" before it is ripe.

Partner #7

Sexually, he taught me that some men try to turn women out for the sake of their own ego more than a woman's own pleasure. Emotionally, he taught me that a guy's first time can totally damage his ability to be intimate if he's not careful (in this case, his brother locked him in a bedroom with a grown woman and wouldn't let him out until he had sex with her; he was 12 at the time).

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Partner #8

Sexually, he taught me that fine-and-still-some-mo-fine doesn't necessarily make a great sex partner, and a man's height and shoe size have NOTHING to do with the size of his genitalia (he was well over 6'6"). Emotionally, he taught me that if you tell a man you don't want something serious, you'd better mean it. Time, sex, and intense experiences usually won't change what he mentally signed up for from Day One.

Partner #9

Sexually, he taught me that some guys will do certain things with certain women that they won't do with their own girlfriends or wives (I'm still unpacking this one). Emotionally, he taught me that no matter how much a man may like you, if he doesn't love himself, he's going to do you harm. One way or another. Eventually.

HBO's Insecure

Partner #10

Sexually, he taught me that sex with a narcissist is some of the worst sex on the planet, no matter how good it feels (some of y'all will catch that later). Emotionally, he taught me that if you only make decisions to please another person, you're going to resent them, and to some degree, hate yourself before it's all over.

Partner #11

Sexually, he taught me that a freak is sometimes not worth the headache. Emotionally, he taught me that some men don't know how to relate to a woman outside of the bedroom.

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Partner #12

Sexually, he taught me that some of the best sex doesn't come with an orgasm, just a strong connection. Emotionally, he taught me that a lot of men are far more emotionally-unstable than many women are; their signs are just a little more cryptic.

Partner #13

Sexually, he taught me that if you say "no" it's rape. Even if you've said "yes" to that same person before. Emotionally, he taught me that a lot of men who rape have been raped—they just don't want to admit it to themselves.

Partner #14

Sexually, he taught me that size doesn't matter nearly as much as most women think it does (our vaginas are only 2-3" and the average penis is 5" erect). Emotionally, he taught me that you can't talk yourself into loving someone, no matter how awesome they are. Either you're feelin' them or you're not.

Here's the thing.

If I lumped all of these experiences together, if I didn't pull each one apart, not only would I run the risk of repeating the same lessons over and over again, but I wouldn't have been able to honor each journey.

That's a part of the reason why I'm not big on the whole "casual sex" way of thinking. My mind, heart, and body are too purposeful for any sexual experience to have no rhyme or reason. I lived it. I've learned from it. It matured me emotionally and better prepared me…sexually.

I bet if you pulled out a piece of paper and jotted down what your sex partners have taught you both sexually as well as emotionally, you'd walk away sharing the same sentiments. It could do wonders for how you process your sexual past and help you determine how you choose to live out your sexual future.

So thanks, fellas. There's a lot of y'all I would've done differently—by not doing you at all. Yet, I'm thankful for the experiences that made me who I am. I'm someone who now knows that every sexual experience contains a sexual and emotional component, which is exactly why we should do our best to always choose our sex partners wisely.

Originally published on November 30, 2018

Featured image via Gyfcat

Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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