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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

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Staples.

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