Shy Sex

April 20, 2011 § 1 Comment

This is going to be a short post and a bit of a rant and an unsolicited, impassioned morale speech.  But I just need to get it out there, somewhere, and I’m choosing here.

I’m sick of the cultural assumption that the most and the best sex is always had by outgoing, brazen social butterflies – that sex is not for the shy.  While I’m sure there are some highly extraverted and social people having a lot of very good sex, the idea that the same skills required to “win friends and influence people” are those required to get with lots of people in happy ways annoys me and just isn’t true.  What you need to have good partner sex is some good information, some grounding in your own self and sexuality, genuine consideration for the other person, and confidence in your own capacity to know and uphold your own boundaries within reasonable circumstances.  You can be shy and have all those skills in abundance.

You just don’t need to be able to convince people to buy anything in order to get with them.  All you need is enough boldness to be communicate your desires and intentions in a way they can catch.  Even if you stammer or have to look down while you’re saying it or run away right after (though you probably want to hand off your contact info first if you’re going to bolt), people like to be liked, and you should trust that if they have any corresponding interest, they’ll act on it if they can.  If not, don’t take it too hard.  Maybe they’re not available or still too spooked or just didn’t happen to share your interest.  If they’re mean, be glad they just self-exiled themselves from your bed without your having to bother, since that takes lots of energy and can be quite awkward.  You are no worse off than when you started.

One thing that keeps people from positive sex is shyness, or rather the perception that shyness is a barrier to having lots of good sex.  Shyness itself can be a place of connection and overcome if it can simply be named.  It is not a shameful or terrible thing to feel shy.  It doesn’t ruin your chances.  And it won’t ruin your sex.  If you’re shy, you’re probably going to get with mostly other shy people, which is good.  Shy people know about being shy and can probably take gentler hints and cues than other people.

It just drives me crazy that this culture is so anti-shy.  It’s just illogical to me.  I mean, we put the people who exude impeccable confidence and forwardness in charge and just look where it’s gotten us.  I think it’s important that we start giving timid and meek people a say, for example by pausing long enough for them to get a word in edgewise.  One way this anti-shy bias is manifested is in the pervasive impression that only the charming egotists can initiate sexual relationships and get what they want in this life.  I am staunchly and adamantly pro-shy, and I think that is hogwash.

If I could convince all the kind, timid people of the world to increase practicing one policy in their sex lives, I think it would be not to decide for your crush.  Don’t assume they aren’t, won’t, can’t be interested in you and skip over the part where you give them the chance to decide for themselves.  If you are just willing to put yourself out there just a bit, not in overconfident, grandiose, fake ways, but just in tiny, noticeable, genuine ways, you give a person enough of a heads up to at least get them to consider the idea of getting with you.  Sometimes it will happen, sometimes it won’t.  But it will happen a lot more than if you default to expressing no interest, as if the person has already expressed that they aren’t interested when you haven’t given them a chance to decide for themselves.

Needing to convince someone you’re the coolest and have no insecurities or quirks just isn’t necessary for asking someone to have tea or have a fling.  Especially since, you know, you’re not the best and coolest or whatever.  You’re just you.  All any of us has to have sex with is our own self, and, like, maybe a few sex toys and a candle or something.  But it’s your genuine self and not your social façade that you’re going be stuck with in bed and need for having good sex, the kind where you and your partner are vulnerable enough to express real wants and real responses and create the sort of connection that alleviates psychic aloneness and is blissful before and after and not just during any orgasms that may be had – the kind of sex that makes life and the world better and drives the often misdirected tireless search for sex our species seems given to.  I believe every true self is inherently shy.  So look at it this way, you’re already ahead if you can’t fake confidence and mask the nature of your true self.  If you are shy, you are already ahead of the game when it comes to be capable of good sex, not behind.

If you’re shy, you’re probably not going to seek people out the way the smooth cruisers do.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t be an initiator and actively get more connections and sex in your life.  You just have to find your own style based in your own values and temperament.  My consistent sexual partner and good friend, Valerie, has taught me a lot about sex with the shy.  She taught me shyness skills and ingenious tactics like pulling a blanket over us when one of us got too spooked to be out in the open – it’s a lot less exposed and scary under there, just be sure you choose a blanket that’s light enough to let some light in.  Invest in some Calming tea.  Do some meditating.  Take some time.  And then take some more time.  Instead of going at a person you’re interested in with one, grand scheme for making an impression, just talk to them a little bit every time you see them.  My experience is that people are pretty slow in becoming aware, especially at processing the uncanny reality that someone is interested them and having someone come over to you and pay attention to you consistently over time is actually a good way to get recognition to sink in.  Figure out what you need to do to keep within a healthy realm in your risk tolerance and still put yourself out there a little bit.

Just don’t think that because you are shy, great sex is not something appropriate to you.  The world needs the kind of skills shy people will bring to their sex lives, because we’re all shy in bed, and most of us simply don’t have the knowledge base of how to manage it you shy people do from living your everyday lives.

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§ One Response to Shy Sex

  • I love this post, especially your point that “we’re all shy in bed.” It’s a truth almost universally unacknowledged that the majority of people are insecure and/or confused about the “ability” they “need” to be a good lover– and those abilities usually never include the truly valuable qualities of respect, listening and love that you’ve talked about here. Instead sex has been turned into another trick to keep in an arsenal aimed at obtaining a husband/wife – marriage, of course, being the optimal goal in and of itself, rather than a reflection of committed love – or power over sexual partners who will, apparently, be rendered completely vulnerable and unintelligent by one’s sexual prowess. It follows then – if sex is just another performance – that society would assign the same qualities that it takes to be a powerful celebrity (i.e. gregariousness, audaciousness, etc.) to the ideal sexual partner, and fail to acknowledge that true lovemaking is about none of these things; that, in fact, shy people not only make good lovers– they’ll often make the best. Thank you for pointing that fact out.

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