Afraid of putting a kinky desire out there?
A newbie kinkster question leads to a surprising answer from our sexpert panel with sex and intimacy coach Tazima Parris, therapist and founder of Best Therapies Jason Best and psychotherapist and intimacy coach Brandon Hunter-Haydon. Plus Karen Yates’ Sermon on the Pubic Mound® on vulnerability and asking for help.
Wild & Sublime Podcast Transcript
#S2E14 | How to Get Good at Sex
[Wild & Sublime theme music]
Jason Best: One of the classic, big mistakes in sex, and one of the reasons why sex in general, vanilla sex, is oftentimes unpleasurable, is a person is like, "Oh wow, my last partner really liked very intense pressure, and they liked me to go at their clit like it was a jackhammer, and I was trying to create a new superhighway or whatever." That is not going to work for that partner who really needs a very light, very delicate touch. And if you don't use your words, if you don't talk to people, if you don't explore that in a very mindful way, where you're really with the person, you're gonna miss it.
Karen Yates: Welcome to Wild & Sublime, a sexy spin on infotainment®, no matter your preferences, orientation, or relationship style, based on the popular live Chicago show. Each week, I'll chat about sex and relationships with citizens from the world of sex positivity. You'll hear meaningful conversations, dialogues that go deeper, and information that can help you become more free in your sexual expression. I'm sex educator Karen Yates. Today, we learn about the skillset for great sex in this mini-episode, plus my Sermon on the Pubic Mound®. Keep listening.
This is the place where I usually put the sponsor info. But today, I want to talk a bit about the Wild & Sublime crowdfunding site on Patreon that we call "The Afterglow." I made this podcast because I figured everybody knew where to go and what to do if they wanted to learn better skills at, say, oral, or staying hard, or what have you. But maybe people didn't know what to do if they wanted to drop the shame about sex, like the shame they might have about their personal preferences, or how they like to do their relationships. Or, if people didn't have shame, at least a place where they could listen to serious conversation about sex and sensation that ran the gamut, without a lot of winky-schminky business. I just made that up — winky-schminky. I think what's developed these past number of months is pretty cool, and pretty different than the original show, because now we have the time to go more in-depth. If you've been listening for more than a few months, or if you've been listening for a few weeks and dig what's going on in this podcast, I would love it if you joined The Afterglow to support and be part of the Wild & Sublime community. We have panel Q&As, as you're about to hear, as well as my weekly audio notes on each episode. And those benefits start at $5 a month. Now, maybe you don't think I'm talking to you. Maybe you think I'm talking to the person behind you. Well, I am talking to YOU.
If you dig this podcast, I'd love it if you signed up on Patreon. You'll find the link in the show notes. And remember: If you're a commitment-phobe, there's nothing to worry about. Everything is flexible. Hope to see you there.
Hey, folks. Welcome to Season 2, Episode 14. This is going to be a little bit different. This is a mini-episode. I was planning on doing a mini-episode anyway, but some rather dramatic events have happened in this last week that I wanted to share with you. I broke my wrist really badly when I was taking dear sweet Sigrún out for a walk on the icy pavement. And the crazy thing is, I saw two people slip just moments before I did myself. And I came down straight on my right forearm, which is my dominant arm, and broke two bones really badly. So here I am. And I'm going to be talking a little bit more about it in my Sermon at the end of this clip, but it's been really wild. It's been really, really wild. And I would love to share some of my thoughts with you about it.
But first: I've been planning on doing this segment, which was part of the Patreon Q&A, which was inaugurated November of last year where our Afterglow folks on Patreon get to ask a rotating panel of sexperts every month questions that they're interested in getting answers to. And I've loved this conversation so much, because it starts out seemingly to be a question about kink, but then it sort of opens up into a much more philosophical conversation — which, in my way of thinking, are the best sorts of conversations about sex, because they really get at the heart of what makes us tick, right?
So, you will be hearing from three of my favorite recurring panelists: Tazima Parris, sex coach and pleasure mentor; Brandon Hunter-Haydon, psychotherapist and intimacy coach; and Jason Best, kinky-queer-poly psychotherapist and the owner of Best Therapies, a very cool suite of neato folks from all walks of life that comprise his therapeutic practice. This segment begins with me asking a Patreon member question. And enjoy.
[speaking to panelists] This one is: "I'm starting to think I could be kinkier than I thought. My partner and I have been doing light impact stuff, but now I want more. I THINK." That's in all caps. "I don't want to ask for something intense and find out that it's too extreme. My partner (nine months) is way kinkier than me, and would be into it, but I feel unsure about asking for anything until I 'know.' Thoughts?" And this is signed "Whips...?"
Jason Best: So, the main thing to know in relationships is, before striving or adding anything new in, you have to be absolutely certain that it's going to work out and you're going to be happy about it.
Karen Yates: Oh, yeah.
Jason Best: [sarcastically] You can't explore, you can't grow, unless you're 100% certain.
Karen Yates: [laughter] I am so glad you brought that up, because I agree 100%!
Jason Best: Yeah, so many people miss that. It's just like, I keep looking at the relationships books like, "Where is this? It's so basic!" Of course, that's not the way it is. Right? This really reads to me like someone who is starting to open up, and maybe wonder about their identity, even. Like, is this a bigger part of me than I thought it was? Do I have maybe deeper interest? Or would I want more than I thought in the past was possible? Which I think is very common. A lot of folks that start experimenting with kink — you know, with the fuzzy handcuffs, and you know, like, I'm dripping honey on you, ooh, this is kind of wild, or I gave you a spanking, what's that like? — these things can be very intense. And it can be even, like, kind of edge-play intense for some people, if this is brand new, or if there's a lot of emotional resonance. But you do that for a while, and then — you know, I always kind of think of this idea of expansion of self. Justin Lehmiller talks about this idea that as you begin to do something, human beings, we want to do more. Like, you have one type of sandwich, you're like, "Oh, great. What if I put a tomato on it? What if I have some mayonnaise? You know, what if I mix it up? What about a club?" You know, we want to experience more. And the more we experience, the more of a mastery we get over it. And so, sometimes as people are exploring their kinks, they start off in one place — there's this huge emotional reaction, because it's the first time, it's brand new, there's this new, cool, awesome energy — and they do it for a bit, and they're like, "Great, this is awesome. I wonder what else I could do? I wonder where else I could go?" So, part of their expressed anxiety is, what if I bring this up to my partner, and they run with it? I think that's the implication I'm reading. It's like, "What if I say yes, whip me please, and then they pull out a bullwhip, and oh my gosh, I'm stuck, and I have to take like, a thousand single-tails to the back, and that might be kind of a bad day?" Well, one, if you're with a partner you trust, you should be super, super explicit with them: "I am interested, and super nervous. So we're going to have to go very slow, I might need you to stop, I might need you to slow down. Listen to my words. But I'm also excited, and I want to try it." I think a lot of people can hear that. If you're with a partner you don't trust is going to respect your boundaries around experimenting with something new, then first of all, I would question: Is that the right partner, period? But certainly, that might not be the right partner to experiment with. But I think a lot of folks can hear that, and would be receptive to it. I know a lot of folks who are experienced with kink, it can be very fun to introduce a person to new things. I would also say, no matter how experienced your partner is at kink in general, your partner only has nine months of experience with you and kink. I'm a kinky dude, I've been in kinky relationships for a very long time, with lots of different people, all lovely and incredible. That being said, each relationship is very different. And people had different interests, different ways that they liked things done. One of the classic, big mistakes in sex, and one of the reasons why sex in general, vanilla sex, is oftentimes unpleasurable, is a person is like: "Oh, wow, my last partner really liked very intense pressure, and they liked me to go at their clit like it was a jackhammer and I was trying to create a new superhighway or whatever..." You know, that is not going to work for that partner who really needs a very light, very delicate touch, and only occasionally — and if you don't use your words, if you don't talk to people, if you don't explore that in a very mindful way, where you're really with the person, you're gonna miss it. So, I do think you need that clear communication, you need that kind of talking back and forth. And your partner has a lot of experience, but not with you. So make sure that you're using your words to tell him what you need, and what you want to try.
Karen Yates: Awesome.
Brandon Hunter-Haydon: I was just thinking that — I mean, I love Jason's summation there so much, and it reminds me of the idea that there really is no such thing as being good at sex. Like, "good at sex" isn't really a thing. You can become good at sex with a person, and that's largely going to be based around your communication, your boundaries, your chemistry, all those factors. But you can't copy-pasta that. You know, you might have a few reliable things that tend to be some baseline skills that are transferable. But by and large, you can be good at sexual communication, you can be good at boundaries, you can be good at fostering intimacy, by knowing yourself and knowing how to hear things like "Yes" and "No." Really knowing how to receive a yes and no, as well as knowing your own, that's gonna go a lot farther than any sort of like, tongue-twisters or impact implements you have.
Karen Yates: Wow, I really love that. I love this idea that it's not about being good at sex, or good at kink. It's about being good at sexual communication, or kink communication. Relational communication. That's the essence. Yeah. Tazima.
I really want to underscore — Jason didn't use these words exactly, but I want to emphasize that we're all emerging. We're all emerging. There's always something new. It doesn't matter who you are, and what the subject is in your life. It is literally that we're always expanding. If you're not expanding, and you're stagnant, you're dead. That's it. And so, it makes a lot of sense that this person has had this experience in kink, and yes, it feels like this other person... There's always going to be someone who has more experience than you in something. It doesn't matter. It is actually about what the two of you are merging into together. If that, you know, the impact play opened this door, and you're like, "Oh, wow, look at this new room that I have in my life right now!" That's a cool thing. Your vision of that new room, or that new space, or that new place that you want to explore, your perspective is going to see new things that an experienced partner has never seen before, because they don't have your perspective. And I want this person to feel the value of their newness to the encounter, just as valuable as someone else's experience, or their bag of tricks, you know, that they bring, or their kit and their toys. Just because they have all this stuff doesn't mean that they can see from your experience. There are certain things that you're going to bring that this person has never experienced before, just because y'all have not had that together yet. You haven't been there yet, so you don't know. It's funny, because when I was new in kink, I got complimented by some of the people that I played with. They're like, "Wow, you're really expressive! You're letting me know exactly what you need. I really appreciate that." And I was sort of surprised. But I had gotten that training from other spaces, other sexuality spaces, that helped me to use my words, to say, "Hey, I like this, I don't like that." And this is cultivating — it's because I cultivated sexual agency that I was able to show up in that space, even though I didn't know that much. Even though everything was brand-new for me, I was able to communicate, use my words, I didn't go any further than I wanted to. I went to some edges, I communicated, like Jason said — like, "Hey, I'm really excited, I don't know yet about this, but I think I want this, and I may have to back off." And that's okay! And that's okay.
Karen Yates: Just like Jason was saying, It's separating out these ideas of — if you have done mindfulness practice, if you are able to stay present with yourself, if you're just a good communicator in general, if you're connected to your body — all of these things are going to come into play in any sexual or kink encounter. They're your skillset. They're your tool belt. So yeah... Any final words?
Brandon Hunter-Haydon: I just want to say, I really loved — part of what popped out for me in what Tazima was saying a few minutes ago, about the value of newness and the value of experience — that really put words to something that I I hadn't quite articulated, but I had a felt sense of. Which is, that's really the sense of equity that can exist within sexuality. And that can exist regardless of the power dynamic. Even if it's the kinkiest, most disparate power dynamic, or 24/7 play, having a way of recognizing the value of both the newness and the experience that both partners possess, creates that equity and ultimately trust, which — I mean, trust is the sexiest fucking thing. That's the sexiest.
Karen Yates: Mmm. Mmm. Once again, super juicy conversation. I want to thank Jason Best, Tazima Parris, and Brandon Hunter-Haydon. Thanks so much, folks. Talk to you soon.
For more info on Brandon, Tazima, and Jason, go to our show notes.
Wild & Sublime is also sponsored in part by our Sublime Supporter, Chicago-based Full Color Life Therapy, therapy for all of you, at fullcolorlifetherapy.com. If you would like to be a Sublime Supporter, showcasing you and your business and supporting us at the same time, contact us at . And now it's time for my Sermon on the Pubic Mound.
So, it's been about five days since I mashed my arm on a Chicago park sidewalk. And I could take some time to talk about how weird it is to navigate life with one arm. But I think what I'd rather talk about is giving and receiving. So, three years ago, I had a pretty bad stress fracture in my ankle. And I really didn't tell a ton of people about it. And at the time, I wasn't sure why. But I think it was about this idea of the awful vulnerability of receiving. Like I would look weak if I asked for help. But that really wasn't it. It was the face that if I asked for help, in a really big way, you'd probably say no. And I knew — I knew — that I needed to ask for help, but I just... I didn't. Now, I could ask for tiny amounts of help, like when I first began being fairly incapacitated, I would ask, "Could you bnring me some orange juice?" I don't know. But it was very tiny, like "Can you give me a ride?" or something like that. But for really big things, I just... I just didn't. And I really learned from that whole time period, and how, like — wow, that was kind of messed up. You would've had a much different experience if you had let people in to what was going on with you. Right?
So, when I fell the other day, after the initial crunch feeling that happens when you break a bone, and the nausea and whatever — I'm going to spare you the gory details — after all that happened, the very first like cogent thought was, "Well, guess you're going to have to ask for help now!" Like, there's no way out. You're gonna have to do this, because [laughing] you're really fucked up! So, at this point, I have to say — usually in my Sermons, when they're, they're going down a non-sexy track, I always say to the audience, "I suppose you're wondering, how am I going to bring this back to sex?" Well, this is the point. Vulnerability runs across the board. Ultimately, you can't be vulnerable in one area of your life, and then expect to be vulnerable in another area. So it's like, if you're not vulnerable in everyday stuff, like arm-breaking stuff, or, I don't know, regular conversations, you're not going to be able to be vulnerable, at the bottom line, around your sex and sensation life. It's just not gonna translate. Because it is a transferable skill. And if you're super vulnerable, intimately, I would be willing to guess you're probably vulnerable in your regular life. Now, the good news is that I think we actually get to explore vulnerability every single day. The good news is, you don't have to break your arm to experience vulnerability, and you don't even have to have a lover, either. You can explore vulnerability, probably, at the grocery store. I mean, at this moment, I could come up with an example, but my arm is broken. Give me a break, right?
Yeah, so that's really all I have to say today. I appreciate you, gentle listener, I really do. And I'm probably going to be taking at least one week, if not two weeks, off. I have to have surgery in two days, and I don't really know what that's gonna bring. But I'm going to cut myself some slack, take a couple of weeks off here. And I just realized something. I realized in just listening to that, I'm like, "Oh, wait, I didn't tell them the most important part of this little sermon!" Guess what? I AM asking for help. I really am asking for help. And guess what? I am getting help. It is awesome. It is awesome. And I feel very supported. I feel super, super supported and loved. And I guess that's what the whole point is. Have a great couple weeks, and I will talk to you soon.
Thank you for listening. If you know someone who might be interested in this episode, send it to them. Do you like what you heard? Then give us a nice review on your podcast app. You can follow us on social media @wildandsublime, and sign up for our newsletters at wildandsublime.com. I'd like to thank associate producer Julia Williams and design guru Jean-Francois Gervais. Theme music by David Ben-Porat. This episode was edited by The Creative Imposter Studios. Our media sponsor is Rebellious Magazine, feminist media at rebelliousmagazine.com
Want to rev up your relationship and bust out of limiting patterns?
Host Karen Yates is an intimacy coach and somatic sex educator who works with couples online and in person in Chicago to help improve their intimate communication and expand pleasure in a process that can be embodied, meaningful, and fun. Go to karen-yates.com and set up a free Zoom consultation and to download her free guide: Say It Better in Bed! 3 Practival Ways to Improve Intimate Communication.
- INTRO: The Afterglow (1:13)
- PANEL Q&A: Kinky Desire (5:00)
- SERMON ON THE PUBIC MOUND: Vulnerability (15:32)
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- Tazima Parris — sex & intimacy coach
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