Penetration is not the only route to pleasure, how skilled are you at using your hands?
Sex on a first date. I've done it often. I've also waited, for a variety of different reasons including fear of another's perception of me, desire to prevent additional vulnerability early on, lack of desire or confusion regarding arousal. It's a persistent dilemma, one which even the most sex positive communicative individuals struggle with.
What does it mean? How will it impact later partner potential, or assessment of one another? Will it be as interesting or connective as it could be if we waited a bit? Is this person authentic and honest, trustworthy? Am I in a good headspace to fully engage, or to contain the interaction to protect myself and give enthusiastic consent while still giving and receiving pleasure? I've come up with my solution. As a disclaimer, while this post is generally for female bodied individuals who have sex with male bodied individuals there are certainly bits and pieces for others.
Recently I read a post about another terrible sexual encounter which also enumerated a host of reasons why sex with new partners is particularly challenging for women at times. These reasons include the orgasm gap, differences in arousal and stimulation patterns, and communication deficits specifically related to lack of understanding regarding changing the usual flow of sex. Soon after reading this I had a sexual encounter with a former fling, with whom I previously played 8 yrs ago. During drinks I made a deliberate decision, and communicated this early on, that we would not have penetrative sex but hanging out would be fine. Little did I know my standards and sex positive world view had changed so much in 8 years, and would challenge him so severely. After a series of somewhat comical responses to basic questions (Me: Where have you been craving to be touched? Him: what do you mean? Like my dick? Me: what other ways do you like to receive and give pleasure outside of penetrative sex? Him: like oral sometimes?), I offered make out and hand job exchange, with the hope of perhaps a wee bit of arousal for later masturbation. He assented and touch commenced. Within a few minutes my eyes were certainly rolling back in my head, maximized annoyance instead of pleasure. After feedback was given and not followed, I asked him to stop touching me, proceeded to stop stroking him and recommended he finish himself if he desired to do so (which he not surprisingly did), then took my leave.
As I drove home I felt no guilt, shame or frustration. I was proud, I was giggling at the sight of him, covered in cum and passed out within one minute of finishing. I was not receiving pleasure so I stopped what was happening, and my effort in the other direction. I set a boundary, took care of myself, and firmly checked him off my list of partners to revisit. While reflecting, I thought I would share my 10 reasons you too should give hand jobs during first sexual encounters, in no particular order.
1. If you're like me, it's hard to build intimacy and connection without physical interaction and engagement. So you can have 5 more great dates, only to find out he/she is really incompatible or mismatched, or you can start with hand sex and begin the journey to understanding one another fully with less overall risk.
2. STI protection and safety: Assuming neither of you have open wounds on your hands and hands are clean, hands pose relatively low risk of STI transmission thus ameliorating concerns related to someone's trustworthiness regarding STI info reported. You can also easily visually inspect genitals for signs of STI's during hand jobs.
3. It provides an opportunity to assess sex positivity and communication skills. When you set limits like "we aren't having penetrative sex tonight but I'm open to discussing other options" you open the door for them to engage in a connective and collaborative negotiation, or end the night there.
4. It changes the conversation. When someone believes they are going to have sex in the traditional sense of the word, they may not start or engage in a conversation about alternatives. The typical flow of P in the V (penis in vagina) sex starts and ends, eliminating the beauty of the range of physical connection and touch which could have happened.
5. You have the chance to assess their skills related to other types of touch and engagement. If someone is terrible at hand sex, it's a good indicator of limited exposure and/or practice in alternative ways of connecting. This is a big red flag for those trying to break free from the P in the V vortex.
6. Usually only one hand is used at a time, allowing for touch and exploration of other body parts, compared to P in the V which sometimes limits the focus of touch to genitals. When your hands are exploring a new partner, your eyes, ears and other senses are engaged and able to be playful, and sometimes perceptive of differences which your genitals may not notice during P in the V. For example they really like touch in a certain place, type of pressure, technique etc.
7. Hand sex is sometimes less vulnerable feeling, and can allow some emotional detachment as you build connectivity. It provides a great platform for you to test you and your partner's ability to give and receive feedback. It's a safe place to try out a few words of encouragement or directions without perceived judgement towards the partner's skills or genitals in general.
8. Sex with strangers can be dangerous. It's easier to have hand sex in cars or bathrooms, so if you're worried about going to their house/ having them at yours, you have more options to keep yourself safe and able to get away easily (pro-tip: keep baby wipes on you at all times for hands and genitals).
9. Hands have different skills than genitals do. They can tickle, stroke, rub, pulsate, grasp, push, pull, and adjust pressure, intensity, speed easily. I would argue you can learn more about a partner from hand sex than penetration with genitals initially.
10. And Lastly, because it feels fantastic when done well, and can be a springboard for you to run away or negotiate more, connect more, and explore all the depths.
Hope this helps some of you as you try to navigate the crazy world of dating and seeking pleasure!