By Steven Petrow
Originally published on Advocate.com June 27 2011 1:05 PM ET
With his Steven Petrow's Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners for Every Occasion
(written with Sally Chew), the author has composed an
all-encompassing guide for every occasion, filled with practical wisdom
and knowing wit. In the following excerpt, "Mister Manners" offers the
do-and-don't details of LGBT sex.
Manners most certainly play a role in successfully navigating the day-to-day details of LGBT sex. Whether you’re the host or the guest, mutual respect and civility are crucial and can take you a long way in handling such things as condom use (and breakage), strap-ons, the imminent spill from a session of oral sex between men, or simply making sure your partner is sexually satisfied.
When You Are the Host
Entertaining is entertaining no matter what room you do it in: Being prepared for sex at your own home means making your guest feel welcome and comfortable. Take the time beforehand to tidy up, put new sheets on the bed, hang clean towels in the bathroom, and, if necessary, hide any photos or mementos of anyone else you’re currently seeing.
Mood-setting gestures are good, too: Light some candles, have some fresh flowers in the house, and turn the lights down low. If you live with others, either in a college dorm or with a roommate, make sure you’ll have enough privacy — most important, a door to close behind you. Finally, be prepared with the basic necessities, which include not only condoms/dental dams, water-based lubricant, and any sex toys that may be of interest, but tea and coffee (in case there’s a morning after) as well as a spare toothbrush and razor. Said one man: “It was so thoughtful when my date handed me a toothbrush after we had been to bed.”
When You Are the Guest
Ironic as it may sound, the first rule of being a good guest in this context is knowing when to leave. No one wants to overstay his or her welcome when sex is involved, whether it’s a brief interlude, an overnight visit, or a weekend affair. Follow the lead of your host, which is to say, let her invite you to stay on — for breakfast or until the end of a fun-filled weekend. For instance, if after sex there’s no invitation to spend the night, it’s time to get dressed, say thank you, make sure (if appropriate) that you’ve exchanged numbers or e-mail addresses, and leave.
By the way, no matter how curious you may be when you’re visiting, don’t go snooping in the office, on the computer, or in the medicine cabinet. Respect your host’s privacy and if you need something (say, contact lens solution or some toothpaste), ask for it. Finally, while hosts are responsible for providing the necessities for safer sex, bring your own as well. It never hurts to have extras in this category.
Satisfying Your Partner
There’s more to sexual satisfaction than your enjoying a great orgasm. Reciprocity defines good manners. It’s vital that you make an effort to understand each other’s needs and do your best to take care of them. No matter what the situation, be sure to focus on your partner’s desires, even if — perhaps especially if — you’ve been satisfied already. Or if one of you enjoys foreplay or kissing more than the other, talk with each other about how to find the right balance to meet each of your desires.
Here are some ways to bring consideration into the bedroom:
• Don’t be shy: Speak up about your desires and your worries. Not only is learning to talk about sex likely to make things more pleasurable; these kinds of conversations also feed the trust and communication that build intimacy. And for some, sex talk can be a turn-on!
• Pay attention: Listen to the moans and groans of your partner to understand what is pleasing and what is not. If he redirects you from “here” to “there,” remember that in the future. Or if the gentle directive is “Not so hard,” do your best to follow the advice the next time — or ask her if you’re doing okay.
• Pace yourself: If you tend to orgasm early in the game, keep a slower pace and pay attention to your partner for clues that it’s time to go there. Or if it’s typically “lights out” for you after orgasm, playfully mention that early on, so that you can work together to be sure neither of you is left disappointed.
• Understand your partner: Sometimes you may encounter people with somewhat specific tastes or predilections, say a lesbian whose entire interest in sex is giving pleasure to her partner or someone who enjoys SM practices. You’re not expected to know this on your own, or necessarily to explore it the very first time you have sex together. But once again, good communication is very helpful.
What Not to Say in the Heat of the Moment
Some people treat a sexual encounter like a temple where silence is expected, and others seem to talk nonstop. Wherever your position is on the talk-or-not spectrum, there are definitely times when talking isn’t such a good idea during sex. In addition, there are certainly topics or clichés to avoid. Otherwise, you risk embarrassment — either yours or your partner’s.
• Don’t call your new squeeze the name of your ex: Mentioning former lovers in the bedroom is a no-no, but especially in the heat of passion. If you’re the type who’s inclined to get lost in the moment, try using generic terms of affection instead, like “honey,” “baby,” “sweetheart,” or even something role-play-ish like “boi” or “daddy.”
• Be present: Don’t mention while you’re still frolicking that it’s getting late, that you’re hungry, or that you wish you’d bought the red car instead of the blue one.
• No judgments: Don’t comment on the sexual performance of your partner in the middle of the game. If such a conversation is needed, wait until the postcoital embrace or, better yet, the next morning. However, if you’re not enjoying something or it’s uncomfortable, guide your partner elsewhere or speak up.
• Don’t reveal startling fetishes: If you want your partner to dress you in diapers or slap you — anything that might shock — talk about this beforehand rather than surprising your partner in bed.
Purchase a copy of Steven Petrow's Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners for Every Occasion here. For more information on Petrow or for a schedule of book signings, click here.