Are you having fun sex?
How would you answer that question? Maybe the answer would be a resounding 'YES' or maybe 'sometimes' or perhaps 'no, definitely not'... Or maybe you'd stop and think about the question being asked: what is 'fun sex' anyway?
During a recent class, I used the term 'fun sex' as a way of describing the type of sex someone could be having. Fun sex is an umbrella term that can cover pretty much anything you want it to cover. Because fun sex isn't any one type of activity - it is whatever sexual activity you feel is fun, exciting and satisfying. It could be something you're doing regularly, or something you'd like to try - or something you suspect 'other people' are having more of than you.
A guest at the class raised her hand and said that she had issues with the term 'fun sex' being used as it implies some people aren't having fun sex - that some people have sex that is more fun or better than the sex others are having.
This particular class was a Bedroom Bondage Erotic Class, an introductory workshop on bondage and creating sexy, safe scenes. It's a beginners class and we talk about negotiation, consent and safewords before we spend an hour playing with wrist cuffs, blindfolds and a plethora of soft, sensual toys (and forks - just to switch it up a little).
During the introduction of this class, I talk about bondage being a staple activity in BDSM play but that many enjoy participating in BDSM activities without defining themselves as particularly kinky. For those unfamiliar with the acronym, BDSM stands for Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, SadoMasochism - all words that can sound harsh and extremely painful to the uninitiated. Hence, for the purpose of the class I sometimes use 'fun sex' instead of BDSM as that is what the class is all about: bondage and light power play for fun.
I myself have been enjoying certain BDSM activities for the past 20-odd years, but I am loathe to put a 'kinky' label on myself as I personally find labels too restrictive and limiting. Just because I enjoy whips and chains on days ending with Y doesn't mean I don't also adore play that is soft and sensual and doesn't involve accouterments of any kind. Life is like a box of chocolates - and I like chocolates!
There are many who feel safer and more themselves within groups of like-minded people, and there is nothing wrong with that. Maybe they have always felt like outsiders, different, and finding others just like them is freeing - they can finally be their true selves. Being able to speak openly without fear of judgement is powerful and liberating.
Others, like me, resent labels and boxes as we don't neatly fit under one label or into only one box. For example: what if you have always identified as gay or lesbian, but suddenly find yourself falling in love with a person of the opposite sex. Does that make you bisexual? Or pansexual? Are you somehow not "true" to yourself? God forbid - are you letting the team down?? Or, and this is what I believe, does it just mean that you are recognizing your sexuality as becoming more fluid?
Depending on who you are and how you feel about yourself, you may feel better sticking a label on it - or maybe you want the freedom to choose and explore outside of the boundaries of boxes and labels.
Within the BDSM community, sex is often divided into 'vanilla' or 'kinky'. I.e: if you're not having kinky sex, you are having vanilla sex which is often deemed as conventional, less adventurous or down right boring. There is an issue with this - sex is one area in which we should never compare ourselves to others.
Perhaps you enjoy sex in the missionary position, perhaps it's the best damn position you have ever tried! Nothing wrong with that. That is your fun sex!
On the other hand, for those who are not remotely interested in kinky sex, BDSM can often be seen as damaging and abusive. This is incorrect and uninformed. Kinky folks are usually exceptionally good at negotiating activities long before any actual play takes place. Safewords and consent are sacred, and this is a relationship model we should all be onboard with.
But I digress. Let's go back to the idea that saying 'fun sex' implies that there are people who aren't having fun sex. Here's what needs to be made very clear: there are lots of people who are not having fun sex.
The assumption that everybody is having sex, and great sex at that, is damaging and untrue.
There are people who are not having sex at all. Maybe they choose to not have sex, or maybe they are waiting for the right person to have sex with.
There are people who are having painful sex. The number of women we meet with a diagnosis of Vaginismus is steadily rising for example. Endometriosis, infections, scarring, not enough lubrication - just a few of the reasons for experiencing pain during sex.
There are people who are having sex that isn't fulfilling or to their taste. Maybe they are not compatible with their partners, maybe they're doing it because it's the "normal" thing to do, it's expected. Maybe they've lost their mojo or maybe they are simply too tired to enjoy themselves.
There are people who are having sex in order to fulfill a desire to have children. Ovulation calendars, core body temp and obsessing over thickness of vaginal secretions... Not fun at all.
There are plenty of men who are unable to sustain an erection, or who ejaculate prematurely, or maybe they take "too long"...
And then there is non-consensual sex. Rape, sexual violence, abuse...
There are many reason why someone may not be having fun sex.
This is important to remember because feeling like everyone else is having amazing sex can increase the sense of isolation and discomfort in talking about problems amongst those who are not having 'fun sex'.
It would be great if everyone who was having sex was having fun sex and we hope that we can work towards a world where that is the case, but that isn't the world we live in now. So if you're not having fun sex, you're not alone and there are things that will help.