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Auntie SparkNotes: We Did the HND, But We're Not Having Fun

Auntie SparkNotes: We Did the HND, But We're Not Having Fun

Hello Auntie,

My issue has to do with the HND, or *gasp* sex, if you will. Unlike some of the other letters you've posted, this is basically about doing the act itself. You see, I've been dating this boy and he is wonderful and sweet and we love each other very much. So, being the legal age of consent in our state, and being protected and whatnot we decided to take this step in our relationship. However, besides the mutual decision to do this together, I'm not even sure if you could call it sex seeing as nothing exactly..."happened." And I know the first time can't be expected to be amazing. But neither was the second...or the third.

We've known each other for a while, been together a month, and we've done other sexual things leading up to the HND; intense making out and hands-on stuff is lovely (we have yet to master oral though.) But the HND isn't really enjoyable for either of us, and I'm not sure what to do about this. I've looked up how to's and asked a few close, experienced girlfriends for advice but I'm not sure if it helped at all. They've told me is that communication is key, but we haven't had any conversations about what we *like* yet. Not that we're not open with each other, but I guess that it's just kinda awkward, especially after having gotten nowhere after a few goes at the HND.

Technically I think we're doing everything right, but this should be an enjoyable experience and so far it just seems awkwardly disappointing. He feels like he's letting me down, and vice versa. I don't know what "advice" exactly you could offer me, but perhaps just some help with the emotional part of this and how it affects our relationship? Because this is something I want to work through and enjoy with him, but so far no progress is being made and I don't want it to complicate the good relationship we have already. Does this come with time and experience? Is it normal to have trouble with these things at first? How can I let him know it's no one's fault and it's ok? Everything else with our relationship is going great, and I hope that at some point this can be too.

For starters, Sparkler: of course it's normal to have trouble with these things at first. Think about how hard it is to do any activity when you're brand new at it, even if you're technically doing it correctly. Brewing coffee, riding a bike, making a papier-mâché sculpture of a lobster head: learning new things is a process, and learning to do them well, even more so. And when those things are sexy things? Well, let's put it this way: think about how hard it is to make a papier-mâché lobster head. Now, think about how hard it would be to make a papier-mâché lobster head in the dark, in the nude, using somebody else's hands.

And if you didn't master lightless, naked, papier-mâché lobster-head-making with alien hands on the first three tries, you wouldn't think anything of it—just as you shouldn't think anything of it when you need a few tries to figure out the way another person's body works. And that's especially true when that body is completely different from yours, with all sorts of wacky machinery that you not only don't know how to manipulate, but don't even necessarily understand the intended purpose of. It's incredibly difficult to find your way around a body that isn't your own! Especially when it's got sensitive parts, or dangling parts, or squishy parts, or parts that are so well-hidden and shrouded in mystery that even the person whose body they belong to is like, "Oh, that? Uh... it's in there somewhere, but I can hardly ever find it without a flashlight."

So, with that in mind, here's my advice: for now, don't worry about the HND. You're not going to get any of the information you need about your boyfriend's body—and he won't get the info he needs about yours—when you're just putting the essential parts together and hoping that something clicks. For that, you'll need to back it up, slow it down, and hang out on…well, let's say third base, or at least the third base line, until you each have an intimate, intuitive understanding of what the other person likes. You also need to be comfortable getting sexy with yourself, because you can't explain (or demonstrate) your preferences to someone else if you've never navigated them yourself. (And that's especially true for you, darling LW, since most persons with female parts can't get to O-town on intercourse alone.)

Meanwhile, your friends are right: communication is key when it comes to happy, healthy dancing of the horizontal/naked variety. But communication, and especially sexy communication, doesn't have to be an awkward conversation in which you list your likes in explicit, scientific detail. More often, it means paying attention to the other person's body language; it means making appreciative noises when you like what's going on; it means taking it slow, and saying, "Is this okay?" or "Does that feel good?" when you're not sure about what you're doing. And yes, it's a process that takes some time.

But that's not a bad thing, and the time you take to become a giving, knowledgeable partner to someone you love is always time well spent. And when you're tempted to feel disappointed, try to instead feel happy: that you're both learning intimacy without pressure, without expectation, and with a partner who completely understands and empathizes with everything you're feeling. You aren't letting each other down; you're helping each other move forward. It's just that you're on a path neither one of you has traveled before, and it's natural—even inevitable—that you're both going to stumble around a bit in order to get where you're going. And when that happens, you can be glad that you're stumbling with someone who loves you.

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Topics: Uncategorized, Advice
Tags: auntie sparknotes, awkward situations, sex, hnd

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Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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