The Ties That Bind Us
The Trending Northwest team believes sexual health is a key component of our overall wellbeing. Because our society can be a bit shy when it comes to the bedroom, we wanted to provide a safe space where you can ask your most burning questions—and feel free to use an alias.
The Ties That Bind Us is a spicy advice column written by Madam Stina Rae, an advocate and mentor in both the queer and kink communities. She can help give insight on your sex and relationship needs and curiosities.
Is your poly triad in rough waters? Do you and your partners want to explore a more taboo experience? Do you just want help asking out that super cute human you’re sweet on? This space is a judgment-free zone where you are welcome to ask some of the most personal questions with total anonymity. Make sure to check back next month to see your question answered!
SEEKING SELF LOVE
“Dear Madam Stina Rae,
I’m questioning if I might identify as asexual. I am in a happy partnership, but find myself not feeling a sense of sexual attraction to my partner or anyone else. I love being close with them and don’t mind physical touch, but rarely do I feel “turned on” or “in the mood” for sex. I feel bad when my partner tries to initiate and I can’t “get in the mood.” This was a point of contention in a previous relationship and I don’t want my current partner to not feel desired. What advice do you have for me?”
Dear Girl Crush,
First and foremost, I want to say thank you for writing in and congrats on having the courage to be open about your curiosity. That is a big and sometimes scary step! I have been in a very similar situation a few times to be honest and what I have found helps is being open about your interest in her as well as stating your feelings about your friendship.
I would like to share a moment with my ex-girlfriend, K, when I came forward about my feelings for her. Allow me to set the stage a little. My husband (who I will often refer to as “The Man”) and I are kinky as well as poly. We had also just opened our marriage up recently. We had negotiated a friendship with perks kind “for funsies” relationship with K, stating that feelings beyond friendship were not on the table and if any of us developed those feelings we were trusting that they would be talked about openly when/if it happened.
We had been practicing our burlesque routine for an upcoming show together and we had very much been honing the on-stage chemistry between the three of us, after hours. The day after the show, K was with me at the house helping tame the chaos of pre-show crafting tornado that had exploded through the house while The Man was at work. We were sitting on the couch taking a break and loading the queue on YouTube with the randomness that lives in our brains and suddenly I looked over at her. I was flooded with this sudden feeling of how taken I was with her. Here we were with smeared makeup from the weekend’s events, hadn’t brushed our hair, we smelled of sweat, dust, and disinfectant wipes…let me just be real honest, we were gross!
But what I saw was someone who I was comfortable around at my grossest level. She gets my humor, makes me laugh until I almost pee myself, and will randomly break out into dance with me simply because the moment called for it. I am not a person who allows themselves to fall in love without consent. I need to know that those feelings are welcome before I allow them to develop. So there I was looking at her, feeling the things, and terrified to say anything. I then ever so gracefully blurted out, “So, I am having a moment and we should probably talk about it.”
As you can see, I am about as subtle as a 2×4 to the face at times. I went on a tangent explaining my need for consent to feel the feelings but that I wanted to be honest that they existed. I then rambled at her face about how I can just as easily shut down these feelings because I love the friendship that we had begun creating and that I didn’t want to mess that up. She sat there watching me rattle on, and when I finally stopped talking she just kind of smiled slightly in the smirky way she does then nodded her head a few times slowly while she processed it all.
Then she simply said, “I’m good with putting feelings on the table.” We then talked for the next few hours about all of the things, what ifs, future plans, and dream–then we both started laughing when we realized we should probably fill The Man in on the developments.
This was a big moment for me because for the first time I was able to articulate my feelings when in the past my anxiety would often stifle me completely and leave me without words. Regardless of whether she reciprocated my feelings or not, I had just made a huge step in my own self growth.
So my best advice for you with your girl crush is to be bold and honest. Tell her how much her friendship means to you and even tell her the things about her that makes you a smitten kitten. Whether she reciprocates your curiosity or not, you were true to yourself and you didn’t allow fear of the unknown to hold you back.
I am a big music lover and shortly after this all transpired K sent me a link to a song to listen to (that is often how we would communicate when we couldn’t find the words). I leave you with the song “Interesting” by Maria Mena. I found it so fitting because the moment I allowed myself the space to speak up for what I wanted, things really got interesting.
SEXLESS IN SEATTLE
Dear Madam Stina Rae,
My partner usually initiates sexy time, but lately has voiced that he wants me to initiate. The problem is when I initiate, the flow doesn’t give me time to properly warm up, because I am warming him up. This means that I end up not quite ready or not quite satisfied, which in turns leads to me not initiating anything at all.
So now it’s been months since any activity, despite me telling him that I would like him to make a move, and he responds, “I don’t want to always feel like I’m convincing you to have sex.” It’s not convincing me, it’s convincing my body!
What can I say to him to help him give it another go like the good old days when we were dating?
-Sexless in Seattle
Dear Sexless in Seattle,
Let me start off by saying I feel you on this in such a big way. It is something I have struggled with intermittently most of my adult life. I am an extremely sexual person by nature. With that said, that side of me can get dimmed down the moment you add everyday life stressors and anxieties into the mix.
It is valid for your partner to want to feel wanted and pursued, but I completely understand your side of things. My husband and I have had these very same conversations where he was so badly wanting to feel wanted and desired and I was being so hard on myself for not feeling that drive to initiate or frustrated with my body for taking longer to get onboard.
What I find really helps me is taking the time to identify my needs, wants, and feelings. Breaking them down really helps me not feel so incredibly overwhelmed by it all. So, I take note of the way life stresses like bills, schedules, kids, and such weigh on me.
Am I having a hard time getting in the mood because my brain keeps thinking about the dishes that have begun piling up in the sink? Am I feeling frumpy or down on my body and is that spilling over into sexy time? Do I need more foreplay to get my body on board with things but struggle with guilt of feeling like I take too long so then it takes me even longer?
These are just a few of the things that I run through as a self-check on where I am at and what my needs are. When I am under a lot of stress my body likes to go on strike as in no matter what I just can’t quite get there and then feel ashamed or guilty for being a disappointment to myself and to my partner.
If he is wanting you to initiate things, you can use that as a way to set the stage to get what you both want and need. For example, something I have done in a similar situation where I had been a bit down on my body, felt the stressors tugging on my energy, but my husband was feeling a bit of the same and wanting to feel desired. So, I decided to use the fact that he loves to give acts of service as part of his love language and I used that to my benefit throughout the night.
I started the evening in kind of a dynamic where I was no doubt in charge by intentionally sitting him down in front of me, I sensually ran my fingers through his hair and caressed his face all the while telling him how much I love him. I like to give specific attention to the things I see him do for me and how much it means to me because then he knows that I see him and appreciate him.
Then I told him that I would like to ask him to please run me a bath. You can be specific if you want bath bombs, epson salts or bubbles, whether you want candles or music. Think about what will get your mind to relax and be in the moment. I like to listen to music to get myself in the mood, paying attention if I want to feel sexy, empowered, tender and make/put on playlists that bring that out in me. Sometimes I will pre-game a bit in the bath to get myself in the mood and ready for the night.
You can ask him to lay specific things out for the evening’s shenanigans that you want readily available whether it be toys, lingerie etc. (for me it is often my Magic Wand for during or after he is done because I am greedy when it comes to my orgasms and I want more. I’m not even shy about it anymore). You can direct him to be in a certain spot waiting for you at a specific time that you agree upon for when you are done with your bath. That is sometimes a way to build anticipation for him wondering what is next.
Now is your time to own yourself in every way you want to. If he is eager to take direction you can use that to your advantage and ask or tell him what you want him to do to you. This is about you initiating, which gives you the chance to show him some of what you like and need to help you get to where you are fulfilled and satisfied too.
You can make this experience as simple or elaborate as you want and curate it to what your relationship is or what you would like to see more of. My biggest suggestion is to really take some time to explore your needs and wants and then use that as inspiration to create a night you both won’t forget.
I find doing these kinds of gestures helps me show my husband the way my brain works because then that is the roadmap for him to use and explore me with. I am big into music and I like to leave people with a song to explore that is relevant in that moment and I would like to share with you “Beside Myself” by Hesta Prynn. It makes me feel sexually empowered and ready to make my partner my prey in the most sensual of ways.
NO RETURNED FAVORS
Dear Madam Stina Rae,
I (female) give my dude head all the time, but he does not return the favor. I silently decided to not give him any til he does me and now it’s been a year. I think he feels my coochie is disgusting because I’m a squirter. I enjoy giving and receiving, and now I feel left in the cold on both fronts. What can I do?
-No Returned Favors
Dear No Returned Favors,
Thank you so much for being so vulnerable and sharing your struggle with me. It is such a hard space to be in where you worry about other people’s opinion of your body and I am guilty of creating whole scenarios assuming their reasons for doing or not doing something.
So I would like to first start off by asking have you spoken with your partner about the reasons he doesn’t go down on you? Have you asked him his opinion on you being a squirter?
With that said, big high five to you for being a squirter! That is something that took me a long time to find confidence in. I have had partners talk down about it, call it gross, or be shocked when it would happen, which made me die a little inside. In fact, the first time I ever squirted I had set myself up for success because I was so nervous that everytime I would almost have an orgasm I felt like I was going to pee and was certain I was broken so I would just stop. So then I had a moment where I had the house to myself and decided now was the time where I would throw caution to the wind and allow myself to not stop instead just see where it all goes.
So here I am sitting on the side of the bathtub with my Magic Wand and just vibing with things. Then I got the rush of the tingles, this is where I normally would stop but instead turned my wand up to the next power setting and really went for it. BOOM! I came so hard not only did I squirt for the first time but I fell off the back of the tub, with legs trembling in the air I laid on the floor cackling and laughing so loudly. Over time I was with partners who not only appreciated my talents but was so incredibly turned on by it.
So back to my questions about if you have talked about your partner’s hesitation on going down on you. If you have been shy and not talked about the fact that you really want to be on the receiving end of things this is the perfect time to. Remember to check things like your tone and phrasing so that nothing can be taken as attacking or put them on the defensive but take this moment to really open up about your needs and wants because they are valid.
If you worry about him thinking unfavorably of you squirting you can simply bring it up and ask something like, “What are your thoughts on squirting? Do you find it sexy?” He is absolutely allowed to feel however he does and you are not there to change his mind but this helps you know where he is at then you can go from there in your discussions. I find being open and honest about your insecurities is a good way to let your partner in. Has this ever blown up in my face? Absolutely!
An ex of mine blatantly told me that he didn’t like the way I tasted and the fact that I was “messy” because I squirted. I spent the next eight years feeling ashamed of my body. Then I had come to the realization that there was nothing wrong with my body, I just hadn’t found the right partner who could appreciate the talents that my pussy brings to the table.
Everybody’s journey to self acceptance looks different. My biggest advice is to start by asking yourself how you feel about your body and its talents because then once you know where you stand about your own body, it helps when discussing it with your partner.
We all deserve to feel accepted by our partner but that starts with communication so I urge you to open up a space for the two of you to talk about your needs and wants as well as theirs. Just remember that there is nothing wrong with your body, its talents, and no one has the right to make you feel badly about yourself. You deserve to receive, to feel sexy about your body, and have your partner who embraces all that makes you, you. Remember that above all else!
A song I have been listening to when I am amping myself up to really feel and own myself is “Pynk” by Janelle Monae. I hope it gives you a boost!!
Madam Stina Rae
The Ties That Bind Us is a spicy advice column written by Madam Stina Rae, an advocate and mentor in both the queer and kink communities and the co-owner of Atomic Threads Boutique (@atomicthreadsboutique). She can help give insight on your sex and relationship needs and curiosities. Is your poly triad in rough waters? Do you and your partners want to explore a more taboo experience? Do you just want help asking out that super cute human you’re sweet on? This space is a judgement free zone where you are welcome to ask some of the most personal questions with total anonymity.