Last week’s Zits columns were fantastic. I have always liked Zits, and this is just one more example of how fabulous this column is. On Monday, we saw Jeremy and his girlfriend kissing. Jeremy is a bit…over-enthusiastic:
On Tuesday, Jeremy’s girlfriend comes to talk with him about the quality of their kissing relationship. She manages this in an open, honest, if somewhat awkward way. We should all be as straightforward as Sara is, when talking about this touching topic. This is an example of a real girlfriend-to-boyfriend conversation about sexual activities that it would be good for more teenagers to see.
Sara moves on to trying to show Jeremy exactly what she means, and while it doesn’t work out exactly as she planned, she is utilizing a generally effective approach to teaching a partner a new approach to the physical aspect of their relationship:
Showing patience while remaining clear is so important…
And even more patience…
But sometimes it takes a good friend to make the point with a sledgehammer that a partner is not being able to make gently…
Letting our partners know what we like and don’t like sexually (including kissing) is important to a sexually fulfilling relationship, but not something many teenagers or adults often see examples of. In media images and romance novels alike, the sex just seems to “work” without negotiation or verbal indicators. In real life, there are often bumps, preferences that one’s partner isn’t aware of, and other mishaps that call out for a good, frank conversation.
But these conversations can be awkward, especially if you and your partner aren’t used to having them. Moving through that awkwardness to a place where you can talk about your physical relationship is hard because based on the sexual relationships we have seen examples of we expect that if we really care about a person, our physical relationship will fall into place. Which is, of course, silly. People have very different sexual preferences, and there is no reason to assume that a partner knows or understands those preferences without at least strong hints, and potentially a conversation, with you. Jeremy’s prior kissing partner may have really liked his wet, sucking technique.
Making that first move to telling your partner what you want more of and less of in your physical relationship can be the first step in creating an even more fulfilling sexual relationship. But how do we learn to do this?
While I can have people role play these conversations all I want in my classes, seeing examples in comic strips, movies, music, advertisements, and all the other media images can have far more impact over the long run than several exercises in a classroom.