What Carrie Bradshaw forgot to tell you

Welcome to The Spectrum, the Phoenix’s brand-new all-inclusive sex column. Here you’ll find musings, advice and answers to any questions you send in. As I write this first installment, I find myself turning to my iconic counterpart: Carrie Bradshaw, the most infamously whiny single New Yorker to have blessed our small screens. After all, why not draw inspiration from the woman who “couldn’t help but wonder” her way through six seasons of HBO television? However, it was only after some (profoundly academic) research that I realised just how problematic and outdated her perception of the Manhattan dating bubble truly was, and not just because she never asked for dickpics.

Carrie parades through her not-so-fictional universe in a pair of Manolos she really shouldn’t be able to afford, feeling uncomfortable whenever she comes across a relationship that lies outside of the heteronormative male-female binary. Sorry fellow queers, the gay men she meets are vapid and bitchy queens, the lesbians hyperemotional characters escaping men on all levels, and the rest of the community is shelved away deeper than those free verse poems I wrote about death in 9th grade. Heterosexual women are either sexually frigid husband shoppers or emotionally repressed sex hounds. Regardless of the trope, these people just can’t seem to get it right. Basically, “Sex and the City” never told the world what normal is. And is there really such a thing?

I can already feel the eye rolls that this question is likely to incite, and yes, I could easily fill the rest of this column with reassuring thoughts about the virtues of committed polyamory and quick one-night shags and how they’re both wonderful and okay. The problem with this line of analysis is that I’d bore you, because chances are you’ve heard it before and will hear it again from people who might have tried and tested both and everything in between, who can jazz it up with their personal seal of “been there, done that”. In an environment like Swarthmore, the impression I’ve been given is that most of the student body already knows that they can do whatever they want in bed (or on Parrish Beach if they’re quiet about it). So instead of a Bradshaw style happy-go-lucky exposé of the wonders of human sexuality, I’m going to stick to what I know about: the gritty details. Those tiny yet crucial questions like how to choose a condom brand, be safe with rimming or get to the bottom of what pegging is all about. The sex stuff, basically, and how to have good sex.

So what is good sex? I feel like this question is a bit tougher to answer than the previous one. The factors that make you look back on a wild evening and say “Gee whiz, that was a fucking good fuck” are intricate and messy and overlap a lot. Some of it has to do with the intangible zsa zsa zu (for those of you unfamiliar with “Sex and the City” lingo, it’s those butterflies you feel when you have instant sexual chemistry with someone), some of it with your partner and what they do (if you suck dick and have a strong gag reflex, we can work on it, I promise), and lots of it has to do with you, your level of excitement or how well you click with your partner. To achieve this, communication is key and as essential as lube is to a hasty bumfuck (I beg you, don’t try your first time without. All that will come out of it are very sore memories). But really, as for everything else, it depends entirely on the people involved, or person, if you’re having some well-deserved solo fun. What matters most is that the experience was worth it when you run into your partner of yesternight in Sharples.

As a side note, I also want to make this a queer-inclusive space. Sure, we probably all know basically how people of different gender identities or sexual orientations do the deed, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t see bewilderment when non-penetrative sex is mentioned. Misconceptions run rampant, and it took me awhile to realize that sex wasn’t just that good ol’ fashioned missionary stuff I saw when I walked in on my parents all those years ago (and that shit looked painful to a 7-year-old, no wonder I turned out gay). This column is as much for discussing the intricacies of scissoring (although I may have to refer to some female-bodied friends with hands-on experience) as it is for keeping stamina in a double-dick 69.

Now I can say with a fair amount of certainty that some (or all) of what I write about won’t be new information to a fair amount of the student body. After all, I am one of you, and none of this is top-secret information. I just hope that one day the girl whom I overheard in Sharples that didn’t get why men would ever have to reciprocate oral in heterosexual intercourse realizes that whether she wants head in the end or not, the Earth doesn’t revolve around a glowing phallus, and sex is a meandering two-way street, where the pleasure of both parties is equally as important. And so, as I wrap up this first column, I can’t help but wonder: how long until most sex is (eye bogglingly) good sex for all parties involved?

The Phoenix