Hi curious one,
My mind was blown this week - again! - by how extraordinarily amazing 'active receiving' can be. I'll describe it for you in full detail, below.
As best as I recall, I learned this practice from the Sexological Bodywork crew (who I warmly recommend you check out, especially for a therapeutic and / or professional approach to sex).
You need a partner for this exercise. Set aside some quality time, and get a warm room - I like to use an electric blanket under the person that's receiving, also, because being cold doesn't support your enjoyment. Working off a massage table is perfect; a bed is okay, and being straight on the floor is good for people with high mobility. Perhaps put some ambient, spacious tunes on in the background, without too many vocals.
Have your discussions about hard limits and safer sex strategies, and perhaps line up some toys and sensation experiences. At a minimum, decant some coconut oil into a bowl.
Then, start a timer; 30 minutes is your minimum, 75 minutes is probably the upper range of what's good for most folks.
The person giving the touch waits nearby. In the absence of instructions, or if the receiver wants to self-pleasure, then the giver simply holds space (by staying near, and respectfully observing).
The receiver constantly scans their body for what they'd like to experience, and asks for it. In a more professional setting - the way this material is presented by SexBod - the giver only touches using their gloved hands. In a more personal, intimate environment, the two of you might agree that other forms of touch and experience are on the menu. However, crucially, the receiver needs to focus on themselves for the entire time, and resist the temptation to project their sexuality or arousal onto the giver. It's not meant to be a 'relationship' process, but rather, a 'self-development' one; the giver is essentially a very elaborate robot, listening carefully to instructions and acting on them (according to whatever boundaries were set initially).
The receiver is encouraged to stay with the experiences in their body, rather than disappear off into fantasy. While there's nothing wrong with that under different circumstances, part of the point of this activity is to learn more about one's own body and pleasure - and this is not possible if one is too far off in one's thoughts and fantasies.
At some stage, it can be great to have fifteen minutes of time principally for genital touch. This doesn't need to be sexual or to go in any particular direction, but it helps to reinforce your relationship with your genitals. The specific touch you might ask for could be anything from "cup my genitals with your hands, in stillness", through to "fist me". Trust your body.
It's nice if the robot - I mean, the 'giver' - can let the receiver know when their time is nearly up, so as to allow for cooling down. Then, depending on the nature of the experience, a few minutes of lying still and integrating the experience is often welcome... So is a hug, sometimes.
As with everything, debrief; the simple questions of "What did you like?", "What would you do differently / more of / less of, next time?", and "What do you like about this play-partner?" are a great starting point.
And then, swap!
Enjoy this practice, friends. I am consistently surprised at just how much pleasure the above activity can bring, but perhaps more importantly... It feels like it's a very solid way to progress one's sexual development. It feels like the lessons and experiences are really landing, rather than simply being fun and hedonistic one-off happenings. And anything that continues to develop the integration of your words with you pleasure is going to make for better sex and relationships.
(The above types of play feature in Fun Little Sex Games - as just a very gentle introduction in the beginner classes, then as described above in the intermediate / advanced classes).
'The Forest' continues to grow...
The Forest is such a lovely little workshop. It's built around a ritual where one half of the group stands still (as 'trees') with blindfolds on, and the other half of the group moves amongst them, giving experiences. The workshop includes some very fun extras and, naturally, lots of boundary-setting work.
It's surprisingly rich learning territory, as well as delightful fun, a lot of the time. So much so, that we now have versions for mixed-gender pairings, and male/female pairings. Perhaps even more exciting is the introduction of 'Deep Forest', only for people that have already done the standard workshop. In the Deep Forest, where all the trees have demonstrated their ability to set and respect boundaries, the experience is richer and longer...
The July Curiosity play-space is going to be during the day (4pm-8pm), as an experiment. This is only for folks who have already done the full Curiosity workshop, the next one of which isn't until Sunday the 6th of August.
Podcast: Curious Conversations About Sex.
In 'My partner and I used to have sex...?', Anne Hunter, Niyati Evers and Rog dive into the question that almost all long-term relationships will ask at some stage.
In 'BDSM: Isn't it just more sexualised violence against women?', Aerie, Beejay and Rog get into some really deeply juicy territory relating to consent (and non-consent), gender-play, communication skills, and slut-shaming.
Hope you're enjoying your journey of self-discovery, Rog.
P.S. I'd like to welcome Sair into the role of the Adminatrix, and also take this opportunity to thank Aerie for a stunning three years of domming the shit out of the CC task list, and generally steering a tight admin ship - your knowledge of the sector and the community, coupled with your admin skills, has been golden. Thank you!
Hi Curious ones,
Tantra is profound. But from the outside, it can be hard to know where and how to get started. That's where this exercise comes in; it teaches the skills of getting into your body, reading your partner's feedback, one-way touch (which is crucial to extending pleasure!), and the joy of playing in the subtleties of touch. (In fact, this exercise is a very powerful solution to what we might call the problem of 'over enthusiastic' touch).
It's called 'The Stills'. You'll need a partner of any gender, and it can be easily adapted for people with different levels of mobility.
Person One lies down on their back, with a pillow under their head, and is not allowed to move any body parts except their eyes (and any internal muscles, like breathing, but strictly no talking). Person Two plays with them, up until Person One flinches or moves - it's normally totally obvious to both parties when a flinch has occurred. When the receiver flinches (or moves in any other way), it's time to swap - the giver gets down on their back and is now the receiver. (Note that the person receiving touch can control the play by ‘accidentally’ flinching, thereby prompting a swap; consent is built into the structure).
It's not a hard one to get the hang of. As the giver, you can attempt to make the other person move by using erotic touch, and perhaps see just how far you can push that edge. Or you can see how long they can hold out on being tickled. Or if you're playing with someone that likes pain... Well, I'll just leave that to your imagination.
When I came up with this game, I mostly had hedonistic fun intentions in mind. But I soon realised how much training value there is in it, as well as being a way to bring some humour and lightness into play (which is such a turn-on!). So, enjoy being still.
It's one of about a dozen games in Fun Little Sex Games.
In last week’s podcast Curious Conversations About Sex, I tackled the question of “Why are men such dicks?” with Lorraine Pentelow and Charlotte Sway. The topic the week before was “What’s it Like Being a Public Figure in the World of Sexuality?”, with Cyndi Darnell and Barbara Carrellas.
They’re damn juicy conversations. You can listen online, but it’s oh so much better to work out how to subscribe (via Apple or other devices).
Fun Little Sex Games (couples) is on April 22, and Kink 101 (couples and mixed gender singles) on April 23.
Playing With Your Power is on April 29th, and The Forest on April 30th.
Dear curious ones,
I feel like this conversation I had about how ritual goes with sex and bdsm, with Barbara Carrellas and Cyndi Darnell, gives a good insight into what we regard as good sex. The way we use ritual in sex highlights a way that all those ideas about consent and communication can come together in a way that is smooth and supportive of good sex, rather than something that gets in the way.
And, perhaps needless to say, there are some cracker examples of our sex rituals.
Subscribe to Curious Conversations About Sex via the apple store, or stitcher, or wherever you normally get your podcast goodness from.
Kink 102 is coming up on March 25th, and the intermediate version of Fun Little Sex Games on March 26th (for those of you that have done the intro version, and are ready to drop in deeper).
At Curiosity, this weekend - sorry, no workshop for new people, so this is only relevant to folks that have already done the workshop - I'm adding in what should be a rather nice little feature. For those of you that want to participate, at nominated times throughout the night I'm going to pair you up with someone else, then give you a list of potential activities (that range from the entertaining and platonic, through to the very adventurous).
And also, early notice is that Celebrating Sexuality is coming up again on Nov 17 - 20th.
Hope you're enjoying being you, Rog.
Dear Curious Ones,
I hope you're well!
Episode four of Curious Conversations About Sex (the podcast) is out. In it, we tackle the question of whether touch can be taught. Some have it, some don't - what's with that? Can the situation be saved? If so, exactly how does one go about that?
You might also be interested in how to introduce more interesting sex into a relationship, Maureen and Cath and I discussing ournumber one sex moves, or a very body-positive response toconcerns about protruding inner labia.
Fun Little Sex Games is on this coming Tuesday; in this 'hetero' version, folks that identify as women will be paired with folks that identify as men. Places for women are still available, and more places for men might become available.
Kink 101 (open to couples of any orientation as well as 'hetero' singles) is on Saturday 25th.
Last week at Curiosity, some epic members of the community ran a game show, where teams were pitted against each other in some pretty hilarious sexually-themed challenges. Winners received some very special rewards, and all told there were about 20 people involved (and that number again in stitches as observers).
Later in the night, in another scene, a person sitting at a desk had to read an ironically chosen book and try to keep a straight face while someone (that they had chosen) stimulated them from under the table with a magic wand. The final scene, where the last reader climaxed while the whole room danced in front of them to Blondie's "Heart of Glass", is not the sort of thing that could ever be planned. The timing was extraordinary.
These scenes - and a hundred other like them - are subtle, nuanced, interesting, enjoyable, and entertaining. But I think what I love most about the Curiosity community is how carefully discussed and planned they are; people sometimes put weeks of effort in beforehand, making sure that everyone is comfortable and knows what's going on, and that informed consent has been appropriately attended to. What results is a thriving example of the wildness that happens when the basics (and safety) are attended to. Safety equals freedom.
The next workshop for new people is Sunday the 26th, currently 20 out of 30 tickets sold. Read all about Curiosity here.
Friends: The podcast has arrived! I am so excited to be broadcasting the sex-positive message out a little wider, and just delighted to be able to chat to such talented people about important topics.
'Curious Conversations About Sex' debuts today, available wherever you get your podcasts from, or from the Curious Creatures website.
There are three episodes ready for you:
And perhaps you're tempted to submit a question of your own...?
There are still a few spots left for this Saturday's rather delicious'The Forest' ritual. Then Fun Little Sex Games comes around on the 21st, Kink 101 on the 25th, and the next Curiosity workshop(for new folks) is on the 26th - on a random Sunday (not associated with a play-party) especially for those of you that can't do the usual Saturday afternoon thing.
I hope you're well, and also hope to have the pleasure of your company as some friends and I meander through Curious Conversations About Sex!
Forget about me. There's so many other great workshops coming up soon. :)
Here are some hand-picked beauties...
Barbara Carrellas / The Urban Tantra Experience (Sydney, April)
The book 'Urban Tantra', by Barbara Carellas, was a minor miracle for me. Actually, that's a lie; it was a major part of my journey into the world of sex positivity and my own sexuality.
I still recall the joy at finding a perspective on sex that was inclusive of all different types of people and bodies, and that was respectful of the tradition of tantra without being gendered. And that was honest about the lovely clunky reality of sex and what it is to be human.
It is probably my 'go to' book recommendation, when I'm asked about good books.
I did the Urban Tantra professional training a year ago, and I was delighted to discover that Barbara is also an extremely good facilitator. Plus, I felt the content of the workshop did justice to the joy I got from the book.
These two workshops are pitched at two different levels, and I warmly recommend you check them out, if sexuality, relationships, self-development, and / or gender are areas of interest for you.
Arven / Presence, Play & Polarity (Brunswick, Feb 4)
Arven runs a really great workshop. Some material includes some masculine / feminine concepts, so it's slightly different to my own style. He's got a great background in counselling, and brings together kink and tantric concepts nicely.
This workshop, in his words: "'Presence, Play & Polarity': experiential immersion. Way richer than an introductory workshop, less full-on than an intensive. Begins with practical somatic work, then flows across a range of fascinating, fun, and potentially beautifully expansive Contemporary Tantra and Authentic Expression practices."
Frank and Sheila / various workshops (Brunswick, January)
If you've been to my Kink 101 (or similar), you might have heard me mention that I love to mostly just teach the fundamentals, then refer folks to specialists for further training. Frank and Sheila qualify as specialists!
I've done their interrogation workshop, and found them to have a lot of great knowledge.
Overpowering and rough play:
Hold me tight:
Festival of Really Good Sex (Sydney, Jan 26-29)
Featuring yours truly.
Sexological Bodywork Certificate (April to October)
I love this crew, I love how they present their material, and I love what their work does for individuals and the world. I am not overstating my position.If you're thinking about some form of sex therapy, sex work, or other sex-related specialisation, I strong suggest checking this out.
And then, y'know, there's a bunch of my stuff. See the calendar page. I can't tell you how much I've been loving teaching it, especially lately. Thanks for you interest and support; I am a very lucky camper to have you as my client.
Hello curious ones,
Not having sex right this second? That doesn't mean you're not sex-positive, or that you're not doing it right. Read on...
Also! 2017 workshop and Curiosity dates have been released! See below.
Asexuality is a part of sexuality, as stillness is a part of movement.
I think of "sex positivity" as one's attitude towards sex (and other people's consensual sex), as opposed to a daily (or weekly, monthly, yearly) requirement. The pressure or expectation to be having a lot - any? - sex, and the sense that lots of sex is part of being an enlightened creature, can suddenly start to feel very sex negative. Ironically, one gets inversely slut-shamed for not having enough sex.
It happens to women, to men, and it most definitely happens to non-binary / queer / trans communities. There are a million reasons to not be having sex, but that doesn't mean you're sex-negative.
Some of the most sex-positive people I can think of haven't had anything that looks like traditional sex for a long time.
One of the things that happens is that our culture is a bizarre mix of sex-celebratory as well as sex-negative; anyone that's having more sex than you is a slut (or sleazy, predatory, dangerous, sex-obsessed), and anyone having less sex than you is frigid (or damaged, or unevolved, or unattractive, etc.). Or at least, that's the way we're trained to look at the world around us.
When one is going through a period of less sex than the culturally defined correct amount, it can be a very isolated and downwardly-spiraling situation; especially if one would like to be a bit more active than one is.
Sometimes when we cross over, and get back in the saddle as they say, without realising it we start looking down on those that are not getting as much action. All of our unprocessed shame at ourselves when we were in that period (as well as our relief from being out of it, and panic at the thought of going back into it) comes out. We start talking about ourselves like we are better than, or doing a better job, or more evolved...
Fuck that. And fuck no-one, if that's right for you. "Sex positivity" is the attitude you have to your body, your sexuality, and other people's... It's got nothing to do with how much sex you're having, or if it looks remotely like the mainstream definition of sex.
Let's instead just assume that you're perfect as you are. (And, I like to think, "sex-positive"). :)
2017 Workshop dates are now up, on the calendar.
Kink 101 - version for all couples, and singles (heterosexual pairings) is coming up on January 8th. Fun Little Sex Games - version for all couples is on Jan 10th. Then Rog is off to Sydney to run a few things at the Festival of Really Good Sex later in January.
Curiosity dates are also now mostly published. The play-space is on the second Saturday of the month, for the whole year. The workshop for new people jumps around a bit, as we experiment with ones on the same day as the play-space, and ones on different days. A paid assistant role for the setup and pack-down now exists; please see the relevant, detailed post in the secret Curiosity group.
For those of you that couldn't be there, the end of year Curiosity dinner and performances were pretty beautiful. What an amazing range of talents, and what a gorgeous bunch of people. I think you can go right ahead and pencil that in again for 9th December, 2017!
And once again, the silly season is approaching. Why not give an experience rather than a product? Perhaps a Curious Creatures Gift Certificate would hit the spot?
Hoping you're well in whatever you're doing,
Rog and the CC Crew.
Hi curious friends,
There was a wonderful article written by a regular Curiosity person this week. I found it a really touching and often heart-warming description of a couple's journey through health challenges, relationship changes, and ultimately some adventurous and successful outcomes. Sometimes (by which I mean most of the time), the off-the-shelf relationship model doesn't fit us, and we have to create something new. I like the integrity and vulnerability with which the involved people fronted up to the challenge.
I have some sadness about the headline that was used (especially by further publishers down the line). However, I was delighted to see the communications come through from so many other people, in similar situations, searching for options and alternatives, courageously playing at their edges. I am stoked that Curiosity (and other workshops) fill a role here.
On the topic of Curiosity... we're running an experiment with coloured wrist bands tonight as a way of indicating your level of interest in play with others. It's going to be very interesting, and if you've done Curiosity before you can jump on the secret group to find more information - but the most important thing is that it's optional, so don't stress if you're coming along and haven't been following the discussion. Also for Curiosity folks... There will be an end-of-year dinner thing prior to the December party - again, check the string for details.
There's still scope for another person to join the next Kinky Learning Circle... is it you?
And the silly season is approaching. If you've got one of those people in your lives for whom you want to get a gift, but want to give an experience rather than a product? ...Perhaps a Curious Creatures Gift Certificate would hit the spot?
Hope you're getting your money's worth out of being human, Rog.
The Two-Minute Game: An easy way for couples to turn no sex into good sex, and good sex into great sex.Read Now
By Roger Butler from Curious Creatures.
Most relationships begin with relatively high quantities and quality of sexual activity. For a while – the ‘limerance’ phase – it’s so exciting to be in relationship with this new special person that sex tends to unfold pretty enthusiastically all by itself. But for almost all relationships, this phase passes as the relative mundanity of life kicks back in; somehow it gets harder to make high quality time for each other, the initial sense of never-ending attraction is replaced by the usual interpersonal frustrations, or life just gets busy. And all of those problems get exaggerated if you happen to have kids.
If this is you, don’t worry: You’re behaving perfectly normally, and the challenges you’re experiencing can be solved. What follows is a few general strategies you can employ, and one specific intervention that’s easy to implement and works for most people, most of the time: The Two-Minute Game.
The structure of this game is really simple: You take it in turns asking for what you want, and the other person gives that activity for two minutes. Then you swap (and repeat, for as few or as many rounds as you want). The simplicity of the structure wildly undersells just how far-reaching it can be.
When it’s your turn to ask for something, I recommend simply shutting your eyes, and trusting your intuition. What you come up with will often be very surprising and unusual. But that’s what intimacy is like; sex is often portrayed as only being about kissing, manual stimulation, oral, and penetration – and while these things can be loads of fun – our bodies and minds are often way more creative than that. Free yourself from expectations around things like orgasms, arousal, or anything that looks like sex is portrayed on television, and instead just see where your curiosities take you. Here are some of the favourite things I’ve asked for in over a decade of playing this game:
One of the things that busy people tend to be able to do without herculean effort is find a certain time of the week for each other, like Thursday nights, or Sunday mornings during the baby’s nap-time, or whatever works for you. It’s almost impossible to guarantee you’re going to be energised or aroused when ‘date day’ comes around, but you can commit to simply being there – which is all the Two-Minute Game asks of you. It will come to be a little moment of sanctuary in a schedule that is otherwise dedicated to things other than the relationship.
You will learn new things about yourself, and each other. Even after decades of being together, the simple act of being able to check in with your body and see what kind of attention it would like will reveal many delicious new things.
The short and simple structure of the game addresses something that stops many of us from asking for what we want: Fear of being perceived as selfish lovers. If we’re only going to be in receiving-mode for two minutes (and anyway then swap over and give back), you’re not leaving much scope for your internal critics to make a mess. Also, the game solves another problem: What do you do when you’ve asked your partner for something, and they give it to you, but then you tire of the activity or change your mind? How do you politely say “thank you, but no thank you” without appearing demanding or ungrateful? The answer is embedded in the structure: The buzzer goes off, and the activity ends. More often than not, you’ll be left with a sense of longing for more, which is absolutely perfect! It’s better to end an activity before it reaches its use-by date, and leave yourself hungry.
Pro-tip: You can simply give an activity for a period without a timer and then call ‘time’, but very few people are good at this. It’s much better if you just use a timer on your phone; no-one needs to be responsible for keeping track of time, or for interrupting a fun activity. Your phone does the hard work!
Another pro-tip: Sex is often portrayed in a way where your partner just somehow magically knows how to touch you, without you asking. That’s true for a very small percentage of the population; the rest of us benefit a lot from using our language skills and asking for what we want – the person that’s using communication in their sex-life is guaranteed to be having better sex than the person that isn’t. Once you’ve asked for something, your partner can respectfully negotiate anything that isn’t right for them – that’s part of the communication process. This game will help you to get much better at asking for what you want, and therefore it’s much more likely that you’ll get what you want.
There are other strategies you might want to put in place, depending on your circumstances. Some of them are quick and easy, some of them require some self-development and relationship work along the way – however, sex and intimacy is like anything else, in that it takes time and practice to get good at it. For some reason, we often think we should just be good at sex without putting any effort in, which is weird, because that’s true for no other skill. Some specific things you might want to consider:
Somewhere out there is a model of sex that is right for all of us; the best we can do is simply run a series of experiments and try and notice the results. Your unique expression exists, waiting for you to find it.
Roger Butler is the principal facilitator behind Curious Creatures, and runs a variety of workshops on sexuality and self-development. He doesn’t claim to be the first to have discovered the Two-Minute Game; it’s been around in various versions for a while.
If you like what’s being discussed above, you will probably like the workshop ‘Tantra for the rest of us: Fun Little Sex Games’. Versions are fun for couples, hetero singles, and gender-blender singles.
Rog is the driving force behind Curious Creatures, and the main author of this sexuality blog in Melbourne. They were brought up white, middle-class, mostly heterosexual, and male. They now identify as kinky, tantric, polyamorous, queer, and very, very curious. Are you curious? Read more about Rog and Curious Creatures.