By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
I'm looking forward to starting over, sexually speaking, in the new year. Having gone through a trying 12 months, I'm making some sexolutions to guide me in 2006.
First, a recap: I started the year single and am ending it single as well, with a few brief flings, several flawed sexual encounters, and many lonely nights in between. I found my favorite porn video, The Fist, the Whole Fist, and Nothing But the Fist, buried behind the couch. I got my first bikini wax, and had a date where I got spanked to the tune of pounding thunder outside the window. I spent some time in a younger girl's bed; we watched movies, giggled, cuddled, and eventually got around to sex that was both hot and tender. I sent steamy daytime e-mails that got me so horny I could barely sit still, promptly followed by a one-night stand featuring some of the best sex of my life. I had someone tell me I inspired him to try switching teams, because my writing made him feel comfortable pursuing something he'd pondered about his whole life. But all in all, there's room for improvement. To that end, in 2006 I resolve to do the following:
1. Masturbate more often. When it comes to self-pleasure, sometimes I feel like, "Why bother?" I'll be fairly horny but also left with the feeling that masturbation will just make me lonely. I'll start out simply going through the motions, but once I get into it, my mind goes wild. Focusing so intensely on my own arousal unleashes hidden fantasies. Masturbating is the only time, save for my dreams, when I truly let go of all the daily stress I carry around, when I don't second-guess my fantasies, worry about body image, or feel guilty for indulging my yearnings. It helps me conceptualize what I want out of partner sex, as well as determine which erotic moments I prefer to keep to myself.
2. Ignore random e-mails or Friendster or MySpace come-ons. When you're getting rejected left and right by people you're besotted with, sometimes it's enough to simply feel wanted. It seems like such an easy solutionjust check my e-mail, and voilà, there's someone who seems charming, intelligent, and most importantly, interested. That's compounded when their profile features them holding up an adorable-looking puppy. But when you don't know the first thing about someone, and they think they know you, watch out. I didn't realize I could get hurt by someone I'd only known for two weeks, but I did. He presented himself as the epitome of the nice guy, but rewarded me for giving him "the most intense orgasm I've had in years" by ditching me, saying he couldn't handle where things were goingeven though he'd initiated us seeing each other three nights in a row. For other people, online communities provide a wealth of dating opportunities, but I prefer to mingle in real life.
3. Be more flexible about my "type." I've always found a broad range of people attractive. I'm much more likely to go for the quirky, offbeat loner than the drop-dead model type everyone else is drooling over. While I've dated people across the bodily spectrum, from anorexic blondes to curvy wenches, goateed nerds to macho studs, I have been a vocational snob. Artists, writers, comediansthose whose jobs involve creativity and putting themselves out thereall intrigue me. I hear the word lawyer and am reminded of my own abysmal law school experience, and Wall Street talk makes my eyes glaze over. But I want to open myself up to new environments and other kinds of people. I hate it when people stereotype me, so it's foolish and self-defeating to do it to others.
4. Save sex for date two, or later. Much as the outspoken, sex-positive, feminist side of me wants to say that girls can be just as voracious as guys, I've noticed that hopping into bed on the first date hasn't brought success for me. It's not inevitable, but especially when drinking's involved, it seems to jump-start the nascent relationship too early. The sex may still be awesome, but it's the next few days of "Should I contact him? What does he mean by 'busy'?" post-hookup confusion that makes first-date sex more trouble than it's worth. There's a line in the band Sarge's song "Clearer" that goes, "Now I mark each new morning by whose bed I climbed out of last," and every time I hear it, I remember what that was like, when I got off more on the fact of bedding new partners than on what I actually did with them. I'd rather go for quality over quantity; hopefully, waiting, even just one night, will be worth it.
5. Try something I've never done. I've had lots of sexual encounters, with lots of different people. Some I'd like to repeat, and some I'm happy to leave to the annals of experimentation. But just because I'm 30 and fixated on having a baby sooner rather than later doesn't mean I can't be adventurous. I'm still curious about sex clubs, public sex, hot wax, and pushing my own limits.