The play is over, which I am both relieved and very sad about. It went incredibly well, and was a lot of fun, and I am so very pleased I took the time out of my degree to really give it everything I had. And now it is over and normal life resumes. Hello normal life! How have you been? I missed you.
Somehow, over the course of the play, I have ended up in a position I never thought I’d have to face: I slept with a younger guy. This should not be a big deal, but I have always dated people significantly older than me. Electra: two years older. Salmacis: four years older. Alexander: three years older. A mad mad French girl who doesn’t have a pseudonym: five years older. And okay, Leander was my age, but that was an exception. I have never had much time for people younger than me, male or female, at least not as sexual partners. It just didn’t seem right.
Alas, one of the downsides to being third-year at university (other than exams and actually having to work, of course) is that the supply of people older than you tends to fade away. And what’s replacing them? Bright-eyed, naive, innocent freshers. Oh dear god, I sound like Mrs Robinson.
Marcus is certainly not naive or innocent, though I suppose he does have rather bright eyes. He is, however, a teenager. Eighteen, to be precise. And this feels rather strange for a girl who prefers experienced partners because, well, less goes wrong that way. Plus it means I can learn new things, and I enjoy learning a lot. Teaching is all well and good, but learning means you can make sex even better, then go on and transfer these amazing new skills to another partner! How awesome is that?!
So why did I sleep with him? Aside from the fact that I find him hot and want to do him (always a good start), because I spent my teenaged years spouting the mantra that age doesn’t matter, it’s the people who count. Admittedly, this was just to reassure my concerned friends that I really was alright with all these exciting older people, but there’s truth to it too. People mature at different times, and age really isn’t everything. When I was fifteen, people my own age bored me, and I really did get on better with university students. And if Marcus feels the same as a first-year, who am I to question that?
Of course, I need to be careful. Dan Savage’s ‘campsite rule’ comes into play here: if you’re the older or more experienced partner, you must leave whoever you’re involved with in the same sexual, mental and emotional state than you found them, or preferably better. Even if he’s no blushing virgin (hah), I need to make an effort not to make assumptions, to be extra clear with communication, and maybe take certain things slow.
It’s the same technique I’d use on anyone who’d never done BDSM before. Just because I’m usually the submissive one who likes to be dominated and taken, doesn’t mean I don’t have a responsibility towards the other person, making sure they’re okay with how things are going. Safewords work both ways. I know from experience that sometimes it’s terrifying being in control of someone else, and there are times when you just want to stop the scene and go back to cuddling. So if I’m teaching a new partner how to top me, even if they’re the one fastening the handcuffs, it’s still my responsibility to make sure they’re okay with that, and to help them if they’re not. And that’s mostly how I feel now, with Marcus. I trust him to tell me what he wants and does not want, but it’s still my responsibility, as the (just slightly) older woman to check that nothing makes him feel uncomfortable. Because I know, again from experience, that sometimes it’s hard to to admit that everything might not be entirely okay if you’re trying to feel all confident and grown up.
And speaking of growing up, I have to do that too. I am just a little bit used to being the one who needs looking after in any kind of relationship, letting other people take care of me and being lazy with communication and boundaries, because I take it for granted that my partner will do the hard work for me. I’m not saying for a moment that Marcus needs looking after – I don’t think he does, not seriously, or else I wouldn’t trust myself with that responsibility. But I do need to look after myself, and remind myself of all the useful tips I give to first-timers. Now is a great opportunity to put what I keep going on about into practice. I hope so, anyway. We shall see how it goes.
Other things I plan to talk about in the near future:
* One-night-stands: why do it, and how?
* Online dating and all the fun it entails
* Rape culture: an update on my own experiences
* More on privilege (everyone’s favourite)
* Feminism in real life, aka why ‘I support women’s rights but I’m not a feminist’ is bullshit
Oh, and if anyone’s wondering, I was as sexually forward and open about what I wanted as I have always been, and you know what? It worked perfectly. Screw you, Atratinus, and everyone else who thinks that sexually assertive women are broken and damaged. We are awesome, and we are having much better sex than you are. So there.