Recently I saw a comment on social media made by someone who said she was curious about exploring sex with a man.
This woman said she identified as a lesbian and had not had consensual sex with a man. She was, however, curious about what that might be like.
This made me think because in our society we don’t really talk much about exploring sexually outside our stated sexual orientation.
Although we don’t talk about it, lots of people do it all the time.
A common stereotype is that the only people who explore outside their stated sexual orientation are closeted gays and lesbians who are pretending to be straight.
The reality is this happens for people of all sexual orientations, even for those who are not closeted.
For example, one of my past coaching clients identified as a gay man for the first fifteen years of his adult life. Later he happily chose to marry and enjoy sex with a woman.
Over the years, I’ve had many friends, colleagues and clients of all sexual orientations who have explored outside the way they usually identify. Personally, I have also had relationships with both men and women.
Such explorations can be enjoyable, and sometimes scary. They can also be a good source of self-discovery.
Some people may explore a little bit and decide they’ve had enough. Some may continue exploring but keep quiet about it. Others, like the client I mentioned, may even end up changing their stated sexual orientation.
There are a lot of possibilities out there if you’d like to explore. Here are some suggestions for making your explorations more enjoyable and less stressful;
1. Champion your curiosity
The first thing I would like to encourage anyone who wants to explore is to champion your curiosity.
For the most part our society does not encourage us to be curious, so you’ll need to be your own cheerleader.
There are some things that we’re encouraged to be curious about, but most people have a lot more experience being in situations where it’s not encouraged – or even not allowed – to be curious.
We go to school and for many years we are told we must sit in a certain chair, arrive and leave at a certain time, and we can only have breaks at designated times. School is often very regimented and we are taught to do things in only the “proper” way.
Working at a job is similar in many ways. You’re supposed to do what you’re told, at the proper time and in the proper way. In most jobs, being curious about how to do it differently or better, or about doing different things is not rewarded.
There are reasons why it’s that way, and some of them help us have a smoothly functioning society. One of the things that we can unconsciously learn from that is a resistance to being curious or not feel like we’re allowed to.
On top of all this, our religious and cultural background may have taught us that it’s not OK to be curious about sexuality.
When it comes to your sexuality, one of the best things you can do is to champion your curiosity.
2. Explore slowly, one step at a time
For anyone who wants to explore sexually, it’s a good idea to take it one step at a time
As much as you may sometimes be eager to jump in and try everything all at once. it can be good to go at a measured pace.
There are likely to be times when you’re not so sure you want to keep exploring. You might feel hesitant or awkward.
One of the best ways to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed or having possibly a bad experience is to slow down. Take it one step at a time and explore in different ways
Of course, some people may be more adventurous and might be better able to just jump in.
But for most people slowing down can help you to feel comfortable and safe.
With that foundation, you are more likely to be open to exploring further and discovering more about yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable or safe, you’re more likely to stop the explorations prematurely.
3. Find supportive group experiences
One of the best ways to explore is through group experiences. You may be able to find such groups in your area.
You might find sex positive groups that have informal activities or play parties. In some regions, there are also more formal intimacy workshops with an experiential component.
Even if you’re not usually enthusiastic about group events or hands on intimacy workshops, this can be a good option for exploration. A well-run workshop or group event can provide a safe container where there is a structure that supports your exploring safely and pleasurably.
Some, but not all, workshops will offer the opportunity to pair up with other workshop participants. This can be helpful if you’re at a loss for how to find people to explore with.
Within a supportive workshop or group structure like this there is often guidance available to help you if you get uncomfortable or you just feel you’ve had enough for now and need to slow down.
In most cities, you can find such events by looking at Facebook events and Meetup groups. Other websites like Eventbrite, Fetlife and local community forums may be worth exploring too.
Keep in mind that even if you want to explore sexually, there can still be great value from gentler clothes on explorations. There are often experiential hands on, clothed events or other structured events like a Cuddle Party. These events can expand your options for meeting people and trying things.
Even if you live in a rural area or a small town, you can still probably find some sex positive groups within reasonable driving distances that have social events. These may give you a place to, at least, meet people to talk with who are supportive of your desire to explore.
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There are also online communities, coaching and other ways to get support.
4. Focus on what feels good
Throughout the process of exploring, I encourage you to stay in touch with your feelings. For some people this will be easier than for others.
Doing so will help you focus on doing the things that feel good.
It’s easy to get a picture in your mind of what you think it should look like or what you want it to look like. Often these ideas come from outside sources like social media, magazines, TV or porn.
The problem is these ideas are often different from what reality is like. By focusing on them you might push yourself to do something uncomfortable or miss noticing what feels great for you.
Instead, focus on being curious to see how the experience unfolds. As it unfolds, focus on noticing and enjoying what feels good.
If something feels good and you want to do more or explore further – great!
When it stops feeling good, then take that as a sign from the combined inner wisdom of your body, mind and spirit to slow down and to give yourself a break.
Then, maybe later you can come to explore further.
Curious sexual exploration can be fun and healthy
When it comes to exploring outside of how you’ve normally defined your sexual orientation, I encourage you to champion your curiosity, take it one step at a time, seek out supportive group experiences and to focus on what feels good to you.