Doing the unspeakable

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By Molly Freedenberg

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During a recent beer-fueled gab session with my girlfriends, I made a startling discovery: All of us have particular ways our sexual encounters - whether with strangers or long-term lovers - tend to go. They are different for each of us. And most interestingly, they are unspoken.

For example. When Friend A brings a boy back to her bed, more likely than not they'll simply cuddle - or make out without having intercourse. This never happens with Friend B or Friend C. However, almost every man Friend B brings home tries (and usually succeeds) for anal sex - a reality almost completely foreign to A and C. And Friend C almost always has unprotected sex, with her partner pulling out before he comes. (Yeah, yeah, we know. We'll get to the modern-adults-having-unprotected-sex post later. That's not the point here...)

What's amazing is not that the three friends have different preferences. It's that these are patterns for each girl, and they happen without being discussed first (or, in some cases, ever).

This raises so many interesting questions. Is there something these women are doing, or some kind of energy they're emitting, that communicates to potential partners what their boundaries are? Or are people simply attracted to others who share their same unspoken sexual patterns? If Friend A hooked up with one of Friend B's former partners, would the latter try for anal sex with A? Would C's unprotected pull-out lover instinctively settle for a hand job and a hug with A? And does everyone have unspoken sexual rules or rituals?

I don't know the answers. But I'd like to. Because maybe if I understood, I could engineer my love life accordingly. Perhaps even include breakfast-in-bed in the mix. Or taking out the trash. Or just a lot of oral sex...

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