Just the Tip about partners, body image

Just the Tip is a bi-weekly sex and relationship column from queer non-monogamous kinkster Jera Brown. We feature interviews with sexuality researchers and educators as well as smart and compassionate responses to anonymous questions. If you would like to be interviewed or have a sex or love question you’d like Jera to answer, email jera@jerabrown.com or DM Jera on Twitter @thejerabrown.

I’ve been polyamorous for quite some time now, and recently a new partner asked me “exactly how many people are you seeing?” and even though it seems like a straightforward question, I didn’t know how to answer. Do I count partners who have moved across the country but I still talk to every few weeks? What if we’ve had phone sex? What if it’s someone who I would hook up with if they came to visit, but I haven’t seen them for over a year? If you’re polyamorous, what exactly defines a partner?

What indeed. I think that people who choose to identify as polyamorous tend to like the idea of people lasting in their life. That’s part of why poly peeps love defining relationships—if you can figure out what you are to each other, then maybe you’re both more likely to stick around.

It’s worth investigating why you want to define each relationship and why it matters how many relationships you are in. What if relationships are just as fluid as gender and sexual orientation? Labels can be very useful, but only if we recognize that who we are (and what our relationships are) is much richer and more dynamic than any term can ever capture.

Sometimes there are legal reasons to define a relationship, which of course is part of why the LGBTQ fight for marriage equality mattered (matters—in the Trump administration, I’m afraid the fight might not be over). And I think some of us will soon be advocating for multiple partners to have legal rights — where more than two individuals are owning property or raising kids together or maybe even wanting to get married! That’s right, first came man marrying man, then came man marrying multiple men. But I digress.

I’d make sure that your new partner feels special. They might be asking because they’re intimidated by the amount of people in your life or unsure where they fit in. And if you feel it’s important to define various relationships in your life, I hope that each conversation you have leaves you feeling grateful that these amazing people are in your life in the first place. If they deserve a label, then they must matter.

My partner wants me to sit in their face, but I’m a big woman and that terrifies me. What can I do to get over my fears?

Before we get into body image stuff, let’s make sure this is something YOU want to do. You should never feel obligated to perform any particular sexual act just because your partner wants it. But say you think the idea is sexy, and something you’d love to work up the courage to do, and the only thing stopping you is insecurity.

Owning that you find the idea sexy is the first step. Now, pair that up with your confidence that your partner finds you sexy. Not sure? THEY WANT YOU TO SIT ON THEIR FACE. To me, that screams, “Hey, I love your body so much, I want it on top of me. I want to be all up in it.” See what I mean?

There are baby steps you can take, and with each step, I encourage you to ask your partner for feedback. Talk is key in sex in general, but particularly when you’re conquering your fears. Go back and forth. Tell your partner what you love about how their body feels. Ask them for the same. This not only builds trust, it’s sexy as fuck.

  • Make sure you’re used to them going down on you. If they love going down on you, rest assured that they love your smell and your taste, and the act or … they wouldn’t be asking you to sit on their face.
  • Start by straddling another part of them. Their leg, their waist—whatever makes you both comfortable. Get used to your weight on them and vice versa.
  • Masturbate standing over them. Watch how much they enjoy the view.
  • Place pillows next to their face on either side if you’re worried about your full weight on them. As you get more comfortable, you can toss them aside in the heat of the moment. Cause it’ll get hot …

Jera writes about sexuality, spirituality, and social justice. They are the author of Just the Tip, a queer-friendly, sex-positive, relationship advice column and the editor of Sacred and Subversive,...