Pride – Swallow It & Listen
By Jon Pressick, from Sex in Words
A quick preface: This article is about pride, small ‘p’, meaning “the quality of having an excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance.” In no way am I equating sin and Pride, capital ‘P’, the universally accepted word that exemplifies the LGBTQ+ movement or the relationships of queer folks around the world. Pride is fucking awesome!
There are so many different ways we can jeopardise a relationship or potential hook-up. Everybody has a story of something foolish they’ve done that angered or upset the person they were with—to the point of being sent to sleep on the couch or being home instead of sharing a bed. All of these are incidental, such as differing political views, impolite language or manners, or more challenging situations such as disrespect or unkindness. But they can all lead to conflict and arguments and are bound to lead to lonely nights.
However, when we break down the majority of these situations, whether you and your partner have bantered about Brexit or back bacon, it is very likely that one or both of you may have let your pride get in the way of both common sense and acceptable behaviour with your partner. In the final instalment of The Seven Deadly Sex Sins, we explore the contradictory emotion of pride, and how it can negatively impact your sex life and relationship when it isn’t kept in check.
One important thing to remember is that pride is a good thing! Everybody should be proud of their accomplishments—whether you are running a marathon, writing a novel, solving a theorem… or just getting out of bed to face another day. We’ve all got trials and tribulations and we should all feel good about ourselves when we face them, deal with them and chuck them in the bucket of DONE. That is a positive sense of pride.
That feeling, however, can turn itself into a negative when your good feelings about your accomplishments turn into an inflated sense of self-worth because of those feats. When you start thinking you’re all that, you can start to think your opinion or abilities are worth more than those around you. You wrote a novel, so, obviously, you know everything about literature. You got out of bed, so, obviously, you know everything about the hardships and challenges. But if someone contradicts you? That’s when your pride comes in and you move to shut their disagreement down. Instead of seeing their points of view, you get your back up…and now everyone’s unhappy. Your pride has gotten in the way of something good.
The following scenario could apply to anyone, but I am going to guess, from shared stories, that heterosexual women will be the most likely to relate to having experienced this situation, hence the gendering of the participants.
So, you’ve met someone and the chemistry is amazing. Whether you’re connecting over the course of three minutes or three weeks, you’ve decided you want to take this fella home and see what happens. The passion between the two of you is amazing! When you arrive at your place, the clothes are flying everywhere and you welcome him into your room. After some fooling around, he tells you to lay back, he’s got some special “moves” that are going to make you feel fantastic! He proceeds to go down on you and do…things. You’re not entirely sure what he’s after or trying to accomplish, but the goal does not at all seem to be your pleasure or an orgasm. After a confusing few minutes, you tap him on the head and cross your legs. Looking smug and satisfied, he reiterates that you “must” have just had a good time. His face melts as you tell him the truth: that his “moves” did nothing for you.
And here is where it breaks down, here is where his pride takes over because it has been hurt. Chances are, he offers up these gems out of anger:
- Are you sure you didn’t have an orgasm and not realise it? (Doubting you)
- Everyone else he’s done that to has gotten off! (Diminishing your experience)
- Do you even know how to orgasm? (Undercutting your sexuality)
- I’ve never had any complaints before. (Shutting you down for speaking up)
None of this is acceptable and you’d be justified in throwing his shit out the window. It is really hard for people to not let their pride get in the way, particularly when it comes to sex. We want to be seen as sexually accomplished and sexually able. We want to help our partners achieve sexual fulfilment. But too many cannot swallow their pride and perform the ultimate sexual act. The one skill, the one move that everybody should practice and perfect. The one sexual feat that will make your partner’s knees weak.
Shut your mouth, still your tongue, keep those fingers in your pockets and your pants on tight. Listening is the best move you can pull out to impress a sexual partner because hearing and understanding what they want is the best way to help them achieve sexual ecstasy. Ears can be good for licking and sucking…but they are best for listening.
And after you’ve listened, re-evaluate your position on things and, if need be, check your pride at the door. Yes, we’ve all got preconceived notions and we all have opinions. But the difference between expressing those and knowing when to take a step back is crucial to navigating your way in a relationship or any sort.
Can you have sex with someone you fundamentally disagree with on core issues?
– Jon Pressick
About the writer: Jon Pressick is a sex-related media mogul. He is also a writer, the editor of the Best Sex Writing series from Cleis Press, co-host and producer of Sex City Radio, event organizer, workshop facilitator, (very occasional) burlesque performer and general sexual gadabout. Jon Pressick also won the prestigious 2010 TNT Favourite Adult Journalist Award and has been named as one of Broken Pencil’s “50 People and Places We Love.”