Sophie Cullinane | Features Editor | 1,172 day ago

Is Holding Back Our Best Sexual Moves The New Chastity?

The Debrief: Sexual withholding used to be about not putting out, but are we all starting to withhold our sexual prowess to avoid getting slut shamed?

A few weeks ago, an increasingly rare event took place: I was on a first date with a guy I actually fancied. It was going amazingly and soon enough drinks had turned into dinner and dinner into a cocktail and I was now in danger of missing my last bus home. By the end of it, I was pissed and horny, but when he asked if I wanted one more drink for the ditch I really had to push myself to say no. Not because I was worried about sleeping with him on the first date - but because if we did end up together, there was a chance I'd pull out some of my best sex moves. And the worst thing you can do with a new guy is be 'too good' at sex. 

READ MORE: Newsflash, Not All Men Like Blowjobs 

Honestly, here me out - every time I’ve strayed too far from ‘vanilla’ sex too soon quickly in a relationship, the man in question will do a disappearing act quickly after.  And I really liked this guy – I knew I had to withhold something if I wanted the relationship to go anywhere. Because what I've realised as I've got older is that sexual withholding is no longer about what base you go to and when – it’s about not being too good in bed too soon. 

The worst thing you can do with a new guy is be 'too good' at sex. 

You may think I’m mad, but more I thought about it the more I realised a huge proportion of the women I know in their 20s are very aware of - and are acting out - this new kind of sexual withholding. Women our age came to sexual maturity in post-feminist, post-Sex and the City, post-porn and post-Rampant Rabbit world where nothing really seemed to be off-limits or too taboo in bed. Suddenly, it was cool and expected as a right of passage for women to be sexually adventurous, to explore their sexual repetoir and to develop a sky-high sexual confidence – and to talk about all of this honestly and in forensic level of detail with our mates. The sexual revolution, coupled with the fact that we got most of our sexual education from pornography means that women in their 20s are now probably the most sexually confident for generations, so it wouldn’t be much of a leap to assume that we’re the most sexually adventurous and maybe even sexually adept. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that - it’s just a shame that no one gave the guys we’re sleeping with the memo.

A friend of mine is really into – and, from what I can understand from her previous boyfriends, very good at – a number of some pretty complicated sexual positions (her favourite's the reverse cowgirl, just FYI). But would she dream of cracking these moves out the first time she slept with a guy? Absolutely not – the last time she did the guy told a bunch of their mutual friends she was a ‘bit of a goer’. The guy in question might be a total douche, but from now on, it's missionary all the way on the first night for her. 

Another friend is very sexual adventurous and enjoys rough sex, but she’d never dream of letting a guy know that until at least the third time she’d shagged them because she’s worried they’d, at best, be completely intimidated or, at worst, label her a (I loathe this word) ‘slut’ who must have slept with a shit-tonnes of guys to be into that sort of thing. For me, I’ve always loved giving head and am really into deep-throating, but I’m hesitant to do it too quickly because the last time I did the guy said ‘you certainly know what you’re doing’ in a way which, trust me, did not feel like a compliment. There’s nothing quite like having the man who’s dick you have in your mouth slut shame you in the wink wink, nudge nudge manner of a character from a Carry On film to make you reconsider how quickly you whip out the deep-throat action, I assure you.

READ MORE: The Five Worst Sex Positions Of All Time 

These men may love the kink while it’s happening but the message is still loud and clear – if you’re too sexually assertive or adventurous with a guy too soon, you risk ‘scaring them off’ or them making assumptions about your sexual history. Which is fine if you only want something casual (who gives a shit what they think of your sexual past as long as you’re being healthy and safe?!), but it’s less than ideal if you want the relationship to develop into anything more emotionally enduring.

I’ve heard lots of my male friends talk about being ‘intimidated’ by sexually confident women who go in big on the first date.

You might think that anyone who makes those kind of assumptions about a woman is just a dickhead and isn’t worth your time anyway – and you’re probably absolutely right – but unfortunately some of the most reasonable and gender positive men I know (and some of my best friends) are also guilty of this thinking to a certain degree. They might not be as quick to jump on the word ‘slut’, but I’ve heard lots of my male friends talk about being ‘intimidated’ by sexually confident women who go in big on the first date.

A male friend in this mid-20s (whose blushes I’ll spare by not revealing his name) was so blown away by the head he got on the first date with a beautiful girl – who he’d be pursuing for months – that he felt compelled to tell me that he got a migraine after he came. Yes, he actually lost the power of vision after a blowjob. Sounds pretty impressive to me, but did he think so? No – despite the fact he’d fantasised about this girl for months and just had great head from her, he told me she was ‘not the kind of girl’ he’d consider going out with because ‘he wanted someone a bit sweeter’.

When I pushed him to answer why, my evidently Sex and the City-savvy friend admitted it had something to do with his ‘Madonna/whore complex’, adding he ‘doesn’t mind the kinky stuff’ but is ‘weirded out when they’re really good at it because it makes me think of the other men they’ve been with. I’d rather they’d done that stuff with me for the first time and that I’d been the first person to introduce them to it.’ Right. So a bit of kink is fine as long as you’re the big strong man who showed us how to do it in the first place, and we hadn’t worried our pretty little heads about figuring it how ourselves. No wonder we’re fucking sexually withholding.

READ MORE: Cost-Per-Orgasm, How Not To Calculate The Value Of A Date 

It's a very strange inversion of Marilyn Monroe’s famous quote ‘if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best’ – but where does all of this lead us? Well, if you’re anything like me, really very frustrated. I spent so long worrying about the best way to get with the guy for the first time without giving off the wrong impression that I ended up going home and not texting him again – which is definitely a worse way of making sure a relationship doesn’t develop than worrying about the best time to show off in bed.

We still, evidently, need to get the message out that female sexual desire and passion isn’t something to be feared, nor is it an indication that someone is ‘loose’ or ‘easy.’

Maybe it’s time we stopped buying into the idea that ‘nice’, ‘girlfriend material’ types don’t tit wank on the first time and maybe the guys will have less reason to believe that's the case as well. We still, evidently, need to get the message out that female sexual desire and passion isn’t something to be feared, nor is it an indication that someone is ‘loose’ or ‘easy’, it’s a damn fine thing and something worth hanging on to, regardless of when it arrives.

So let's put this in perspective – if a guy was amazing in bed the first time you slept with him, you wouldn’t worry he was a man-slag, would you? Then that’s as good an indication as any that women probably should be concerned about the reverse either and any guy who gets too hung up on it probably isn’t worth your time. And whilst I’m at it, just a quick note to my anonymous friend. If you don’t put a ring on the finger of a woman who gives such good head it renders you temporarily blind then you are a fool.

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Picture: Lukasz Wierzbowski

Tags: Sex, NSFW, Sex O\'Clock, Sex Ed, Sex Position, Sex Positions