(Not that kind)

For the most part, I’m not a fan of articles or blog posts about sexual technique or how to be ‘good in bed’. They’re often full of clickbait-y nonsense that just serves to increase performance anxiety and to make people feel bad about their own sex life; and even when they do approach the subject from a more thoughtful, sensitive, and nuanced perspective, it remains exactly that – a perspective. Once consent has been established, there’s not really any right or wrong when it comes to rocking someone’s world between the sheets. There’s only what works for them and what doesn’t, and you’re going to discover a lot more about that by actually talking to your partners than you are by reading Cosmo.

However, I’m breaking my own rule for one moment to talk about something that I don’t think gets enough love from bloggers and sex columnists, in part because it’s quite a difficult concept to articulate. I’m also aware that I’m preaching to the choir a bit: what I’m about to say won’t be news to most of you reading this, because you’re all awesome, sex-positive humans who have already thought about how to move your body during sex and why it’s so deliciously fun to grind against your partner in all manner of interesting ways.

Even when something’s obvious though, it’s still good to talk about it from time-to-time. I’ve had this particular topic floating round my head ever since an encounter last year that not only reminded me just how good first-time sex can be, it gave an almost perfect demonstration of why one ingredient above all others can serve to elevate penetrative fucking from the merely excellent to the truly awe-inspiring. And that ingredient is resistance.

We instinctively seek out and enjoy physical resistance in various forms from an early age. I’ve wiped enough baby food off cupboards, walls and myself over the last few weeks to know how satisfying even a 9-month-old finds it to jam a spoon up inside their top teeth and push till it finally flicks out. Part of the fun of wrestling with siblings or friends as a child lies in feeling the tension between your body and theirs as you lock arms or try and pin them to the floor.

As adults, of course we’re able to enjoy that sensation in different ways. Some of that is conscious, deliberate – think how satisfying it is simply to flex your fingers against a hard surface, for example – but at other times we do it without realising why, as a way to enhance other activities.

With that first-time fuck last year, I don’t know whether the other person did it deliberately or not. Or even what ‘it’ was, necessarily. I only know that every time I pushed one way, she pushed the other. Every time I pulled her onto me, she tilted and angled her body or shifted her weight to create a perfect pivot point. And I felt that tension – that resistance – as a tangible, active thing. I felt the thrill of having something to thrust against, and of feeling my muscles bunch as she braced herself.

To some extent it runs into the whole concept of the ‘struggle fuck’, where sex and wrestling semi-violently collide. Or rather, the struggle fuck is a concrete example of how resistance works in sex. But it’s a loud and almost exaggerated example. Deliberate rather than intuitive. The ‘struggle’ element takes over everything else, rather than sitting in the background, calmly breathing extra life into every other part of the experience.

Actually, background may be the wrong word. When I was thinking about this earlier, I realised that whether the resistance itself is deliberate or intuitive, it has the effect of making the person doing it active by default. Which is a fucking awesome thing, because there’s basically nothing less arousing in bed than passivity.

Passivity has nothing whatsoever to do with submissiveness, stillness, or sensory deprivation. You can be present and active while engaging in all three of those things. Passivity is more of a mindset. It’s a lack of presence and engagement in what’s happening around you – or what’s being done to you. Because when you’re passive, you’re rarely giving anything back. You’re not an equal partner in proceedings, nor are you typically communicating anything meaningful to the person in bed with you. They’re fucking you – you’re not fucking each other.

That’s why truly active partners are such a joy. That’s true on all levels – emotional, creative, etc – but perhaps most viscerally so when someone can tense and clench and brace and push and pull, in subtle and wonderful ways, without doing anything other than being aware of their body and how to use it.

And that touches pretty much all the ways in which you can have sex. When I started casually brainstorming this post, I wrote ‘best positions to make this happen?’, only to scrub it out soon afterwards because it’s true of every position, and is often why variations on something standard work so well.

Doggy? Obviously. It’s in the way you cock your hips and slam back onto me each time I thrust inside you. Or in how you lean on your forearms and press into the mattress, keeping your body rigid and strong. Missionary? Fuck, tilt just right and we’ll get that grind at the point where our pelvises meet. Maybe put one hand on my shoulder or round my neck and brace the other against the bed, so the force going through your body as I fuck you is channelled along those lines and focused at particular points, rather than softly dissipated throughout. Woman on top? Same principles. Except this time it’s my hand round the back of your neck, and my other gripping your ass, pulling you down onto me. Or it’s your hands on my chest and shoulders, pinning me to the bed as you tense your thighs and ride me, rocking forward each time so I can feel your cunt rub against the head of my cock.

It extends beyond PIV though. Oral, hand sex, toys. Anal. Anything where our bodies form a hinge of some kind; where there’s a focal point for energy to build. Unsurprisingly, if you allow it to do just that, the resulting release is fucking intense.

I don’t know why I noticed that so much with this particular person. I guess their martial arts background may have something to do with it – suggesting, perhaps, that it’s a sexual instinct built through learning and repetition in other areas of life – or just a heightened awareness of/sympathy towards their own body. Either way, it’s always been there with different partners over the years – I think I was just able to conceptualise it better (in my own head, at least!) after that encounter. And to notice it more in others, which is always a nice thing.

So if you’re looking for a way to spice things up in the bedroom without too much effort or cost, you don’t need to try acrobatic new positions or buy kinky outfits and toys (though those things are great too). You can always just start by thinking about how you fuck. About your own body and what you do with it – how it fits with your partner’s, and how the two of you pivot and move together. Because when it comes to sex, a little resistance can go a long way.

This is my second post for Smutathon 2019. Head over to our donation site via this link, to support the National Network of Abortion Funds!

Exhibit A is a sex writer, blogger and author, based in London. He has a particular interest in erotic photography and male sexuality, and enjoys subverting mainstream expectations of both.

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