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LETTER TO MY VIRGIN COUSINS

Written in May 2021
Reading time: 30 minutes.

I. Introduction
II. The Letter
III. The First Disaster
IV. The Second Disaster
V. Lessons
VI. Masturbation
VII. Kissing
VIII. Interlude, on Consent
IX. Another Interlude, on Condoms
X. Sex
XI. A Proposed Path
XII. The Third Disaster

Introduction

As the American cousin, my counterparts in Bangladesh tend to ask me the questions that they can ask nowhere else. They are almost always male cousins, and they almost always ask the same practical questions: How does sex work? How do I make a lot of money? Why do I lack motivation?

Usually, it’s in that order — sex, money, purpose — and every time, I respond, “I don’t know.”

When I was younger and far more confused, I stopped the conversation there. But as I’ve grown older, I have progressively been able to provide what seems to be helpful, calming advice. I have interacted with the world as a field researcher, taking notes for the next inevitable time a cousin asks me something deep. I assess and reassess how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking, to the point where I can’t turn it off anymore. Knowledge isn’t meant to be hoarded, so nowadays I give them all the information I can, the best I can, with the absolutely clear caveat: at the end of the day, I still don’t know.

As I’ve grown older and laid my roots, I have found many of my American confidantes have the same questions. Life presents the same challenges, whether in an open society or a closed one. Across the oceans, in cultures mummified by tradition and superstition, these deep questions are snuffed out before they can even be asked. Over here, in the parts of the world that pride themselves on open inquiry, I think the problem is one of redirection. Wherever there’s a deep question, there’s somebody ready to make a profit. Sex? Buy pills, watch porn, get these clothes. Money? Take this low-paying job to make your boss rich. Motivation? More pills, buy a membership, pay your tithes, don’t ask too many questions. Revenue is generated but the confusion remains.

Conversation is imperfect, experience is incomplete, but, by God, talking one-on-one simply works — and I’m tired of doing it. As I cross into (what’s in the average teenager’s eyes) the ripe old age of 28, I am getting these questions more and more. Sometimes I’m deeply uncomfortable. The person I’m sharing thoughts with is over a decade younger than me, which might as well be another reality at the speed this world’s moving. Plus, I just don’t have the time anymore. My cousins, I love you, but cousin Aswar’s got stuff to do and another soul-searching four-hour conversation is just not in the cards.

And that’s why I’ve taken all these conversations — all the text messages, emails, DMs, phone calls, hours-long meals in Dhaka restaurants, long walks around the lake, and, yes, other written letters — and I’ve compiled them into one master letter that I intend to send to the next heterosexual male cousin of mine who asks about the first of these questions: sex. If it can be of any help to anyone else, so be it. Keep in mind: I still don’t know.

The Letter

Dear Cousin,

From everything you’ve said about her, she’s a fantastic young woman and the fact that she wants to explore this part of life with you brings joy to my heart. I’m not sure what you all are planning, how far you’ve explored or how far you both plan to. I don’t need nor want to know.

What I care about most is that you’re approaching this with a lot of fear. Not the fun kind leading to satisfaction, but the kind that freezes you in your tracks, questions your manhood — the kind I had for years and still feel some effects of today: Will I know what do? Will I disappoint her? Will I disappoint myself? Will I be embarrassed? How does it actually work?

My intention isn’t to ruin the mystery for you. I can’t tell you how it feels (it feels great, but not always at first). This is one of the most enjoyable parts of being alive, and I don’t want to ruin the fun surprises and the good kind of fear. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll try things that won’t quite work, you’ll have good times and bad times, and hey, you might even be embarrassed once or twice or a handful of times. Laugh them off! — Women love someone who can mess up and laugh at themselves because, believe it or not, they’re not perfect either, and want some assurance that it won’t be the end of the world if they make a mistake.

The kind of fear you’re talking about affects one’s self-worth and sets them up for failure. You’re feeling it because neither you, nor I, nor our fathers or mothers or grandparents or perhaps any of our ancestors and their parents ever talked about sex. It’s a disaster in the transfer of knowledge. But don’t think it’s a thing only you are experiencing, or even that the young men around you are alone in this; I used to think these by-birth, sexually confident American kids all got “the talk” about sex from their parents, but even here I think that’s more of a pop culture/television thing. I think they’re faking that confidence, because Americans love confidence in general.

For my part, I had no meaningful guidance. Absolutely none. Sex was a shameful concept growing up. It was a thousand times more the tool for adultery than affection or bonding. It was a thing done by pornstars on websites you should clear from the browser history. It wasn’t the thing that gives people joy, brings people closer together, and creates life itself.

My dad, as you know, was far away. He never talked about it in those months he was near. His only advice regarding women was “they like heroes” and I suppose that has been true. I think my mom was more concerned with keeping my sister and me fed and housed, and assumed I’d just figure out this sex stuff, much like how I figured out most of American life on my own. I wouldn’t trade my childhood autonomy for anything in the world, but I’ll be the first to say that it had some adverse effects on my understanding and experience of sex.

My first forays were, without exaggeration, disastrous. Buddy, there were times that I thought I would never have sex in my life — that I was physically incapable of it. Those old emotional scars are easy to hide, especially now that I’d say I’ve got quite a happy sex life, but I think I’d be lying by omission if I didn’t tell you the bad with the good.

The First Disaster

I was becoming an Olympic level kisser. My God, I was good. If there were a college scholarship for making out, they’d have to raise the award amount to match my talent.

My kissing partner was great, too, but I think after a few months of passionate necking, there was a suggestion that we try out a new sport. Thankfully, it used the same bat as another sport I was very good at. But that sport was solo, and now I was going to be playing doubles. I didn’t know if my skills would transfer.

I prepared as any good athlete would. I read the articles and expert insights. I watched some of the pros of this new sport (some who I had been watching for years, but not really for information). I abstained from activities that I thought would harm my performance.

When I arrived for the first game, the arena was set, the stadium (a small bed with a light blanket) was comfortably cool and dimly lit. My beautiful counterpart was there. My heart was pounding.

My bat was in no condition to play. My bat. My beautiful bat that I had used to train, one that I would have for the rest of my life, one that had assured me since early middle school that he was a reliable bat for any form of the game, was now not ready to play.

I thought I needed to warm up, so I leaned on my kissing prowess, but I could only buy so much time. We were here to play the new sport. I begged my bat to turn up. I scolded my bat for being so eager even on the walk over from school. This bat was a coward. It wasn’t even as big as the bats that some of the pros used, and I had been stupid enough to put my faith in it.

My partner understood, but I saw the confusion on her face. I remember sticking my head out the window and yelling ferociously at an improperly parked car on my drive home — then spending sleepless nights and angry days wondering how I would ever recover.

The Second Disaster

By this time, I was older and socially far more confident. I had learned how to talk to women, though I was still a little too focused on seduction than genuine enjoyment of company. My penchant for bravery had found an outlet in approaching women much older than me. I won’t say prettier than me, because I am convinced that I am the most handsome and ugliest man on the planet, and nowhere in between. I had found a girl of my dreams, too — physically, if not fully emotionally. We’d already been in circumstances where a man who’s bat had not betrayed him before may have made fuller use of, but that wasn’t me. I still put those moments to good use, learning other aspects of physical pleasure that would come in handy later.

I was convinced I had erectile dysfunction. I must have masturbated too much. I was pretty certain I wasn’t gay, though I’d seen that it was more of a spectrum rather than a binary — some men were damn handsome though it didn’t activate the sexual side of me.

When that inevitable night came, every ounce of me wanted it. I wanted to enjoy it with her. And, boy, was she looking beautiful. Just like horror movies start off with the happiest times, this night started off with a young woman looking like heaven in a little black dress.

We found a space to be alone. She said what I was thinking… and my bat was ready. You old son of a bitch, I knew you’d come through. I knew you wouldn’t let me down in this amazing moment.

We rushed right into it, just like young people tend to do, but it was all in fun. My soldier was ready for a fight. Being the responsible people we were, we got out a condom and rolled it on. My soldier weakened.

At first, I heard the voices of ugly men talking loudly on city buses about why they’d never wear a condom. Losing their erection entirely was never a reason against it, though. I felt sick. I got the thing off me. My partner tried pleasuring me in other ways but, cousin, I was just sad. I felt broken. That was it. The one thing that I was supposed to be able to do, I couldn’t. The one thing that my spear-wielding forefathers had all figured out would not happen with me. Here I was, this handsomest-ugliest-Aswar-est man on the planet, and my lineage would end with me and my shriveled dick.

I ordered some counterfeit Viagra from a website. I saw everything in a shade of blue but sure enough, they showed that my dick mechanically worked — this bastard just didn’t want to perform when it mattered. It was shy. I had proven to myself I could give a speech to a crowd number thousands and raise them to their feet. I could fight and knock down men twice my age and thrice my strength and lose only on the judges’ points. But I couldn’t get my dick to work when a beautiful person was literally asking and waiting for it.

Weeks later I noticed that dishwashing gloves caused my skin to itch. They’d always itched. I thought they were supposed to itch. Condoms are usually made of latex. There are fantastic non-latex condoms (I recommend the SKYN brand). They cost some more, but not as much as not being able to have a happy healthy erection when you’re having a happy, healthy time with your partner.

I’ve been using non-latex condoms ever since, and I’m happy to report my bat/soldier and I are no longer in conflict.

Lessons

I’d understood the cause of the second disaster, but not the first. In truth, I’ll never know the whole reason. I’ve blocked out so much of that night from my memory.

Looking back though, I think it was fear — similar to the one you’re feeling now. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had no idea what was supposed to happen, who was to do what, and by body was paralyzed by this fear. And when I responded to it with anger at myself, it destroyed my ability to enjoy myself even more, much less give any sort of pleasure.

And there lies a truth I will come back to often: this idea of giving pleasure. Like most young men, I entered into that first disaster with absolute focus on myself. I believe if I had thought only of my partner’s joy, all the fear and anger towards myself would have been impossible.

In many ways, I’m grateful that my first two experiences were so horrible — they carried with them lessons that have made my sex life far more enjoyable. But there were other ways to learn these lessons, and I won’t pretend that being scarred and traumatized are a good route for any young man learning about sex.

A trusted adult could have warned me about the possibility of fear and anxiety in your first sexual encounter, and that it is normal, and that the point is to enjoy each other, in whatever form that takes. I could’ve been told about the varieties of condoms available, and the dangers of taking knockoff drugs to test your manhood. Instead, I spend months and years hating myself, misunderstanding this amazing human biology that I have been given, and not understanding the joy and beauty of sex.

I will say again, I don’t wish to ruin the mystery for you. All I want is for you to hear from your cousin (who loves you, by the way) about his experiences, what he’s learned, and the advice he has for you about the “how” of it all.

Masturbation

Some people think it’s just about sex. I think there’s a triangle between sex, kissing, and masturbation, and that understanding all three leads to the most satisfaction for your partner, and for you.

Caesar said of masturbation that “to the lonely it is company; to the forsaken it is a friend; to the aged and to the impotent it is a benefactor. They that are penniless are yet rich, in that they still have this majestic diversion.”

You, like me, were probably given the vaguest moral guidance on masturbation. I can remember the shame, guilt, confusion — all of which could have been prevented it someone just talked to me about it. I remember thinking that I was some kind of deviant. “There’s no way that everyone does this.” It took me a few months of perceptive living to realize every single goddamn male around me does it, all the time. (It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I realized that large portion of women enjoy it, too.) It is a foundation of the pleasurable part of sex.

If you haven’t masturbated, do it. If you decide you don’t like it, or don’t want to try it, that’s excellent, too. All I’m saying is that there’s no real side effects to it besides pleasure, and in a world where people will sell their souls and health for all sorts of fleeting pleasure, this “majestic diversion” is a really, really good, no-cost option to have.

You know your own body, so I won’t spend time going into too many details on how to masturbate, but I will tell you what I learned about how it relates to sex.

One: if you use porn (which most people do) during moments of masturbation, you may need an adjustment phase to a real human body. Sex is almost nothing like porn. I say almost because an orgasm is an orgasm, but I’d describe it as comparing watching two boxers on TV and being in a street fight. (Don’t do the latter if you can help it, by the way. Let’s talk later.)

When watching porn, you are in a world of the mind, sitting as an observer. In sex, you are reminded that you are an animal. It’s nothing alike. Even positions, “moves,” etc. are rarely transferable. When pleasure is the goal, rather than playing to a camera, a lot of formations become laughably useless. Read up on how porn sets operate and you’ll see just how artificial all of it is.

Two: your own hand is different than anyone else’s anything. Just be ready for this piece of it — a woman’s body, including her hands, won’t feel the same as what you’re used to. Put this knowledge to use. Pay attention to what you like when you are by yourself, and see what you like when you are with your partner. They will likely be different, and that difference is crucial in understanding your own body, and to eventually find what gives you the best forms of pleasure, both in sex and masturbation.

Third: timing is completely different. Masturbation is a tool. Sex is an experience. The tool, you can bring it out, use, and put away fast. Sex should take time, so be ready for a different timeline, with a longer ramp of arousal, more peaks, and more stimulation.

I don’t know if there’s a cliché amongst you and your friends (like there certainly was amongst mine growing up) that on the first sexual encounter you ejaculate very fast, and the game is over before it started. I’m sad to say that is true but that is only referring to the times of penetration. Don’t rush into that. Later on, I’ll give you some things I’ve seen work quite well to make this experience more of a pleasurable journey than a jump in time.

Fourth and final: masturbation is about you, sex is about the other person. This isn’t a fact, this is a principle. Plenty of men have gone their entire lives thrusting themselves into other people without a care in the world about the thrustee. They will say they have had perfectly good sex lives. Pity them — that’s a man who has only drank instant coffee and thinks he understands good coffee. That’s a man who thinks his local hilltop is akin to the Himalayas.

This principle of focusing on the other person requires a breakdown of several internal barriers. Up until the moment of budding manhood, we’re almost exclusively focused on ourselves. It isn’t until we are physically engaged with someone else that we find the first opportunity to test the gaps in our boundaries.

Even if you have a whirlwind entry into the sexual world, this first interlocking between you and another person won’t be sex itself, but the act of applying pressure at the lips.

Kissing

Kissing is the rhythmic, meaningful application of lips. Ingrid Bergman described it far better as “a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.” It’s truly an art form, when done right. You’ve told me you kissed a girl, but the way you said it made me think that you might not have had the time to explore it.

Let’s distinguish between a kiss and a peck. A peck is the touching of the lips. It’s functional. “I’ll see you later.” Peck. “That was a damn good meal.” Peck. A peck is a message. A kiss is a transmission of an emotion. It’s an emotion of belonging and warmth.

In a meaningful kiss, you’re exchanging breath; you’re touching often not just at the lips, your hair is on hers, hers on yours. You can feel the slight vibrations of her heartbeat on her lips. Your eyes almost instinctively close, because the sensory experience is so much more valuable to your soul in that moment than the visual information.

As with most art, a lot of good kissing relies on craft. Craft relies on practice and preparation. You’ll get plenty of practice, you sly dog you, but maybe you lack what I did growing up, which was any sort of advice on preparation.

Here are the basics I’ve learned:

Brush your teeth or chew some gum beforehand. Courtesy, you know. Some practical advice though: if you know that she won’t have minty fresh breath, don’t overdo it on the flavoring on yourself, because then you’ll actively notice the differences between your breath. Another option: carry a tin of Altoids or something and share it between the two of you as a pre-kiss ritual.

Set aside time. Boy-oh-boy-oh-boy especially when you’re starting to explore kissing, set aside hours, cousin. Pick a long movie — I’m talking Godfather Part II long — that’s what that movie was made for, for you to make out for three and a half hours.

Drink water and keep your lips soft. Not saying drench your lips, but have them be comfortable for your partner.

Put a hand behind their head gently on the first approach. I’m always amazed by how wonderfully the side of a woman’s head fits into the palm of a man’s hand. Make the soft space between your thumb and index finger caress the back of her jaw. Put yourself in her shoes — that must feel fucking amazing, to be able to relax the weight of your head for a moment.

Tilt your head to the side. Get your noses out of the way. If you want to build momentum at any time, tilt your head the other way and guide them to as well.

The first touch is testing the waters. Don’t rush. This is a long dance. You’re drawing with a pencil, not a pen. Let her know how your lips feel.

The second touch is the passion. Show her you mean it. The chemicals that have swelled behind her synaptic dams are ready to break through — don’t nudge them out. Take a missile to the dams. Let the chemicals rush. Passion doesn’t mean force, it means depth and intention.

Play with rhythm. Think of this as a slow dance, with the band jamming as they wish, sometimes speeding up, sometimes slowing down, sometimes staying completely still… before breaking out into an awesome burst of energy. Forget the Godfather II, put on some music in the background. I’ve got some suggestions that hopefully hold through the years: Isaiah Rashad’s West Savannah, Summer Walker’s Baby, Gus Dapperton’s I’m Just Snacking, Clairo’s 4EVER, Still Woozy’s Foolsong, and then add some joyful tempo with the Bobby Fuller Four’s Let Her Dance. Remember, remember, remember: this isn’t something you have to learn. You already know this. You just need to uncover it. Our hearts beat. We know rhythm before we’re even born. Lower the intensity of your thinking. Kissing is meditation.

Explore. If this grosses you out in theory, trust me when I say that it won’t in practice. The human mouth is amazing, and the female mouth even more so (fully delicate and fully strong). If you have become acquainted with each other’s lips, you may want to coyly introduced your tongue. Feel the front of her teeth. Don’t shove your tongue down her throat. That serves absolutely no purpose. Feeling is friction, and tongue into the vacuum of someone else’s mouth feels like, well, nothing. You know what, forget that — try it out if you’d like. What’s the worst that can happen? You both might enjoy it! Exploration is experimentation.

What if your partner’s a bad kisser? It’s hard to be a bad dancer for long if you keep dancing. If they’re doing something you don’t particularly like, then just tell ‘em, maybe between compliments. Or, better yet, give a reason and an alternative — “I don’t like” that “because it makes feel” this, “could we try this instead?” Just say it. So many things in life become immediately better by saying what we’re truly feeling, without sugarcoating or unnecessary delay.

Sex is great, but I’ll tell you in all honesty that if I had to choose between a good make out session (with masturbation afterwards, perhaps) and kissless sex, I would almost always go with the first.

Another interlude, on condoms.

My recommendation is to not have sex without a condom. I’ll tell you a dark secret that many man won’t admit: the feeling of sex without a condom isn’t really all that great, especially given their benefits.

This is a topic of huge debate. The other side swear that nothing feels better, and I’m not necessarily disagreeing with that point — we, as animals, are designed to derive pleasure from sex, and a condom adds a literal layer of distance between us and that pleasure. But I also don’t do heroin. Drastic example? Sure. But all narcotics basically release chemicals we already have in our brain. It’s not the drug that kills you, it’s that the drug unleashes the pleasure-seeking part of your brain. Our natural state isn’t always the best state, and just because something is a pleasure to you isn’t in and of itself a winning argument.

You wear a condom and you last as long as you want to, and get to give your partner more pleasure over a longer time. You don’t wear a condom, and your sensitivity adjusts accordingly, until you cannot tolerate any barrier to direct contact. This makes it so that a non-condom user rarely gets joy with a condom on. Whereas a regular condom user can get pleasure either way, which has massive benefits when receiving oral sex.

Sex is mainly about your partner’s pleasure. With a condom, you are reining in the pure, raw, natural act of sex into a more controllable, more powerful, more fruitful form. With a condom, you last longer, you aren’t overwhelmed with your own pleasure, and get time to focus on your partner’s pleasure, too.

Another beautiful benefit, lest we forget, is that you aren’t accidentally creating human life. You bring more Rahmans into this world, you better be ready to provide for them and empower them to be the empire builders they are.

And yet another massive benefit, you’re likely avoiding catching anything transmittable that your partner may have (and may not even know about themselves!). It’s like wearing shoes — yes, we’re not born with them, but they sure do make life more enjoyable.

There’s a school of thought — built mostly on soft mud and the graves of some very stupid men — that any attempt at sexual hygiene is a woman’s game. You’ll find this though mostly in backwards cultures, where the concept of STDs and alimony are in their formative stages. Let those men stay in their world, and half-assedly raise their stock (if they even accept that responsibility). You are a man. You should look out for your own. In this case, part of your own is your genitals and your lineage, and regardless of your partner’s actions (which you should still be aware of) you should get your soldier in uniform and make sure that you’re not live firing in a training exercise.

If you’re not having sex for pleasure and instead having it for procreation, mazel tov as the Ihudis say! I have no advice or insight for you, except that you are far too young at the moment, and I disagree with your decision entirely. Mazel tov nonetheless, my friend.

Sex

Here is what I’ve learned: Sex for pleasure works best when the other person’s pleasure is your priority. Don’t worry about what their priority is. Only focus on your mission: to give them one hell of a ride, every time, and take them to a level of such great joy that they’ll feel it all week.

Take such deep pleasure in their pleasure, that your direct pleasure becomes a product of their direct pleasure. You will be pleasured regardless, so moving your focus to them results in an otherworldly feedback loop of amplification. Pleasure that builds on pleasure. A perpetual generator of pleasure, for the time that it is being enjoyed.

How you’re approaching it might not be how they’re approaching it, and really, that doesn’t matter. This is about your pleasure after all (which, as we’ve determined, is their pleasure). If, by the grace of heaven, you are with someone who views sex like you do, you are a blessed man, and will see this amplification grow exponentially more. Either way, you will feel like a deity of pleasure.

Reading her body

There is an art to reading your partner’s body. Besides asking them directly (which you should do every now and then, but not too often to distract them), how can you know whether they’re enjoying themselves? There are a couple of indicators that may help.

The breath. Is it at a fast pace or speeding up? That means something magical is happening. Is it completely normal? Eh, maybe see if you can switch things up. If it’s slow and deep, that’s usually a sign of either recovering from something great, or getting ready for it. If it’s fast, keep doing what you’re doing. Use their breath to guide your tempo.

The hardness of her nipples (and the hair on her arms). If the room isn’t exceedingly cold, then I’ve found that this indicates that her nervous system is responding well. Be careful, though, because this could be a moment of ultra-high-sensitivity and could mean you should take extra care with your next moves.

Her eyes. I’ve found that when the body truly starts taking over, and that pleasure is in full swing, the person usually loses control of their eyes (perhaps because ocular movement takes up so much mental energy, which is in short supply at those moments of pleasure). If her eyes are darting or otherwise uncontrolled, keep doing what you’re doing. If she’s staring at you with a confused look, she’s just trying to figure out what kind of divine being is making her feel this. Go ahead and feed your ego — this is one of the best ways to do it.

Her voice. This differs from person to person, as voices vary in general, but you can tell by the sound of a moan to what extent she’s enjoying herself. The one to look out for, though, is a short sound of irritation. She likely can’t help it — if something suddenly feels bad during an extended moment of pleasure, she will naturally let out a rejecting noise. Not to worry! That just means pivot to something else and get her voice back to where you like it.

Her hands. Sometimes, her hands will tell you exactly what she wants. Pay attention to see if they’re guiding you somewhere, whether it’s moving your mouth or hands someplace else, or if it’s firmly on your head, telling you to stay right where you are.

Squirming her whole body. This is one of those that can be missed if you’re too caught up in the details. Zoom out and just see if her body is moving in waves of pleasure. If not, do what’s necessary. You are a general leading an army. You are a scientist on the verge of finding a great cure.

The wetness of her vagina. I saved the most obvious one for last so you’d take the time to absorb the previous indicators. Most female bodies release fluids in preparation for sex, and when those fluids are in plentiful supply, that means you’re doing a great job. Some women are naturally dry, in which case, purchase some lubrication from a pharmacy or a trustworthy store. Other women, be warned, have very excessive fluids. But what’s a change of sheets and a drying out of a mattress to give someone a heck of an evening.

A Proposed Path

This journey starts with the lips and ends with the clitoris (the one true gift from the universe to humankind).

Like with kissing, be hygienically prepared. Take a shower if you’re able. Be generally clean. Regarding body hair: it’s all a matter of personal preference, and, optionally, your partner’s preference. Whatever it is, don’t worry too much about it. Worrying about body hair in sex is like worrying about your socks in an airplane crash — you probably won’t be thinking about it when it happens. And if you’re really concerned, as with most situations of confusion (and all instances of consent), it’s better to ask than to guess.

If you are worried about something about yourself, I will tell you flat out that it does not matter. If you are worried about any aspect of your physique, from your weight to penis size to whatever — it does not matter. These are all aesthetics. These are products of our overactive minds. Sex is thankfully more animal than human. The only thing that should matter to you, my friend, is your partner’s pleasure.

So, let’s get started with one possible journey. There is no rule that says this is how sex has to be approached. More important than this journey is the need to have a journey, to make sex as enjoyable as can be.

First, focus on the neck. We are little consciousnesses living in oversized brains floating on top of a magnificent body, and the body meets the mind through this most elegant of features. The neck is where everything passes through, and it stands to reason that pleasure to the body passes to the mind through the boulevard, too. I’ve never heard of one who doesn’t enjoy a gently placed kiss where the neck meets the shoulder. You don’t want the sensation to be overwhelming at first, so try using a large part of your mouth. Pull your lips in to cover the sharp edges of your teeth and gently apply a bite-style pressure on one of the cords of the neck. Stay mostly on the sides of the neck — the vocal cords at middle-front and the spine at the back aren’t as fertile a place for pleasure. Run your tongue up and down in a careful line, but don’t confuse her for a lollipop with your slobber. (NOTE: This, as with everything else, is preference. Maybe she likes more saliva — ask, and listen!)

And look — there’s no shame in a hickey, but if you’d rather not have to explain to everyone the next day what those spots on your neck are, just go easy with sucking pressure. Anytime I’ve ever gotten a hickey, I knew the exact moment I got it, because my sensitive ass could feel the small surface blood vessels burst, and I already started thinking of which high-collared shirt to wear the next day. If you want to apply pressure, don’t be too afraid to introduce the sharp edges of your teeth with the utmost care. Scrape the neck slightly. Let her know they’re there if she needs them for anything.

The ears. Ooh, this is where it gets a bit tricky. I frickin’ love the ears. They’re just so intricate and cool. And they can be an amazing trigger for a lot of the best feelings in sex. Focus on this magical area where the ear meets the neck. Bury yourself in there for a fraction of a moment. Feel her earlobes with your lips. Take your time. There’s no rush. That’s the point of this. Ask her if this feels good (every now and then, not too often) and listen.

Linger. It differs from man to man, but we all have certain aspects of the fairer sex that we truly enjoy. You might not even be aware of what interests you. What I will suggest is that when you find some aspect of your partner that interests you, then engage with it. Take your time. You’ve got all night.

Manhandle her. Read carefully, because I don’t mean toss her about. You know that men tend to be stronger than women — here’s a moment that this strength can be put to good use. Your grip is stronger than hers. Grab her wrist and squeeze just a bit. It’s communication: you are strong, and you’re able to take control if she wants you to. Hold her head, one hand under each ear, and give her a kiss. Imagine from her perspective — hell, from the perspective of anyone in the world — we’re not supposed to let people touch us. We sure as hell as not supposed to let someone hold our cranium as their steal our breath. But that’s what’s happening, and it’s happening in a safe environment. It’s the same reason we watch tragedies and horror films. We want to feel these emotions safely. After I started having sex, I understood the appeal of those Dracula films — try that when you’re with her. Do NOT bite her you fucking idiot. But place her in front of you, and lightly place your teeth where her neck meets her shoulder. See if she doesn’t gently melt.

I’ll use that adjective hot-blooded again for myself, so this may not be what makes you feel great, but I know that for myself, I have about ten times the needed amount of the chemical that turns men into savages. I’d be damn useful in war, and it’s also why I have a few concussions and a bent nose. To me, power is attractive. Powerful people — powerful from an inner source — are attractive. So, naturally, power plays a big part of sex for me. I genuinely enjoy the power to give pleasure. I enjoy when my partner exercises their power to give pleasure to me, with confidence.

Whatever your relation with power, I think it’s wise to try to understand it. It’s a central part of the sexual experience, perhaps having to do with the conquering, semi-violent nature of sex in many parts of the animal kingdom, of which we are a part. Pleasure is by far the priority, but to neglect the role and expression of power is to miss out on an exciting part of the sexual experience (which you and your partner have every right to ignore!).

Also, you should know, about the whole tossing around thing and rougher form of sex, to whatever degree, some — I repeat, some — women are appreciative of it. But what’s the rule when we’re confused or unsure about anything sexual? That’s right: ask, and listen. Still unsure? Ask again, listen better. Still in doubt? The default is don’t.

The breasts. They’re amazing, and an obsession to many. I’m meh on them, but what I do love is their ability to give pleasure.

I’m a ticklish son of a gun, so I don’t understand this, but the nipples are a great activator of pleasure. The area around the nipples are sensitive. Try creating a seal with your mouth, and run your tongue in circles, switching between clockwise and counterclockwise if you hear her breath getting too steady.

I, personally, don’t do too much with the breasts beyond that. Some light pinching during a climax may heighten their sensation, but take it easy. Feel it out, and see how it goes.

The flat surfaces of the body. Try this out, just kiss her all over. Every surface. Below her ribcage, on her shoulder blade, the back of her thigh, the top of her feet. The whole body is amazing — use your mouth to appreciate it. And if she doesn’t seem to like it, then do something else. Pay attention to her voice and her hands.

Her anus. ASK. FIRST. This one might be way down the road, if at all, but hey, the truth is that anuses have a very high number of nerve endings, second in number only to the clitoris. It doesn’t produce its own lubricant, so use some.

If you ever do anything with the anus, keep an eye out for hygiene. There’s helpful bacteria in the digestive system that are poisonous anywhere else. As a rule, don’t use any part of your body that has been in contact with an anus until it’s been thoroughly washed. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to take a quick wash-up break, and frankly, because of how much pleasure you’ve been giving them, they might appreciate a short break.

The lips of her vagina. And here you are, to that thing that’s super hard to imagine, hard to understand even from pictures, and the reason we have a species in the first place.

I view the vagina in three areas, providing three kinds of pleasure. Bear with me through this hilarious combination of punctuation marks…

(;)

(That’s when she’s laying on her back).

The lips are the left and right parentheses. The period atop the semicolon is the holy grail, the clitoris. The comma in the semicolon is the entry to the inner part of the vagina.

As with kissing, the best explorer here may be your mouth. If you are apprehensive about this, I’d say try to get over it. It’s a mental block, nothing else. Transmission of a disease can be a real possibility, so purchase some dental dams before you do (like condoms made into flat sheets that create a thin barrier), or do this with a partner who has confirmed they are not carrying something transmissible.

I would say, gentleman to gentleman, that if the lady is willing to use her mouth on you, you should return the favor without a doubt. But, conversely, don’t assume that because you go first that she is somehow required to go second. It’s not a transaction. Let her do her thing. You just focus on making her feel good.

The outer lips seem to be best for broad strokes, or foretelling motions upwards. They’ve always seemed to serve a protective purpose, more than pleasure, so they are excellent to gently transition from bodily pleasure in general to vaginal pleasure in particular.

The entry to the vagina is an interesting place to play with your fingers, but in my experience, I’ve found that really the best thing to use there is a penis. This, by the way, is how I would encourage you to view your own soldier — as a means to give pleasure, in part through this excellent path he has found. Make sure to use lubrication if the body is not providing enough. Also, make sure to apply what you know about consent at this moment. To some women, this is a crucial moment, and it is the mark of a good, strong man to ensure that this is what they want.

If it’s not what they want, then simply skip this step tonight. There’s so much to do, so much to explore, so much pleasure to give and get, that skipping over actual penetration really isn’t much of a difference. And there are many more nights ahead. Don’t obsess over one part of sexual pleasure.

If it is what they want, then gently enter your penis in. I don’t have to tell you, but the feeling is strange magic. Movement back and forth will feel amazing for her (and you) and here, as with kissing, rhythm is crucial. Fast, slow, deep, short, try every variation. Oof, this is the fun stuff.

Quick note on the “G-Spot” — my view is it’s overrated and over-mystified. If you want to know where it is, take your two forefingers, gently insert into the entry, and feel along top of the vaginal wall. A short distance in, you should feel a slightly bumpy area. That’s the area, and yes, it’s stimulating, but not nearly as much as a clitoris as far as I can tell. However, if you want to try this out, it might be worth it: use your two fingers as you are, but use your mouth to pleasure the clitoris. The combination is exceptional.

I think far too much emphasis is put on the position of bodies. Really, you should be thinking about how you want her to feel the joyful friction with your penis. Let’s start with “missionary,” where you are facing each other. The head of your penis then rubs against that sensitive g-spot area, but won’t allow for the deepest penetration, because your bodies will be curved. For the maximum depth, you may have to try one of my favorites, crudely named “doggystyle.” Oof, that’s something else buddy.

But really, I’ve discovered that so much of the good stuff happens when you’re both lying down. You can be spooning or she can be on her on her back with you on your side, or you can be facing each other, or she can be gently lying on top you. Don’t try to do the pornstar stuff too much, but I’ll tell you this: give her a damn good doggystyle every now and then and surprise the hell out of her. It goes back to that element of manhandling and power.

Pay attention to your own body. If you’re getting too worked up, and want to stretch out the experience longer, go back to you using your mouth and hands. Focus on parts of the body that may not be getting as much attention. If you lose control and peak, then take that as a fundamental compliment to her, and you better tell her how fantastic she is fast. Try to make it last a bit longer each time. You’ve both gone to the trouble of getting naked, might as well make the most of it.

I saved here the best for last — the most magical part of biology — the clitoris. I won’t even shorten it to clit, she deserves our respect and shall be called by her full name. She even has her own hood. (This is partly why I suggest using your mouth first, to get intimately familiar with the architecture, which varies person to person.)

The clitoris is like this little shiny bead that, if approached and treated right, can open up a universe of pleasure. No amount of thrusting in and out, no amount of neck kissing, no amount of anything can come close to the direct, caring interaction with the clitoris. As a rule, if I touch it, it becomes the object of my attention above all else. I’m not done with it until it’s done with me.

If using your tongue, practice flexing your tongue muscle so it becomes a tip, all the better to make direct contact. Broaden your tongue if you hear your partner getting too worked up. If using your finger, take similar care to mix gentleness with your determination. Use the soft pads of your fingertips, not the bone of your fingers, and certainly never your fingernails. She is extremely sensitive there.

Circular patterns, movement side to side and up and down — everything feels good as long as there is variety, consistency, and the right amount of pressure. If you are using your hand and there is too much friction, then lower your fingers into the entry of the vagina, lubricate your fingers, and get back to work.

Pay very close attention to your partners hands if they’re near your tongue or hand — that’s your partner getting ready to give you physical instructions. Don’t stop though, unless that’s clearly indicated by your partner.

Make it a goal to have her orgasm multiple times, but be careful about making that the end goal. Some women have a hard time orgasming. Pleasure takes many forms, and this is certainly case of enjoying the journey more than the arrival.

The Third Disaster

I’ve brought you this far, but this is where I’ll leave you to it, cousin. I hope I’ve been able to share through so many words the genuine appreciation I feel towards our abilities to have sex for pleasure. Many animals can’t, but they reproduce nonetheless. The fact that we can show that here, in so many other respects, our species has really lucked out.

If you think your sex life will be easy, lose that thought as quickly you can. Sex is still messy, and what’s messier still are people. I told you about my two disasters that brought me into the world of sex. I hesitated to tell you the third.

This time, it wasn’t a matter of some kind of biological failure. In fact, that part of it was running very smoothly. The failure — more painful and shameful that any failure of the body — was the failure of understanding that the person I was having sex with was a real human being.

In the hierarchy of a person, their body falls last. Above it is their functional mind, the bulk of their brain. Above that still, in my view of the world, is their consciousness. Some may call this the soul or the spirit, but to me it’s still a network of neurons and synapses that together make up the parts of our thoughts and actions we control. This part of the brain weighs no more than a thousandth of our body. Imagine that: a thousand parts of a person, but only one part truly matters.

When you’re having sex with someone, remember to look past her body, her face, her eyes, and imagine that strand of exquisite consciousness that is truly what we are as a person. Without that part, we would be robots or apes. With it, she is who she is.

This third disaster was based on forgetting that. It took weeks and months, but it was a noticeable decline. This person was kind to me, took care of me when I sick, shared their wildly brilliant ideas, shared their dreams, helped me cultivate my own… but I, maybe spurred by the stupidity of my age at the time, saw this person simply as the person I was having sex with.

Were they my soulmate? No. But were they a person who deserved to be treated as a person? Could they really not feel that I was slowly but surely devaluing them, what they felt, what they thought, and expected them to be my counterpart in sex but nothing else?

I take solace in the fact that this was many years ago, and that I may be exaggerating the bad and forgetting the good. This person was kind to me in letters afterward, but my guilt is my own.

All this to say, don’t forget that you’re dealing with a person. The fact that you are attracted to her, and that she is attracted to you, is a fantastic gift. Remember that you and I were raised in worlds that seem dead set in their own ways to prove the inferiority of women. You and I both know the evidence goes the other way, even when it comes to the masculine qualities of perseverance, magnanimity, et cetera.

So approach it all with respect and admiration. Don’t let petty frustrations and the demands of your body overwhelm your sense of right and wrong, or your natural kindness to others.

Sex is fantastic, but it is no replacement for genuine bonding. It is certainly possible to have sex purely for mutual pleasure, with no intention of further meaningful interaction. Similarly, a person who has a delicious meal can force themselves to vomit afterward, losing the truer part of nutrition. It’s not entirely natural.

Relationships, dating, marriage — all that is much, much bigger than one letter can hold, so perhaps we can discuss it later. In the meantime, you go make that girl feel well-loved.

Your cousin who loves you,
Aswar

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