Communicating Sexpectations: If You Put It Down Right
This week has been a bit of a brain to mouth week for me. What that means in that some of the posts from the AnnodRight Instagram page have literally been things that went from being in my brain to being posted with little to no time for consideration of impact. However, what I found is that the message is the same. We need to work on setting our expectations around sex and relationships and then making sure others are aware of these boundaries.
Part of setting sexpectations (expectations around sex) and boundaries in the nature of any relationship, is first knowing your own list. What are the things that you are okay with and the things that you are not? There are stereotypes that talk about how certain people will act based on their race, sex/gender, and upbringing. Knowing what those stereotypes are can be super important in being able to determine if you have been acting according or contrary to the expectations other have on your sexuality. Stereotypically speaking, some of the major ones are that Black women are sexually promiscuous-- though this is also based in looks. The Jezebel with her Eurocentric features is lavacious and cannot help her sexuality which borders on being masculine. The Mammy is asexualized because of her features which are phenotypically African, as well as because she has a large body and we have decided people who are fat are sexually undesirable. The Sapphire is the one of the last major archetypes of Black female sexuality and is interested in sex, but often emasculating to men, so none of them will wait around after the sex is done. On the other hand, you have white female sexuality, which has been displayed as the paradigm of purity, though blonde women have the stereotype of being the ditzy party girl. Latinx women are “spicy,” wonton, and passionate. Asians (almost always grouped together) are the exotic geisha’s willing to fulfill every sexual desire. The thing is though, these stereotypes make a person one dimensional and take away levels of autonomy. In terms of African American women, I have seen many in my private practice who have done a great job of either adhering to the stereotypes laid before them or else going completely in the opposite way as a way to “reclaim” their sexuality. Not wanting to be seen as some typical Negro (the way it has been defined by other), but at the same time, there is a failure to decide and define for oneself. It’s no wonder that people aren’t having the sex or relationships they want. They really do not know!
Knowing yourself is the first step in being able to set your sexpectations both in and outside of relationships. What are you willing to do romantically-- holding hands, kissing, date nights, Netflix and Chill? What are you willing to do sexually--more kissing, upper body exploration, masturbation, giving oral, receiving oral, vaginal, anal, etc? What areas of your body are off limits--knees, feet, hair? These are all part of knowing yourself. What are the things you are willing to do outside of a relationship and what are RELATIONSHIP ONLY activities? If Janet Jackson can make herself clear in a whole song, I know that you can make yourself clear, too! I believe in you and your ability to communicate, even if you can’t sing quite like Janet...Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty.
Communicating Your Boundaries
After you have been able to establish what your boundaries are, there is still more work to be done. Keeping that information to yourself will be the opposite of helpful. Having boundaries that no one knows about is a surefire way to make sure they are always being violated. Don’t get me wrong, just because you have boundaries doesn’t mean that everyone will respect them. What I am saying is that people are sure NOT to respect boundaries that they have not been made aware of.
Brandy sang “IF you put it down right, like the way I want it, play your cards right, MAYBE we can fall in love” If that is not a full display of the expectations and then communication of it, I don’t know what is! The only part I feel is missing from this is also letting someone know HOW they can please you sexually. But that’s why we are talking about sexpectations. Don’t worry, I have your back and a small download for you so that you and anyone you want to be intimate with are on the same page about what that looks like. Let’s reduce anxiety together!
You have created your boundaries and the question that can often be asked here is how do I communicate them. The way you say it is both with your body and with your mouth. When something makes you uncomfortable, it can be second nature to smile or laugh your way out of it. But this can make people think you are perfectly okay with it. It may take some time to get out of that habit but that doesn't mean you can’t let people know what’s going on even in that moment. If you find yourself laughing when you don’t think anything is funny, say so. Tell the person (or people) you are with that really you are laughing because you feel uncomfortable with___________. Fill in the blank with whatever the situation is.
Another way to communicate is to tell someone that you like it when they do __________. Fill in the blank again! Positive reinforcement is no joke. It works for kids and adults alike. People like to be told what they are doing well and when you tell someone what you like that they're doing, they will try to give you more of it. Conversely, you must be clear if your boundaries are violated. Tell the person outright that something they did or said doesn’t work for you, how it makes you feel, and what you would like instead. Using ‘I messages” makes it easier for people to hear you, and giving them a replacement behavior for the one they did that made you uncomfortable can take the guesswork out of how they are allowed to proceed with you.
When Boundaries are Violated
We have already started to go over a bit of what you can do when you feel like your boundaries are being violated. Communicating it is definitely one the major steps. But more than that is what you do if someone repeatedly violates your boundaries which have already been communicated to them several times. I would say this is really up to you. You can either accept their behavior, whatever it is, or you can let them know you are chucking the deuces until they can get some act right. You are NOT required to accept someone's behaviors which continually violate your boundaries. You do NOT have to suffer their presence any more than is absolutely necessary. The gift of your time, is just that, a gift. Time is one commodity in life you cannot get back, purchase, bargain for, or otherwise. No one knows the moment that they will pass from this world. So, NO, you do not have to put up with someone who cannot respect your boundaries. On the other hand, if you are willing, that is also your prerogative, but know that you are communicating that your boundaries are malleable. But I would ask why you are putting yourself through the mental strain to be with a person doesn’t want to meet the expectations you have set?
Listen to Janet and Brandy! Establish your expectations, independently of others. This is a know thyself reflection thing.
What are the stereotypes that people have used to define who you are? Do you agree with those stereotypes? How might you have been reinforcing them? Have you been living for you or for someone else? How do you want things to look? And how can you change your mindset and behaviors to meet that?
Set your expectations in the various relationships you have with those around you
Communicate those boundaries in ways that feel natural to you and maybe in some ways that feel unnatural
Drop people like a bad habit if they continually violate those boundaries OR keep them on and prepare yourself mentally for the drain it could have
For those of you who have some sexpectations you want to establish, here is a Yes, No, Maybe list to use on your journey. Don’t worry, it’s free!