Dater X: On “Transparency Sex” & What’s Different This Time Around

To me, sex is much more than just a biological need. Humanity relies on sex for procreation, but the vast majority of the world also turns to sex for pleasure and release. Some people have sex simply to fulfill their physical needs, others see it as a sacred act that should only be shared between people who love each other, and some, like myself, think sex can mean different things with different people in different situations. Sometimes, it doesn’t really even “mean” anything— it’s just … had. I’ve had great sex many times in my life, with no experience feeling or meaning the same. So what exactly makes my idea of “amazing, mind-blowing” sex so amazing and mind-blowing? There’s much more to it than simply getting off. And with Baby Face, that’s been the case.

It’s hard to believe it’s been only a month since I started seeing Baby Face. Our relationship is moving along pretty quickly, which is easy to understand after having slept with him the second time we went out. I don’t regret it, though, and I know that even if I wanted to “slow down” (which I don’t), refraining from sleeping with each other after we’ve already done it is an unrealistic expectation — at least for me. We may have jumped in the sack early on, but for the first time in a long time, I wasn’t telling myself that sleeping together so soon would make him think differently of me, or that if I waited a just few more dates, he’d respect me enough as a person to not do me and ditch me. This might be due in part to the fact that I knew Baby Face for years before we reconnected, and I felt much more comfortable with him on our second date than I have with others a month in. It may also have to do with the fact that, in that moment, it felt right in my gut. There was no apprehension, guilt or worry about how I might be perceived.

I’ve been intimate with dozens of people. But over time, the idea that each of my partners must be someone I love, care about and want to spend the rest of my life with, has gone from an idealistic notion to a fictitious inability. Of course, I’ve been with men I’ve loved, but I’ve also been with some men simply out of convenience, physical attraction, and every so often, loneliness. I’ve had some really great sex with those guys, multiple, body-shaking orgasms and all, but while I’ve allowed myself to be physically vulnerable with them to an extent, there are several dimensions of vulnerability — emotionally, mentally, and even physically — that I didn’t reach with them. Perhaps it was because my instincts told me not to trust them, I knew I wouldn’t ever love them or that they wouldn’t love me, and other times, I’ve wanted so badly to reach that level of comfort, but ended up rejected and hurting when I let my guard down. So now, if I’m going to make the decision to sleep with someone, I have my shield up: I ask myself if I think they respect me and if I feel right about it in my gut and heart. I oftentimes wait weeks, sometimes months to have sex with someone new, all the while questioning how it will change the outcome of our relationship. Is he only dating me to get into my pants? If the sex isn’t good, will he ditch me for someone else or cheat on me? What if he gets emotionally attached and I don’t want him to, or vice versa? Having dealt with rejection, heartbreak and ghosting in the past, it’s rare for a situation to arise when I don’t find those questions lingering on the surface, standing in the way of me opening up completely, freely and comfortably.

Baby Face and I are both very open people who know what we want, which makes getting to know each other’s bedroom habits even more exciting. Physically, we’re comfortable being vocal about our needs and desires. If he wants me to slow down, he tells me. If I want to be spanked, I tell him. No hesitations. We’ve also reached the point in our relationship where we’ve openly communicated what we’re willing to try out in the bedroom, things that I normally reserve for much later in relationships, if at all: period sex, light bondage, role-playing and sex toys, to name a few. While we still learn about each other’s limits and pleasures, we’ve started successfully reaching orgasm at the same time. It’s happened now on several occasions (even once with a quickie!) and, I think (hope?) it speaks to how in tune our bodies are together. It’s nice to know that we don’t have to rely on any extra bells and whistles to keep things exciting, but that we’re both open to more … discovery, should we so choose. That, to me, is comforting.

On top of that, we care about each other. I’m no longer playing the “Does he like me? Will he leave me?” game. I know that Baby Face cares about me and is happy with how things are progressing with us, because he’s told me, and his actions match his words. I don’t have to ask or pry his feelings out of him. He’s vocal about being happy with me. Sure, it could be argued he’s just feeding me lines to sleep with me, but if that’s the case, his “lines” are making me comfortable and calm in the now, allowing me to open up to him in ways I haven’t allowed myself in the past. His open communication gives me the green light to feel how I feel about him, without constantly worrying if those feelings are reciprocated, a luxury I haven’t always in my past.

We don’t just fuck, though. We’ve had lots of passionate, slow, meaningful sex that further solidifies my willingness to open up to him, and to having even better sex. I hesitate to call it “lovemaking,” because A) I find that term super cheesy, and B) I’m not in love with him yet, but if it needed to be categorized, I’d say it’s Transparency Sex: we’re completely vulnerable, feeling all the feelings and allowing the other person to see that fragility and do with it what they please. I think the ability to flip-flop from fun, Discovery Sex to Transparency Sex, can make sex and orgasms that much greater.

So whether or not my relationship with Baby Face continues to evolve, I can at least rest assured knowing that the time I’ve spent with him, especially in between the sheets, is genuine, no holds barred, and emotionally healthy. I’m fully present.The reason I’m having the best sex of my life isn’t just because he can meet my physical needs, but because after a series of heartbreaks that have left me feeling pretty shattered and resistant to being vulnerable, I finally feel like I can be me. And the “me” that’s usually buried under layers of insecurity, worry, and distrust, feels pretty fucking amazing.