Editor's note: In this week's paper, Bri talked to former Mercurywriter Sarah Mirk about Sarah's new book Sex from Scratch. Check it out!
- Image by Erika Moen
Simultaneous orgasms. That's what athletic sports are missing, in my opinion: Both teams scoring at the same time. Get with it, sports.
I was scoring with my sweet slam-piece one summer afternoon. As we finish and untangle our bodies, I take a deep breath, look over, and dude is LOOKING AT HIS PHONE. My animal-brain took over and I heard myself say “Put down your fucking phone.” It was mortifying. Not because I emoted in front of a dude—I'm entitled to post-coital emotions—but because that voice came from a reptile part of my brain. This guy isn't mine to boss around. We have an arrangement: We smoke a joint or two, watch something stupid (dude likes American Ninja Warrior almost as much as I do) and then fool around.
I'm not an animal. I'm not having a baby and I don't need to cling to this guy to be sure he sticks around and provides for me and our cubs. There's no need to start building a nest; I'm a human with an apartment and an IUD. I probably wouldn't pick this guy as my baby daddy anyway, he smokes weed and watches American Ninja Warrior like me. Someone's gotta listen to classical music and read or this baby is going to be stupid.
Oh animal-brain, you were so useful for propagating our species, putting human beings on the map, but now you're embarrassing me! Yes, I like a post-coital cuddle, but from my informal poll of my lady, dude, and lady-dude friends, I am in the minority. What am I talking about? Ok, here's a typical sex timeline...
FOREPLAY (which may or may not involve a TV show obstacle course)
POST-COITAL CUDDLE – Phase One
POST-COITAL CUDDLE - Phase Two
REPEAT (2 or 3 times)
“Phase One” is that moment after sex when you transition from sex-beast to civilian. You breath deeply, remember that you're a human, you're in your bedroom, and rent's due. You might not get into a full cuddle position. You might just touch limbs or you might collapse into a fuck pile. It's a sweaty embrace, not for the prim and proper.
“Clean-up” is where you get rid of the condom, the wrapper, perhaps towel off and, after penetration—aka “p” in the “v'g”—ladies empty their bladder to clear out any debris that got stuck all up in their nethers during said coitus. 100% of ladies I talked to said they do this, so look alive gentlemen and other folks who bang ladies. Don't bang too far away from a toilet.
“Phase Two” is when you come back together after running those sex errands. That's when you assume the official cuddle position and dig in. Some ladies I know told me their phase two is 30-60 seconds. Whereas most of my dude friends say they like phase two to run 60-90 seconds. At this point, these folks either decide to go round two, or skip straight to brunch. For special people like me, who don't mind being sloths for the good part of a Sunday, Phase Two can run 10 minutes to several hours.
Cuddling all really depends on the nature of the hook-up. If you are a burgeoning couple, Phase two might be a great time to marinate in that after-sex hormone soup, building a bond and letting those super squishy feelings blossom. If you are married/partnered/imprisoned (j/k), maybe you feel like the love feelings are self-evident. You know your partner pretty well at this point, their post-coital routine; now they like to eat some oatmeal and read a book. Your partner's weird.
Say this has been the maiden voyage of you and your new lover's sexual relationship vessel; shining, still dripping with champagne, complicated rope knots, and a handful of hot sea-men (man, I'm great at metaphors). Both Phases One and Two are going to be fraught with the potentially stormy, intimacy waters. Oh you thought that the intimacy part, was when this person was inside you? Sure that's part of it, but at least for me, after his dong has kicked up all manner of oxytocin, seratonin, and dopamine, that's when I think about the person I'm with. Unwanted thoughts present themselves: “Is this THE GUY?” Thanks a lot for the pressure reptile brain.
And remember, Phase Two can be scary for people who've been hurt bad. Put in the 30-60 seconds and then feel it out. If your lover nestles into you, closes their eyes, and goes limp, take that as a cue that this is a “cuddler.” You might as well start episode 1 of a netflix series, because this could take a while.
Why cuddle at all? Because intimacy is good for you, to feel more connected to all humans. And when the uber-fear rises in the back of your throat remember, this isn't the person who hurt you, this person right now, only wants your comfort and peace. This cuddly-act doesn't mean anything implicitly. You communicate with actions and words and your actions in this context communicate these things, “we shared something, and it felt so good! Thank you for sharing that with me. I want you to feel peace and comfort now. You are safe with me.”
Wishing you long cuddles and good sex,