"When did sex become such a serious thing, where a display of genuine happiness during intercourse is cause for discomfort or - perhaps worse - the ick?"
One of my close friends asked me recently what my favourite part of sex is. I knew what they were expecting, what a sexy lead of a film would say: the licking, the sucking, the way I seize up before cumming and then surrender myself. I answered quickly: ‘smiling, probably’. They tried to conceal a look of slight shock, lowering their brow as quickly as it had started to rise - the unwritten rule being that anything we say about sex to each other goes by unchallenged, because God forbid we seem judgemental about each others sex lives.
There are a lot of unwritten rules I’ve picked up on when it comes to sex; having it, talking about it, and writing about it. Maybe I’m breaking one by doubling down on my position here, rather than quickly shaking my head and saying ‘only joking! I love oral!’
A quick Google search of ‘smiling during sex’ returns a list of forums. Posts penned by anonymous users lament ‘I find it so weird when I’m smiled at during sex, how do I get her to stop?’, and ‘he asked me to smile more during sex - why????’
When did sex become such a serious thing, where a display of genuine happiness during intercourse is cause for discomfort or - perhaps worse - the ick? Despite knowing I’m not widely agreed with on this, it’s still true - the thing I enjoy most about sex is smiling. I wouldn’t have always said that, especially not with such conviction - and believe me I love all of the other parts, too - fingers sinking into flesh, limbs in all directions, bodies moving until they find their rhythm, the closeness and sweat, the noises of heavy, thick want - but not as much as I enjoy a moment of hungry eye contact, an inability to hide how good this moment is. Slowing for a second, and sharing a moment of comfort, ease, joy.
It took a long time for anyone to smile at me during sex, or for me to smile at them. It’s a transformative feeling, and I do think it’s the kind of thing that, once you lean into loving it, you can unlock and carry with you. I must be specific about the kind of smiling I’m talking about; I don’t mean a grin that flashes across somebodies face, signifying ‘I’m doing so fucking well right now, I bet you’re loving this’, but rather, lips parting, maybe showing some teeth, a dimple, accompanied by hands brushing against my temples, eyes that don’t break away from mine until they’ve communicated what I’m sure they’re trying to say: I love doing this so much, and I love doing it with you, and I love your pleasure so much I’m willing to wait for it.
"I used to think of (sex) as a job - where my role was to satisfy somebody else. I now know how wrong that is and how little I was enjoying sex because of it."
I only smile if I really want to. It’s more of a natural thing than something I actively focus on - if I’m totally relaxed, basking in the glow of spit, sweat and curious fingertips. So, when did all of this occur to me? There are two major occasions I can place: the first, when I’d bought a clit suction toy and came so hard I soaked through my sheets - the smile after that taught me just how radical self-pleasure can be - and during a bout of make up sex, where the anger and hurt subsided even if just for a moment, squashed by the power of being really fucking horny for each other, knowing exactly where to touch and what to whisper, cuming faster than you’re sure you ever did before.
Placing myself at the centre of sex - whether partnered or solo - ensures I get what I want. It allows me to totally connect, whether it’s with a vibration setting or another body, and be totally in that moment. Nothing else matters, everything else falls away and I’d have to be shaken to remember it exists.
Sex makes me happy, it makes me smile. I used to think of it as a job - where my role was to satisfy somebody else. I now know how wrong that is and how little I was enjoying sex because of it. Knowing that, knowing my body and learning the map of somebody else’s brings joy. The look of a smile, on my face or theirs, is priceless. I’ll never tire of it.