Guest Blog: A Male Response to being with a Female Survivor

My name is L (I actually have more letters in my name but they have temporarily abandoned me).

I’m in my late 50s and, if you have read Ruby’s blog How I Created Sexual Safety and Sexual Ecstasy as a Survivor last week, you will know me as her partner.

The mere thought of being the partner, in life, in bed, in heart and head with Ruby is so extraordinary as to often seem unreal.

In case you haven’t picked it up yet – she is the most extraordinary woman.

Having read last weeks blog I was moved to want to say something, as a man. Not on behalf of men – that isn’t my right or place – but as a man.

I feel as if I am somewhat typical of men my age in terms of my sexual experiences. Sex wasn’t discussed in our family when I was growing up – not even once. I didn’t have that conversation with my mother or father and I am the big brother, so I had no older sibling to steer my path. Sex education in schools was just in its infancy and, even then, I couldn’t attend because my parents wouldn’t give permission. To make things worse I attended a single sex school so there was virtually no contact with girls as part of normal socialisation.

So, with raging hormones and zero knowledge, I raced towards the world of women.

Somehow, and I don’t know if this is still true, there seemed to be an implicit understanding that I, as a man (boy), knew what I was doing – somehow it was my job to lead, to know what to do, to take charge. As you might imagine, that didn’t work out all that well and my earliest encounters were brief and sticky and not much more.

I think my default position was “orgasm/ejaculation feels good so therefore, whatever gets me there must be right”.

I am, by nature, someone who wants others to feel good – I like to please – but with no idea what I was doing, there was a lot of disappointment. The girls/women I was going out with at the time (all my own age of course) did not offer any guidance as to what I could do to improve their enjoyment of the experience.

Now obviously, on the way through life, and with interested and interesting partners I picked things up. I’m not stupid. When I do something and it has a good response, then I repeat and modify, so I like to think that I ended up as a pretty reasonable lover – someone who took giving my partner pleasure as a core part of making love.

However, one of the things I learned is that each woman is built differently, physically and emotionally and that what is mind-blowing for one makes another just raise an eyebrow in surprise. Each new partner is a blank canvas and, as long as it is presumed that the man must know what he is doing, it is all trial and error – including pushing triggers which create emotions of unsafety.

As I aged and became more experienced of course there were women who said “Do this, try here” which was enormously helpful and reassuring. But still there always seemed to be a reluctance to have a really direct conversation.

Ruby has been prepared to have “that conversation” with me – as you read –  before, during and after love making.

I cannot even begin to describe what a relief that is for me; what a burden was lifted from my shoulders. Here I am in bed with a woman who, gently and clearly, guides me to what gives her safety to be herself and to receive pleasure.

As I said, I’m well into my fifties. Ejaculation, while pleasurable, is something that I’ve done fairly often (I just tried a quick piece of maths and the numbers are fairly impressive), so the thought of having sex simply to ejaculate is a fairly tedious one. To be honest, if ejaculation is the aim, I’m faster and better on my own.

I think that most men want to give pleasure to their partner. We want to be good lovers. The biggest turn on for me is a woman becoming wet. Or as Sting writes in “Fields of Gold”- “feel her body rise, when you kiss her mouth.”

When I become aware that I haven’t been a good lover, it knocks my confidence and self-esteem. And then that erodes my ability, possibly my interest, in doing better.

So, what is it I want from making love?

  • To be as deeply connected on every level with my partner as I can be
  • To give her as much pleasure as she is capable of receiving
  • To have the connection as seamless and part of life as possible – sex shouldn’t be something we go and do – lovemaking is in every moment. It is the look across the kitchen, the touch on the arm as we are looking at the same thing in a shop window

For me, Ruby has opened doors (and windows and taken the roof off) simply by staying continuously connected with me while we are making love. I cannot even begin to describe the joy and pleasure she has given me by taking the time and opportunity to clearly communicate and, of course, once that honesty is in the room, boundaries just vaporise and the whole world just becomes pleasurable.

My Notes

Receiving this blog from L has been a tremendous encouragement that “communication” and “conversation” forms the bridging gap. A male response to being with a female survivor doesn’t have to become further abuse but it can open up new pathways for healing and connection.

If you are looking for more information about how to start this conversation, read this blog On consent in romantic relationships

Love and Blessings