Jack and I had just finished yet another amazing round of sex. As we made our way to the bathroom to clean up, Jack turned to me and asked, “What was your favorite part of sex tonight?”
I paused. Contemplating. Normally Jack will ask me the vague question, “Did you like that?” just as he’s pulling out of me: both of us flushed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. This typically elicits a reply from me along the lines of “Obviously!” or “Of course!” or a simple “Well, yeah!” Truth be told, it always seemed a pointless question, a mere formality. I like to think that the multitude of orgasms I experience at his hands (and cock…and mouth…and…well, you get the idea) speak for themselves.
But this more specific question prompted me to give a detailed answer, beyond yes or no. I turned to him and my mind suddenly filled with flashbacks of our five-minutes-ago fuck session. “Can I give you my top three?”
In the education field, we use a tool called “exit tickets” as a way to assess whether our students understood the lesson. Before students leave, they answer a question, leave a takeaway, or jot down a question that they have, and then they turn it in. As teachers, we can read through these tickets to see if our lesson had the impact we intended. Jack had just presented me with an exit ticket after sex. You know what gets a school librarian feeling all hot and bothered? Reflection and evaluation, apparently.
I detailed what I had just enjoyed most. Of course, I always enjoy the orgasms that result from Jack thrusting on top of me in the missionary position; that’s my crème de la crème, the out-of-this-universe, spiritual orgasms that are essential to my sexual wellbeing. That’s the favorite part that I feel goes without saying, and Jack nodded politely, unsurprised, as I gushed over that part of our experience. He was there, he knows.
Then I focused on the not-so-obvious moves that had fired me up during our session. I told Jack that when we held eye contact during my intense orgasms from the vibrator wand and fingering combo, I was captivated. I told him that it made me feel more present, thus making the orgasm more intense than nights when I find myself closing my eyes. I had felt a deep connection to him when we locked eyes during those moments. We paused our conversation while we let our faces break into big smiles, silently reminiscing and bonding.
When I got to point number three, the gentle thumb in and around my asshole during cunnilingus, we found ourselves grinning like fools. We’d have to try that little move again next time, right? Maybe with more lube, though.
Oh, and when he rubbed his cock all over my face while he had me pinned down at the beginning? That was hot, too. Bonus point. It really got my mind in the game.
Time and time again, the advice that I’ve heard for couples to build their best relationship and sex life is “communicate!” Jack and I pride ourselves on our communication capabilities, but this was the first time that we had discussed, in depth and in a more formal format, what we had specifically enjoyed in our just-culminated session. The benefits of post-sex reflection were apparent to us immediately…
It is a form of aftercare.
If you couldn’t tell already by our sprint to the bathroom post-coitus, Jack and I are not the best at practicing aftercare. We have kids and careers that put limitations on our time, so, while sex and pleasure are prioritized, the gentle caresses and whispers of aftercare are often forgone to accommodate my nightly skincare regimen.
Adopting the loosely structured discussion of “favorite parts” after sex forces a form of aftercare into our ritual. While we try to cuddle up on the mattress for our talks as often as time allows, it also works for us to bask in our bedsport while simultaneously applying overnight cream and flossing. The discussion keeps the tone of our evening focused on our physical intimacy, rather than on what meat we need to take out to thaw for tomorrow’s dinner or who needs a ride after school.
It encourages experimentation.
Being over-communicators is usually a perk for our sex life. I like to tell Jack what I’m thinking for our night ahead well in advance, giving us both time to warm up to new ideas and conjure up scenarios to act out later in the bedroom.
Other times, however, I want to turn my thinking mind off and just do what feels good in the moment. Knowing that we can try something different and then spend time assessing the new trick afterwards has a freeing effect on our sex sessions. We trust each other to stop anything in the moment that doesn’t work or that is painful, of course. But with the door open for communication post-lovemaking, we find ourselves eager to experiment during the act, knowing that it will (at the very least) make for interesting conversation later.
It builds desire and anticipation.
By the time we were done discussing our top takeaways, it was only our 5:30am scheduled alarm that kept us from ripping off our bathrobes for round two. That discussion imprinted the best parts of that sex session into our minds and loins, building our arousal for our next encounter.
It was like dirty talk for the future, setting the stage for the fun times to come. We had a few more tried-and-true techniques tucked away in our minds, ready to be put to use again in the future. Now, instead of silently wondering if he’d ever touch my ass again in that special way, I had cemented in Jack’s mind that this specific trick did it for me. Yes, do that again, please. On the record!
It opens the doors of communication, especially in young relationships.
As experienced as I am with sex, most of my sexual adventures have been with Jack for the past twenty-plus years. With him, I’m unequivocally myself, but with others, I find that I can be a shade shy early in the relationship. While I am comfortable advocating for my needs and safety before and during sex with new partners, I actually find that conversation about our shared session after the act provides a better context for shaping the future of our sex life together.
For example, I recently started dating a woman, Helen. We’re phenomenal in bed together, if I do say so myself, but we’re still in the early phases of our relationship. We’re still figuring out each other’s bodies, what feels good with each other, how we best mesh. The last time we had sex, I so enjoyed the way she went down on me, but there was a little voice in my brain that wouldn’t let me fully relax into it. I silently worried that she wasn’t enjoying it as much as I was, or that she was reciprocating to this wonderful extent just because I had spent so much time doing the same to her. I had adored burying my face into her, tasting all of her, while her body writhed on the sheets, but did she truly feel the same way about doing this to me?
After I had orgasmed aplenty, she positioned her soft body alongside mine, holding and caressing me while she softly groaned, “I could keep my head between your legs forever…I love doing that to you…” Like that, my fears vanished, and the next time she goes down on me I will be able to relax, knowing that all the feelings are mutual. Communication and trust are almost as beautiful as Helen is, and that’s saying a lot.
It feels good!
Who doesn’t love words of affirmation? It might be more Jack’s love language than mine, but I’ll admit that I don’t tire of his compliments and accolades. I like being told specifically what I did well; a generic “That was fun” is nothing compared to “When you kissed my balls like that with your cute little butt up in the air, I almost came right then.” It’s so damn flattering to hear what you did well during sex.
Basking in the glow of our session afterwards, turning over the moments in our minds and vocalizing our favorite parts…it’s like we’re giving each other pats on the back. We’re practicing gratitude for each other, focusing on the positive, and making each other feel good all over again. It makes us happy, provides us pleasure, and brings us closer together. And isn’t that what sex is all about?