As I’ve pursued my own flavor of a sex life, I’ve noticed something creeping in that I didn’t like. Sex had become a game of matching up a somewhat rigid list of turns ons and turn offs, dos and don’ts. If someone who was potentially interesting sexually came into my awareness, my first instinct often defaulted to going through my mental list to see if their list matched up with my list.
I’m not sure when I became this way. It just happened. Unconsciously, insidiously. Over time, for some reason, I no longer first assessed the person before assessing their list. Once I thought about it, this seemed entirely backward.
My first instinct is to blame what I refer to as the databasing of sex. Since so many of us pursue sex through hookup websites and apps, perhaps I (and I suspect others) have fallen prey to the tendency to decide on a suitable sex partner based on their list and profile data points rather than them.
But maybe this is something we’ve always done. I’m not sure. My own pre-internet sex life history informs me that I certainly did this a lot less back then and do it a lot more now. Back then it was much more about meeting a person, seeing if there was any sort of chemistry, then seeing what transpired sexually in the moment. I don’t recall my sex life in the 70s and 80s being as obsessed with matchup perfection.
So, I tried an experiment. My experiment was to embark on a new sex strategy that I called the “clean whiteboard” approach.
For years, I’ve worked in the corporate sector and used whiteboards in a lot of planning sessions and meetings. Staring at me in the conference room might be a huge whiteboard filled with ideas, desires, plans, strategies, patterns, workflows, or whatever. Yes, they sometimes helped our thinking, but once written on the board they also became the direction in which we were headed, even if it turned out, in hindsight, that an entirely different direction would have been better.
Wiping the whiteboard in my own head clean of my sexual list, my preconceived notions about sex, my snap judgment summing up of someone based entirely on a few seconds of seeing them, and so on, could, in theory, perhaps give me a fresh perspective on sex. I gave it a try.
Don’t get wrong. I am not under the silly notion that one can just wipe out one’s sexual smorgasbord of preferred erotic choices. That’s not possible. Every time we masturbate or get turned on there is a script running through each of our heads that spews forth in graphic detail the exact scenarios and types of people that get us off the most. That is what it is.
However, I felt that if I consciously suppressed those defaults and instead chose to try and approach potential sexual partners with as much of a clean whiteboard as possible, maybe it would benefit me. Turns out, it did.
For a few weeks, every time I encountered someone of sexual interest, online or in person, I consciously told my brain to set aside as many of my usual defaults as possible. This was not easy! The strength of our sexual default settings is incredibly strong, but challenging them a bit turned out to be of great benefit.
I’d meet a guy in a bar or on the street, or interact with them online, and to the best of my ability try to take them entirely at face value with as few preconceptions about them or my own sexual expectations as possible. If they weren’t my physical ideal, I talked to them anyway. If their kink didn’t match up exactly with my kink, I consciously tried to find common ground. If our role dynamics seemed askew, I didn’t write off the encounter until I was sure it wouldn’t work (it often did work, well).
In short, I really did try to wipe my brain’s sexual whiteboard as clean as I could to start afresh with each person.
Result? Some amazing sex with men I’d possibly never have connected with before the change in my mindset. Top, bottom or versatile? Sometimes it became moot if we just wanted to connect and have fun however we had it. Their list of kinks not matching mine exactly? Somehow, we found one or two of them that synced just fine and we focused on those. My predilection for men over 40? I set that aside and ended up having raucous fun sex with a hot 25-year old.
Was this experiment always successful? No. Many times, my default settings would rear their heads and interject into the interaction. I really don’t think all our default settings are reprogrammable (I think some might be though). I’m not sure chucking everything cemented in our brains erotically is possible or even a good idea.
What I believe though is that if more of us approached sex with a more open mind, a “cleaner” whiteboard, we’d be happier and have more and better sex.
What do you think? If you give this a try, I’d be curious to know your experience.