I was never good at choreography. As a striptease artist I preferred to dance free-flow, deciding moment by moment what to do next. I was performing up to 15 short shows a shift, working for an agency across a dozen or so venues. Flexibility was useful in my dancing style, as well as literally.
Some nights might be busy, some quiet; some venues had a stage, some didn’t (we’d dance around the floorspace); some had professional dance poles we could do tricks on, some had makeshift poles with rough or unsuitable surfaces (such as scaffolding poles, shoddily erected in a bid to cash in on the poledance trend).
I had certain outfits which went with certain songs, and within songs I may have particular key moves I did to particular lyrics. Especially where the dancing was on a stage and the pole was safe, I would time certain big pole moves to certain climaxes in the music. But that was as far as my choreography went.
Part of my dislike of choreography comes from my “no one tells me what to do” streak (ridiculously, this applies even if I have created the choreography myself). And I don’t like repeating myself… I don’t re-watch films, I vary my route to regular destinations. Aside from a bizarre preference to always use the same toilet cubicle in work/public toilets, I like to keep things mixed up.
So why did I spend years repeating the same pattern of activities in bed?
Kissing and cuddling. Stroking with fingers. Oral – always giving, sometimes receiving. Penetration until the guy came. Always in that order.
I was the bedroom equivalent of a dancer I hated working with, who had just one routine she repeated endlessly, whatever the venue or the vibe. This routine included slapping her bum repeatedly, with a big grin. I once saw her do this to the heart-breaking Sinead O’Connor track ‘Nothing Compares To You.’ It was just wrong.
Yet that was me in bed. Is it you?
What’s YOUR sexual pattern – either partnered, or solo? Do you mix things up, or tend to repeat the same sequence in the same order?
Sometimes we stick to a sequence as we know it works. And having that as a standby for quickies or when we are tired is fine. But if we ALWAYS follow the same sequence, we risk our bodies getting accustomed to one route to orgasm, such that different stimulation no longer gets us there (which can be a problem if we change partner, or if our favourite vibrator malfunctions).
We may also go onto autopilot, our bodies taking the route they know so well while our minds wander off to our ‘to do’ list. Yes, we might orgasm, but to me that is not the only marker of a fulfilling erotic experience. How engaged in the moment were we? Did we fully live that experience, and fully engage, with our erotic selves and/or with a partner?
Of course, the environment we tend to find ourselves in sexually is typically less variable than the venues and conditions I stripped in. But a way we can vary things sexually, is to vary that environment. Try sex in a different room… at a different time of day… with a different partner to usual calling the shots.
With this in mind, have a think about your sexual patterns. Are you repeating yourself? What might the benefits be of mixing things up? How can you create the environment for this to happen?
If you have a partner, you’ll need to think about how best to give them the heads-up you’d like to vary things. This is usually best done outside of the bedroom rather than in-the-moment. If you’re solo, you might plan to put your favourite toy away for a few weeks, or use it differently. Be aware your response times may be longer, and of course that’s fine.
You can look forward to discovering new things about your body, focusing more easily on the moment, and enjoying a deeper and richer experience overall.
Self-Care Alert: Coaching exercises are suitable for people who are able to take active, positive steps towards their desired future. If you feel held back by unresolved trauma from your past, then counselling/therapy with a trained psychotherapist may be a more suitable option for you. If you are working with a counsellor/therapist, check with them that the exercise in this column is suitable for you before giving it a try.