“You will either step forward into growth,
or you will step backward into safety.”

The last few days, I’ve been prompt writing…trying to push myself to try something new.  Not that I don’t prompt write a lot anyway….
Today, the site from which I get many of my prompts presented the above quote as fodder.  It is a good, simple quote.  Buuuuuuutttttt…when you throw it in to the context of a sex blog, it does change it just a bit, doesn’t it?
Sexual safety vs. sexual growth.  What does that mean?  Is “sexual safety” doing the same thing (missionary) with the same person (monogamy) forever?  What kind of growth might/does one do in a monogamous relationship.  Is promiscuity the same as growth (I think not)?
So, let’s explore this a bit. 
In my humble opinion, a person can grow sexually in any situation.  Single, married, attached.  Young, middle-aged, elderly.  It isn’t about how much sex you have or with how many people.  It’s what you do.
That being said, I believe sexual growth is mental and emotional, when it comes right down to it.  For example, a young married couple who tries a new position out of the Kama Sutra every night isn’t necessarily experiencing growth.  Sexual adventure, maybe.  But, as they try these new positions, if it is changing the way they feel about each other sexually, and themselves…then yes, it’s growth.
For a single middle-aged woman who has never been married and hasn’t had sex with a real person since high school, the simple act of masturbating isn’t going to lead to sexual growth…but, if she begins examining who she is as a sexual being, accepts herself and begins to please herself sexually in a more intimate and mentally/emotionally fulfilling way…then she’s growing.
I guess it comes to this.  I don’t think experience leads directly to growth.  Let’s face it, a guy (or gal) could have sex all their lives and never change or grow as a sexual being.  I’ve met these people…and they are a sad lot.  They don’t really know what they want or what others want.  They don’t even seek to understand.  Experience can aide in a person’s sexual growth, because it gives them something to respond to and consider.  And that experience can be physical or mental.  It can come through any sense.
We humans are meant to be sexual and sensual beings.  I really think it’s one of the major things that sets us apart from other animals.  Sex for us should be a mix of primal urge and sensual stimulation.  Without one, I believe, the other is not as satisfying.
Hmmm…there are so many ways to respond to this quote.  
On a day when I am headed into the city with my husband to partake of a luscious new couple, the anticipation building…I consider the growth.  Interestingly…while the sexual encounter is paramount to the sexual growth…it isn’t really the sex that does it.  It has to do with my own head and with my marriage.  Experiences like this change who I am as a sexual being.  Usually, they build my confidence, increase my libido, stimulate my imagination, give me something to write about and think about…consider.  These experiences also change my marriage.  Each time my husband and I have sex outside our marriage, it involves a lot of discussion.  We discuss boundaries, expectations, desires.  We become more and more intimately entwined.  I would wager to say that we are more sexually and emotionally close that some people who’ve been married 40 years.  And it isn’t the amount of sex that’s being had or the number of people with whom it’s being had.  It’s how we go about finding, managing, discussing, and accepting each experience we share together.
Okay…sappy, I know.  But, it really gets at the heart of why my husband and I “swing”. 
We aren’t experts.  Haven’t been doing this for years and years.  We don’t even have time to really get around to it very often.  Schedules, kids, life – it all gets in the way.  But, a well-placed, well-used “sexperience” can be relationship-changing.  The beauty of it?  It’s “safe” growth.  I do this with my husband.  He’s right there to watch (or at least hear) what’s going on.  We’ve joked that it’s like dating with your best friend.  Through eye-contact alone, he can tell if I’m comfortable or wary.  We find ways to communicate, either verbally or not, through the whole experience.  It’s like a “timeout” in football.  Huddle….discuss….break!  Back to the game.
I don’t mean to downplay the importance of the other couple.  They are a necessary ingredient in what we do.  Plus, it’s always nice to make new friends (w/benefits).  But, I think it is important to note the major difference between swinging and polyamory.  I’m not looking to fall in love with anyone other than my husband.  He, and he alone, gets that part of me…my body and mind are another thing.  I have at least some control over my body (if I’m sober, that is), but I have virtually no control over my mind.  It will go where it will go, regardless of how I feel about it.  
Hmmmm…I’m not sure how I got here…or where I’m going with this.  Just thinking out loud, I suppose.  And you are quite welcome to weigh in on the issue.  
In the context of relationships and sex, what is safe?  What constitutes growth?  How does one evolve sexually?
David Wilder Photography

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