Giving Reassurance Is Like Giving Head

one cartoon human figure reassuring another that appears to be crying
Image by Pixabay / CC 0

Why I Don’t Vaguepost When I’m Sad

Like anyone else, I hit bad patches. I get sad. Run into trouble inside my own head.

I  had a particularly awful spell a little while back, brought on by some work I was doing sorting through childhood trauma. The kind of thing that’s always with me but is normally tucked away in tightly sealed boxes in some remote corner of my brain. Where it can’t hurt anyone.

But the box opened. And everything within it jumped out like a jack in the box.

There were days when all I seemed capable of doing was lying very still while the anxiety flowed through me. I tried to imagine my body as being riddled with holes, vents that the anxiety could use to escape. And as I lie there, visualizing the anxiety leaving, it was all I could do to hope that eventually my body would give up and stop making more.

I did end up writing a bit about this struggle in public, but only after it was over. Only after I no longer needed support.

That’s usually how I roll. I suffer in private. Process in private journals. And then only after it passes do I write about having struggled later, in public. Once I’m feeling better. And always framing it as having happened recently.

I was talking to a friend about this lately, this tendency of mine. “You know, you could reach out more to people,” they said. “I’m sure people would be willing to help you. You don’t have to suffer alone. All you’d have to do is write some kind of vaguepost, and people would start rushing to your aid in PMs.”

“I know,” I said. “That’s why I don’t do it. Because people mean well, but from the vast majority of people, the PMs really wouldn’t help.”

I racked my brain for a way to explain why. And then it occurred to me via a rather unexpected analogy. Receiving reassurance is very similar for me to receiving oral sex.

When You Can Tell They View It as a Chore, It’s a Real Mood Killer

When it comes to reassurance and oral sex both, I’m mostly a giver. Have I enjoyed receiving reassurance in the past? Sure. Getting head? Sure.

But rarely.

And something like 90 percent of the attempts of others to lavish such emotional or sexual kindness upon me have backfired.

Unless they really enjoy doing it, I do not want it. Because I can feel their frustration, that they view what they’re doing as a chore. That they’re not enjoying the process of figuring out what makes me tick and bringing me to a better place. Or giving me pleasure.

That they’re instead working towards “fixing” me. Or bringing me to orgasm so it can be over and/or they have something to brag about (how great their sexual prowess is).

Being Skilled Enough to Adjust One’s Approach Based on the Individual

Even enthusiasm isn’t enough, not on its own. They also have to be somewhat skilled at it. Maybe they don’t know exactly what spots to hit at the outset — either sexually or emotionally — since everyone is different. But there’s a process, and people who are good at giving reassurance or giving pleasure notice how the person they’re working with responds and they adjust their approach even in the absence of direct feedback from them (and at the very least, they’ll adjust based on direct feedback).

No, instead many people have a fixed routine that they go through. Standard phrases or physical maneuvers that they cycle through. And if those don’t do the trick, well, too bad. That’s what good reassurance sounds like. That’s what good head looks like.

There’s now something wrong with you. Either your mind or body is difficult if you didn’t respond on the first go.

Don’t you want to feel better?

Don’t you want to come?

It’s a Big Ask That Someone Both Enjoy Giving and Be Skilled at It

It’s a big ask that someone both enjoy giving and be skilled at it.

Most people are maybe one or the other. Very few people are both.

Some are neither.

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When it comes to getting reassurance, I have the same philosophy as getting head. If someone’s great at it and loves doing it, I love getting head. Otherwise, I’d rather they not even try.

Of the two factors, I think enjoying doing it is more important. Because even if they’re just kind of okay and really enjoy doing it, then it’s generally a green light (especially if they’re open to feedback on how to improve).

But it’s a lot to ask of someone, that they both enjoy doing it and are somewhat good at it. So given these terms, it’s never really appropriate for me to flash the bat signal in the sky to let other people know that I’m sad when I’ve hit a bad patch.

The most I’ll ever do is turn to a few trusted confidants privately. Otherwise, appeals for support typically backfire.

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My new book is out!

Dealing with Difficult Metamours, the first book devoted solely to metamour relationships, full of strategies to help you get along better with your partners’ other partner(s).

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