Dive Deeper with Leah Carey
I have been through the fire and come out the other side. Now I’m here to walk with you as you do the same.
I will help you take a stand for yourself, your desires, and YOUR PLEASURE.
The most important move for a great sexual experience: having the talk.
STARS is an easy-to-remember acronym for conversations that lead to awesome consensual sex.
In this episode, Samara and Caleb have the STARS talk. They’ve been in a relationship for 10 months of serious dating, ready to move in together, and already having good sex. Even so, they uncover several things that surprise them and will help them up-level their sex life.
Samara is a 29-year-old cisgender female who describes herself as white, monogamous, partnered with Caleb, and she describes her body as athletic and curvy. Caleb is a 29-year-old cisgender male who describes himself as white, heterosexual, monogamous, partnered with Samara, and he describes his body as athletic.
The original STARS episode (including explanations of the various aspects of the conversation) – https://www.goodgirlstalk.com/posts/podcast/improve-your-sex-life-with-the-stars-talk/
Dr. Evelin Dacker’s STARS website – https://www.maketimeforthetalk.com/
LEAH: Welcome to Good Girls Talk About Sex. I am sex and intimacy coach, Leah Carey, and this is a place to share conversations with all sorts of women about their experience of sexuality. These are unfiltered conversations between adult women talking about sex. If anything about the previous sentence offends you, turn back now! And if you’re looking for a trigger warning, you’re not going to get it from me. I believe that you are stronger than the trauma you have experienced. I have faith in your ability to deal with things that upset you. Sound good? Let’s start the show!
LEAH: Hey, friends. Today, we have a special episode that I’m really excited to share with you. Back in 2019, in the very early days of this podcast, I interviewed Dr. Evelin Dacker, the creator of the STARS conversation, which is an outline for how to talk about sex with someone before your pants come off. Then, I demonstrated a STARS conversation with my friend, Ray, and I’ll put a link to that episode in the show notes. Since then, so many of you have contacted me to say how helpful the STARS conversation has been for you.
So, today, I’m offering you a longer, more in-depth STARS conversation between Samara and Caleb. If you’ve ever wondered if the STARS conversation is reserved just for people who haven’t had sex together before, no. You’ll hear today that it can even be used by people who are already in established relationships to clarify their wants and needs and dive deeper into things they may have assumed, but not dived deep into before.
Because this is so different from our normal episode, it requires a little bit of setup. When we recorded this, Samara and Caleb were planning to move in together after 10 months of dating. Samara had just finished a training to become a STARS facilitator, so she’s leading Caleb through the steps. It was the first time they were having this conversation together and they very kindly agreed to let me record them.
I popped in occasionally with questions to deepen or clarify, but for the most part, it’s just the two of them talking to each other. One of the things I was most impressed by as they talked was the way they kept checking in with each other, Samara checking for consent before moving forward in the conversation, both of them asking to make sure they were understanding each other, and going deep into topics they had glossed over in the past. For instance, they take time to really explore what each of their definitions of monogamy is and also to delve into their feelings about giving and receiving dirty talk.
For those of you new to the STARS talk, each of the letters represent an aspect of sex and sexuality. When you cover all five letters, you have a solid basis for a healthy and positive sexual encounter, anything from a casual one-night stand to a committed long-term relationship. The letters stand for S for STI status, T for turn-ons, A for avoids or turn-offs, R for relationship expectations and intentions, and S for safer sex practices.
Samara is a 29-year-old cisgender female who describes herself as white, monogamous, partnered with Caleb, and she describes her body as athletic and curvy. Caleb is a 29-year-old cisgender male who describes himself as white, heterosexual, monogamous, partnered with Samara, and he describes his body as athletic. I am so pleased to introduce Samara and Caleb!
SAMARA: So, in the first S is the STI status, so I was tested before we started dating. That test was only for chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea. I did have a previous diagnosis of HSV-2. I did have a genital outbreak when I first got that diagnosis. And for that, I take my antivirals as a suppression. It’s a one a day dose.
I’m only sexually active with you. I have an IUD in, but in terms of actual barriers, we don’t use anything after we had that conversation and determined we were monogamous and only seeing each other. And in terms of the actual medication, I don’t get any side effects from that and I actually haven’t had an outbreak with that medication. I can’t even remember the last time I had an outbreak. So, first, I want to check in and see if you have any questions about that on my end.
CALEB: I’m already informed about it, so I don’t think there’s much that’s unclear about that.
CALEB: It was three weeks after we started dating, I went and got tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea. I’m not sure if it was for syphilis. And I did do blood work for HIV, but it was inconclusive. There was something wrong with the blood work. So, no results on that, but I’m fairly confident it’s not an issue given my past. What else am I missing? I feel like there’s more.
SAMARA: I have a question that we haven’t talked about before is in terms of getting tested. You and I are monogamous and we have been dating for a while, but what about getting tested in our relationship? Do you have any thoughts or feelings on that?
CALEB: My gut reaction is that it doesn’t seem necessary. It seems that it’s unlikely that if there isn’t an introduction of another partner that there’s going to be any new changes to those test results.
SAMARA: The only thing I was thinking of is maybe those HSV.
CALEB: That question did jog something. I hadn’t really considered me getting tested. I’m HSV negative as of the last time that I got tested. Whereas you’re HSV positive, so that wasn’t something I had considered. I assumed that if I show symptoms, then checking to see if that is what it is made sense, but monitoring it regularly wasn’t really something I had considered. I’m open to it if that’s something. I don’t need that for my own comfort. I wouldn’t think.
SAMARA: And I don’t need it for my comfort either currently and maybe we say if that changes for us, we can circle back to it?
SAMARA: Okay. My favorite one, this is the turn-ons section. So, I think what, for me, would feel good in this section is I’ll just start saying some things that do turn me on or get me aroused or bring me to a place where I feel really in my body embodied and sensual. And then, I will always want you to feel like you can ask questions or jump in. I don’t want to just read you a list.
SAMARA: The first thing I had was deep belly laughing when we’re laughing together. And really laughing with you is one of my favorite things. And I think you and I have had this conversation where, for me, things that make me feel turned on are a lot of things that aren’t actually sexual by nature and so that’s maybe a good place to start is there are a lot of things outside of that specific definition of sex that make me feel sensual. And so, things that are like that, the laughing, and being physically active with you, so doing really fun activities.
CALEB: Is that that it makes you feel not sexually aroused maybe in a traditional sense, more interested in intimacy in a broader sense? That’s what I’m curious about because I would say that I differ in that way in that it isn’t that I don’t enjoy those things. It’s just that I don’t necessarily find them as a turn-on in how I would maybe define that term.
SAMARA: I don’t know specifically. It’s almost just like a positive feedback loop. If we’re really laughing and we’re doing something like when we went climbing and doing something new, it almost makes my body want to lean in more. It’s that dual mechanism where it just taps the gas slightly more and takes away the brakes. So, I wouldn’t say it instantly makes me want to drop to the floor and fuck.
SAMARA: But it’s like it makes my body want to be closer to you and lean in. And then, getting more specific, I actually get turned on talking about sex with you. When we have conversations, that’s always something that really turns me on, yeah.
CALEB: It makes me more open to newer things too. I feel like it makes me more interested in sex as an idea as well as a thing to do like talking about it rather than it is being like a boiler plate. Hearing other people’s ideas is really nice.
SAMARA: When we look at apps together like the Kama app or even just fun things like trying to figure out new positions, I almost think it’s really important when we do that not lying down in bed naked together, if we’re sitting on the couch almost in a non-sexual way as foreplay to feel like we can get creative and explore that way. And that line too, I really like hearing what turns you on when we’re talking about sex. That also turns me on. I do love when you make sounds.
SAMARA: And unfortunately, my neighbors probably don’t, but I really like hearing it. It’s also again that feedback loop. It lets me know that you’re super in the moment, which then allows me to get in the moment.
CALEB: So far, no complaints, so that’s good. That’s for the best.
SAMARA: That’s good.
SAMARA: I really like random acts of kindness. You do that so often in that that’s a turn-on for me. A big one also is having emphasis be on pleasure rather than either one of us just achieving orgasm. And I don’t want to say just achieving orgasm, but having the entire experience be about giving and receiving pleasure rather than making someone cum, which obviously I like to do that and I like that to be part of it, but not having that be the sole focus. How is that one for you?
CALEB: That’s a new one for me. And I think that that is the way that I had approached intimacy for a really long time that it was mostly about achieving orgasm for both parties and I think that the way that we started our relationship where because of your HSV status and me waiting to get tested, us being intimate, but not necessarily in a penetrative or we weren’t intimate in a way that wasn’t really about orgasm for a while when we first started to get to know each other, and it was an electrifying time.
CALEB: That wasn’t about orgasm, but was extremely pleasurable. So, I definitely can relate to that. I think I can sometimes forget it though. I think I more than you tend to fall back into that older mindset of orgasm being what sex is about or what intimacy can be about. Not intentionally, I think it’s just old not habits, but patterns of thinking that are hard to change.
SAMARA: Do you feel comfortable sharing some things that turn you on?
CALEB: Yeah. I really like lingerie. Not for myself, when you’re wearing it.
SAMARA: Also, would be okay if you did.
CALEB: Sure. That’s maybe a future exploration.
CALEB: I think that you doing something special for me feels really, really nice. I really like going places with you as well. When we’re going somewhere we haven’t been before in a car for some reason that really makes me excited.
SAMARA: Anything about the car specifically?
CALEB: There was that one time where you brought up road head and that since then hasn’t happened yet still, but has forever been maybe a reason why riding a car is such an exciting environment for me.
CALEB: But also, being somewhere new with you where we haven’t been before is a turn-on. I don’t know. It’s exciting to be with you somewhere that’s not comfortable and being intimate in those settings I think is a turn-on. I really like sexting like pictures especially I think are a big-turn on.
SAMARA: So, some of my favorite places to be touched on my body are general touch all over at first, and then going lightly on my back or my neck and I really love when you touch my butt just all over. And then, after all of that, touching my vulva or my labia, that to me is very arousing. Are there any spots specifically for you that you like to be touched in?
CALEB: Yeah. I like when you touch my thighs. Yeah, during intimacy, I’ve found I really like when you touch my genitals with your hands. I’ve never really enjoyed it as much as I do with you, I would say, and that’s a newer experience as well. Using hands more in intimacy is something that is newer and really exciting to me and more exploratory than it’s ever been.
SAMARA: That thing about just regular penetrative orgasm not be the goal, I feel like that’s really fun for me to explore touching your body in new ways that also then feel good for you. And so, that’s been, I would say, the same for me too. I love actually the nights where we both just cum from hands stuff. I think that’s one of my sometimes favorite nights.
CALEB: Yeah, feels like almost an ancient, maybe that’s like it feels like old and very deeply connected.
SAMARA: When I touch you with my hands, I am receiving pleasure that way because I know it literally just feels good on my hands. It feels good to touch you that way, but I think there’s almost, for me, a deeper sense or connection sometimes because it’s almost direct genital stimulation and orgasm. It’s just so much sensation that it’s hard to actually process all at once. And so, when I’m pleasuring you with my hands, I feel like I can really be present to your orgasm, which makes me feel like again so turned on and then just really happy to see your pleasure.
CALEB: It’s the same for me, I would say. It feels more like I’m connected to your body if my body isn’t so fully involved like if I’m just using my hands. It’s like a focal point of an activity rather than I think penetrative sex can often feel not performative, but extremely involved and hard to focus on any one thing.
SAMARA: Yeah. I feel the same way.
LEAH: I’d like to jump in for a second. You’re talking about the activities that are fun without having to move to orgasm. And Caleb, I heard you say that sometimes you fall back into just moving toward orgasm. Are there ways that Samara can touch you or speak to you that will remind you to connect back in?
CALEB: Something that we’ve been doing more that feels really good is taking breaks to do things like drink water. It’s like stopping and talking for a minute and checking in. Sometimes sex can almost feel like not out of body, but I can feel myself floating away a little bit. And that really reconnects me to my body and to Samara.
LEAH: And Samara, is that satisfying for you that being able to take a moment and then come back together?
SAMARA: Definitely. I feel like whenever one of us initiates that moment, if I’m the one initiating it, I like being able to offer that and then if he initiates that moment, usually I’m like, “You know what? Actually, yeah, I really do need water. I really need to go pee.” And it just helps even if wasn’t feeling ungrounded, it helps me reground in a different way.
And so, I think we’ve been doing more of that too and it’s revolutionary. I really appreciate that question because now, I’m also thinking it gives a little bit of space for me just to ask myself, not that it’s not about you, Caleb, but in that moment, it’s almost like we talk about sex brain. It is a very real thing.
Your body can sometimes take over, which then means maybe my mind disassociates a little bit. And so, I really appreciate those moments where either you’re sensing it in me or in yourself, but it allows us to decide what’s going to feel best and that’s all I want this experience to ever be is just us navigating how to feel good with each other. Let’s see. So, I’m just curious, Caleb, how do you like to refer to your genitals?
CALEB: I don’t know. I don’t refer to them all that often.
CALEB: I don’t have that dialogue per se with them, but I don’t know, just penis is what I refer to it as.
SAMARA: Is there anything that you would like me to refer to them as or not to refer to them as?
CALEB: I haven’t had any issues, I think.
SAMARA: Okay. I usually refer to my genitals as I say my pussy most of the time. And then, it’s usually that’s more in a sexual context, and then in just a day-to-day conversation as they come up, I would say vulva or vagina. Any other last thoughts or questions you have about turn-ons?
CALEB: I’ve recently liked my butthole being touched more. That’s a very new discovery for me, very new.
CALEB: Which is something that I was feeling I think a lot of insecurity about. I think that being more exploratory and willing to try new things with you has opened me up to feeling comfortable though. I feel very comfortable being intimate with you. So, I think that things that otherwise would normally be things I’m not comfortable are no longer not comfortable. And so, that’s a new way in which being touched feels good.
SAMARA: Can I ask you a question about that?
SAMARA: Yay! That’s exciting.
SAMARA: Do you want to explore maybe a finger being inserted or do you like just external play around your butt area?
CALEB: I don’t have a desire for that, but because it all feels so new at the moment, what feels good is just surface touching and lightly, not directly or even direct pressure on the butthole. But I have noticed when you’re touching me, when your hand slides there and grazes there, it’s arousing for me, which is a new experience for me, for sure. My answer to your question is I’m not sure because I haven’t thought that much ahead. I think it’s just a continuing conversation is what it feels like.
SAMARA: A note too just in terms of things I might be curious about playing with myself and we’ve talked about maybe blindfolding or that idea of switching dom and sub roles in the sense of having one night, but having us both get to experience the one being in charge of the sexual situation. And then, one person receiving, and then having that role switched. So, I definitely am game to explore those things more too.
LEAH: Are you aching to explore new vistas of your sexuality? Do you hear me talk about concepts on the show and think, “It makes sense, but I need help applying it to my particular situation?” That’s where personalized sex and intimacy coaching comes in.
When you work with me, I promise to help you feel safe exploring your sexuality. Together, we’ll look at your needs and desires without judgment and help you figure out how to fulfill them. There is no single answer that’s right for everyone, so I’m going to help you discover what’s right for you. And we’ll go at your pace. That’s the pace that respects your emotional needs, your boundaries, and your nervous system because going too fast can send you into shutdown while going too slow can be infuriating and exhausting. The goal is to find what’s right for you.
I work with clients who are motivated to explore many different areas of sexuality including things like expressing your sexual desires to current or future partners, exploring if you might be queer, challenging body image insecurity in sexual relationships, dipping your toes into BDSM, exploring consensual non-monogamy, learning to date after a long time out of the dating pool, exploring your sexuality for later in life virgins and so much more. I want you to have a deeply fulfilling intimate life and together, we can help you get there. For more information and to schedule your discovery call, visit www.leahcarey.com/coaching. That’s www.leahcarey.com/coaching.
SAMARA: So, after coming off of the turn-ons, going to the A which is avoids, so are you okay with doing this the same way we did the turn-ons like I’ll tell you a little bit about mine, and then we can go back and forth?
SAMARA: Okay. A big turn-off for me is when someone, my partner, has an orgasm, I have not yet achieved orgasm, and then there’s a real distancing like that person has had their orgasm, and then there’s no real check-in moment. I think not even necessarily that I need to achieve my own orgasm, but that, for me, I really need there to be a check-in or conversation after. And it’s a really big turn-off for me when that doesn’t happen because it can feel really isolating after that.
And I really don’t love being asked if I came because I feel like that, to me, just feels like not that anyone should automatically know if I’ve cum or not, if there’s a question there about my experience, I think there are a lot better ways to ask me what my pleasure is, was at, what felt good, what could’ve felt better, things like that.
And then, a big avoid too is that if a pause or those moments we were talking about like a reset moment, if that is something that makes the other person bristle or feel like it pulls out of the moment, that’s a big avoid for me because sometimes I have trauma responses or triggers that come up in sexual experiences and I really need to feel safe taking those times. So, it’s definitely an avoid for me if someone isn’t okay with that.
I do like my butt slapped. I don’t want anything outside of the butt area slapped or spanked. And choices about ejaculation fluid are I have my IUD and I actually really like when you cum inside of me. For me, that’s this really intense intimacy moment. And I am okay with you cumming in my mouth also. I’m very happy with that. I think sometimes just depending on my mood, I might not want to swallow all the time or have you cum in my mouth all the time. And that’s happened before where I think I let you know like, “Tonight, I’m not feeling up for that.”
So, certain triggers for me are these are things we’ve talked about based on my past, if there’s any joke about people watching us or spying on us or being voyeuristic, that really is a mood killer for me and it makes me feel pretty unsafe. So, I need that to be avoided. And I’m prone to getting paranoid about people spying on me sexually anyway, so that’s definitely a big avoid for me.
And areas I don’t like to be touched, I would say that I don’t like to be touched on my clit or vulva, labia directly. I really can’t have a tension right on that area because that can almost feel a little bit too intense. And another I would say turn-off or avoid is just not having enough lube, those are probably my big ones. So, first, any question on maybe my avoids?
CALEB: Not too many. The voyeuristic comes as not a surprise, not the voyeuristic part, but the jokes about other people watching. The jokes part in particular is not a thing that has come up before with us. I’ve never made those jokes, so that just seems like a thing that’s new for me to be hearing, but that also makes sense.
I haven’t really considered avoids I don’t think as much as turn-ons. I tend to think about those more. Something that I found that is a bit of an avoid is talking during sex is newer for me or dirty talk is something that I’m not that comfortable with just from not having done it much.
I’m usually sounds, non-verbal sounds, I’m really comfortable with, but saying words is pretty tough and a thing that’s hard for me or maybe a turn-off or a thing that really pulls me back is being worried about misspeaking or when I’m misspeaking it, being laughed at or that feels deescalating for me, which really just extends to trying to do anything that’s new and it feeling like it’s not received with openness is a thing that’s tough.
Because, like I said, before all my sexual experience in the past has been a very generic pretty standard unexploratory experience. So, I do feel a certain amount of insecurity around trying to do something that feels new and it not landing well, whether or not it does not land well or it’s just perception of mine that it’s not going to land well is something that is tough.
SAMARA: Can I ask you a question about the one you said before this last one, so the speaking or dirty talk or trying verbally to say things and maybe mixing them up and then being laughed at? Was that an accurate rephrasing?
CALEB: Yeah. I think that’s more or less, not even necessarily laughed at, but it feels like a de-escalation, for me, personally in those moments.
SAMARA: First of all, I’m so happy because that actually isn’t one that I had heard necessarily before and I think I’m so glad that you’re sharing that with me because the truth is though I feel like I want to admit that, for me, actually sometimes I can get really giggly or sometimes, to me, sex is just really funny.
And not at all because something you’re doing is funny, it’s sometimes I’m just in that mood where that can almost actually be one of my turn-ons. Now that I’m thinking about it is in that space of getting giggly and touchy and silly, and so what am it trying to ask? I’m trying to ask if there’s a way as a partner that I can make sure that something that may turn me on isn’t in the moment turning you off or how to navigate that. Your thoughts on navigating that, if that makes sense?
CALEB: Sure. I think that it’s a pretty personal experience for me that I think isn’t necessarily one that has to do with you or any partner necessarily. I think it just has to do with not wanting to be criticized, which I think is a pretty deep thing.
SAMARA: I’m thinking of a specific situation on my end because I also like to talk dirty. And so, that’s another thing. How does it feel to be on the receiving end of me talking dirty if that’s not necessarily a turn-on for you?
CALEB: It’s a turn-on for me what you do.
CALEB: It definitely is a turn-on when you talk dirty. For me, it has to do my own insecurities about not being very good at it. You know what I mean? Or it being so new and something that is a thing I feel awkward and uncomfortable doing. That’s where more or less all of the avoidance or turn-off is rooted in, which I think probably the best way of getting better at anything that you’re not good at is just to keep trying. I think that that I would say is the most obvious way of working through it in my eyes would be just work on it. It’s not a thing I’m not interested in doing, it’s just the thing I’m not good at.
SAMARA: I think we’ve both done this. And so, this specific situation I was thinking about, there was one time we were having sex and I think I said, “I want to rub my dick on your clit,” like me as the person that I have the clitoris and you have the dick, but I just switched those words up. And I remember thinking, “That’s really funny,” and laughing in the moment.
SAMARA: If you were the one to maybe mix the words up, me maybe trying to hold back from just giggling at a slip-up like that.
CALEB: It’s not necessarily a fair expectation when something funny happens for you to not laugh at it. I think that it’s a very normal thing to do to laugh at.
LEAH: Can I pop in again? I love this conversation. Caleb, you said when you’re trying something new, if the other person isn’t enjoying it or if you think that they’re not enjoying it that that is hard for you. How do you know somebody, specifically Samara, is enjoying something?
CALEB: Sure. I can feel a physical difference in body tension when you’re enjoying something or when you’re feeling good. You move more and your whole body moves more I would say is how I’ve gauged it. Back to the things like dirty talk and whether it’s landing or pleasurable, I don’t think that I do know. I think that it’s just that it’s all my own perception, not based off of anything that feels real. The nature of that, for me, is the uncertainty is the thing that is the difficult thing. Samara, you communicate pretty well when things aren’t feeling good. So, in a lot ways, I know when things aren’t good because we talk.
SAMARA: I’m wondering if maybe for both of us what could help with that is actually saying when we are enjoying things just as much if not more than when we say we don’t like something. I think both of us are pretty good at maybe saying, “Will you actually try it this way or will you move a little this way or do this?”
But I think, yeah, I like that question is making me think too of, yeah, how am I actually letting you know? I like the idea of not being afraid of being overly verbal in the sense of what actually is working. Would that feel like something maybe explore more of trying to be more verbal about what is working, what is feeling good?
CALEB: Yeah. It would definitely decrease the amount of time wondering about those things or wondering about you’re feeling and what kind of avenues that you want to go down. Because I think what we end up doing is that we experience something and it feels good and then we talk after. I think we are good about that. We talk about sex after sex. I think most of the time and that’s when we discuss what did feel good, but not as much in the moment, which I think is definitely something that would be great to work on.
SAMARA: Something recently that came up for me is I realized I actually need a little bit more validation when you’re the one giving me pleasure that you’re also enjoying that experience. And if you’re not enjoying that experience, if you’re almost getting tired of fingering me, I don’t want you to keep fingering me if it’s causing you pain.
So, I think not even just saying when things feel good when we’re the one on the receiving end, but I’ve told you, sometimes you’re going down on me, I disassociate and I have a hard time really being embodied when I’m receiving oral. And I think knowing obviously you’re busy while you’re going down on me, but maybe some either sound or coming up for air and reminding me that that’s an enjoyable experience for you too. Because I’ve told you, in my head, I just convince myself all of the shame things that I smell, it’s too messy, there’s too much, whatever the thing is. And so, knowing yeah, I think.
CALEB: Yeah. That makes sense. I have told you that I do enjoy that.
CALEB: But I get that in the moment, it can be hard to remember past conversations about how I’m doing and that be the reference point when you’re experiencing it in real-time.
SAMARA: I think the shame voice, even I know you, I love you, and I trust you and sometime, that shame voice is like, “But yeah, he didn’t really mean it,” when it’s in the moment.
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SAMARA: One other thing I do want to maybe touch on here is porn and what category or where that falls in your turn-ons or your avoids?
CALEB: It doesn’t seem that significant except for maybe potentially us filming ourselves. I think we’ve talked about that before. That is exciting and also extremely nerve-wracking and not something I’m actually sure I’m interested in.
But I think that in terms of you watching porn, I don’t feel bad about that. I think that if it’s a thing that brings you pleasure, then that’s not bad. I watch porn when I’m home and we’re not together sometimes as a masturbatory aid, but yeah, I don’t have a ton of thoughts. I don’t know if that’s a good answer to your question.
SAMARA: It’s a wonderful answer because it is your authentic answer. Yeah, I also do watch porn when we’re not together and I am totally fine with you watching porn on your own too. I think my thing with porn is that I’m realizing it’s not healthy for me when I masturbate watching porn. I think my orgasms are far better when I’m not watching porn.
And I think sometimes, I worry that it almost, for me on my end, creates a situation when we are together because there’s not that direct visual stimulation, it’s very easy to become accustomed to seeing other people bodies having sex. And yeah, so I have tried just for myself not to watch porn as much or at all and I am fully okay with your decisions about how much porn you’re watching and I like that to be a conversation about what you’re watching that maybe does turn you on.
CALEB: Nothing comes to mind really.
SAMARA: Maybe one more thing in that category is what is a good way for you to receive if something in the moment that you know a lot of the things that I like, but what happens if maybe I’ve had a certain day where actually it usually does feel really good, I don’t want in the moment? What is the best way as your partner to let you know that and not to hurt your feelings or not to say that it doesn’t feel good sometimes, but what’s a good way for me to let you know that?
CALEB: I would hope my feelings wouldn’t be hurt if it feels okay for you to just directly say that, “I know that this is something that usually I’m into, but I don’t want to tonight.” I would hope you aren’t too worried about my feelings being hurt by saying that if that’s what you’re feeling.
SAMARA: It doesn’t usually stop me.
SAMARA: It’s just nice to know.
CALEB: Sure. It’s not something I’m too worried about. I understand that moods change a lot of time for a lot of reasons. Ultimately, I think that sex with you is mostly just about having a close intimate experience. So, if something isn’t good for any reason, I’m really open to changing things up.
SAMARA: So, next up, we’re onto the R, so relationship intentions or expectations. I am a heterosexual. I am monogamous. When I am in a partnership, I have always been monogamous. And to me, what that means is if it’s a decision about our relationship that we make those decisions together first. Honestly, if that was to mean talking about a threesome or talking about things like that, monogamy, to me, means that you and I are the ones that are making decisions about us together first.
CALEB: For me, it’s like monogamy in my experience, it’s a consideration of the other person’s feelings and intentions towards me and wanting to be really respectful of that and wanting that respect to be returned. Respect meaning respectful of what would be harmful to that person.
We haven’t had very strict conversations, things like, “Is kissing somebody else a breach of monogamy? Is going dancing and grinding?” These aren’t conversations we’ve really had. I personally don’t feel very strong desires towards people that I’m not in an intimate relationship with me and that’s been true for me forever. I feel my sexual desires and interests always feel very person specific. Even when I’m not in a relationship, they tend to be I fall hard for individuals. It’s like that one person is the most beautiful person in the world, it’s hard to think about other people. That’s just the way I’ve always been.
SAMARA: I think it’s easier to think about what monogamy is based on what would be a breach of it. You saying it that way really helped me contextualize it for myself. For me, if you were to kiss somebody and then you came to me afterwards, then that, to me, is a breach of monogamy. But if we were to talk about it together first, yeah, being intimate with another person, intimate meaning physical contact, I do think for me flirting is okay.
For me, that’s almost a turn-on sometimes to know that other people are flirting with you or you’re maybe flirting with them. So, that to me, isn’t a breach, but I do think any physical intimacy outside of you and I would feel like a breach.
And even more long-term of we are thinking about moving in together, so we’re going to be sharing monetary things soon too, so thinking about even money. If we had shared money, it would feel like a breach if you were to spend our shared money or shared things on another individual without talking to me about it first.
I, at this point in my life, don’t know how I feel about marriage. I also don’t know part of me really wants eventually to have a child. I think that I get really nervous about that thought. So, in general, I think in a monogamous relationship, I’d really like to live with you. I want to build things with you. So, if that means a house, if that means a family, I think that, to me, is where I’m at, at this stage in my life. What are your thoughts on marriage or kids?
CALEB: I don’t also know about marriage. I think ceremonies are beautiful, but I don’t think we need them to feel real feelings. I’m not opposed to it and I could see myself wanting to get married as well. I do want kids one day. I think that that’s something over the past few years that I’ve felt more is that I’m not in a rush. It’s not something that I feel like I want tomorrow or next year or even in the few years, but I think that eventually, I would like to have kids.
SAMARA: Last question I want to ask you about the intentions is what do you feel comfortable with me sharing with my friends? Because my female friends are my chosen family, so in terms of expectations of what stays private for us versus what is comfortable for me to share.
CALEB: Yeah. We’ve talked a little bit about that before. I know that you value being able to be really open with your friends and that harbors deeper connections with them, which I love that. I think that that’s really great. I don’t know that there’s really that much that I’m not comfortable with you talking to them about. Non-sexual stuff about other things worries me more like my butt sweat, I don’t sweat a lot. This is a really, really deep personal thing I’m throwing out in this podcast.
CALEB: But during sex for some reason, my butt gets sweaty and you’ve told friends about that and it’s come up and I’ve felt embarrassed. I would say that that was an example of a thing, not embarrassed deeply, I didn’t feel mad at you that you did that or it didn’t feel bad, it just was a surprise. I didn’t expect and I didn’t know that that was a thing that you were sharing with your friends. You’re much more open with your friends though. You talk to them about everything. And as I’ve told you, I don’t really talk to my friends about sex. I haven’t talked to them about sex with you really at all, I would say.
As far as my expectations of you, I don’t really need you to make a change. I don’t feel uncomfortable with the way you’ve done things so far. It’s just the unawareness that this person knows an awful lot about me without me having have said anything about those things to them is a slightly uncomfortable feeling, but not one I’m not okay with because I know that it makes you feel good to be able to talk.
SAMARA: I just want to dig deeper on that because that was a moment that came up and it really made me reflect that I shouldn’t have done that without having that conversation with you first. And I hear what you’re saying that it made you uncomfortable in the moment and that you like me feeling bonded with my friends. I don’t need to bond with my friends over your butt sweat. We have plenty of other things we can bond over.
SAMARA: So, I don’t want to set your boundaries for you. I’m just saying that.
CALEB: I can handle your friends knowing a lot about me. There are moments of awkwardness or embarrassment that I think are going to stem from that, but I don’t think that that’s the most important thing.
SAMARA: Thank you for telling me that. I do appreciate that. So, last S would be the safer sex etiquette. So, we did talk about our barriers. The thing with barriers that you and I have talked about is we haven’t tried anal sex yet. If we were to try anal sex, I think I would want a condom just because I worry so much about pooping everywhere that for my body to fully relax, I feel like that’s something I would need. I do have my IUD, my Mirena.
And then, the big thing with this category that I really do like to talk about is our thoughts on what makes consent consent and if we can give consent if there’s been alcohol involved in the situation. Currently, in our relationship, I do feel like for me, it’s okay to be a little tipsy or drunk and be intimate, which I really like having sex using marijuana. That is something that really helps me for the most part get into my body and I don’t do other recreational drugs, but those are the big two. So, how do you feel on A) alcohol and B) pot?
CALEB: I, in the past, was not really able to have sex when high on weed because I’ve found it so disassociating in those moments, but that has not been my experience with you. I think that as far as sex while tipsy or drunk goes, the same is true for consent there that I feel is always true, which is that if anytime you don’t feel like the experience is good or that you’re comfortable doing that, that you can say so and that will be taken really seriously and same for me.
I wouldn’t think that if I was drunk and you weren’t and we had sex that that would feel like a breach of consent. I don’t drink a lot. So, I would say that might one of those things where it’s a touch base after it happens if we are intimate while intoxicated like, “Did that feel okay?”
SAMARA: For you and I this just hasn’t come up because we just don’t drink that much.
CALEB: I wouldn’t feel good about wanting to have sex with you while you’re drunk if you weren’t the one initiating all of the steps of it.
SAMARA: Just want to say to wrap up this is that safer sex, I have liked us trying to get better about washing hands before we play or touch each other. It just feels safer. So, washing hands before. And then, I do really appreciate you, especially if you do cum inside me, being the one to initiate getting the cleanup things.
CALEB: Yeah. I liked that conversation. That made a lot of sense to me.
SAMARA: It’s hard to do the waddle. So, I appreciate you.
SAMARA: And last, are there any other things for you, babe, for safer things that make you feel safer or that are in need for you?
CALEB: I don’t think so. I already feel really, really safe. I feel comfortable, yeah.
LEAH: I have one additional question. Both of you have said that at some point in the future you might like to have kids or you would like to have kids out into the future, so what about if there were an unintended pregnancy?
CALEB: That’s heavy.
SAMARA: It’s heavy and also such a good question.
CALEB: It’s a really good question. It’s one of those things that I avoid thinking about.
SAMARA: Yeah. For me, I think where my life is right now, I wouldn’t feel comfortable bringing a baby into the world really for probably the next two or three years.
CALEB: Yeah. I feel the same too. To answer your question about the unexpected pregnancy, if I’m being really honest, I would be willing if you wanted to have a kid to go to term if that was what felt good for you. I don’t know if that’s what I would want the most, but it is something that I think I would be able to figure out. I’m also really okay with you not wanting to go to term. I think that an abortion or some other method would make a lot of sense and is something I’m also okay with.
SAMARA: Okay. That makes sense.
LEAH: I want to thank you both for doing this. That was beyond my even highest expectations of how this would go, so I’m thrilled.
SAMARA: Yay! I do really appreciate the questions that you asked because it’s nice to have another person almost bring you back to something that maybe you missed in the moment or just cover something like the last question, we always talk about our turn-ons and sometimes our avoids.
I think the beauty of it in a relationship is that when you use the whole framework, you think about the things that you do unintentionally end up avoiding just because they’re harder. It was a good reminder that there are things that we end up not talking about just because they may be a little harder than our turn-ons. So, it was like really nice to go through it with you, and then, Leah, have you be our guardian for the conversation.
LEAH: It was very much my pleasure.
CALEB: Thank you, Samara. I really loved being able to talk to you about these things even if it is uncomfortable for me.
SAMARA: You are so welcome and I feel very, very lucky that we’re always talking. So, thank you.
CALEB: Same with me.
SAMARA: I love you.
CALEB: I love you too.
LEAH: Hey friends. A quick note before we close for the day. If you’ve been inspired to have a conversation with your current partner or practice so you can have it with a future sexual partner, I’m here to help. Go to www.leahcarey.com/coaching to set up an appointment.
I can sit with you and a partner to facilitate the two of you having a conversation like I did with Samara and Caleb or I can work one-on-one with anyone who wants to develop your own STARS talk. You may have noted that what we’ve heard today is approximately three times longer than the sample conversation Ray and I had back in 2019. That’s likely because Samara and Caleb are already in a committed relationship, so they have lots of information about each other to draw on. But the STARS conversation can happen in 15 minutes or less if you’re talking with someone you don’t know well before a first hookup. It does not need to be overwhelming.
This conversation is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and each other in your sex life. It reduces the amount of time you spend wondering if you’re doing the things your partner likes or stressing that maybe you’re doing something wrong and it opens the door to continue having conversations about sex, what’s working for you and what’s not, throughout the life of your relationship. So, go to www.leahcarey.com/coaching to set up a time, so I can help you figure out how your STARS align.
LEAH: That’s it for today. If you’re enjoying the show, please take a moment to leave a 5-star rating and review on Apple Podcasts or if you’re using another podcast app, go to www.ratethispodcast.com/goodgirls. And remember, there’s a treasure trove of audio extras available for free at Patreon. Go to www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex.
While listening to those extras is free, producing this show is not. If my work is meaningful to you and you have a few dollars to support it each month, I will gratefully accept your patronage at Patreon. I donate 10% of all Patreon proceeds to ARC-Southeast, an organization that supports women in the Southeast United States to access reproductive services that are increasingly difficult to obtain. Find out more and become a community member at www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex.
Show notes and transcripts for this episode are at www.goodgirlstalk.com. Follow me on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube @goodgirlstalk for more sex positive content. If you have a question or comment about anything you’ve heard on the show, call and leave a message at 720-GOOD-SEX.
Good Girls Talk About Sex is produced by me, Leah Carey, and edited by Gretchen Kilby. I have additional administrative support from Lara O’Connor and Maria Franco. Transcripts are produced by Jan Acielo.
Before we go, I want to remind you that the things you may have heard about your sexuality aren’t true. You are worthy. You are desirable. You are not broken. As your sex and intimacy coach, I will guide you in embracing the sexuality that is innately yours, no matter what it looks like. To set up your free discovery call, go to www.leahcarey.com/coaching. Until next time, here’s to your better sex life!
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