So. I met Nina Hartley. Yeah, it was awesome. She is legendary.

To hear more about Nina, her career as a feminist, activist, and porn star as well as her personal sexual experiences, I highly recommend her interview on the podcast Tangentially Speaking that’s hosted by Christopher Ryan.

I won’t go into detail about the discussion, because that is Nina’s story to tell, and because I have a mission in this post. What I want to share with you are two main ideas I took to heart. The first is a precursor to the second and I believe the second is something I really valued hearing from her. I wanted to conceptualize relationships with others in a healthy, happy way, and Nina worded it beautifully. I don’t think I will do her words justice, but here are my impressions of what she talked about.

1) Communicate. Talk about sexual wants and needs, fantasies, desires, kinks, boundaries, hard limits, and so on. Even if someone fits within the social “norm”–heterosexual and monogamous–what that person really ought to do is put into words what is pleasurable. Only after this is discussed can possible crossovers be found in order to see whether a sexual experience or relationship might progress.

2) Being okay with limits (and “no”s). Being happy and appreciative within relationships while respecting the parameters is important. It’s very easy to turn sexual desires and pleasure-seeking into a selfish game. Don’t push others to meet all of your needs; find what pleasures and interests are shared with that person(s) and set up the relationship’s boundaries around that. Being offended and whiny that someone does not fulfill all of your wants is immature. Instead of becoming grumpy about limits set upon relationships for various reasons, just enjoy and appreciate the experiences for what they are. This also involves being patient, because things change and opportunities might crop up in the future.

It’s very easy to fixate on the negative aspects of things. It’s easier to lash out in hate, jealousy, and overall “butthurt”-ness (Nina said “butthurt”! So funny.) because you turn the sexual world into a world that revolves around yourself. Try to be happy for others and their sexual successes and adventures, while enjoying living your own life and exploring your sexuality. It can be quite an honor to be involved, even remotely, in someone’s sexual adventures.

Besides, anger, jealousy, hate can be such exhausting emotions. I’d much rather expend energy on orgasms.

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