Sid Azmi, owner of Please New York, on defining a sexual narrative
Sid Azmi, owner of Please New York, explains why we need to let go of societal taboos to empower our unique sexual narratives.

We are our stories. How we portray and relate our lives’ experiences to others through these narratives reflects the subtle subconscious of what we think we are or believe to be as people. We share stories of our success, tribulations, amusement, and despair.

With each recollection, our psyche continues to process those moments. As we relive those once-felt emotions, our body metabolically responds to those feelings and creates a similar physical reaction, which further strengthens that memory. Most importantly, as we repeat each narrative, we reaffirm a psychologically-ingrained belief of what makes up our identity as a person. We all hold a variety of narratives in our minds that reflect the plurality of our identities—we are many forms in one—like woman, parent, friend, relative, and professional.

“What about those stories that we tell, unabashingly, of the times we have expressed our glorious inner sluts/studs and fucked someone so deliberately and indulgently?”

Well, what about our identity as a sexual human being? Do we have a sexual narrative that illustrates our erotic personality and one that describes our approach to sex? The one that speaks to how we view our sexual selves and how we want to sexually engage with each other? Sure, there are plenty of funny, relatable snafus sex stories that we share with our friends. But what about those stories that we tell, unabashingly, of the times we have expressed our glorious inner sluts/studs and fucked someone so deliberately and indulgently—the kind of stories that would make our next door neighbor at the coffee shop blush?

We withhold such stories from one another because of the unspoken, puritanical belief within our societal psyche that having great sex is bad; that enjoying sex makes you an immoral person; that proclaiming yourself as a sexual being questions your integrity as a person. While it is understandable to want privacy or to reserve such conversations for the right people, time, and place, I offer no excuses for not wanting to share truthfully at all. There are serious compromises for not openly sharing our truthful, glorified, explicitly delicious narratives. We perpetuate the views and practices of sex that highlight only the perceived negatives of sex—the awkwardness, the miscommunication, the embarrassing bits about our lovers and ourselves, the fuck-ups (instead of the fuck-yeahs!?) that further anchor shame, disgust, and weariness in our ideas of sex. Far worse than that, we are holding back the potential for our erotic self to be validated, nurtured, and celebrated! We are choosing to create a subconscious barrier, reinforced by a socially-fulfilling cycle, that prevents our sexual selves to evolve.

“Our sexual narrative is something that we want to tell with the intention to empower our sexual selves.”

In creating our unique sexual narrative, it gives us the opportunity to think through our sexual history. Now, it would be easy if our sex history came from the pages of utopian, romantic fiction, but no one actually lives those stories. No one has a perfect, only good, no disappointments ever, sex history. (Look around the room and acknowledge that.) Ideally, we start by picking through some, if not the many joyous, playful and mind-blowing, positive moments we have experienced. Next is the challenge of working through associations that we feel embarrassed about, ashamed of, or those from which we are still hurting. Therefore, it is important that we take time to decide the kind of erotic narrative we want to represent our sexual self. We have to sieve through our recollections of sex and piece together the associations and practices that we want to carry forward. This is how we take ownership of our actions, bodies, sexuality, and pleasure! Our sexual narrative is something that we want to tell with the intention to empower our sexual selves. So tell a narrative that encourages you to feel and be the incredible lover you intend to be.

If you were to ask me what my sexual narrative is, my immediate response would be a cheeky grin and an answer in my head of, “All right, how much time do you have?” But I want to share with you, dear friends, that this was not always my reaction. Growing up, I was physically and sexually abused by a close relative. I was often shoved around, punched, and kicked as amusement. I would be restrained by the heavy length of his arm on my chest, spat on, his hateful fingers would fumble their way harshly towards my vaginal and/or anal introitus (opening), and his one, two fingers—or what felt like to a six-year-old body, a fist—punching the insides of me. When I grew older and stronger and attempted to fight back, he hit me harder. When he could no longer force his way inside of me, he would punch and squeeze my vulva so hard, my legs would give way. I chose to share this past history, quite briefly, because it is important to note how such a narrative can affect our physical responses to sex.

Enduring that, there was no way my body could lie comfortably next to another unless my mind and my heart could will my body to do otherwise. I did just that. To recreate my own sexual identity, association, and narrative, I chose to sit through the pain of remembering every violating detail of those encounters. It was important to me that I reconditioned my body to learn to think pleasure and not pain when I am touched. I made myself moan instead of groan. When my heart beat faster (triggering more anxiety and panic), I made myself breathe slower and mindfully to relax. When my body parts retracted and my muscles tensed up, I gently stroked those parts and told them to not be afraid anymore. I detached from my memory all that was wrong, uncomfortable, and triggering and recreated new sensory associations to every single violating touch to make them good, tender, kind, consensual, sexy, and erotic for Sid. Not only have I helped myself to heal and to forgive the fact that this happened to me, but I also have created possibilities for a sexual future that is empowered and all-around incredible. Now, I too, have a sexual narrative that I can and want to eagerly share with pride. Shall we?

“I love being seduced, being courted, and flirted with. I enjoy being told by a lover, who knows me well, that my hesitation is pointless and that regardless of my attempts to be subtle and coy, I am not. That is what makes me sexy. Sexual banter over texts? If kept short and precise, is so hot to me. With one lover, G., for whom I have an incredible soft spot, the correspondence always goes like this:

G: “How are you?”
S: “Dry.”
G: “Whereabouts?”
S: “Close by.”
G: “Tea for two?”
S: “Tea gets cold in 30 mins.”
G: “You will get hot in 20.”

What fun! In general, I want to be told I am delightful, charming, and sexy. I want to laugh and giggle. I want someone’s hot and moist breath on my neck, back, and face. I love it when my every curve is titillated with fingertips and tongue. I love it most when someone is tender and deliberate—how wonderfully torturous!—as I am passionately devoured by those soft kisses, biting me softly and tightly on my lips and shoulders. You could keep this up forever—foreplay only, and I would be content. But why not do it all, since we have the luxury of already permitting ourselves to indulge?”