Most men and women have their first same-sex experience in the context of experimenting with a friend. Teenagers and young adults spend most of their time, and feel most comfortable, with friends of the same sex, at a time when hormones are flowing and sexual curiosity is high. Friends tease and test each other while pushing their affection to the limits, often becoming closer to each other than they have ever been with anyone before. It is only natural for sexual tensions to develop.
Friends have always found ways to explore each other without advice from others. But many also feel guilty or confused or miss opportunities because they have not considered their options. You may find yourself looking back with regret at the times when a friend gave you an opening and you were too surprised, nervous, or inexperienced to take advantage. In that spirit, I list some of the common ways in which young men and women create opportunities for mutual sexual discovery. If you find yourself in one of these situations, you will be better prepared to steer the encounter in a more interesting direction.
“Truth or dare” is a time-tested game which gives players permission to reveal secrets or engage in shocking behavior. For the game to work, the one posing the challenge must pretend to be intent on embarrassing the one who is commanded, who in turn must pretend to resist. In fact, each player takes turns exploring the others’ limits while projecting and pursuing their own desires. “Spin the bottle” and “strip poker” create similar opportunities in the guise of punishment. Young men and women play each of these games together, and the excitement of mixing sexes is part of the fun.
Young men are fascinated by their new-found ability to get an erection, and they want to share this discovery with their friends. Many teenagers have joined a “circle jerk” at some point in their younger years, where they compare the sizes of their erections, the speed with which they reach orgasm, or the trajectory of their ejaculations. Hazing rituals in fraternities may involve similarly juvenile, sexualized acts, such as being confined naked in close quarters with other pledges. After a few drinks, “straight” guys may find themselves patting each other on the butt, working out naked, or unzipping their pants and comparing genitals. Once that boundary has been crossed, and sexual excitement has been demonstrated, another dare, question, or casual gesture can lead to frank sexual exploration, even if the fun is “forgotten” in the next morning’s hangover.
Young women similarly compare the size and shape of their breasts and practice kissing with each other, which can lead to making out. Women can hold an x-rated version of a Tupperware party, where they compare and purchase sex toys. Groups of women also sometimes find themselves discussing the elusive G-spot and may assist each other in finding that sensitive portion of their vagina which is so poorly explained in books. What starts as innocent exploration of their bodies may turn into sexual play. After all, why wait for a man if a more knowledgeable woman can help you practice and attain the orgasm of a lifetime?
Sleepovers are a particularly good setting for sexual exploration. Women are more comfortable with physical intimacy to begin with and may share a bed or cuddle, and that may be satisfying enough or lead to something more. Men often wake in the middle of the night to find that they have an erection, which, though involuntary, may serve as an excuse for sexual teasing, touching, or making out. Camping trips, snow storms, movie or computer game marathons, late-night studying, or being too drunk to drive home may all serve as excuses for spending the night together, sharing a bed, and getting to know each other better.