10 Things I’m Glad My Mom Never Told Me About Sex But I Wish I Hadn’t Had to Learn the Hard Way
Just like the title says, these are ten big lessons and truths I’ve discovered during my time spent spread-eagle. (Oh la la.)
Read and enjoy, and feel free to disagree. Let’s just start the fucking conversation. Literally.
1) Your pleasure matters. (Please tell me you know that.)
All of us need to let go of the idea of “sexual performance”; we should just delete the phrase from our vocabularies entirely.
Sex isn’t about performing, it’s about experiencing. And your experience matters. Your pleasure matters.
Your ability to let go, have fun, explore and enjoy really, really matters. It’s the whole friggin point, actually. So stop wondering if you’re “doing it” right, and get open and curious about what sex is actually like for you.
And if you find yourself faking anything? Just STOP.
2) It’s not his job to know what you like.
I’m not going to tell you to light some candles and draw a warm bath while blasting John Legend, but I am going to strongly encourage you to take an active interest in your unique flavor of fantasy and pleasure.
What turns you on?
What turns you off?
Mentally and physically, what do you find insanely hot??
These aren’t dirty questions, these are helpful questions. If you know the answers to these questions (and feel comfortable communicating them) you’re going to enjoy sex a lot more.
And please remind yourself that the vast majority of guys openly admit to not just needing guidance, but wanting guidance. Make like Jerry Maguire and HELP THEM HELP YOU.
Suggestion: try addressing this before his pee-pee is already inside you. While you still have some clothes on ask if it’s okay for you to tell him what’s working or not working. He will almost definitely breathe a sigh of relief and proclaim, “Yes, please do that.”
And if he doesn’t respond well, then good news! His pee-pee isn’t inside you yet! I would head for the hills at that point.
3) Know this: you will say yes to things in the moment that you wish you had said no to later.
Sexual satisfaction lies on a gigantic learning curve.
You don’t lose your virginity and suddenly know what works for you, what turns you on, and what you’re okay with (or not okay with). A huge part of having a happy, healthy sex life and identity is being at peace with making the wrong choice and then learning from it. Because believe me, it could happen.
You might go home with someone and really regret it the next day. You might say yes when you wish you had said no. You might decide to try something new and then realize halfway through that it isn’t doing anything for you. It might suck.
But often in life, that’s just how it goes. Womp womp, am I right?
More importantly: it's what you do next that really matters.
Please do not beat yourself up or internally slut-shame because you “should have known better”. You couldn’t have known better. It’s okay - you’re learning, you’re evolving, you’re paying attention. Make that your only job.
4) Sex does not equal empowerment.
If you think you’re weak or a prude because you’re more of a Charlotte than a Samantha, you are wrong. (Will “Sex and the City” references ever stop being appropriate?)
Being sexually liberated and empowered isn’t about being comfortable with casual sex, or increasing the number of people you’ve slept with. Sexual empowerment comes from knowing what’s right for you and simply owning it.
That doesn’t mean you don’t get to step outside your definition of “what’s right for me”, but it does mean that you make every effort to take care of yourself sexually. You give yourself permission to ask for what you want and need when you need it. You don’t let yourself get pressured into situations you know will be uncomfortable/unhealthy for you.
Knowing yourself and being able to stand within your sexual comfort zone, while also exploring what boundary-pushing (safely) looks like to you is key. That’s empowerment. That’s strength. That’s when your sex life can finally blossom into a giant bouquet of Georgia O’Keefe vagina flowers. Beautiful.
5) UTI's, UTI’s, UTI’s.
Why wasn’t there a section in health class about peeing before and after sexy-time? Why does this not get covered in any female anatomy course?
Urinary tract infections suck more than just about everything, and nobody talks about them enough. So I’m talking about it now. Pee before and after you have sex if you want to massively decrease your chances of the fiery depths of Hades inhabiting your wee-wee hole.
6) Also, STD’s happen. To everyone.
STDs and infections happen to smart, good, decent, respectable people. Even people who use protection. Getting tested is massively important, but how you handle your results is even more important (in my opinion).
If you contract something, there is absolutely no need to shame yourself or feel dirty. You had sex. Oh hi, you’re a human being. Again - it’s arguably the most natural thing in the world, and even condoms won’t protect against everything (use them anyway).
So let yourself off the hook. You got tested and now you know, which is the important thing. The less shame and guilt you feel, the easier it is to move forward and do what you need to do to take care of it.
7) Friendly reminder: you can stop sex at any time.
You can have every article of clothing off, be centimeters away from insertion, and if you change your mind - you change your mind.Don't forget that you can stop sex before it starts, during, or anytime afterwards, too.
Humans are inexplicably complicated, inconsistent and (at times) bizarre in our preferences. We are especially inconsistent and bizarre when it comes to making the beast with two backs. Pay attention to how you’re honestly feeling in any given moment that could turn hot n’ heavy. Quiet the voice of expectation and be okay with backtracking or declining on an offer.
Standing your ground and saying, “I don’t want to do this,” or, “I actually don’t think this is right for me,” or any other variation of, “No,” can be way, way, harder than we imagine. Give yourself permission to do it anyway.
8) You will be confused. And it will be okay.
Sometimes we want to have sex but we’re not that in the mood, but then we think we should be in the mood, but we’re not, so should we not have sex?
And then we’re confused, and feel bad for being so all over the place. What the heck is wrong with us?? So at the last minute we decide, “Fuck it!” and have the sex anyway. And it’s great (or it’s not), but gosh, we don’t even know how we feel about it...
Sex is just…well, confusing. We’re fed so many mixed messages about who and how we’re supposed to be in relation to boning; it isn’t easy to maintain a clear relationship with our own wants and desires.
Remember that no one decides what’s right for you except you. You get to decide how you feel about what/who you’re doing, have done, or might do in the future. Don’t let anyone else decide that for you.
And try to be okay with being confused. Heck, everyone is confused.
9) Sex is full of un-sexy things.
Sex involves smells, liquids, and sometimes discomfort.
Periods show up early.
Roommates come home unexpectedly and hear you moaning your face off. THE HORROR.
Lubrication shuts down. Sandpaper sex, anyone?
You can’t get off even though you really want to.
He can’t get off even though he really wants to.
You get tired halfway through and call it quits. Night night! (How un-sexy is that?)
Good sex is hard to have when you think that “good sex” doesn’t include any of these things. All of of the above are part and parcel of having sex.
If that’s the bad news, then the good news is that it’s entirely up to you how cool and comfortable you are with any sexy SNAFU’s that arise.
I encourage you to err on the side of “very cool and comfortable”. Laugh when you can. Talk it through. And shake it off, sister. Shake it off.
10) Everyone is really, really, really different.
Your unique sexual thumbprint cannot be duplicated. No one else can claim or fully understand your preferences, desires, drive, history, and/or experience.
That’s kind of cool, isn’t it? We’re all hot and dirty and sweet and tender and nasty in such profoundly different ways.
So please do not attempt to put your opinions, feelings, and choices about sex on or above anyone else’s. And don’t let anyone do it to you, either.
You don’t need to be more or less pure, wholesome, liberated, open, freaky, or ANYTHING except how you are.
All you need to do is commit to learning and further understanding your sexual self, and you don't even need to do that. It's just a suggestion. So just chill out and trust your process. Get jiggy with it. And try to have as many mind-blowing orgasms as you can along the way. Na-na-na-na-na-na-na.