I have the world’s greatest mother, I really do. But there are a few things I wish she had told me about sex before I went out into the world and had to learn them the hard way.
Here, for daughters everywhere:
1. It’s Not All About Penetration
Film and TV have painted a false sexual narrative where men and women are all able to achieve orgasm during missionary sex while maintaining direct eye contact. In fact, only 18-25% of women report being able to orgasm without some sort of clitoral stimulation.
2. Simultaneous Orgasms are Rare
The simultaneous orgasm is another one of the many great myths perpetuated by romantic comedies. While you may be able to pull them off sometimes the truth is that mutually satisfying sex usually requires taking turns.
Masturbating is a great, risk-free way to empower yourself and explore your own sexual desires. You also learn an important lesson when you masturbate: “blue balls” are bullshit. If you’re not in the mood, you should never feel guilty for not finishing off a man who is perfectly capable of helping himself out.
4. You Can Laugh During Sex
It’s not just ok; it’s encouraged. You can’t have good sex without a little bit of mess and some surprising skin-against-skin squelching noises. Embrace the silliness or you’ll psych yourself out.
5. Bring a Towel!
*see aforementioned mess*
6. Pee After Sex!
7. Everyone Needs Lube Sometimes
Lube isn’t just for the menopausal woman anymore. There are lots of reasons you may experience vaginal dryness during sex; your hormonal balance is ever-shifting, perhaps you’ve switched positions one too many times. Whatever the reason, dryness is not a sign of personal failure and it doesn’t mean you aren’t attracted to your partner, it just means its time to break out the lube.
8. Get Tested Regularly
No one likes getting a pap smear, but it’s WAAAY better than letting chlamydia go untreated. Many STD’s can lie dormant in your body for a number of months, so you’ll want to make testing a part of your healthcare routine rather than waiting for symptoms to pop up. Find your local testing center (many will have free options) here.
9. Talk To Your Partner About Birth Control and STD Status BEFORE You Have Sex.
Don’t worry about “ruining the moment,” just go ahead and ask. One of my earliest partners was an inconsiderate lacrosse player who asked me to “get myself wet” before we began; that certainly should have been my first sign. It was only after the condom broke inside of me that I bothered to inquire about his status and discovered he “didn’t believe in testing.” I got lucky but learned two important things:
- If someone isn’t interested in foreplay, don’t fuck them.
- You’ll feel much more secure knowing someone’s STD status before you’ve reached the point of no return.
PRO TIP: Most oral contraceptives aren’t considered fully effective until you’ve been taking them for at least a month, if you’re starting birth control because you want to have sex for the first time you’ll need to think ahead.
10. Communication is Key
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone about sex then you’re not ready to have sex with them. If you’re new to having sex, chances are you don’t know exactly what you like yet, so practice your sexual communication skills by talking to your partner about things you’d like to try. Say when something feels good or when something hurts. The more you talk the, the more you’ll enjoy yourself.
BONUS: YOU DESERVE TO HAVE ORGASMS!
If could go back and tell my 20-year-old self any one thing about sex it would be to stop having it with men who aren’t as invested in my pleasure as I am in theirs. Sex is not a price you pay for male attention, it is an experience you deserve to enjoy.