What should you know when you just started having sex?
Congrats on this new chapter of your life! I’m so glad you asked this question at the start of your sexual journey. There are so many myths out there that hold people back from finding freedom in pleasure. Your commitment to avoid those shows me that you’re bound to have an intimate, exciting, and fulfilling sex life.
Whether you just started having sex, have been with your partner forever, or enjoy singlehood, here are 12 things everyone should know about sex.
Your pleasure matters…
The pleasure of everyone involved is important. One partner’s pleasure is no more important than another’s, and each person gets to decide what that looks and feels like for themselves.
And you get to define what pleasure means for you
While orgasms rock, they aren’t the be-all and end-all of sex or pleasure. They are one embodiment of pleasure, but not the whole story. Do you feel satisfied? Connected to with your partner(s)? Peaceful? Free? When you focus on maximizing pleasure, you break free of rigid ideas about what good sex looks and feels like, and it helps you have an intimate, exciting, and fulfilling sex life that lasts.
Explore different condoms and birth control methods to find what works for you
Not all condoms are created equal. And I don’t just mean ingredients, but smell, texture, thickness, etc. Try variety packs to see which ones you like. I currently love the condoms from Maude, as the latex smell and taste is muted. For a non-latex option, I recommend the internal condom, which can be used for vaginal or anal intercourse.
Same goes for your birth control. Are you currently using a form of birth control besides condoms? Are you happy with it? If the answer to either of those questions is no, and you aren’t trying to get pregnant, pause and go explore your options on Bedsider.
Arousal and desire aren’t the same
You can be physically turned on and not into it or vice versa. In fact, this is super common among women (50 percent) and somewhat common among men (10 percent). Your body tells you whether something is sexual; your brain tells you whether you like it and if you want more.
Think about how you cry when cutting an onion. Do your tears say anything about your mood? Nope! Your body responds to a stimulus. Your genitals work similarly. They get wet and hard because they notice sexy things…but they don’t imply anything about your wants, desires, or feels.
Lube is your friend
It heightens sensation, protects the vagina and anus from irritation and micro-cuts, and helps keep the condom from breaking. Oh, and it doesn’t say anything about how into the sex someone is. Some vaginas just don’t get that wet—and butts don’t self-lubricate at all.
Silicone is best for intercourse, as it doesn’t dry up quickly and stays slippery. This one from Migliori is one of my faves, as it also doesn’t leave a tacky residue and has an easy-to-use-in-the-moment pump.
Sexpert tip: If using external condoms, put a drop or two into the tip before rolling it down the penis. This heightens the sensation for the wearer.
Pee after vaginal intercourse
It helps prevent urinary tract infections, which can be especially common if you just started having sex and are going at it like rabbits.
Foreplay matters—and, yes, it’s “real” sex too
For the best sex, especially long-term, slow down and savor foreplay. It’s fun, helps shift you from the stresses of the moment into connection, preps your body for any sort of intercourse, and feels really damn good! Many people with vulvas experience orgasm more easily during foreplay than intercourse—that’s because sex acts like oral and fingering more easily stimulate the most sensitive spots.
Give mutual masturbation a shot
It’s especially great for those moments where you don’t have a ton of time or you want to get off quickly. Check out the other benefits here.
Your desires will change
And more than once. You probably eat a bit differently now than when you grew up (I’m looking at you kale and brussels sprouts) or have different hobbies. That’s not to say abandon what you used to like, but you add to it. Think of your sex life as a kit that you get to draw from. Some tools get used more often than others, new tools get added, and old tools get tossed or replaced. This may sound scary but it’s a good thing: growth is good.
There is not “normal,” only more or less common
Certain sex acts are done by many people—spanking, intercourse, etc. Others are less common—playing with candle wax, elaborate rope bondage, etc. All are normal.
The only preferences that matter are yours and your partner(s)’.
Fuck the shoulds
There are so many expectations, stereotypes, ideas, etc., about what your sex life “should” look like. Forget it all. Use this time to explore—both solo and with partner(s)—what feels good and what doesn’t, what you like and what you don’t, what sounds interesting and what you’d prefer to pass on.
Need some inspo? Search Google and Youtube for sex blogs from people of different identities and sexual preferences. You’ll get a broad view of all that sex can be.
Remember that most of what impacts your sex life has nothing to do with sex
It has to do with how stressed you are, your relationship to your body, and everything else that impacts your mental and physical state. Are you tired? Dehydrated? Dealing with physical or mental health issues?
The more you nurture those parts of you life, the more you can lean into and enjoy your pleasure.