7 Strategies For Having Authentic Sex Like A Grown-Ass Woman

Having sex as honestly, presently, and authentically as possible is really, really difficult. I know that for me, I tend to feel a lot of pressure around orgasming, and sometimes find myself falling into "performance mode," where I'm moaning in ways I realize are meant more to goad on my partner's ego than to authentically express my own pleasure. Blame porn culture, lack of sex education, or simply the fact that women are more vocally empathic during sex, but whatever the cause, many of us have to work towards having sex that is relaxed and totally sincere, whatever that sounds and looks like for us.

Figuring out what having honest, feminist, and authentic sex means to me has been a constant, experimental work in progress. I've learned to enjoy the process; just like other aspects of learning about who I am in my early adulthood, I'm trying to understand what it is that I actually want, moment to moment, and to assert that without guilt. Turns out, there is no "one way" to have authentic sex — because sex is different every time you have it.

No one can teach you how to have sex honestly except for you, but I have devised a few exercises for myself over the years that have helped me understand my own desires during sex better. If they sound interesting to you, use them as a jumping-off point, and remember: there's nothing selfish about understanding and asserting what you need in bed.

1. Keep Tabs On The Word "Should"

Having sex honestly and authentically is all about tuning into the present moment without judgement, much like any form of mindfulness. You're trying to get more in touch with what you actually want, rather than what you think you "should" want, or worrying constantly about your partner, performance, or orgasm.

If you find yourself thinking "I should be coming by now," or "I should put my body into a more flattering angle," or "I should be able to enjoy this position," that's your cue to check yourself. You can simply note that you just thought about a "should," and forgive yourself, maybe even recognizing, "Oh, I guess I'm feeling pressure right now." Try to return to the present moment, and to be honest with yourself about what would feel good, right now. Then try to respect and assert that as much as possible, whatever it is.

If you're having "trouble" coming and are feeling pressured about it, pause, go back to oral, change positions — whatever would honestly feel good to you in that moment. Just try not to think in terms of goals or obligations, and follow your pleasure instead.

2. Try Staying Silent

I like to do this sometimes, and I find it really helps me have sex more honestly. As women, we tend to feel a lot of pressure to perform vocally during sex. Part of this is natural — like I mentioned, women have been shown to be more vocally empathic in bed; we can't help creating a feedback loop of moans sometimes, whether we're feeling that much ecstasy or not. But sometimes, all that positive reinforcement is exhausting, and can take you out of your own experience and into pornographic-performance territory.

See if you can challenge yourself to be silent for one of your sex sessions. (You could tell your partner you're going to try this so they don't think something is wrong.) Focus on your breath, and the sensations that are happening in your body. Look at and listen to the person you're having sex with. Be as present as possible, without making noise.

This can be especially useful to practice when you're receiving oral, which I know is when I feel the most pressure to provide constant positive reinforcement. You might end up making sounds anyway — rules are meant to be broken — but you'll have the satisfaction of knowing it wasn't for their benefit, but rather a truly spontaneous exclamation of pleasure.

3. …Or Saying Exactly What You're Thinking

This is the flip-side of being silent, but it also can help break down barriers to honesty in the bedroom.

Try narrating whatever you're feeling in that moment in the present tense (it feels so good how you're moving your tongue/I love sucking on your nipples, I just want to grind up on you for awhile...) or, try saying your fantasies and feelings as they come to you out-loud, without judgement (I'm thinking about f*cking you while someone watches; I just love you so much; I feel weird, can you slow down?…). Just practice saying what's really on your mind, dirty or not, so that you and your partner can better understand your feelings and fantasies. If you're not sure where to start, try starting sentences with "I feel," or asking your partner what they're thinking about.

4. Imagine You're Mind-Melding

You've been focusing a bunch on understanding what you want in the moment — and that's important, not selfish. But that doesn't mean you should forget about being connected to your partner.

One way you can do this is to imagine you're trying to "mind-meld". Look your partner in the eyes while you're getting down. Try to feel what they're feeling, or to communicate how you feel to them without words. Try to imagine you're staying tethered to them when you're kissing their body, or when you're on top. I find 69ing is also a great position to practice this kind of reciprocity. Try to focus on the energy you're sending them, and to send a message through your actions.

It sounds a bit hokey, I know, but it's super intimate and fruitful stuff, and will help you get more in tune with the present moment.

5. Give In A Way That Respects Your Intuition

Again, for women, it is particularly important to learn what you want. But that doesn't mean you can't try to combine being authentic and present with being a giving lover.

Ask yourself in the moment: How do I want to use my body to let them know how I feel right now? For example, if you're going down on them, make sure you're doing it in a way you actually enjoy, and that doesn't feel uncomfortable for you. Focus on what you like about the sensations that are happening and about giving them pleasure, and try to follow that, rather than what you "think" you should be doing. Try to stay tethered to your partner, and to intuit, moment to moment, what would feel good for their body. If you can give in that spirit, and truly enjoy yourself instead of worrying about them or your performance, they will feel it.

6. Confront Your Blocks

If you're suddenly feeling like your orgasm or pleasure is blocked, check in with yourself. Do you want to stop? What does the block feel like? Is it physical (i.e. you need more lube, or clitoral stimulation); is it emotional (you need to feel more of a connection, you need to have the vibe be more gentle or rough, you're having an intense memory); is it both?

Once you've identified the possible cause of the block, ask yourself what you want to do about it. See if you can assert what you want and need in that moment — either by initiating it yourself, asking your partner for it, or stopping altogether.

7. ... But Assert When You Need A Pause

Here's the thing: when it comes to dating and sex, you never owe anybody anything — including your pleasure. Of course you want to be respectful of your partner's feelings, but sex shouldn't be a performance filled with pressure to orgasm.

Having sex honestly means that sometimes, you might just lose your female boner, or feel blocked in a way that requires you to hit pause or stop. That's OK; don't be afraid to ask for a break or go back to light foreplay. Just because you've started, that doesn't mean you have to finish or do anything that doesn't actually feel good to you. If your partner is worth sleeping with, they should understand that, and never pressure you to have sex any other way.

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