I'm a sucker for the TV show Younger, where a 40-year-old mom pretends to be 26 so she can get her career on track post-divorce by gaming the ageist system. Despite the silly/absurd premise, it does highlight what older women can teach younger women about sex, relationships, careers and confidence — and vice versa.
There's a nagging fear of certain milestone ages voiced by women on the show that are based on IRL stereotypes we should obliterate ASAP — particularly when it comes to sex and relationships. 30 and 40 are frequently portrayed as deadlines for experimentation and partnering up, but in actuality, few things in life go according to plan. There's no age at which you should come into your own in the romance department, although there may be a point somewhere in each decade when you start to realize what you wish you had known in the previous one.
I personally could have used the body-positive movement 10 years ago when I was feeling less than stellar about stripping down with the lights on pre-sex, and I could have also used more confidence in my right to say "no" when I was on the fence about a sexual situation (where was the concept of affirmative consent when I needed it?!). A lot of women over 30 seemed to feel the same way, so I asked them to reveal the advice they would give their younger selves about sex.
1. Maggie, 33
Go to sex parties, have threesomes, have one-night-stands, if you want. If you don't want, that's OK too. There's no set of sexual experiences everyone 'needs' to have. But if you're curious, try something.
2. Dee, 36
Do not disregard anyone who crosses your boundaries. Those that will cross little boundaries are more likely to try and cross bigger boundaries. Trust your gut and don't apologize for doing it.
3. Angela, 40
He doesn't know more about sex than you.
4. Cat, 44
Never dull your greatness to make others feel less insecure.
5. Rachel, 38
Care about your own health first and if your partner can't/won't play with that, they're not worth it.
6. Sasha, 32
Eat strawberries before sex because it makes you hella wet. No lies, ladies.
7. Jade, 41
Don't be too excited about your date, never put him or her above yourself.
8. Sam, 37
Spend the time to get to know someone before you sleep with them, even if you are thinking of it as a purely sexual experience.
9. Ela, 38
You don't have to shave everywhere just because porn stars do.
10. Dallas, 30
It's easy to find someone to have sex with. Say no if people suck. It won't be your only chance for sex. Life is long
11. Julie, 32
Dear young Julie, dump your college boyfriend and have more sex with other people before settling down again so soon. Also, vibrators aren't just for solo-sex. Love, old Julie.
12. Liza, 31
The guys who put up a fight with you about wearing a condom are complete jerks and not worth your time.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our video on sex positions for small penises:
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