I’m approaching a major anniversary: this month, I will have been sexually active for exactly half my life. While most people don’t celebrate such things, I take it as a personal triumph that I managed to survive so many bizarre, awkward, and hair-raising sexual encounters. Ever since I unceremoniously abandoned my v-card to the sounds of a Lords of Acid record at 16 years old, I learned most of my sexual lessons the hard way. Sure, I had friends and family to give me advice, but I was stubborn and felt a need to experience everything firsthand.
My mother used to ask, "do you have to stick your finger in an electric socket to learn about electricity?" My answer, unfortunately, has always been "yes." So throughout my teens and twenties, I treated sex as an adventure and, at times, a sociological experiment — I even kept detailed notes of my comings and goings. In the end, I found that bad sex is kinda like bad pizza: 90 percent of the time you’re still glad you had it. So while I don’t believe in regrets, I do wish I could impart some advice to my younger self on how to avoid the pitfalls of getting it on — so you can focus on the pleasures.
1. Find someone you trust to practice with
You don’t have to be in a serious relationship with someone you like to practice your moves. Since one night stands aren’t necessarily the best way to hone in on what turns you on, finding a trustworthy friend-with-benefits is key. Unabashedly sticking it to someone that you don’t have to impress too much is an easy way to discover your patented sexual style. Bonus points for figuring out how to manage the complicated upkeep of said relationship, because that’s not simple, either. Hey, nobody rides for free.
2. Masturbate, masturbate, masturbate
Dancing with yourself is great for de-stressing or killing time on a Saturday afternoon, but it can also prevent you from going too wild when you haven’t gotten laid in a while. Planning on going out with a bunch of single friends and putting that TV Eye out there? Stroke it before you leave. It’ll calm you down and help you keep your cool just a little longer so you don’t make any rash decisions.
3. If a guy doesn’t inquire about your pleasure, never ever go back
There are certain guys who will try to use your body like it’s a Real Doll. He may be hot, he may be smart, and he may be funny, but if he doesn’t ask about your pleasure before, during, or after, he never will. No exceptions. There should be a website to post pictures of these guys. Can someone get on that? Sexual greed is never sexy.
4. Carry multiple condom sizes with you
Safe sex is essential, and nothing kills the mood more than finding out your one and only jimmy hat is too small for the one you’re with. In a pinch he can probably still squeeze into it, but I’ve heard it’s kind of like wearing a suffocating rubber turtleneck. Don’t run the risk of having to run to the nearest bodega to ransack the Magnum section mid-session — have a heart for his hard on and carry a few different sizes.
5. Monogamy isn’t assumed unless you discuss it
One day, out of the blue, my dad told me that “monogamy should never be assumed.” It made no sense as a kid, but now I know how very true it is. Whether you operate in polyamorous or monogamous relationships, setting the boundaries of your arrangement can be very difficult. The only way to find out how someone feels about the state of the relationship is to have "the talk." In the early days with a partner, it’s probably best to couch it in a I-want-to-know-this-info-so-I-can-stay-disease-free way rather than a I-want-your-body-and-soul-on-lockdown way. Fluid bonding can also be a great pre-cursor or substitute for monogamy, too.
6. Don’t point out flaws or apologize about your body mid-session
Dita Von Teese once said, “People don't notice the things we see in ourselves that we hate, so why direct them to it? Living with your flaws doesn't mean you should tell people about them.” Pointing out that your breasts are small or you gained some weight or that you forgot to shave is not going to make you feel sexier in the moment, and it sure as hell isn’t going to inspire lust in the person you’re with. They wanted to go this far, so zip it (unzip it?) and enjoy.
7. One girl’s trash is another girl’s treasure
Did you hear from your female friend that he sucked in the sack? Unless her complaint is about rule number three, don’t trust it. Some people just aren’t sexually compatible, and most people aren’t objectively bad in bed. There’s no shame in seeing for yourself.
8. Ask for what you want, loudly
No one is a mind reader. How can your partner know what you want unless you tell them? The squeaky wheel gets the grease (or something like that).
9. Group sex is kinda like kindergarten
If you get a bit adventurous and find yourself in a session with multiple members, don’t be a scene stealer. There’s obviously no one way to have a threesome, fivesome, or old-fashioned orgy, but basic respect goes a long way. Think of all the rules of Kindergarten when you’re dealing with a tangle of breasts and pecs: share, take turns, follow directions, and say please and thank you.
10. Keep an open mind...and have fun!
When your legs are open, your mind should be open. If a new sexual adventure in a safe space presents itself and you’re feeling a twinge of nerves mixed with desire, go for it. Never gone all the way with a girl? Now’s the time. Never tried that weird pretzel twist position? Why not! You’ll never know if you like it unless you try it. And sometimes you won’t like it, and you never have to do it again. Now, I’m going to go take my own advice, right after I blow out my sexual birthday candles. Cheers!
Images: Giphy (10)