The Best Sex Advice My Mom Ever Gave Me, Because The "Birds And The Bees" Just Didn't Cut It

First of all, let me say this: My mom is awesome. Born in the 1950s, she’s a feminist who has been sex positive since decades before that was even dreamed up as a term. She taught me what it means to be a strong woman, that no one could ever tell me “no” just for being a girl, and that she always had my back. “Feminist” was never a bad word in my house growing up but rather a badge of pride, not only for me and my mom but also for the male members of my family. My mom taught me a lot about sex, too.

I don’t remember ever having the “Where do babies come from?” talk, probably because it wasn’t some big, momentous thing. I always knew about sex, from a really young age, and as I got older the information my mom gave me shifted from “it’s for two grown-ups who really love each other” to something much more nuanced.

Thanks, Mom. You rock.

Vibrators are your friend.

When I was somewhere around age 13, my mom sat down me and my best friend and gave us a talk about masturbation. She let us know that it was important to get to know our own bodies sexually and she even offered to buy us vibrators, if we wanted.

I. Was. Mortified.

I didn’t want to talk about masturbation and sex toys with my mom! I mean, let’s be real: at 13, I didn’t want to talk about anything with my mom but especially not sex and especially not in front of my friends.

However, I’m really glad now that she gave me that talk all those years ago. Getting to know your own body and your own sexual fantasies is super important. So many women arrive at partnered sex with no idea what pleases them and end up having, well, crappy sex. That wasn’t me, largely because my mom was so open and honest with me even when I was way too young to want to hear it.

Sex is important.

My parents have always had a healthy sex life and that fact has never been a secret. While my dad might be a bit more, well, crude about it, my mom has never shied away from letting me know that a good sex life is essential for a great relationship. Both of my parents emphasize that a solid sexual connection can carry you through the hard times that every long term relationship goes through and they celebrate their sexuality, without being creeps about it.

Obviously we turn to our parents as examples of how to do a lot of things and one of the number one things they show us is how to have a romantic relationship. Sex is huge part of that relationship that most parents never talk about. Knowing that my parents have a healthy sex life that contributes to the fact that they’ve still married after almost 30 years makes me happy and encourages me to prioritize sex in my own romantic life.

Sex can be great even if you’re not love.

This is a big one. When I was little, sex was always presented as something that you only did with someone you loved a lot — totally age appropriate — but as I got older, my mom started sharing stories about her own sex life, pre-knowing my dad. She was 36 when they married, so she obviously had lovers before they met, some of who she loved and some of whom she didn’t.

My mom made it clear that you can have great sex with someone you’re not in love with and that love doesn’t always have to be a factor when you’re thinking about who you want to sleep with. That’s not to say that she encouraged me to sleep with whomever, whenever but rather that she acknowledged the fact that casual sex is OK and can be really fun. This opposite-of-slut-shaming attitude really shaped my own attitudes toward sex and sexuality and was a great counterpart to the messages about female sexuality that my young self was bombarded with from every angle.

But the best sex is with someone you love.

Because it’s not just about bodies. Because when you’re connecting with your heart, you’re traveling to a different level. Because the person who loves you is going to love your pleasure that much more and you’re going to love theirs.

Because: love.

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