One of the best pieces of sex advice I ever got was from my mom. I was in my late 20s, and going on and on about how the guy I was dating was "too short." (He was actually seven inches taller than me.) My mother, who has always shut down my absurdities said, without skipping a beat, "Everyone is the same height in bed." Although I argued with her that that was ridiculous, I came to realize how true it is.
While we can always rely on advice from our peers, it's not quite the same as getting advice from people who are 10, 20, 30, or even 40 years older than us. This is especially the case when it comes to sex and relationships. There is nothing any of us will go through — whether it's an awkward breakup, trouble defining our boundaries, or dealing with a mismatch in chemistry — that hasn't already been experienced by someone older and wiser. When we hear it from others it reminds us we're not alone; they've been there, too. And because of this, they have lots of wisdom to impart.
32 women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s what sex advice they'd give to younger women. Their answers did not disappoint. 1 Nicole, 48
"Be confident and don’t settle for mediocre sex; you deserve to be 100% satisfied the way you like it!"
2 Ann, 52
"Performance isn't everything. You can satisfy and be satisfied with a quickie in the laundry room just as well as a long night (and day) in bed. Never be afraid to give voice to what feels good. The right partner really wants to know."
3 Christina, 40
"Never be afraid to voice your wants and needs in the bedroom or anywhere else for that matter. And it's OK to pleasure yourself first so you get an idea of what you like."
4 Sharon, 54
"Sexual satisfaction has nothing to do with how you look, how old you are, [or] how 'good you are in bed'. It has to do with intimacy, (or as my mother used to say: 'in to me-see!'). Being authentically yourself, loving yourself, and never being ashamed of letting your partner know what you want and need."
5 DJ, 43
"Intimacy is the glue and sex is just sticky."
6 Angie, 51
"Don't give a piece of yourself up to just anybody,
unless that's what you're looking for: a romp in the sheets. You are worthy and you pick; never chase nor beg." 7 Colette, 52
"You are beautiful — every part of you, including your vagina and everything that holds, is beautiful. Respect yourself and expect that from anyone who wants to be with you, whether for one night or a lifetime. And be able to laugh with the person you're in bed with. Fanny farts and all!"
8 Erika, 43
"It’s perfectly fine to not want them to stay [the night]!"
9 Samantha, 54
"Enjoy your sexuality. Experiment and have fun (but safe sex always!). Never feel guilt over your sexuality! [For the] long-term find someone you are sexually compatible with! If you like a lot of sex and the other person doesn’t (or vise versa), in the long run it won’t work out!"
10 Shannon, 52
"Don't feel guilty about society's rules about sex. Whether for love or for fun, be safe, enjoy yourself, and don't be slut-shamed by anybody."
11 Julia, 52
"You can have both great sex and a great relationship, but it's OK to just have great sex, as long as you know that's all you are after. Often we try to turn great sex into a relationship. And that's where the disappointment begins. Having both requires an emotional intimacy that one or both of you may not be ready for. If it's not there, take the sex and then move on; don't invest yourself or deplete your emotional energy."
12 Melissa, 49
"You deserve an orgasm every time you want one. Do not allow [them] to roll over and be done once [they're] finished. F*ck that! Or, pull out your vibrator and finish the job, while making it clear [they are] OPTIONAL."
13 Charyn, 46
"Please, for the love of pleasure everywhere, stop faking orgasms to spare a partners’ feelings. If you’re having less-than-stellar sex, do everyone a favor and speak up. Like stop right there in the moment and do it. I’ve felt far more sexual regret in faking orgasms than I ever had in not having one. Sure, you may find what your partner is doing pleasurable, but if orgasm is your endgame (and it doesn’t have to be — sometimes the ride can be just as thrilling, as racing past the finish line), unless you ask for what you need, it’s a waste of time for all involved. There’s no upside in having mediocre sex, and faking orgasms only creates a negative feedback loop. If a partner thinks what they’re doing is working, they’ll continue to do it (and vice versa). You may have the greatest partner on the planet, but they’re not a mind-reader."
14 Dana, 45
"Know that 70% of us cannot come [from intercourse] alone, so it’s OK to get acquainted with toys that help out. Never fake an orgasm because that doesn’t do anybody any good. Especially when we have to hear from guys, 'I’ve NEVER had a girl not [orgasm] from sex!' Well, motherf*cker, you’re in your mid to late 40s with a supposed packed resume... why do you think that is?! Fake, fake, fake, fake (as said by Elaine from
Seinfeld). Back to my original point: no shame in needing outside help. If someone gives you shit for it, say goodbye. I also feel like we should be able to be just as sexual with as many partners as we please (safely of course) just like a guy, without being looked down upon, dammit!" 15 Rebecca, 49
"You deserve to have an orgasm just as much as he does!"
16 Jenn, 46
"Confidence is everything. Don't be afraid to pamper yourself now and again. Take care of yourself and the rest will fall into place. Always speak up if you find what works for you and vice versa. Be open and honest."
17 Ed-Cur, 50
"First and foremost don’t give yourself to just anyone, as you are more valuable than that! Get to know your own body so you are aware of what pleases you and what does not!"
18 Clarissa, 45
"With each encounter, you are learning more about you, what makes you have multiple orgasms, what your risk and tolerance levels are, and what your emotional boundaries are. Believe me, your sexual maturity may be able to protect you from future hurt or help detect types you might want to avoid in the future."
19 Britton, 47
"It's about your fantasy and your fulfillment. If someone else gets to be a part of it, well lucky them. There are too many mediocre things in life [so] don't include sex in that. And it's OK to say no. It's OK to stop sex if it's terrible. You will feel far better for saying it's not working, than you ever will crying afterwards."
20 Jenn, 50
"DO NOT SETTLE. Be able to talk about sex and what you want. Laugh. Experiment. Enjoy it!"
21 Mary, 65
"When you feel yourself trying to have an orgasm — stop. It’s not about the finish. If your partner expects you to finish as quickly as he can, then you’re with the wrong partner. Trying leads to faking. And any guy who accepts a fake is lazy or unobservant. It requires trust. Go figure. I discovered I was multi-orgasmic only after I stopped trying to have an orgasm."
22 Shauna, 40
"Keep on being sexually curious. Have those awkward conversations. Relax, explore, fantasy/pleasure, and own your decisions. Oh, and stay off the internet... false realities! No one looks like that... you are beautiful! Sexual intelligence is as important as emotional intelligence; unfortunately it's an underdeveloped skill."
23 Kiri, 53
"Don’t settle for mediocre sex. Sex is an important component of any sort of relationship and make sure your needs are met as well."
24 Gypsy, 52
"It's OK to say no. It's also OK to say yes. Set boundaries; don't feel obligated just because he paid for dinner/drinks. It's your body, you make the rules. Use protection! Seriously, protect yourself... some of those STDs last a lifetime. Enjoy discovering with each encounter what you like or dislike. Respect yourself and except nothing less from your partner(s). Sex is amazing with someone who takes the time to work with you to better understand what pleases you. Foreplay begins in the mind... Enjoy!"
25 Dina, 44
"Realize that you're the most powerful person in the room and enjoy that. Even if being subservient is your thing, you still have the power to stop the interaction, so revel in the moment because most of life doesn't come with that kind of control or power."
26 Mindi, 46
"Explore yourself as much as possible. Know your likes and dislikes. COMMUNICATE ALWAYS those likes and dislikes. Sex isn't just for reproducing; it should pleasurable ALWAYS. Only go as far as YOU feel comfortable and never let anyone pressure you."
27 Magalie, 50
"Learn to love yourself and love your body to be able to give the best of yourself... and know to receive as well so you can reach the orgasm. Always communicate with your partner(s). Have sex regularly to reduce stress; it's better for your self-esteem and releases hormones that are essential for your well-being."
28 Mieko, 46
"You need a very long make-out session for sex to be really enjoyable before and even after sex... If a guy tries to just jump into intercourse, then stay away from the man or educate him to make-out longer for the enjoyment of it all. And try sexting or communicating more... be open about what you like and try."
29 Lee, 57
"Don’t fake it just to satisfy his ego! Don’t be shy about communicating your preferences or dislikes. Be demanding! If he doesn’t ensure that you come first... ask for some tongue. Buy toys! Use them with your partner, especially as you’re discovering each other. You’re almost guaranteed an orgasm and he/she has less work to do — if his/her ego isn’t too fragile."
30 Jennie, 40
"Own your sexuality as soon as you can and embrace it. No one can ever take that away from you."
31 Claudia, 43
"Don’t mistake sex with love. If you want to have a one-night stand, go for it. But don’t expect every guy you take home to instantly fall in love with you or want to be your boyfriend. For a lot of guys, sex is just sex. Also, learn how to give yourself pleasure first. Know what you like, and don’t be afraid to tell them."
32 Kristie, 46
"Confidence, confidence, confidence. Your so-called physical 'short-comings', your 'flaws', etc., etc. — none of that matters. Walk in there like you own it and put all that self-consciousness out of your head. You can't have a good time sexually if you're constantly thinking, 'oh God, I'm too fat/thin/wrinkled'. YOU are a goddess and your partner is damn lucky he/she gets to have YOU. And always ask for what you want (and make sure you KNOW what it is that gets you going; you can't tell someone else what fires you up if you don't know yourself)."
There you have it! 32 pieces of wisdom worth pocketing!
Get Even More From Bustle — Sign Up For The Newsletter
From hair trends to relationship advice, our daily newsletter has everything you need to sound like a person who’s on TikTok, even if you aren’t.