Porn, movies, magazines, and the people around us too often teach us there's one way to have a satisfying sex life: You have to adhere to beauty ideals, be in a heterosexual relationship, be young, and preferably have as many orgasms as possible. But people who don't fit this description are having great sex lives every day, and everyone has the right and the ability to do so.
“Great sex has everything to do with your headspace and mindset, no matter your experience level, number of partners, body shape, orgasmic abilities, or how many trains you have to take to meet up with a hookup,” sex educator Anne Hodder tells Bustle. “The most important sex organ is your brain, so being conscious of triggers, blocks, boundaries, and discomforts — and especially your turn-ons, likes, and ‘OMG more please’ delights — are instrumental to having a sex life that feels great for you. It’s maybe not the sexiest or simplest way to have better sex, but I promise it’s the most rewarding. Plus, the process can help you form a deeper connection to yourself and learn what kinds of partners and experiences you are (and aren’t) willing to spend time and energy on.”
If you’re insecure about any of the following things, don’t sweat it. They don’t have an impact on how good your sex life is.
1. Your Body Type
Women in our culture are fed a major lie: that how you look correlates with how much you can enjoy sex. Diet ads teach us that only thin people should be seen naked. Razor commercials convey that we must be clean-shaven to enjoy our sexuality. But the reality is, fat people, people with body hair, and literally every kind of people are having great sex lives every day. It’s OK to have insecurities, but don’t think they diminish how fulfilling a sex life you can have.
2. Your Age
The movies make it seem like sex is for young people. But many people actually report that their sex lives have improved with age. One study in the Journal of Sexual Research found that when people maintained good health and relationships, they had better sex as they got older. It makes sense: The more experience you have, the more knowledge you can bring to your sexual relationships.
3. The Appearance Of Your Genitals
If you have a penis, you’ve probably learned that it needs to be big and get hard on demand if you want a great sex life. But there are plenty of ways to enjoy sex without a big penis or an erection (or any penis at all, for that matter). If you have a vulva, you may have learned that a large clitoral hood will reduce sensation or that long labia are unattractive. Once again, nonsense! All shapes and sizes of genitalia can experience just as much pleasure.
4. How Many Orgasms You Have
We’ve been misled to believe that the only route to a great sex life is to have multiple huge, loud, preferably squirting orgasms. But sex can actually be just as great without any orgasms at all. An orgasm is only a few seconds of the experience, and those few seconds will not make or break it.
5. Your Sexual Orientation
Many people use the word “sex” as synonymous with “penis in vagina,” implying that sex that doesn’t involve one penis and one vagina is less significant or legitimate. This definition is completely arbitrary. There are countless kinds of sex, and what makes them significant is their significance to the people involved.
6. Your Relationship Type
Great sex can happen in hookups as well as relationships, so just because you’re with a casual partner doesn’t mean you should lower your standards. Establishing trust and respect for each other is helpful, but that’s something you should expect out of every relationship, even a casual one.
7. Your Past
A history of sexual difficulties or sexual trauma does not prevent you from having a great sex life now. Everybody has things from their past that they’re working through, and none of it has to define who you are today.
What really determines how good your sex life is, then? “The more you communicate your fears, desires, and vulnerabilities with your partner (and they with you), the closer you both will inevitably get,” says Hodder. “And that definitely contributes to hotter, powerful sex.”