You've probably already received the advice that a great sex life doesn't come automatically, so instead of relying on chemistry alone to make the magic happen, you have to work at it. I certainly have. But the extent to which that's true didn't really sink in until I came up with one particular analogy: sex is like a sport. This implies, as many say, that you can't be a pro right away. But it also says something more positive: that anyone can have sex like a pro with enough time and dedication.
I first thought this up when a friend told me something I didn't think was possible: She can orgasm at will. I know. She can even time it so that it happens at the same time as her partner. "I've never done that," I said shyly. "I can't come during PIV sex at all, though."
At first, she gave me a look of horror. But then, she remembered that at one point, she couldn't either. She didn't for two years, she told me, but she gradually built up to it — and built new skills, including having multiple orgasms and simultaneous orgasms. When I asked her for tips, she suggested ab exercises. "It's all about muscle control," she said.
If sex really is like a sport, it's just a question of how many hours of practice I'm willing to put in.
She's making sex sound like a sport, I thought. Then, I realized, it kind of is. Though I'd never done actual exercises (with the exception of kegels), I had gradually mastered new sexual skills.
For eight years, after all, I thought I was incapable of orgasming with a partner. And that turned out to be totally wrong. After some research and self-reflection, I was able to master that skill. After that, I thought the only way to get me off was through fingering. But after a bit of experimentation, it turned out oral sex could also work. Now, maybe I can teach myself to orgasm through intercourse (though that's physiologically more challenging and doesn't have to happen for sex to be awesome). If sex really is like a sport, it's just a question of how many hours of practice I'm willing to put in.
Research backs up this approach. First of all, your physical fitness really does improve your sex life. According to OkCupid's data, women who enjoy exercise have an easier time orgasming. And it works the other way around: Athletes who have more sex show better strength, ability, and speed, according to an Adam and Eve study.
And sex as a sport also makes a great metaphor. A recent study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people who believe great sex requires work have better sex lives than those who think it just follows with good chemistry. So, thinking of sex more like a sport than an automatic instinct really seems to pay off. It also provides a lot of hope that if you have complaints about your sex life now, you can work through them.
I remember when I took my first gymnastics classes as a kid, I thought flips were just for the pros. Whenever I tried, I landed in my butt. Then, when I was seven, I first landed on my feet. By the time I was nine, the trick was easy.
Maybe sex is the same. Today, I look at my friend who can time her orgasms in awe. But maybe one day, that'll seem like a basic move. And I'll be on to more advanced goals, like having sex in the air.