I was raised in the American heartland. I grew up where boys are blond and full of good intentions and girls bat their eyelashes but always bend at the knees instead of the waist in fear of seeming promiscuous.
In lieu of the sex talk, I was handed a copy of American Girl's “The Body Book” and was told to let my mom know if I had any questions. I had a lot, none of which I felt comfortable asking.
I understand my experience in the Midwest is not the same as everyone’s, but it’s definitely a feeling I’ve heard from one person or another.
And, by another, I mean a lot. Some of my questions were only answered last year, and I’m now 25 years old.
I feel like I’m a (fairly) sex-positive person and would like to express some things to the masses.
I fully intend on raising my children (should I ever have little rugrats) with a full understanding of themselves and their sexuality as best I can.
Here are 10 things I would have liked to have had in the back of my brain before I took my pants off in front of another human.
1. If something hurts, something is wrong.
This is the biggest misconception I feel people are told about sex. In some variation, they hear:
“Oh, it was just your first time.” “It’s supposed to hurt for a while.” “Don’t worry; you just aren’t used to it.”
Think of your body as, I don’t know… a body? If you got cut by a piece of jagged glass you would know, right? Because it doesn’t feel good, it’s painful.
If you are not comfortable and you are in pain, something isn’t going right. You should stop. You should reposition, reevaluate and reassess the situation.
You can always come back, but if both parties aren’t having a good time, you shouldn’t stay there. K? K.
2. It’s no one else’s responsibility to keep you healthy.
Hopefully, you have done a good enough job picking a partner you feel you can trust. We, however, live in different times.
There are drugs, drinks and disgustingly beautiful people out there that may cloud your judgment. You cannot and should not leave your personal health up to chance.
Carry your own condoms, lube and whatnots. Never just assume people will have what you need at the ready.
The only person who will be pissed at you for not having things handy is you. Don’t assume; I hear it makes an ass of you and me.
3. Never be embarrassed to try something new.
You saw something or thought of something and went for it. Maybe it worked out swimmingly, maybe it crashed and burned. But you know what? You did more than a lot people will ever do, especially in this area of their lives.
Good for you for going for it with something you were interested in. So long as both, or all, parties are consenting adults, God bless.
You have to explore and attempt to figure yourself and your tastes out, and props to you every time you do that.
4. After care is crucial.
This is not specific to being a part of the BDSM community. You should always take a second to check in after everyone’s finished.
It’s not cool to just roll over and pass the f*ck out.
Cosmo says it, websites say it, I’m saying it and pretty much everyone else is agreeing with me. At least acknowledge that your partner is feeling all right and in a good, peaceful place before you conk out.
Check in! Listen to people. Ask, “Are you good?” Ask, “Are you feeling OK?”
If you don’t, you’re kind of rude and not deserving to stick whatever you stuck wherever you stuck it.
5. Technology can both help and hinder you.
We live in a truly unbelievable time. Depending on where you live, there are specific items you can order off Amazon and they are literally delivered to you within hours. That’s. Nuts.
That being said, we as a society have become very dependent upon technology. We’re always texting, tweeting, Instagramming, etc. We have to be constantly connected.
The problem occurs when we forget how to connect when there isn’t a screen involved. Make eye contact, touch each other. Maybe make sure there’s an actual spark before you put something on Facebook.
Don’t rely on technology to define your relationship. Being Facebook official and having an #MCM isn’t everything.
If you’re constantly going to his Tumblr to see if there’s porn, or his Tinder to see the last time he's logged on, you’ve got some thinking to do.
6. Don’t sleep in anything you wouldn’t answer the door in.
Maybe I’m old fashioned. Maybe this is the one corner of conservatism poking out, but if you wouldn’t let the Domino’s delivery guy see you in them, why would you let your partner?
Respect your person; don’t make him or her cringe by your loungewear.
7. Wash your sheets more than you think you should.
You don’t want to be that person. You know, the one with sheets filled with crumbs and dog hair? No.
You’ll hear your roommates talking about the one who never does laundry and eats questionable leftovers in bed and you’ll think, “That COULDN’T be me.” But it is.
So just wash those suckers once a week so people you live with don't have a leg to stand on if they call you gross. Which they most likely won’t, but HEY. Better safe than sorry.
8. Butt stuff and stuff that’s outside of vanilla is really fun. No pressure!
Maybe it’s because I’m into some taboo stuff, and I’ve had really amazing, patient partners, but you shouldn’t completely discredit an erogenous zone because of the stigma attached to it.
If somewhere or something sounds like a thing you’d like to explore, go for it.
The parts associated with any of the above statements can be incredibly playful and liberating to incorporate into your sex world.
Just make sure you have lube, lots of understanding and some dynamite body control before you dive in head first.
9. Communicate, communicate and communicate some more.
Everyone should be talking to each other about expectations, needs, wants and desires. If you have no idea what the end goal is, how do you even have a prayer of getting there?!
If you have a sensitive gag reflex, but your partner really loves mouth work, how are you going to work around that?
You need to talk about things. Sometimes it can be awkward. I suggest a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (let’s be real, Two Buck Chuck is good enough) to help alleviate the awkward, but honestly once you start talking, you are going to be OK.
10. Sex is supposed to be fun, so have fun!
It is GREAT to get lost in your partner and take everything to a new level. Passion is amazing and exhilarating and makes you feel like an entirely new human being.
But at the end of the day, sex is about making yourself and another person (or people) feel good. Lighten up! Don’t stress about it.
You’re getting naked and into weird positions with people, it’s not always going to look as glamorous as they make it look on "Nip/Tuck," and you know what? That’s OK.
"Nip/Tuck" didn’t have you and your awesome personality and your rockin’ bod. So have fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously. You will enjoy the experience much more if you don’t make too big of a deal out of it.
Because, come on, if the people on "Naked and Afraid" can huddle in a rainstorm in Africa in the nude together without making it weird, you can bump uglies with someone and text later because it’s no big thing. Right? Right.
Have something else I missed or should consider teaching my future spawn about the birds and the bees? Tweet me!