I didn't actually enjoy sex until my third partner.
He was my college boyfriend. We had one of those sexual experiences that makes you wonder what the hell you had been doing wrong your whole life. I remember lying naked on his bed in his dorm room with my arm draped over my forehead and giggling to myself. So THIS is what all those movies are talking about, huh?
This particular experience was enjoyable for a multitude of reasons. For one, my feelings for him were crazy strong. But more importantly, I felt like my needs were actually being taken care of and I wasn't just serving as a human Fleshlight. I felt like my pleasure mattered.
Up until that point, that had not been the case. And I know I wasn't alone in this regard.
It baffles my male friends when I tell them that a lot of girls don't just immediately fall in love with sex the first time we have it. I get why guys are confused about this -- I mean, the day a guy sticks his penis into a vagina for the first time is pretty much the best day of his life.
And if his partner lets him go long enough, he'll probably orgasm, too. There's not much complexity to it, really. Sex for guys is amazing.
On the contrary, however, it takes girls a little bit longer to actually enjoy sex. And by "a little bit," I mean it can take multiple tries, multiple partners, or even multiple YEARS.
We live in a culture in which female pleasure isn't always valued. Sex "ends" when a man finishes, and women are the objects, not the subjects, of pleasure. It's woven into the fabric of our society that women aren't supposed enjoy sex -- women are supposed to exist as a means through which MEN can enjoy sex. It's a sad reality, and one I try to fight all the time by writing extensively about it on the Internet.
Given my personal experience with sex and this current cultural landscape, I decided to ask some Millennial women how long it took THEM to actually enjoy sex. I wanted to know what made that first enjoyable experience different from their other experiences.
Their responses confirmed to me what I'd already suspected: that our culture has a lot of work to do.
"I was a freshman in college. He was probably my 5th or 6th sexual partner."
He was just one my friends who was totally emotional unavailable but was amazing at giving head. I had my first real orgasm with that dude. Every other guy basically used my vagina to masturbate. Full-on jackhammer sex. I thought for a while that maybe sex just was not my thing.
-- Gigi, 25
"First time I truly enjoyed sex was with the third guy I slept with and the first guy I loved. I was 17."
With my two previous boyfriends, I didn't like having sex and thought something was wrong with me. I was wildly attracted to guys, but when it came to going to bed with them, I really didn't get what the big deal was. That was until I slept with the only person I've ever loved. We couldn't get enough of each other and it felt so good. When I had my first orgasm, I felt like my whole world changed. I realized how wonderful sex was. It was such a natural feeling I couldn't believe it. I can't imagine having sex again without know how to enjoy myself. I think I enjoyed it because it was with someone I couldn't get enough of. Someone, deep down, I knew I loved from the moment we met. It may have taken us a few months to say "I love you," but from the beginning we had that passion and love already bestowed in us. Maybe it's cheesy, but honestly, it took finding the right guy for me to enjoy sex fully.
-- Grace*, 25
"I was 18 and he was [partner] number 4."
We lived in the same dorm and ran into each other a few times before we started hooking up, which lasted three months. It was a very intense relationship. We fought a lot but he was more interested in making me happy in bed than he was himself, which was a rare quality for a guy that age. He never tried to impress me with moves straight out of porn and listened both to my suggestions and nonverbal reactions.
-- Coley, 23
"The first time I actually enjoyed sex was with my current boyfriend when I was 21. He's the sixth partner I've been with."
My first few sexual encounters were with one-night stands/one long-term hookup in college. I don't know if it was because alcohol was involved, but sex always seemed like a quick blur that left me laying there unsatisfied and wondering what the big deal was about sex. With my current boyfriend, I remember the first time we had sex just being amazed at how long we did foreplay before actual sex. It was the first time someone took the time to care about my pleasure instead of just his. He was the first guy to ever make me cum! Our sex life has been amazing, and I think it's truly because he cares about making it feel good for me as well.
-- Christina*, 25
"[I was] 19. [It was partner] #2, [and we were] friends with benefits."
He actually cared if I came or not and told me he didn't want me to fake it. We were also very comfortable with each other.
-- Betsy*, 23
"I've been having sex since I was 18, but I didn't REALLY enjoy it until I was 22. He was my fourth partner, and he was the first guy I ever fell in love with. At the time, he was my boyfriend."
I think being in love with him completely changed the game. Every other partner I'd had sex with was just a hook-up or drunken decision, but I had both an intense emotional and physical chemistry with the first guy I enjoyed having sex with.
-- Sheena, 25
"I first enjoyed sex when I was dating my first boyfriend in high school. He was my first partner, and it was probably over a year and a half into the relationship."
I enjoyed it that time, and most times thereafter, because he made a conscious effort to make sex about me. It's much easier for guys to enjoy it, so him putting my needs first made it much more enjoyable. We (luckily) were very young at the time and learning together definitely put us on a great track for good sex in the future.
-- Kendall*, 23
*Name has been changed.