Hey, You. Stop Having Bad Sex. Yes, YOU.

What I notice a lot is that people — especially women — seem to be totally content with having mediocre, if not outright bad, sex. And I really don’t understand why. It’s so EASY to have GOOD sex. But people don’t even realise that the sex they’re having is subpar, that they could be enjoying themselves so much more. So here is my hopefully-comprehensive list of How to Have Good Sex, accompanied by various resources with more in-depth discussion on the topics. And hopefully you, even though you don’t think this applies to you, will take these ideas into consideration and perhaps start having really awesome sex.

1. Stop Hating Your Body and Yourself

This is a big big BIG biggie. Well, I guess they all are… You know that corny line about “how can you love someone else if you don’t even love yourself”? It’s pretty much true. If you don’t like your body, body parts, or yourself, it’s hard to really take part in an activity and enjoy yourself fully. If you are constantly ashamed of your body, or constantly criticizing yourself, you limit your ability to really lose yourself in the moment and enjoy it. This doesn’t just apply to sex. You know, for example, when you go to a pool or a beach and you go “Uuuuuugh I have to wear my bathing suit in front of all these people! They have to see my body OH NOES THE SHAAAAME”? That clearly limits your ability to just jump into the water, play some beach volleyball, or generally have a good time. Same goes for sex. So start working on completely scrapping that attitude right now! It will take a while, but believe me, the results are SO worth it.

The Scarleteen Do-it!
Seven Ways to Love Your Body

2. Stop Feeling Guilty!

This is related to the last one. A lot of people, because of the current social climate around sex, feel guilty about the sex they are having (this includes masturbation too, of course). This is often made even worse by religious upbringings that have taught people that anything relating to sexuality, sexual expression, and sex are dirty, wrong, or “sinful”. Even for people who have taken a step back from their religion and no longer believe that sex is something to be ashamed of, it can still be very hard to feel completely okay with every kind of sex every time because guilt can be so deeply ingrained. However, sex is not something that anybody should be feeling guilty about, and feeling guilty can really limit your enjoyment of your sex life. So if you are feeling guilty, focus on ways to move past this; there is no magic cure, I’m afraid, because different things work for different people. But the following links give some good input and ideas.

How can I stop feeling so guilty?

3. Use Lube! Seriously!

Quite a lot of women (mostly straight women, for some reason) seem to have a big huge hang up about lube. They think that using lube is like admitting defeat or something? No! I cannot use lube! For that would be admitting that I am not enough of a woman to produce enough lube! Saywhut? It’s pretty much inevitable that we’re all going to need to use lube at some point in our lives. For many various reasons; hormonal birth control can reduce someone’s production of self-lubrication, condoms need extra lube to help stop them from breaking, and some days someone will just NOT produce enough lube to have sex comfortably. It’s not some sort of failing. And seriously, you really can’t go wrong with lube. It is your friend. Trust me.

Lubricant is a Girl’s Best Friend
The I-Don’t-Want-to-Use-Lube Blues

4. Explore

Whether you’re currently in a sexual relationship or not, exploring is really huge in getting the best out of your sex life. Explore your own body, your own fantasies and desires. Try new ways of masturbating — using sex toys, touching places on your body while you masturbate that you don’t usually, thinking up new fantasies to see if they work for you. Masturbation can also help with your partnered sex life; if you have explored your own sexual self thoroughly, you will be able to give your partner suggestions on what works for you. And with your sexual partner, explore their body too; don’t just assume that because they are a certain gender, touching a certain body part in a certain way will be the best thing to do. Also explore what works between BOTH of you together, because you’ll be surprised to find that some things that don’t work for you when you’re by yourself actually may work well with a partner. Bring toys, roleplaying, games, anything into the mix with your partner, and never be afraid of being awkward or silly; having fun is a big part of having sex, and it’s not all about being Super Srs Bsns Romance Time. Something you think would be silly might end up actually being totally awesome and sexy and fun. And if it doesn’t work for you, what’s the big deal? The worst that could happen is that you have a hilarious inside joke with your partner.

Vulva, I Hardly Knew Ye
The Clitoris, the Vagina and Orgasm: Feelings and Frameworks

5. Stop Doing Things You Don’t Actually Like

So many people, but definitely the vast majority being women, take part in sexual activities that just don’t rock their socks. It’s a big part of our culture, the expectation that a woman will do things to “please her man” and the “pleasure” she gets from “making her man happy” should be sufficient. This is not to say that enjoying yourself by giving your partner pleasure isn’t legitimate, or that people should only ever do things that make everyone involved orgasm. But there is a big difference between doing something that isn’t personally your favourite and doing something that you really don’t care for, or even dislike. If some activity just really doesn’t appeal to you, or you find yourself being totally bored while participating in it, then just STOP. You don’t owe anyone any kind of sex, and they don’t owe you anything, and neither of you should be EXPECTING any kind of sexual activity from one another.

Instead, find something that you BOTH enjoy doing. That way you will both have oodles of fun instead of one person falling asleep (also, protip: seeing that your partner is obviously bored out of their mind or experiencing discomfort is a turn-off for most people. So even if you’re doing something because your partner enjoys it, they’ll enjoy it LESS if they know it’s something you don’t dig). Of course, if you don’t want to do something because “EW GROSS” or something similar, you need to think about why that is and work on ridding yourself of that mindset; hang-ups around yours or other peoples’ bodies are not conducive to good sex overall, so if they’re the reason you are unwilling to participate in a certain kind of sexual activity, that is definitely something to work on. But in the end, some things just aren’t that exciting or appealing for someone, not for any reason other than just the uniqueness of human beings. Doing things that you don’t actually enjoy doesn’t make your sex life better; it makes it boring and unfulfilling for everyone involved.

An Immodest Proposal
Reciprocity, Reloaded
I Don’t Want to Give Him a Handjob Back: What Do I Do?

6. Stop Having Sex With an Asshole

A lot of people are in sexual relationships with partners who are not the greatest partners, and they don’t even realise it. If your partner EXPECTS certain sexual activities, thinks you are obligated to participate in any sexual activities for any reason, or gets angry at you for not wanting to do something sexual or not reacting a way they want or for not orgasming when or how they want, etc etc etc, they are a shit partner and your sex with them will NEVER be good. A partner doesn’t have to be abusive to be a bad partner. If they pressure you in any way, or make you feel like you HAVE to give a certain answer or participate in certain activities or put on a certain “performance” during sex, or if they focus solely on their pleasure and not yours, you are never going to be able to fully enjoy yourself. And that is a perfectly valid reason to end a relationship, even if other areas work just fine.

A huge amount of people seem to think that it is shallow or cruel to dump someone “simply” because the sex isn’t working out. But we are all sexual beings, and sexual happiness is a part of general, overall happiness. You CAN and WILL find a partner with whom you have a great sex life as well as romance/etc. This also applies to asexual people; you don’t have to put up with a partner who pressures you into sex you don’t really want to have. There absolutely are people out there who will respect your boundaries and desires (including lackthereof) and will not pressure you into doing anything you don’t enjoy. And it is totally worth it to dump that chump and find someone who makes you happy and respects you in ALL areas of your relationship.

I Think He’ll Dump Me if I Don’t Have Sex With Him. So, Should I?
I Survived Sexual Assault, Then Got Stuck in a Relationship I Don’t Feel Good About
Does Your Relationship Need a Checkup?
Hello, Sailor! How to Build, Board, and Navigate a Healthy Relationship

7. COMMUNICATE.

I cannot say this ENOUGH. You know how in the movies, people look at each other with fire in their eyes, and then the next scene pans across the floor, clothing strewn everywhere, and they’re lying there panting with a slight smile on their faces? No words need ever be spoken, because in their PASSION, their FIERY LUST, they understood each other exactly. Except no, not at all. People are not mind-readers. Communication is probably THE most important thing to having good sex. Talking during sex is not unsexy; it is necessary and can be TOTALLY sexy. You don’t have to sound like you’re reading out of a biology textbook or a list of yes/no questions. If talking during sex doesn’t seem natural to you, practise doing so and then it WILL come naturally. Talking before, during, and after sex is crucial to leading a good sex life. Talk about what works and what doesn’t work for you physically, what fantasies you have or new things you want to try out, what safer-sex methods you would like to use, everything. Talk. A lot. It is so unbelievably important. TALK.

Be a Blabbermouth! The Whys, Whats and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner
Driver’s Ed for the Sexual Superhighway: Navigating Consent

8. Educate Yourself and Stay Safe

Whoever said that knowledge is power really wasn’t kidding. Educating yourself around sex and sexuality is vitally important if you plan on having a happy and safe sex life. This includes the very basics; sexual anatomy of your own and partners’/potential partners’ bodies, the physical basics of how sex works, basic knowledge of safer sex. But it also goes far beyond that. You can never ever know everything there is to know about sex and sexuality, and there is no such thing as knowing too much. So poke around sex ed sites, read up on every topic under the sun; healthy relationships, sexual orientation, sexuality in general. Sex education has been proven to help people make safer decisions around sex, and decisions that make them happier. Ignorance often causes fear; I see a lot of people getting freaked out about possibly being pregnant from situations that just would never result in pregnancy. If these people had been provided with proper sex education, they would be aware of the risks of any sexual activity, and they would be confident in knowing exactly when they have risked pregnancy or contracting an STI. Similarly, if a person is educated fully in sex ed, they will know their options when it comes to birth control and pregnancy, and they will know where to go for care. Knowledge leads to peace of mind, sexual confidence, and safer sex practises.

So, with that in mind, here are a buttload of links for you to click at your discretion! My two favourite sources for sex education are Scarleteen and sexetc.org, and about.com’s sexuality column has some really awesome information, too!

Articles:

10 of the Best Things You Can Do for Your Sexual Self at Any Age
What Makes Someone Good in Bed?
From OW! to Wow! Demystifying Painful Intercourse
First Intercourse 101
Yield for Pleasure
Life Lessons from the Third Stall on the Left
Safe, Sound & Sexy: A Safer Sex How-to
Safer Sex… for Your Heart
Sexual Health 101: His
Sexual Health 101: Hers
With Pleasure: A View of Whole Sexual Anatomy for Every Body
Vagzilla! (Or, All Genitals, Great and Small)

Disclaimers: ***This article used to contain links to videos on lacigreen’s youtube channel. I felt that they were informative and fit with my message in this article. However, after incidents on tumblr since this post was made, I no longer feel comfortable supporting laci’s channel.

So I’ve been mentioning “both” in reference to you and your partner, but of course all of what I’ve said here is not limited to only sex involving two people. All the same rules apply to polyamorous relationships, as well as sex with multiple partners simultaneously.

Also: As you may have noticed, this is a huge post with tons of links. Please let me know if any of them are broken or lead to the wrong place! I did double check everything, but I’m human and make mistakes, so I would greatly appreciate it if you would let me know about any errors.

Also Also: Please share this with people you knooooow! And click the links! CLICK THE LINKS LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT. Sex education is so so SO important, and spreading the knowledge is just one little thing you can do that has so much impact.

The Enemy

What is the deal with (usually older) adults – of every background – getting so worked up about teenage sexuality. I mean, it seems to particularly be parents who are also republican/conservative (unsurprising), but it’s not at all limited to that. I’ve heard adults who are not even parents getting all tied in a knot over teens having sex, or even just teens’ romantic relationships. I’ve seen even some pretty-damn-liberal parents getting all uncomfortable about it.

When are they going to get over it?

I quite often hear adults minimizing and trivializing teenagers’ feelings when it comes to sexuality and sexual or romantic relationships – I hear over and over again things about “puppy love” and “it’s just a phase”. Teens seem to particularly hear “it’s just a phase” about sexual orientation, but it’s not just limited to that. In the past, my long-term relationship (that lasted three years) was sometimes treated by adults like it wasn’t really that serious. Because teens are so fickle and don’t know anything, amirite?

Adults – who, in this situation, tend to be about 40+ years old – seem obsessed with the HORRORS of children learning about sex. They seem to think that if we just cover children’s and teens’ ears and shout LALALA, we’re protecting them. Even though studies have shown over and over again that with more sex education, teens are more likely to put off their first sexual experiences, and/or to be much safer about them.

It’s pretty much taken for granted that republicans are freaked out about teens and pre-teens learning about sex and sexuality – but they’re not the only ones. And even when it comes to the republicans, I really want to know why exactly it is. Why do they think that teens having sex is the END OF THE WORLD? Although they’d probably never admit it, they likely started having sexual encounters when they were relatively young, too. And even if they didn’t, when they did start having sex, the world didn’t end, now, did it. So why are they so convinced that it will for present-day teens?

So, let’s take a second to think about this. The average age of people having intercourse for the first time is between 16 and 17 years old and has been for quite a while (this is a 2002 study but I’ve seen more recent studies that gave a similar average age [excuse me for not having any links, I hadn’t started the blog at the time so I didn’t think to keep track of studies]) But how many of those teens get pregnant/an STI*/flunk out of school/something else that is apparently life ruining? The majority do not. The vast majority of people have perfectly satisfactory lives after having sex, and golly gee, that includes people who first had sex when young. Which really, if you are relaxed and really thinking about it, isn’t surprising. Sex doesn’t ruin most people’s lives?! Who’da thought.

I consider the fact that perhaps a lot of these adults did start sexual activity when they were quite young, and ended up regretting it for various reasons. And they just don’t want their kids to go making the same mistakes. But I don’t think trying to stop/dissuade your teen from having sex is the way to go about stopping them making the same mistakes. Because sex usually isn’t THE mistake – it’s usually the context in which the sex took place that is the problem.

Perhaps these parents, when they first started sexual activity, weren’t really ready for it because they hadn’t learned what it meant to be truly ready for sex both physically and emotionally. Maybe their early sexual activity resulted in an unplanned pregnancy – because they weren’t properly aware of their options when it came to contraception, were not realistically prepared to deal with the potential outcomes (didn’t have money set aside in the possibility of needing emergency contraception, etc), or any of the vast array of reasons. Maybe they did know about contraception but just didn’t take it seriously. Whatever the reason was, none of them are reasons to just try to dissuade teens from having sex altogether, or to try to cut them off from knowledge about sex as “protection”.

The solution to all of these problems is to talk about sex more.

The way to make sure people make as informed, as right a decision as possible, is to give them as much information as possible. So they can weigh the reality of the situation, of their decisions, so it is not some big mysterious mystical thing that they are Totally Rebellious and Grown Up for doing. So that they can know what they’re getting into and can be smart about it and make decisions that they feel are right for themselves based on good solid information. That’s true of anyone at ANY age.

Because after all that, if a teen knows how to be safe around sex – physically as well as emotionally – and are open to having discussions and know enough to make informed decisions… then why does it matter if they do have sex? They have all the equipment necessary. Hell, it’s stuff that not even all adults have. If someone knows all the right stuff and is making a decision they feel good about, the chances of it ruining their life is very, very slim.

Sexuality is just one facet of a person’s life – sexuality goes the same way as any other aspect of life. If teens are given the skills and knowledge required to smartly handle sex, they’re as likely to screw up majorly as they are in any other part of their life. And since most people survive their teenage years… not only survive, but thrive and succeed, it becomes pretty clear that this isn’t a huge issue. Yes, sometimes, especially when young, people make decisions they decide weren’t so great later on, but if someone is as informed around sex as they are around other areas of their lives… the mistakes are going to be of the same calibre, have the same level of implications, as mistakes in those other areas. Which is to say, rarely huge.

And which is also to say, if you’re freaking out this much about the possibility of them screwing up around sex even if they have all the info about it in the world, you’d better also be freaking out the same amount about the possibility of them screwing up in any other aspect of life. Otherwise you’re just not making any sense.

Parents often seem to think that “banning” their teens from doing something will actually… work. Parents “ban” their teens from having sleepovers with opposite-sex friends, or from going to parties with opposite-sex friends, or from going on trips with opposite-sex friends, or from being in their rooms alone with opposite-sex friends or blahblahblah. But banning people from doing things never works. I don’t mean just for teens because hurhur teens just loooove to rebel. This is true of most people at most ages. If you don’t give someone a good reason not to do something, why on earth would they actually listen to you? People are not drones. They don’t just do as they’re told “BECAUSE I SAID SO!” If someone wants to do something, and feels they are ready for it and have all the knowledge necessary, they will do it whether they have been “banned” or not.

“Banning” teens from certain situations that MIGHT POTENTIALLY RESULT IN SEX only closes the door on very important discussions that a parent should be having with their teen. Banning someone from something lets them know that you are not open to having reasonable conversation about it, so they’re not even going to bother. It lets them know that you are not willing to actually give their feelings and thoughts any weight, and you’re not willing to give them the information they need. Which leaves them on their own, to find the information out for themselves – or not, and end up making a bad decision that they wouldn’t have made if you hadn’t closed that door.

What it comes down to is this. Teens are humans. I know, seriously, wow surprising. Teens are not stupid. They can and often do make good decisions. When they make bad ones, it’s usually because they don’t have good information or good support**. And lo and behold, there is an easy fix to this.

——–
*hey guess what, the high levels of STIs among teens has been linked to abstinence only education. STI rates are lower among people who received good sex ed. Sex ed 1, Ab-only 0

http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/publications-a-z/597-abstinence-only-until-marriage-programs-ineffective-unethical-and-poor-public-health

More resources (referenced in the advocates for youth link):

Kirby D. Emerging Answers: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2001.

Bearman PS, Brückner H. Promising the future: virginity pledges and first intercourse. American Journal of Sociology 2001; 106:859-912.

Brückner H, Bearman PS. After the promise: the STI consequences of adolescent virginity pledges. Journal of Adolescent Health 2005; 36:271-278.

** having discussions around sex/sexuality can and should include discussions around peer pressure. If parents are supportive and open to having discussions and giving information freely, it absolutely will have an impact on how affected by peer pressure a teen will be. http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/06/16/o-canada-survey-finds-more-teens-model-sexuality-on-parents/26987.html

If you want any more information on any of this kind of thing, the kinsey institute is an amazing resource.

http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/resources/FAQ.html

All About Me

Oh gosh, an intro!

As I’m sure you’re aware by now, since you’ve found your way to this blog, there are as many definitions of feminism as there are feminists in the world. The feminist movement has had issues with privilege and exclusion of certain groups throughout its history, each wave has had its own focus (and its own flaws), and everyone within the waves has had their own personal priority list. It depends on each feminist what it is that their personal feminism focuses upon. This is mine.

Feminism means:

  • Fighting sexism
  • Fighting cissexism
  • Fighting heterosexism
  • Fighting racism
  • Fighting ableism
  • Fighting ageism
  • Fighting classism
  • Being pro-choice
  • Being sex-positive (including supporting sex workers of all kinds)

…and ACTIVELY TRYING TO ACT IN AWARENESS OF AND IN SUPPORT OF THESE ISSUES 24/7.

That’s the kicker, really.

More about me…

I am also a socialist, though my focus is on my feminism so I have not read too much around all the different types of socialism. I guess I’d be categorized as revolutionary-socialist, and more equal-opportunity oriented… but as for the other sub-sub-sub-forms and whatnot… no clue. So I’m rather informally socialist, really.

I am currently a student at a university here in Ontario, Canada, in my third year of music performance. I play the baritone saxophone primarily (although I also play the alto sax, guitar, and tin whistle just for the FUN OF IT, CHYEAH). Despite being in an “artsy” program, the atmosphere of my peers in my department is still depressingly anti-feminist.

I am a cisgender, middle-class, neurotypical white woman with no physical disabilities*… so although I am in the marginalized group in terms of gender, I’m aware that I have been born into many other privileges, and thus I try to be incredibly careful around these issues.

I am also queer – I tend to identify my sexuality as “fluid” although I don’t mind being referred to as bisexual or pansexual. My sexuality has always been able to be put on the backburner for me, first because I considered myself heterosexual for the first several years of my sexual life and thus I was granted the privilege of being left completely alone about my sexuality… then when I came out as bi/pansexual, I had the great privilege of being a part of a generally very accepting family and community, and so even then my sexuality has never been a big issue.

I was also raised in a way that meant I was just never too concerned about exactly what to label my sexuality as. Unfortunately, outside of my support circle (and sadly within it every once in a while) I am still presented with heteronormativity/bi-invisibility, everyone assuming that I’m straight, and it’s especially offensive when they assume the attitude of me being “One of Us”. So probably expect to see some ranty blog posts on such topics.

I am also a peer sex educator, having volunteered with the ever-amazing Scarleteen for about a year and spreading the knowledge I gained from that to my peers in my social circle. Sex, relationships, gender, and sexuality is a major focus of mine… I’m forever fascinated by the complexity of human sexuality. So you may notice a lot of tangential stuff around that in the future of this blog…

Now I promise that’s it from me for now. How about you?

*Is there a better word than this that I could use instead? I always try to be on the lookout for more positive words for marginalized groups, but I don’t know of any for the word “disability”.