How did you learn about sex? We live in a sex-negative society and are taught not to talk about sex. This means that the depictions of sex we see in media, from romcoms to porn, end up serving as a form of sex education for many of us. But these depictions of sex are limited and often lead to us forming misconceptions about what sex “should” look like. From the idea that penis in vagina penetration is “real” sex to the belief that asking for consent will “ruin the mood”, a lot of these misconceptions can be harmful.
Sometimes sex does usually involve lots of energetic positions and simultaneous orgasms, but lots of the time it doesn’t. Sex can be messy and much less perfect than we’re told it “should” be. Here are four realities about sex that we don’t often talk about but need to normalise:
1. Needing to use lube
The myth that your body should just be ‘ready’ for sex is annoyingly pervasive. Using lube is considered normal if you’re giving a hand job to someone with a circumcised penis, but if you have a vulva your natural lubrication is expected to do all the work. But our bodies just don’t work like that! Sometimes it will take a while for your body to ‘warm up’ – especially when you’re feeling pressure to get turned on. Your level of natural lubrication can depend on your hormones, stress levels, or any medication you’re on.
If your body isn’t up for producing its own lubrication, for whatever reason, there’s no shame in using store-bought lube. Why not try Momentum Organic Aloe Lubricant, which is 100% organic and made to moisturize and lubricate, enhance the ease and comfort of intimate sexual activity, and supplement the body's natural lubrication.
2. Using condoms
Like explicitly talking about consent, discussing your safer sex practices is generally considered deeply unsexy. However, it’s really important! Before you sleep with someone new, it’s crucial to talk about your safer sex practices. Are you going to use condoms for penetrative sex? What about for oral sex? Are you going to use gloves or dental damns? When did you last have an STI test? It might feel awkward to discuss this, but it will mean you can have sex where everyone feels safe and respected.
If the act of taking a break to roll on a condom, why not try a little bit of dirty talk to keep the momentum going? Tell your partner how hot they look, or ask them to keep touching themselves while you’re putting the condom on.
3. Needing clitoral stimulation to orgasm
For people with vulvas, clitoral stimulation massively increases their chances of having an orgasm. There are people who can and do come from penetration alone, of course, but it’s nowhere near as common as mainstream narratives about sex would have us believe! A 2018 study in The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy found that 36% percent of American, cisgender women required clitoral stimulation to experience orgasm, while just 18% of cisgender women said that vaginal penetration alone was enough to come. If you do want to achieve a simultaneous orgasms while having penis in vagina penetrative sex, you need to make sure you’re stimulating the clitoris (either manually or with sex toys) and finding positions that increase pressure on the clitoris.
It comes down to this: all of our bodies are different, and the things that turn us on and get us off are different too. What works for one person might not work for someone else, and it’s important to remember that there’s no one ‘right way’ to have sex or experience orgasm.
4. Not wanting to have sex
It is completely normal for our sex drive and desire to fluctuate. Even if you have a high libido or consider yourself a sex-positive person, that doesn’t mean you always have to be up for having sex. Peaks and dips in our interest in sex are expected and can be is influenced by a variety of factors, including hormonal changes, age, and stress. For people of any gender, not wanting to have sex is completely normal – but lots of us still feel pressure to want sex more (or less) because of the misconceptions about how often we “should” be having it.
And, of course, asexual people exist! Someone who is asexual does not experience sexual attraction to anyone, though some asexual people may still choose to have sex for a variety of reasons. The idea that everyone should want sex all the time is completely inaccurate, and we need to normalise not wanting to have sex at all.