sex

'I'm newly single after a 10 year relationship. And I'm only just discovering what good sex is.'

The last time I was single – way back in 2011 – bodycon dresses were still in fashion, Julia Gillard was still Prime Minister and Netflix didn’t exist in Australia (let alone 'Netflix and chill'). 

I was 18 when I met and moved in with my ex-partner in Melbourne. Ten years, several moves and a big chunk of adulthood later, it’s all over. 

We split up at the start of the year and every aspect of my life has changed, not least: my sex life. 

Watch: How often are women having sex? The juiciest results from the Mamamia Sex Survey. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

My ex and I had had nice, vanilla, hetero sex. Until we didn’t. Until it dried up and ceased to exist no matter what lingerie I wore, no matter how dirty I talked, no matter how hard I tried. 

Before we called it quits, we were having sex once every couple of months, and it was the same routine we’d done for the past decade: him on top, me on top, him satisfied, me not. 

Sex was a chore, an obligation, something to tick off the to-do list. There was no spontaneity or passion. 

We’d never experimented with toys or role-playing, hadn’t watched porn together, or even really talked about what we wanted. Foreplay was obligatory, oral was out of the question, and my self-esteem was at an all-time low. 

As you can imagine, re-entering the dating scene after a decade with the same person was... how should I put this... eye-opening. Spoiler alert: the game has changed.

In the last few months, I’ve downloaded, deleted and re-downloaded all the apps. For the most part, I’ve had fun experiences as a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man (but wouldn’t mind shagging one). 

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I’ve had dates at bingo halls, coffee shops, walking tracks and pubs. Lots of pubs. I’ve met people at gigs, on the dance floor and in the line waiting for a taxi home. I’ve slept with a handful of them. And this is what I’ve learnt...

The dialogue is wide open.

The first person I slept with after my breakup asked me a question that I didn’t know how to answer. "What do you like?" he whispered in my ear. "Um, I don’t really know," I said, shocked at the realisation. 

"I like being kissed on the neck, I guess."

Over the next couple of weeks, I gave it some thought so when someone else asked me the same question, I was prepared: "I like it when you take charge so I can sit back, relax and think about Matthew McConaughey." I was only half joking. 

Compared to when I was a teenager, I feel like men are asking more questions – and actually listening to the answers.

When they’ve asked me, "Do you like this?" it’s felt like they’re genuinely wondering, not stroking their own ego. 

Maybe it’s ScoMo’s milkshake consent video (it’s not) or the important sex-positive conversations women have been leading over the last decade (it is), but there’s more talk. I, for one, like it. 

Female pleasure is the focus.

Hallelujah. After not orgasming from penetration for years, I was overjoyed when my date made me climax so hard my legs shook for hours. 

And even more over-joyed when I discovered it wasn’t a one-off either. The men I’ve slept with (aside from one or two) have gone above and beyond to please me. They seem to get off on me getting off, which really is a win-win. 

I haven’t faked an orgasm: 

1) Because I’m too old and lazy.

2) Because I haven’t had to. 

Most of my recent sexual partners have put my needs before their own and I’ve happily allowed them to do so. 

Again, I’m only speaking from my experience, but these blokes have discovered the clitoris and they know what to do with it. It’s a miracle. 

Listen to The Undone podcast, where Em and Lucy have the chat that will make you feel a whole lot better about your sex life. Post continues after audio.

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Arse slapping is in.

The first time it happened, I gasped. Did he just slap my arse? I thought. And did I like it? Yes. After the third or fourth time, I barely flinched – and only giggled a little bit. 

After being with someone who often reminded me that I had a fat arse (as though it was a bad thing), it’s been a revelation that other men love my bum. So much so, they can’t help but give it a little smack. 

Lube is suddenly chic.

Gone are the days of spitting on your fingers (good riddance). I’ve been impressed to discover a whole new world of pleasure products that are stylish and satisfying. Most notably, there’s FIGR lube, which is made in Melbourne and looks like it belongs on a mantle piece instead of hidden in a bedside table drawer. 

Squirting is a real thing.

This is TMI, hence the anonymity, but I never knew I could squirt. I genuinely thought it was a made-up phenomenon created by the porn industry... But it’s actually a real thing. 

Sure, the first time it happened, I thought I’d pissed myself. But when I realised the truth, I was pretty amazed at what my body could do. 

Shame is lame.

It’s sad to look back and think how ripe slut-shaming was when I was a teenager. 

Women were judged for losing their virginity, for having one-night stands and for enjoying sex. F*ck that. 

In the last 10 years, women have fought hard to normalise healthy sexual relationships and to close the pleasure gap (heterosexual women have fewer orgasms during sex than any other demographic). I’ve discovered there’s no shame in having a libido, in wanting to feel desired and in sleeping with someone on the first date, if you’re into it. 

There’s still a tiny bit of shame in walking home at 10am the next day carrying your heels in one hand and a bag of McDonald’s fries in the other, but that’s not the point! 

I’ve learnt that sex is a totally normal part of life. And that good sex is something that should be celebrated and enjoyed – not judged and frowned upon. As long as there’s enthusiastic consent, sex is a pretty beautiful thing. 

Yeah, the game has changed, but so have I. Thank God for that. 

Feature Image: Getty.

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