teens

"Use lube. I'm serious: 28 things I want my daughters to know about sex."

When I started having sex, I didn’t know much about it.

My mother had given me “the talk,” but her version was mostly about birth control and how sex is something two married people do because they love each other.

The other stuff she covered by giving me a book about sex and leaving me to my own devices. I read through it and was just confused.

It described sex as a man putting his penis inside a woman’s vagina and then “they move back and forth.”

Samantha X of how to have better sex. Post continues below.

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That was supposed to teach me about thrusting, but what I pictured at the time were two people connecting genitals and then shimmying sideways for a while.

Thank heavens I discovered porn and saw what sex really looked like, or my first time having sex could’ve been even more awkward than it was.

The rest of my sexual education consisted of a dog-eared erotic novel I hid in my bedroom and some misinformed comments from other virgins my age.

Needless to say, that didn’t really prepare me for anything.

In fact, the first time I tried to have sex, it didn’t even work. I didn’t shimmy, at least, but I still had no idea what I was doing or how my body was supposed to work.

I also put up with too much sh*t in my first relationships because I had to feel my way through this whole sex, love, and romance thing. No one had taught me better.

And that is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the mistakes and f**kups I made and the red flags I missed.

After that, I hit adulthood running. I was shacked up with someone I was sure I would marry (and I did). My sex life wasn’t smooth by any means — I dealt with vaginismus, a crashing libido, and a sexless marriage — but at least I had someone who respected me and knew how to make sex really enjoyable.

I could leave all the stuff I went through as a teenager in the past and not worry about it anymore.

But then I had kids.

Now that I’m raising two daughters, I can’t stop thinking about my teen years. I don’t want them to have to go through the same things I did.

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I want them to be prepared to understand and handle whatever sexual feelings they have and whatever situations they find themselves in.

I want them to know more about sex than what they could learn by watching porn, or whatever book their grandmother would throw at them.

My daughters are five and seven years old, so I’m not laying all this on them yet. But by the time they start having sex, here are some of the things I want them to know about it.

What I want my daughters to know about sex:

1. Sex isn’t like it is in the movies. It can be funny and awkward. It can be weird and gross. It’s often more fumbly and silly than romantic and choreographed. And all of that is okay.

2. You should only have sex with people you trust. You don’t need to be in love to have sex with someone. You can have great, amazing, text-your-friend-just-because-you-need-to-tell-someone-about-it sex with someone you don’t love. But trust is essential.

3. Sex and love are two separate things. When there is no love, you usually can’t create it through sex. I had sex with a lot of guys, hoping they would like me. It didn’t work a single time.

4. Communication is the best sex move there is. Voicing your desires, your concerns, your insecurities, and your boundaries can all improve the sex you’re having or are about to have. And don’t be too shy to ask your partner questions — find out what they need to feel safe and comfortable.

5. Never be afraid to say no. You don’t need an explanation or a “good reason” to say it, either. If you’re uncertain, uncomfortable, or uninterested, that’s reason enough in itself.

6. You don’t need to have sex just because all your friends have. There’s no right age to lose your virginity. There’s no ticking clock you have to beat. You’ll be ready when you’re ready.

7. Foreplay isn’t just a quick warmup. Sometimes, the foreplay can last longer than the sex itself — and that’s a good thing. You can also have an amazing time just doing stuff that’s considered foreplay.

8. You don’t owe your body, time, or attention to anyone. Flirt when you’re attracted to someone, date when you’re drawn to someone, and have sex when you feel desire — don’t fake it, force it, or give in because you feel pressured or obligated to do so.

9. Watch out for people who keep telling you they’re good or trustworthy. Those who can show it with their actions won’t have to constantly bring it up. If they keep having to remind you that they’re decent or reassure you that they’re trustworthy, they’re probably not.

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"There’s nothing wrong with masturbating. It’s feels damn good and it has plenty of benefits, too." Image: Getty.
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10. There’s nothing wrong with masturbating. It’s feels damn good and it has plenty of benefits, too. It’s a good way to relieve stress, deal with insomnia, and improve your mood. Getting off by yourself can also keep you from rushing into sex.

11. It’s never your fault if you were led on. You might feel stupid or embarrassed when it happens. But in the end, it’s not something you did. You were lied to. Learn what you can from the experience and don’t blame yourself.

12. No one is good at sex the first time they have it. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. Just have fun. Explore each other’s bodies. Play around. But don’t put too much pressure on being some kind of sex goddess right out the gate.

13. Sex isn’t always fun. If you’re doing it with the wrong person or for the wrong reasons, you probably won’t enjoy it as much as you normally do (or at all). Having sex with someone is a serious decision — not only the first time but with each partner. Even hookups and casual sex should involve careful consideration.

14. You can change your mind at any point. Consent isn’t a binding agreement — it’s something that’s ongoing and can be revoked at any time.

15. Not getting off through penetration doesn’t mean you’re broken. In fact, it’s perfectly normal. Not every woman can orgasm through penetration (or penetration alone) — lots of us need clitoral stimulation, too. That doesn’t have to be a problem because there’s way more to sex than just penetration.

16. Porn can be a good way to learn what you’re interested in. Whether you watch it alone or with a partner, you can see what turns you on and turns you off. But remember that you shouldn’t be having sex a certain way just because it’s what they show in porn.

17. Only believe about half the things you read about sex. There’s so much misinformation out there. Often, it’s from seemingly credible sources.

18. Your orgasm isn’t secondary. You might not be able to have one every time you have sex, but your partner should at least make a good, solid effort to give you one. Sex is supposed to be pleasurable for the both of you, so even when you can’t get there, you should have a blast trying.

19. Giving pleasure can be a lot of fun. As long as you genuinely want to give it, that is.

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20. There are different kinds of orgasms. They can come from stimulating different parts of the body, by doing different kinds of sex acts, and by mixing different types of pleasure. You don’t need to pick a favourite — explore them all.

21. Hormonal birth control isn’t for everyone. Condoms will provide you with effective birth control without messing with your body.

22. The number of people you’ve had sex with doesn’t say anything about your character. Whether it’s zero or a hundred, there’s no reason to feel any shame about your number.

23. If you like girls, embrace that feeling. There’s no reason to over analyse your attraction. Just follow your heart and don’t worry about the gender of the people you fall in love with.

24. If you’re attracted to guys, carry condoms. You never know when you’re going to decide to hook up with someone, so you need to be ready. Don’t rely on guys — they won’t always have some.

25. Everyone is different. The more you learn about sex, the more you’ll see that not everyone likes the same thing. You don’t have to feel weird for what you like or don’t like, or what gets you off or doesn’t, because we’re not all built the same.

26. Use lube. I’m serious. It helps with almost everything — masturbation, sex toys, penetration, manual sex, oral sex, anal play. It makes everything smoother and more pleasurable. Keep some by your bed and in your purse.

27. Good sex is enthusiastic sex. Unless you’re really feeling it, you probably won’t be having great sex.

28. You can always talk to me. Sex isn’t a taboo subject for me and you won’t get any judgement from me (believe me, I’ve seen it all, heard it all, and done a good chunk of it). Even if it made me uncomfortable, I’d set those feelings aside to make sure you got the advice you needed. No matter what happens to you, you can always count on me to help you through it.

Beyond abstinence and birth control

When my mother talked to me about sex, I could tell she was uncomfortable.

It seemed forced. I think she only covered what she thought was the bare minimum (how not to get pregnant, basically) because she couldn’t bring herself to talk to her daughter about pleasure, orgasms, masturbation, foreplay, and all that good stuff.

I want my daughters to have respectful, consensual, enthusiastic sex.

I want them to do it with people they trust, not with someone they feel uncomfortable saying no to.

And I want them to actually enjoy themselves and know how to get off, instead of just having penetrative sex like in the movies and hoping for the best.

I know I can’t guarantee any of that for them. But if I can talk to them about the things on this list, they’ll at least have a better shot.

This post originally appeared on Medium and has been republished with full permission.

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