Featured Image: Illustration by Our Visual Journal
Article By: Shealynn Waller
Sex is everywhere which means it’s more often than not on our minds. Humans are sexual creatures, drawn to things that make us feel good. Sex, in its own nature, is good. It’s a shared experience meant to join two people in an overwhelming “feel good” state, relieves stress, is a form of exercise and helps people find a connection. But like all things in life, sex can be detrimental and degrading.
The key to a healthy sex life, I believe, is knowing yourself and your needs so you can differentiate between what is healthy, for you, and what is not. Everyone is different and their needs are different. By exploring yourself, you are shedding light on your personal needs. The power is in your hands. In my experience, these are the things sex should be and what sex should never be.
What Sex Should Be:
Funny and Weird
The lights are low, candles are lit, soft music is playing in the background, and two people are gently lit against silk sheets. It’s a fantasy, but one society buys as “sex goals”. If we don’t feel like we are in the middle of a drama film during sex, we don’t feel like it’s as great as it could be. Sex is weird. There are strange noises, limbs everywhere, lighting from an Xbox on the nightstand and traffic noises to set the mood. Sex is sometimes a wild ride of mixed emotions, insecurities, and uncertainty, but instead of wallowing in it, own it! Sex is weird! Sexy is relative, and if something is funny, laugh! Communicate with your partner about where you are and how you are feeling, and they won’t be put out when you are embarrassed. More than likely, they will probably be relieved to know they aren’t the only ones feeling weird.
When you allow yourself to let go of the “fantasy” of sex in your head, you can enjoy what’s happening without second guessing if you are turning on your partner or not. Sex can be a freakshow of excitement, but only if you get out of your own head, explore and enjoy your partner.
Joyful and Fun
Sex should be fun! It’s a joyous connection between two people who find pleasure in each other. Nothing else exists except you two at that moment. Finding someone who enjoys your body and you enjoy yours is exciting. Sometimes though, sex becomes boring. We wonder if there is something wrong with us and our hormones if we don’t get excited by the same things we once did. When sex becomes boring or a chore, explore it! Try new things, dress up, play different music or whatever floats your boat. You won’t know what you do and don’t like unless you try it.
This is where communication is SO important. Tell your partner how you are feeling. DO NOT FAKE IT! They can not know how to help or mix things up if they think you’re having the time of your life. You owe it to yourself and your partner to be real and honest during sex. Every. Single. Time. Find what gets you both excited, and go from there! Be patient with each other, and it will help you both grow as individuals and together.
A Give and Take
If sex feels one-sided, something isn’t right. There are two people (or more) in the room, so there should be multiple experiences happening at once. Ideally, everyone should walk away from the experience fulfilled, happier and ready for life. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen very often. It’s debatable, but in my experience and in talking to my female friends of various backgrounds, ages, sexual orientations and perspectives women tend to give more than take. We are nurturers, taught at a young age to serve and take care of others (generally speaking). So, naturally, when it comes to sex, we nurture and serve as we do everywhere else in our lives.
But you deserve to feel content after sex too! Again, communication is critical. Tell your partner how you feel. Let them know what feels good and what doesn’t. I will say it again. DO NOT FAKE IT. It may be a blow to their ego, but by telling them straight up if what they’re doing works or not helps them grow as a sexual partner and helps you find fulfillment from sex. In this case, serving helps you both.
On the other end, make sure not to be a selfish lover. If you are not a giver by nature, keep in mind there is someone else in the room. They have needs too. Asking each other what you both like and what you don’t like is an incredible conversation. It opens the door to further understanding each other’s sexuality, which in turn teaches you about yourself.
Sometimes, whether we seek it out or not, sex comes from nowhere. The most obvious form is in the infamous one night stand. It could be a night gladly forgotten or a night of glorious passion tucked away in your brain in which you can look back on with pride. The trick to having a successful sexual experience in passing is in preparation.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. COMMUNICATE. Know full-well what you are walking into if invited to someone’s space of living or out on the town. My favorite question is, “Should I bring a condom?”. Not only does this question get to the root of the situation, but it also puts me in a place of power where the guy realizes, not only am I prepared, but no sex will happen without protection. As a straight woman, I’ve come to realize most men don’t expect women to prepare for safe sex. Sometimes, they hope for it so they can get away without one or “forget it this once”. For me, safe sex is essential to enjoy myself. So, I come prepared. This leaves no room for excuses.
Another step to a great “one-time fling” is to let someone you trust know where you are and what your intentions are. I have a great friend to whom I send the address and phone number of the guy to with a quick message saying my intentions at this location. That way, if I feel unsafe or at any point pull the plug, I am not the only person on planet earth who knows where I am and who I am with. It’s a safety net many women should utilize. I can be a bit paranoid at times, but I’ve had enough bad experiences to know, being prepared means I have much better sex.
What Sex Should NEVER Be:
An Escape from Reality
Sex can make it feel like the world melts away till nothing but sparks and pleasure exist. But it should never become a way of ignoring your problems. There are plenty of memes and jokes online about “running from our problems” or eating ice cream instead of dealing with life, but sex should never be a way to get away from things that need our attention. Using sex as an escape turns it into an enabling device much like alcohol or drugs.
Instead of dealing with emotional turmoil in a relationship, you have angry sex with that person, hoping the problem will melt away after. Problem is, it doesn’t. In fact, sometimes it makes the problem worse because you both learn the only way to get along is in bed. Communication turns physical and nothing ever gets figured out.
I think of the scene in Mr. and Mrs. Smith when they fight to kill each other than have hot dirty sex in their house covered in broken glass. It’s a representation of a lie we buy. If I’m just attracted to you enough and have good enough sex, then everything else will work itself out. I wish life worked that way, but it doesn’t. Physical attraction is a massive part of a relationship, but it’s not everything. It can’t be.
A Desperate Need
Desperate sex is counterproductive in two ways. One, it can quickly turn into an obsession or addiction. Two, sex becomes something born out of fear and anxiety. Sex can comfort and provide peace, but it depends on where you are emotionally going into it. If you seek out sex because you have to have it or you’re worried to live without it, there’s another problem there. Becoming dependent on sex to feel good and happy means sex has become a tool for pleasure and not an experience. You won’t be thinking about your partner or even your safety nets such as condoms. Instead, you search for the sex itself and not what sex can be.
It’s not talked about much, but women can crave sex just like men. It’s an experience human beings as a whole look for, but don’t let it become a bandaid on a bigger problem. Take a quick moment to realize what you are looking for in sex and be honest with yourself if it’s a healthy mindset.
What does a healthy sex life look like to you? We love hearing from you in the comments Below!