How real is porn sex?
And six more hot queries answered
We all want to have great sex. To figure out what feels good. To follow our desires. To be present, connected, at peak firework emoji. But the search for all that can be complicated, and most of us have questions: What on earth do I like? How do I ask for it? Why do I know more about what gets a guy off than what gets me off? Is everyone doing that porno thing I saw online?
In this special section, we’re going after answers, starting with seven queries on all our minds now. Read, respond – and shake off any shame you feel about going after what you want.
Why didn’t anyone teach us the good stuff ?
Writer Lindsay King-miller tells what sex ed should include.
the sex ed at my artsy primary school was probably the best a kid could hope for: I actually heard them use the word ‘condom’. But a lot was left out – desire, consent, LGBTQ issues. As a result I ended up adrift in a sea of hormones with no idea what to do with myself. Here are the seven things I wish someone had taught me. Women want sex This was never mentioned to me by anyone, ever. I learnt about erections, but nothing about my own body’s potential for arousal. By age 12, I had been told that if a guy moved too fast, I should tell him to stop. At 16 I started to wonder, ‘ Where are these guys who move too fast? Can I get their numbers?’ I had never been told that I might want sex. Men can say no to sex Guess what: guys don’t always want it! I was floored by my first experiences with sexual rejection, because I thought saying no to sex was something only girls did, like going to the bathroom in groups and wishing their dresses had pockets. An understanding of consent is crucial to having sex with people of any gender. Desire is important, but so is communication Most of my early sexual experiences were fumbling and unsatisfying because I hadn’t learnt to say what I wanted. I just tried to beam my thoughts into their brain – or whatever movie characters do when they have beautiful, romantic sex in silence. In real life, though, you have to say what you want and explain your boundaries. The first time a partner said, “Tell me what you want to do,” I was like, “Um... sex?” Not a satisfactory answer, folks. Sex shouldn’t be painful If penetration hurts, you’re not turned on, you need additional lubrication or youhave a condition you should discuss with your gyno. Usually the cure for uncomfortable sex is go slower and use more lube. Always more lube. Queer and trans people exist! A couple of kids in every class are going to grow up and, at some point, learn firsthand that there are ways to have sex that don’t involve one penis and one vagina. I was one of them. Wouldn’t it have been great if my sex ed class had actually acknowledged my existence? Vaginas are acidic This seems like an interesting but inconsequential piece of trivia until you try to put your finger in someone while you have a hangnail. I keep a box of latex gloves – your partner should, too. Masturbation is always there for you as an alternative to bad or unsafe sex I remember gritting my teeth through one bad date because there was a chance I’d have sex, when it dawned on me: I have a vibrator! If I’d been taught earlier that I was not only capable but actually entitled to safe, healthy and enjoyable sex on my own, I might not have suffered through the boring date in the first place.