Remember how we said we accidentally bred on the same schedule and both have six-year-old daughters? Well, we weren’t kidding about that breeding schedule — we also each have three-year-old sons. So it’s only fair that, after publishing the Top 10 Things We’ll Tell Our Daughters About Sex, we should write a follow-up list for our sons.
Granted, right now they’re mostly interested in Lightning McQueen, but their time will come soon. And then we will ask the same questions: What if our sons stumble across one of our books? What if one of their friends does during a playdate, and then tells his parents? (And what if it’s the unnecessarily detailed chapter on fisting in our first book, when we were still trying to prove how brave and unshockable we were?!)
We’ve already spent plenty of time thinking about how we’d like to raise our sons, and how we will talk to them about sex. Here are the top ten things we want them — eventually — to know and understand:
1. Don’t buy into macho sexual stereotypes.
First, losing your V-card doesn’t make you more of a man, so don’t rush it. When you have any kind of sexual relation for the first time, it should be because you and your partner both want to — not because you want to get it over with, not because everyone else is doing it, and not because you’re trying to prove something to your friends. Remember, guys who talk the loudest about sex either have the least experience with it, or the worst skills at it.
Those same guys may try to tell you that women who like sex or who’ve had more sexual partners than you are sluts. They’re wrong! And for the record, guys fall in love and want relationships as much as women do. So don’t engage in any so-called battles of the sexes: men aren’t from Mars and women aren’t from Venus — we’re all earthlings who should treat each other (and the sex we have with each other) with thoughtfulness, deliberateness, and respect. And if you hear anybody demeaning women or their bodies (e.g. with talk of “meat curtains,” “fish tacos,” “gaping axe wounds”), slut-shaming them, or pressuring them to have sex, then you have an obligation as a decent human being to step in and set them straight (not with brawn, with your brain). Oh, and real men wear pink with style, cry when they’re sad, and aren’t afraid to use lube and sex toys in bed, either.
And if we ever hear you use the phrase “That’s so gay” for anything other than describing light and merry pop culture from the fifties and earlier, we’re taking away all your screen privileges indefinitely.
2. Real sex is nothing like most porn.
Watching porn is not obligatory. Porn is a fantasy, and most of it caters to the assumed and narrowly defined tastes of a limited audience. In other words, what might turn men on visually in porn (jackhammering, facials, gang bangs) won’t necessarily feel good, either physically or emotionally, to your partner in real life. You should know that most women don’t look anything like porn stars — ditto for the guys…especially their equipment. Don’t try to measure your partners, or yourself, against what you see on screen. Women in porn (and men too!) get implants and cosmetic surgery (on their junk) and spray tans and full body makeup and anal bleaching and laser hair removal to look that way. In real life, labia come in all shapes and sizes (sometimes even different shapes and sizes on the same woman), in different shades, with different hairstyles. And the men in porn represent a small percentage of the population — they’re outliers in the size department, which is why they got the job in the first place! And those orgasms? More fake than not — even the guys, sometimes (Pina Colada mix, we’ve heard).
Basically, porn is a terrible place to learn about how to have great, satisfying sex, and what that kind of sex looks like. It’s an especially terrible place to learn about what women like in bed. A much better place to learn about sex — and we can’t believe we’re saying this — is one of our books! Fine, fine, if you just can’t go there (we get it), then we’ll find you another.
3. Oral should be reciprocal.
Other oral sex commandments, if you’re on the receiving end: Never push anyone’s head downtown. Never use their ears as a steering wheel. “Deep Throat” was the nickname of the Watergate informant — and that’s it! Basically, the basic rules of being a good person in general don’t end with oral: be respectful, communicate, and don’t have double standards.
4. If you have to get drunk to have sex, then you’re not ready to have sex.
Same goes for your partner — if they have to get drunk to have sex, then they’re not ready to have sex. In fact, if you suspect someone is drunk, zip your fly and go home. When either of you is drunk, you might not have safer sex. You might talk someone into doing things they’re not comfortable with — or you might do more than you’re comfortable with. You might sleep with someone you don’t even like. Have all your wits about you when it comes to sexual situations so you can make smart, informed decisions, and can give and receive consent.
5. If you’re not comfortable enough with someone to talk about safer sex, then you’re not ready to have sex with them.
Talk about your partner’s sexual history — and yours. Ask them if they always use barrier protection (condoms, oral sex dams) — and if they don’t, then don’t go there. And we don’t care if sex with a condom feels slightly less awesome than the alternative — it’s the only kind you’ll be having. But please know that condoms will not protect you from every S.T.I. — some infections exist on the surrounding skin, and sometimes condoms break. This, however, is no excuse to forgo barrier protection all together — they’re like seatbelts: they don’t prevent every accident, but they make driving a hell of lot safer (so make sure you always use both seatbelts and barrier protection!). It’s great if any female partners also use a back-up form of birth-control, like the Pill (but the Pill et al does not mean you can forgo the condoms!). Have we used enough exclamation points to make ourselves clear?!?!??!
6. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for directions in bed.
And it’s not “bossy” if a woman (or a man) gives you directions in bed. After your first few times, you might think you know how to please anyone in bed, but you won’t (even after years of sex, you won’t). Every partner will be different, and even the same partner will be different on different days. This is especially true of women, whose orgasms tend to be a little more elusive than men’s. But whoever you end up dating, guy or girl, you should be open and receptive.
7. Maybe you’re gay. Maybe you’re bisexual. Maybe you don’t know yet.
And it’s all good. Be yourself. And don’t worry too much about labels.
8. Nobody ever “owes” anyone else sex.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been dating, or how long you’ve been naked together, or how blue your balls are. It doesn’t matter if you two have had sex before, or if you partner has slept with ten people before you. It doesn’t matter if one of you just treated the other to dinner (or to oral sex). It doesn’t even matter if you’re half-way through some sexual act, including intercourse, and suddenly one of you changes your mind. Sex can stop at any time. It doesn’t even have to start.
9. That whole baseball thing is a terrible metaphor for sex.
Sex acts don’t exist on a checklist. Foreplay isn’t some discrete event that can be rushed through before the “main event.” Sex isn’t a linear set of steps. It’s not about keeping score or rushing to home plate. Sex is an amorphous conglomeration of hormones and touching and adoration and lust and pleasure and imperfection. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it (a million times) again: sex isn’t just intercourse, and intercourse shouldn’t be considered the culmination of sex. Oral sex is sex. So is manual sex. So is using a toy together. So is frottage!
10. Sex is awesome!
When you do it with the right person, at the right time, sex can be amazing. It can feel, like, really good. It can be fun and exciting, it can bring you closer to your partner, it can reduce stress, it can make you love a person more than you thought possible (though to be sure, love is not a requirement for sex — mutual respect, however, is). But sex isn’t usually awesome at first. Even when you’re head over heels in love and one hundred percent ready to do the deed, sex exists on a learning curve. That said, the better you know someone before you have sex, the more comfortable you will probably be figuring out what each other wants. Good sex requires practice. It requires knowledge about your body, and your partner’s body. It requires experimentation, and play. And it requires a sense of humor so you can both laugh it off when someone farts or queefs or gets an elbow in the face. Remember, there is no such thing as “normal” in bed — there is only what you like, what your partner likes, and what you’re both comfortable with.
Have fun, be safe, and remember: You can ask your mom anything. We’re, well, unshockable.
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