Did you know that the Serenity Prayer can be applied to your sex life? (“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”) Well, here are the 5 things you can’t change about sex — accepting this list will save you and your partner a lot of unnecessary grief.
1. The position of the clitoral head.
It’s pretty far away from the vaginal opening, which is one big reason why many women don’t reach orgasm during intercourse: they just don’t get enough of the right kind of stimulation. There are various things you can do to increase the attention it gets during the old in-and-out (e.g. not thinking of sex as “the old in-and-out”!), but don’t sweat it if intercourse is not the best route to you or your partner’s happy place. Sex is large, it contains multitudes.
2. Other facts about your genital anatomy.
Just because the G-spot is a household name, doesn’t mean you or your partner will actually like having it stroked. Or perhaps you or your partner’s inner labia are longer than the outer labia (not what you necessarily see in airbrushed mags or your average porn title, which pushes a very narrow genital beauty standard). Or you or your partner isn’t an outlier with a rare 8-inch peen (again, not something normally honored in porn). So what? Everyone is vastly, splendidly different! Embrace what you’ve got and don’t even think about unnecessary, often ineffective or even unhealthy stuff like G-spot injections or labiaplasty or penile surgery.
Here’s another example of an anatomical feature you probably can’t change: your gag reflex. If you can’t deep throat, don’t force it; as long as you use your hands and tongue creatively, you shouldn’t ever need to deep throat. You can mimic the feeling of deep penetration by wrapping your hand around the lower portion of his shaft and moving it up and down as you slide his head from your lips into your mouth.
3. What turns you on.
As long as your sexual fantasies don’t prevent you from having healthy relationships, then there is no “right” or “wrong,” there’s only what turns you on — and what doesn’t. Just because you like the idea of being tied up, spanked and called a “bitch” doesn’t make you a bad feminist. In fact, one survey found that bondage, sadomasochism, voyeurism and exhibitionism are the most common sexual fantasies. So don’t be embarrassed about what’s in your head — enjoy your fantasies!
4. What turns your partner on.
You might be kinky, but your partner is decidedly vanilla. They might love anal play, but you find it unsexy. Communication and an openness to reasonable compromise helps make healthy relationships, especially when different sexual tastes and styles are involved. But sometimes those divides can’t be bridged — and trying to pressure your partner into doing something they’re not into (or not doing something they love to do on their own) rarely ends well.
Let’s take porn. You may not like it or understand it, but if you try to put a ban on it, your partner may just start lying. “I used to hate him looking at porn, which just made me suspicious all the time and him secretive,” says a friend of ours in her early thirties. “But once I realized that it’s just a fantasy, like the sexy vampire novels I’m addicted to, I let it go.” You can certainly try to encourage your partner to consume more realistic porn, feminist porn, porn that you might even enjoy yourself. At the very least, you can set up some reasonable rules about your partner respectfully keeping it out of your space and sight.
5. The fact that sex, like most things in life, is not risk-free.
STDs, pregnancy — even your emotions are at stake. So when it comes to sex, be smart, don’t get drunk, make good decisions, ask for consent proactively/give it enthusiastically only when you really want it, and always use barrier protection and birth control. Having confidence in your and your partner’s safety will allow you to relax so you can just focus on feeling good!