Sex and sexual relationships at any stage in the game can be tough. But like anything, the more you do it, the better you get at it. There is also a level of confidence that comes with age. You are more aware of you are as a person, know your limits (hopefully), and also what your likes and dislikes are. This also extends to the kinds of sexual experiences you have. Later on in life you might also realize that there are a set of values and worldviews that inform the kind of sex you have, and who your partners are.
For me, a big part of this is my sexual identity. I didn’t come out as a queer until my late twenties. At the time I was in graduate school, and had several encounters with female-identified people, combined with the subject I was studying, and a supportive group of friends, made me feel comfortable enough to express that side of myself. This experience helped give me valuable insight into the kind of person I am, and also how I approached sexuality, and identity politics in general. This sense of awareness helped inform the kind of relationships and sexual partners I sought out.
Check out these 6 pieces of advice I’d give a younger version of myself.
Experimentation is great
Whether you are hooking up with someone of the opposite sex for the first time, using a new toy, or just trying something different in the bedroom, experimentation in all forms is great. Don’t be afraid to try new things. This could happen on a small or large scale, but whatever it is, do what works for you. Experimentation is meant to be fun and safe, but remember to always do it on your own terms.
Know your boundaries
While you may be up to occasionally spice things up if the right person and situation presents itself, it’s also just as important to know what you’re limits are. Talking about your boundaries before things get hot and heavy can help you avoid an awkward situation down the line.
Have a conversation
Sometimes it can be easy just to fall into bed with someone. Although that can be fun and sexy, you may potentially be putting yourself in an unsafe situation. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and ask the tough questions about previous sexual partners, current STI and HIV tests, as well as other things you feel are important to know. Knowledge is power. The more informed you are about your potential bedfellow can help with the kind of sex you may or may not have with them.
Don’t get pressured into something you’re not comfortable doing
It’s exciting when you like someone and you decide to take your relationship to a physical level. Even if you’re into the other person, one of the least sexiest things they can do is pressure you into something you’re not comfortable doing.
If you find yourself in that situation, take a second, tell them that’s not cool, and if they are still pressuring you, just leave. It’s never worth compromising your level of comfort and safety for someone else’s pleasure.
It’s OK to change your mind
It’s OK to change your mind at any point in any sexual situation you may find yourself in. Being safe and feeling comfortable are the two most important things in any sexual encounter and in life. If something feels off, say so. Take a minute to assess what’s going on and how you are feeling. If something still doesn’t feel right, then remove yourself from the situation by leaving, calling a friend, getting a cab, and doing whatever you can to get yourself to a safe space.
Your experience is your own
You’re on your own path in life. Remember you can’t compare yourself to other people, and what you think matters most. Your experiences inform the decisions you make. Your journey, sexually and otherwise is unique, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.
About the author:
Anni Irish has been a contributing writer to various national publications including Salon, Teen Vogue, The Village Voice, VICE, Bomb Magazine, Hyperallergic, and others. She has presented at numerous academic conferences, has been an adjunct faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and has guest lectured at various colleges, universities and institutions across the US. Irish was born and raised in Manchester, CT and resides in Brooklyn, NY with her 9-year-old mini lop rabbit Isabella.