• Mon, Oct 18 2010

The Best Sex Advice is No Sex Advice

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about sex. I don’t know why — maybe it’s because I’m reaching my sexual peak and so I’m horny all the time. Or maybe it’s because of my birth control. Only god knows for sure. But I’ve been thinking about sex, and what makes good sex, and what doesn’t. And I realized that somewhere along the way, we ladies have become reliant on totally useless sex advice.

Every month, millions of us get magazines that promise to tell us how to please ourselves and our lovers more effectively. Usually, there’s some nod to better communication in there, like “tell him (or her) what you want!” But often, that accurate nugget is surrounded by other, more random nuggets having to do with ‘taints, balls, food, nipples, pacing, making noise, not making noise, lips, tongues, body positioning, bodily functions, plastic toys, cameras, text messages, lingerie, and other things too numerous to list.

And some of these, taken one by one, for some people, might be fun things to incorporate. But when taken as a whole, over the course of years, this onslaught of advice amounts to way too much to think about during sex to ever enjoy it.

I mean, think about it. When you have sex, it should be because it feels good, physically and/or emotionally. And often, if you pay attention to your body, you’ll figure out how best to accomplish that. Time to flip over? You know better than Cosmo. Time to do missionary exclusively for two months straight? You also know better.

But if all you can think about when you’re doing the dirty is what exactly it was that Allure suggested (were you supposed to lick behind his ear, or the rim of his lobe?) you’re going to be too distracted to figure out what you — and your partner — actually want.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the kind of realization that sinks in quickly. For instance, I’m still surprised when my fiance tells me that he loves the sex we have, the way we have it. Even though there’s not much I would change either, every now and then I become adamantly convinced that I’m not being interesting enough for him, that maybe if I spontaneously introduced, say, a blindfold and some peanut butter to the equation, I’d be a better lover. This, despite the fact that when I’ve brought in something new because I felt like I should, rather than because one of us actually wanted to try it, it’s awkward…at best.

I’m not saying that any hesitation or self-doubt that I have comes exclusively from sex advice I read in magazines, although I’d certainly love to blame all of my woes on someone else. But I am saying that those tips do little but clutter up my thinking — and probably a lot of other people’s thinking — when it comes to what we really want in bed. Because at the end of the day, whether you’re into bondage or vanilla or swinging or becoming abstinent, no one knows how to improve your sex life better than you.

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  • Lindsay Hartman

    Jessica, thank you! Every once a while, I get that exact same, “Am I giving him what he wants? What if secretly wants something and I’m just not good enough in bed to figure it out?” feeling. And I worry and stress. And once I finally ask my husband about it, he looks at me like I’m crazy! And I am being crazy. If I think back to the best sex, its always when we were way too involved in each other to worry about anything else, even the sex itself.

  • Eileen

    I have only ever tried one Cosmo “tip,” and that was “suck on his neck below his Adam’s apple.” Was it effective? Sure. Did I send the poor guy off to serve at Mass the next day with two prominent hickeys, rather than just one? Also true. If I hadn’t read the magazine that morning, his neck might have been spared.

    • Lindsay Hartman

      The image of my mother-in-law’s face if she noticed her son at Mass with hickeys on his neck just gave me the biggest smile of my morning! Not because I dislike my mother-in-law, because she’s just so intensely sweet and proper. She would have no idea at all what to do!

    • Eileen

      Ha! Always glad to help. Luckily his parents were not there, or he might not have forgiven me… ;-)