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.