When it comes to sex, our 20s can be a formative decade. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age Americans lose their virginity (at least for penetrative sex) is about 17— which means there are a lot of twentysomethings out there finding their sexual grooves. In fact, research suggests that most women don’t reach their hormonal “sexual peak” until their 30s, after estrogen levels skyrocket during women’s mid-to-late 20s.
Beyond hormones, our 20s can be a time when we learn about ourselves, our desires, what we like, and what we don’t. Many of us are having sex for the first time in our 20s or trying out casual sex — and many of us are having good sex for the first time. Each year, the learning curve can be huge.
To kick off our 29 Days Of Great Sex, we’ve gathered 29 pieces of sex advice from people in their 20s or just beyond them. Whether it’s the life-altering benefits of foreplay or the importance of communication, these are the valuable lessons they learned (or are still learning) about sex during this impressionable decade.
Of course, while these tips worked for them, they won’t all necessarily work for you. And that’s okay. Talking about sex openly and sharing our experiences will only help us get a better understanding of the sexual landscape — not to mention what we might be into ourselves.
Here, 29 valuable lessons people learned about sex in their 20s.
This month, we’re sharing steamy personal stories, exploring ways to have even better sex, and wading through the complicated dynamics that follow us into the bedroom. Here’s to a very happy February. Check out more right here.
“I learned that having sex doesn’t mean everything else stops. You’re still moving, breathing, audible people. You can laugh, sigh, joke, and totally pause to reconnect. It’s a living, breathing thing that can follow any possible path. And when you feel okay deciding to hit ‘stop,’ recalibrate, or perhaps, make a comment, you know you’re with someone you’re supremely comfortable with.”
— Ellie, 27
“A little hair never hurt anyone! Shaving all the time is boring and uncomfortable, and pubic hair is super cute.”
— Lilly, 25
“Don’t be afraid to get in there and self-stimulate if that’s what’s going to give you the most enjoyment. It makes sex better for everyone. And if a partner is too intimidated by that and it makes them feel inadequate, that’s not the kind of person you should be with, anyway.”
— Alida, 31
“You need to ask for what you want. No one is a mind reader.”
— Michelle, 25
“If you take a subway together and he man-spreads, pole hogs, or doesn’t offer his seat to the elderly or pregnant riders, don’t fuck him. Manners make a man — and a good lay.”
— Irina, 25
“The more you work to please your partner, the more he or she will want to please you.”
— Dylan, 26
“One thing I’ve learned is to stop viewing sex as an affirmation of my partner’s attraction and desire for me. I used to feel rejected if my boyfriend fell asleep without trying to have sex, but now I realize that sex doesn’t have to be about validation — I find validation through my own personal triumphs and get to enjoy sex for what it is. Plus, I’m often just as tired as he is and could use the extra rest myself!”
— Melissa, 26
“Sex definitely isn’t everything, but how your physical chemistry evolves with someone over time can be telling. If you’re in a relationship for a while, you’re going to have sex with just the goal of wanting to get off and pass out. But when that becomes the only utility for sex and you’re not really attaching much passion to it ever, there’s probably something else going on.”
— Fred, 26
“I am responsible for my own orgasm.”
— Amber, 26
“Regardless of one’s — or one’s partner’s — sexual prowess, smoking a J of high-quality indica about 45 minutes to an hour before playtime will make everything 10 times more enjoyable. But go easy on the J, or you’ll end up sleeping through all of it — again, regardless of sexual prowess.”
— Alexandra, 28
For the rest of the tips, visit Refinery29.
By: Rebecca Adams