Sex. It’s something almost everyone on Earth knows about. According to Dr. Justin Lehmiller, Americans in their twenties have sex around 112 times per year, which means that twenty-somethings are getting it on multiple times a week, every week. Let’s talk about sex as a twenty-something.
Sex As A Twenty-Something: What You Need To Know
Everyone explores their sexuality at different times, but a person’s twenties are usually the prime time for sexual maturity and exploration. Whether you’ve got years of experience or not doesn’t matter, but there are a few things that every twenty-something should know as they begin their journey to sexual freedom.
So no matter how much sex you might be having, what’s more important about the quantity is the quality of your sex life. Female sexuality and the complexities of sexual desire are not talked about enough, but now, with social changes, people are starting to understand the importance of speaking out and talking about “taboo” topics like a sexual woman or even a night of sex between to consenting adults who are married.
Go At Your Own Pace
Twenty-somethings should understand that everyone’s sexual journey is different. Some people start early, and some start later, but there’s no reason to compare yourself to others. Focus on what you want versus what you feel like you should be doing.
Whether casual or committed, sex should always be fun. If you’re not completely sure that you want to have sex, don’t force yourself. Find comfort in your comfort, and the rest will unfold as it should.
The sex lives of young women don’t always get the spotlight, unless it’s pressure to conform to whatever television series are showing as attractive, desirable, or other popular portrayals of women and how they should behave.
These portrayals unfortunately play a significant role in how young women perceive themselves and think their sex lives should start or be like. We’re here to tell you that you have so much control over your sexuality, in how you’d like to act upon it, embrace it, and define it.
In the period of early adulthood, where you’re having sex as a twenty-something, the most important thing you can do for your sex life is to let it be exactly what you want it to be, and not worry about what anyone else might be doing.
Figure Out What You Like
You do not have to have lots of sex to figure out what feels good. Finding your comfort with sex includes the need for the exploration of your own body.
Not everyone is ready to start having sex with other people, and that’s completely okay! Instead of thinking about sex as something that always has to take place between two or more people, twist your thinking of sex as more of an experience of bodies.
If you don’t feel good with yourself, how are you supposed to know what you like once you’re with another person? And when you are emotionally ready for your first time with another person, it helps to know what you like so that you can have more satisfying relationships when it comes to having good sex.
One major thing that twenty-somethings need to get comfortable with is the act of personal satisfaction. When we hear the term masturbation, we immediately think of men. There’s a social construct that masturbation is something that women don’t do because it’s embarrassing or dirty or wrong.
In actuality, masturbation is a completely normal thing that allows people a chance to understand what they want and don’t want. Women, men, and anyone in between should have the ability to get comfortable with their bodies, and that includes exploring yourself.
Plus, masturbation can actually help people with alleviating menstrual cramps, back aches, and other pains throughout the body. So, if you’re new to the journey of sex, or just looking for a little more personal attention, give it a shot and know that it’s not wrong or something to be embarrassed about.
With more positive role models, we can help younger generations drop the “good girl” ideation and other contradictory messages about what sex should look like and thy can embrace their sexuality openly and with less fear, shame, or stress. It all starts with us!
Consent Is A Must
If you don’t know what consent is, or you don’t know how to “spot” it. You really need to read this (and read it twice). Consent is when each person gives freely gives permission and agreement to engage in a sexual activity with the other partner.
Consent can be taken away at any time during sex. To learn more about consent and other safe sex practices, check out resources like Planned Parenthood. The right people will accept and understand your boundaries and stop when you want to, no matter what point of the moment you’re in.
Practice Safe Sex
Consent is and will always be the most important part of sex, but right alongside it is the need for protection. People, especially women, in their late teens and early twenties suffer the most from STDs. The CDC has found that chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are the three top STDs found in those aged 15-29.
Young people top the charts because there is a lack of education surrounding the need for sexual protection, and there is more of a hookup culture with casual sex rather than monogamous relationships. Which isn’t to say that high school students lack the maturity to have successful relationships, it’s more that there is a lack of education and accessibility to protection such as birth control or condoms because most high schoolers who are sexually active are hiding the fact from their parents.
But protection isn’t just condom use! It’s making sure you’re in a clean space, or that the person you’re with has recently washed their hands, and you feel safe and trust the person you’re with.
Sexual protection is far different than birth control, because not everyone has the ability to get pregnant through their sexual relationships. When two people with vaginas have sex, there’s 0% worry of pregnancy, but there should always be worry of infection or disease. With any kind of penetrative sex or anal sex, there is the possibility of infection, which is why you should always practice safe sex.
Psychologist Leslie C. Bell wrote Hard To Get: American Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom, because “the new freedoms and mixed messages that characterize their early adulthood, together with the absence of useful training in getting what they want, contribute to a contemporary paradox: sexual freedom paired with unsatisfying sex and relationships,” according to Bell.
In today’s modern society, sex as a twenty-something now is so different than the previous generation, and this new emotional landscape of the 21st century can be complicated, confusing, and even painful.That’s why it’s important to figure out what you want, who you are, and never back down from your beliefs.
Which is why Leslie Bell took an intimate examination of the sex lives of women especially, conducting candid interviews to better understand the landscape. Women’s lives may not include enough sex that is fulfilling and satisfying, and unless we learn earlier in our sex lives to speak up for what we want, we are in for a lifetime of sub-par pleasure.
As you begin your sexual journey, whether you’re working with a penis or a vagina, make sure you spend ample time on your physical health before, during, and after the deed. That will make all the difference between good sex, bad sex, and your overall sexual health and happiness.
Sex is far from simple, but when you explore others throughout your twenties, there are ways to make it easier on yourself. Make sure you let yourself have fun!
Things may start rocky with great uncertainty, but as you mature, the idea and act of sex becomes less of a stressor. At the end of the day, just remember—consent is key, and your enjoyment matters.