The title to this article is of course oversimplified, because after 7 years of working as a sex educator, and more recently training to become a sex therapist, I have gained enough information and experience to have some idea of what could improve your sex life. But unless I have lived your life, inside your body, felt what you’ve felt, and desire what you desire, I can never definitively tell you what will make your sex life better. No one can.
As a sex educator, one of the most common questions I have been asked is some variation of ‘what is the best (insert sex toy/act/etc here)?’ Depending on who the person is, the exact question will differ, but ultimately the motivation behind it is pretty much the same: they want to know how they can have the best sexual experience possible.
Wanting to have the best experience you can possibly have with your body and with others is a beautiful, empowering and liberating way to be. I strongly believe that sex should first and foremost be a pleasurable experience. We all have the right to figure out what we want, need and enjoy when it comes to sex. That is why I completely understand - and celebrate - people asking this kind of question. What the question misses however, is when it comes to sex there is no single, unanimous ‘best’ anything.
Conversations and portrayals of sex are present in every aspect of our society. Whether it’s during chats with friends, romantic montages in films and shows; aggressive marketing campaigns for literally any product, and of course porn. While these portrayals may all have a slightly different focus and purpose, they all work to give us an idea of how sex should be, what it should look like, and how it should feel. Not to mention, they all also make the assumption that we all have sex or want to have sex, which isn’t true for many of us. Essentially, they work to create an idea that there are right and wrong ways to have sex, and these ways are the same for everyone.
when it comes to sex there is no single, unanimous ‘best’ anything.
I should emphasise here, that there are of course important universals when it comes to sex. Consent, safer practices (from STI protection to BDSM precautions), medical needs and so on are all important and beneficial to know and follow. This isn’t the information however, that we are bombarded with. What we mostly hear, see or talk about is the ‘how to be good/better/the best in bed’ style advice.
It is this advice that can often create a feeling, or even a fear, that we are missing out or not doing ‘it’ correctly. When our experiences don’t match up with how it has been portrayed or promised, it’s a lot easier to assume it’s us, our bodies, our experiences that are wrong. It’s easy to miss that everything being presented to us is generalisation and opinion, and not a definitive truth about sex.
Sex is individual, personal and specific. From the decision to have or not have sex, to what kind(s) of sex you do or don’t have, to who you have or don’t have sex with, only you can choose what you enjoy, what you hate, and what you feel ‘meh’ about. Of course other people, both professionals and those within our communities, can provide advice and support about what could work for us. But remember, regardless of who they are, what they have experienced and even how many people agree with what they’re saying, if the idea or the experience of their advice doesn’t feel good, then ignore their advice and not your discomfort.
Give yourself permission to trust your instincts, listen to your own body, desires and emotions. It’s about creating boundaries for yourself and knowing that it’s ok for those boundaries to change but you decide if, when, and how. This goes equally for having sex alone (solo sex or masturbation) as it does for having sex with others. Sharing a sexual experience is about exploring the parts of sex you both - or all - are interested in, want to try and ultimately enjoy experiencing. Respecting your and any partner(s)’ boundaries and exploring what falls within them is how you can build and share a sex life that is genuine and fulfilling.
ignore their advice and not your discomfort
I am aware that in saying I don’t know how you can have a better sex life, I am still (hopefully) telling you how to have a better sex life. If everything I’ve said in this article is obvious to you, then excellent! If what I’ve said doesn’t land with you then also excellent. You can ignore, disagree with and dislike whatever advice I give about sex. That’s kind of the point. I can’t tell you how to have a better sex life because I don’t know what that means, feels or looks like for you. In this era of ‘sexperts’ (particularly on social media), don’t forget that you get to decide what is better, worse, the best and the worst for you.