By Suzannah Weiss. Photos: Stocksy.
A lot of dumb societal baggage can make us feel ashamed of our sex lives. But the truth is, anything that's consensual, wanted, and doesn't harm anyone should be on the menu —without a side of guilt. Here are some of the things we're tired of hearing we should feel bad about doing in bed. Because life is way too short to not have all the sex you want, exactly the way you want it.
1. Stopping mid-session
If you agree to something and then realize you're not all that into it, you have absolutely no obligation to go continue doing it—regardless of how your partner might make you feel about doing so. Consent can be revoked at any time, for any reason. It's totally up to you. Besides, no decent person would want to sleep with someone who's anything less than extremely enthusiastic.
2. Not enjoying things you're "supposed" to like
The popular discourse around sex sometimes gives the impression that we should all be crazy for oral sex or PIV sex or some other kind of sex. The truth is, there's a huge range of sexual tastes and preferences, and they're all totally normal. Instead of feeling guilty about what you don't like, focus on finding and enjoying something that's hot for both you and your partner.
3. Being into something taboo
Again, nothing between consenting adults is a problem. Kinks are extremely common, and they don't necessarily have to be some major reflection on who you are outside the bedroom. You're not anti-feminist for wanting to be dominated, you're not overly aggressive for wanting to dominate someone, and you're not unusual for wanting to try out role-playing. There's no need to judge or analyze your desires; if you both enjoy it, that's enough of a reason to go for it.
4. Speaking up when something's not working for you
Don't worry about wounding your partner's self-esteem. Hopefully, they'd rather get some constructive criticism than keep going with something that's doing nothing for you. Especially if anything physically hurts during sex, remember that you should never feel bad about stopping immediately and finding something that works for you.
5. Making whatever faces or noises you make
Looking or sounding sexy in the middle of sex is not something your should prioritize if you don't feel like it. Worrying about whether you're putting on a good show for your partner can kill the pleasure, and it's much more important to focus on how you're feeling.
6. Giving instructions
Some might say it kills the mood to communicate during sex, but that's absurd. Everybody likes different things, so how are our partners supposed to know what we like if we don't talk to them about it? Anyone whose ego is bruised because they weren't able to read your mind has their own insecurities—ones that are totally unrelated to you.
7. Using toys
Wanting to spice up your sex life with toys isn't an insult to your partner's skill, and it doesn't make the sex less connected or authentic. If anything, bringing a cool new vibrator into bed could make sex more fun for you both.
8. Being a little selfish
Yes, sex should be a mutual activity. But sometimes, making it mutual means looking out for yourself, whether that's by requesting that your partner spend more time on you, suggesting your favorite position, or literally taking matters into your own hands. Given that only 65 percent of straight women orgasmed every time they were intimate with someone, a lot of us could maybe stand to be more selfish.
9. Initiating sex
The days when women were supposed to be less sexual beings and men were supposed to make the first move are (thankfully) long gone. Assertiveness shows that you're confident and you know what you want—and that's sexy.
10. Sleeping with whoever the hell you want
No matter what so-called "common knowledge" might dictate, sleeping with someone on the first date won't sabotage your shots at a relationship, just like how having a one-night stand won't make you hate yourself. Forget everything you've been taught about who you should and shouldn't sleep with—your sexual choices have no bearing on what kind of person you are ethically.
This story originally appeared on Glamour.
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