According to a recent study, many adult Canadians could benefit from a sex ed refresher.
Earlier this fall, pharmaceutical company Bayer released The Truth Report, which revealed 84% of women surveyed throughout Europe and in Canada admitted they had shared or would share information about sex they were unsure was actually true.
This may be acceptable for young adults, but adult adults? With this in mind, I spoke to some of the leading sex and relationship experts about this topic. Here are 10 things that they revealed every adult should know before they’re 40.
1. You need to take birth control at the same time every day
Dr. Christine Palmay is a Toronto-based family physician and birth control expert. She says hormones in your birth control pill need to be administered at the same time every day. “Missing one pill in a cycle may mean that you’re no longer protected for the duration of the pill pack; you should use another form of protection, like condoms, during that time. If you find you’re missing pills frequently, it might be time to look into long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) options,” she says.
2. There’s a difference between emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy
“Though it's counterintuitive, most couples become physically intimate before they are comfortable being emotionally vulnerable and talking about their sexual preferences (or things they don't know if they like but want to explore),” says Mariah Byrne, CEO of Fantasy Box - a luxury delivery service designed to help couples explore new dimensions of their relationship in safe and fun ways. The solution? Talk to your partner.
3. What you see in the movies isn’t real life
“One thing that adults should know about sex is that the other person may be just as nervous as you are the first time,” says Joshua Pompey, the founder of Next Level Matchmaking. “Between Hollywood movies and pornography, many men and women feel unwarranted pressure to be a rock star in the bedroom that will have their partners screaming for days. Do not succumb to this myth. Concentrate on enjoying each other and don't over think things,” says Pompey.
4. That it's OK (actually, kind of necessary) to ask for what you want or/and need
How else is your partner going to know how to please you? JoEllen Notte is a sex educator and author of the award-winning blog The Redhead Bedhead. As Notte explains, “For a long time I bought into the idea that sex should "just work" - nope. Speak up, it will be way better.”
5. The pull-out method doesn’t work
As Dr. Christine Palmay explains, “If your goal is to get pregnant, then withdrawal – a.k.a “pull out and pray” – can be a really effective way of adding to your duo in about nine months time. Sperm is released in pre-ejaculate, which means that without proper protection it’s possible to get pregnant, even if you’re careful when it comes to “the big moment”.”
Important final note from Dr. Palmay: “Always remember that STD protection needs to be considered, so use a condom in addition to birth control accordingly.”
6. Sex advice isn’t “one size fits all”
When it comes to sex, not everything is going to work for everyone. As Notte shares, “No matter what anyone says, no matter what you read, no matter what you see in a store, no position, toy, potion, book or anything else that will make everyone have an amazing orgasm every time... and that's awesome.”
7. Sex shouldn’t be about “keeping track”
"Instead of a give or receive exchange in sex, the ultimate ecstasy is when it becomes so much the same that you can’t tell the difference,” says Dr. Anne Ridley, a licensed psychotherapist, clinical sexologist and certified loveologist. As she explains, “Receiving pleasure from the turn-on of our lover allows us to transcend feelings of separateness from focusing on technique to more authentic intimacy and unscripted sexual expression.”
8. Lube is your best friend
Dr. Jess, author of The New Sex Bible, says lube is an important part of a great sex life. “Lube isn’t a substitute for foreplay (Ronda Rousey was way off base on this one), but it’s greatest accoutrement,” she says. As she is keen to point out, “Possibilities for techniques and positions are greater, and research indicates that lube actually leads to higher levels of arousal, pleasure and satisfaction.”
9. It’s OK to watch porn - alone or with a partner
“As long as you don’t use mainstream porn as a model for average sex, indulging in some visual, audial and fantastical stimulus can be good for your sex life and your relationship,” says O’Reilly.
10. It’s not all about the orgasm
Contrary to what you may think, having an orgasm isn't the be-all and end-all of sex, explains sexologist Dr. Carlen Costa. “Sure, having an orgasm in the throes of passion is really really really great, if it happens, but be mindful that intimacy is about sharing pleasure and the experience of it all. Don't beat yourself up (or your partner) if you don't come to orgasm, because that kind of pressure will actually make it harder to get there at all,” she says.