For years women in their 30s been told that this is the decade we're going to have mind-blowing, multi-orgasmic, hair-pulling sex. I, as a woman in my 30s, think that's tremendous pressure (and not the good kind) to face between the sheets. Plus, HuffPost Women's Emma Gray points out that some data contradict the "the oft-cited conventional wisdom that women peak sexually in their 30s." The ever wise Dr. Ruth, who in her mid 80s still gives stellar sex advice, says, "I question all such theories about peaks. I think that such phenomena are very individual."
So rather than focusing on reports and statistics and the quantification of pleasure, I will pause to talk a little about my own experience. I have learned that sex is much more pleasurable in my 30s. In your 20s, sex is fine, but not as passionate because you're still trying to figure things out. Getting to know yourself physically and emotionally makes for better sex. Learning what love is makes for better sex. Caring about others makes for better sex. You're also probably having sex with more experienced partners, so you have learned a thing or two.
In my 20s sex was more physical --I was more consumed with some idealized "feeling" I thought being sexual was all about. Sure, that was a step up from teen sex, which was just a disaster, but there was still plenty of progress to be made. Now that I'm in my 30s, sex is more holistic -- it can incorporate a mental, spiritual, and psychodynamic connection with my partner, while still sending chills down my spine. Complexity makes for better sex, and women in our 30s are complex, beautiful creatures.
If mind-blowing, multi-orgasmic, hair-pulling sex is what you're after, here are 8 things I've learned about sex now that I'm in my 30s:
Experiment with the rolling O. Although this isn't actually scientifically proven, a girlfriend of mine swears by what she calls the "rolling O." What you do is hold your breath during the moments building up to and during your climax for an intensified, extended orgasm. I've tried it, and although it requires a little concentration at first, practice pays off, and with the "rolling O" you have greater control over your pleasure.
Know and accept your body. I was giving my four-year-old goddaughter a bath when she told me, "Vaginas are yucky." I had to stop bath time and impart a little wisdom onto my fellow sister. I was shocked and appalled that society has brainwashed girls as young as four to feel shamed for their lady parts. As a woman in your 30s, you should definitely be familiar with your vagina, what feels like what and how everything works. If you're worrying about things like taste, smell, or sounds, you're detracting from the physical sensations of pleasure. Being comfortable with yourself pays off, too: When you're less inhibited not only will you feel sexier, your partner will experience more enjoyment. Says a friend, "I like that I don't always feel like I have to cater to the guy like when I was younger. I feel now I can let go and not have to be perfect."
Get comfortable with certain skills. Women in the 30s are known for several things among my younger set of male pals: their confidence, careers, and superior skills when it comes to oral sex. By now, oral sex is hopefully something you enjoy, and if you're like me, the more you enjoy something, the better you are at it. Share tips with your female friends, guy friends, gay friends of both genders, but more than that, learn how to communicate with your partner. Try a couple of different techniques and ask what he or she likes best.
Personally, on the receiving side, I've found that men in their 30s (as opposed to younger men) are better at it. My 30+ male friend admits, "Honestly, it takes years to perfect the skills. I've learned what works and doesn't. My advice to those who want to please a woman this way: listen to her. She doesn't have to say anything verbally -- her body language speaks for itself. How she reacts, quivers, moans -- all of these give you cues on how to proceed."
Use porn carefully. Everyone I talk to--men and women--insist that porn is not the standard. It's smoke and mirrors, not a manual, and as Nichole a.k.a Nakita Kash (former porn star) says in Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus' documentary about sexiness in the cyber age "Sexy Baby," "Porn is sport f******." To the younger generation, I implore you, please do not think that porn reflects real sex. Still, as women in our 30s, we like to see what's out there -- to get the imagination going for our own arousal or to get things started with a partner. But trust me, you don't want to make love like a porn star.
Be comfortable setting your own boundaries. Just like a 30-year-old woman doesn't kowtow to the latest trends in fashion, she sets her own style bar when it comes to sex. Some things, like BDSM might not be for you, but that doesn't make you "vanilla." If missionary gets you off, go for it! By now, you know yourself and what you're comfortable with. Own it. On the other hand, if you feel like being adventurous, there's no age limit on expanding your horizons.
Know what you want before you sleep with someone. If a relationship is what you covet, don't waste your time with one-night stands. You might think these carnal flings are meaningless, but the excitement they give you is like a drug--and gives you a rush. Like any "high," the rollercoaster of emotions (you're self-inflicting) is keeping you from really pursuing a solid connection with a partner. Likewise, if commitment isn't your thing, don't force a relationship because it's what you think you "ought" to be doing. You make the rules. Along these lines, by your 30s, you have enough experience to discern what others want out of you, so your Pollyanna days are done. Trust your instincts about people; listen to yourself.
Get ready for more connected sex. I've found that something switched in me now that I'm older -- it could be all the things listed in this piece -- my confidence, control, greater love for myself and body, or it could be that I've finally fit into my skin. This translates into sex where you are fully connected to your partner, in sync, and reaching towards being fully intimate. It can be very powerful, and has left me in tears several times (which can freak a guy out, so be sure to explain these are tears of sexual passion). A lot of people suffer in relationships because they're trying to hold on too tight to their partner or they're not able to open themselves up enough. A successful relationship is about being able to stand alone, as well as with your partner. Now that I'm able to stand on my own, sexually, I neither hold on too tight nor close up.
Your "list" is for your eyes only. Now that you're in your 30s, and, if like me, single, chances are you've racked up a certain number. Recently, I made "the list." Some of the names on the list brought me fond memories; others made me cringe. Being aware of your sexual past will help you fine-tune what you're looking for -- and what you're not. By no means share the list with a lover or even a friend. It's for you and you alone.
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