MUST#1 for Great Sex: Let go of messed-up ideas about sex

At some point in their lives, most people have heard (or even believed) at least one of the following:

• ”Have sex on the 3rd date.”
• ”Women shouldn’t initiate.”
• ”Lube is for old people.”
• ”Vibrators make it harder to orgasm the old-fashioned way.”

And yet who makes these rules and ideas up? What’s so magical about a 3rd date anyway? Certainly women and men can be trusted to make up their own rules as they go along!?!

Rigid ideas of how sex “should” or “shouldn’t” go can get in the way of two people exploring and learning what feels good to them. Take time to consider your own values, likes and dislikes about sex – not just in general, but in each new relationship (and as a long-term relationship progresses). Also, take time to explore each other’s (including your own) body to learn what feels good. Just because your best friend thinks that missionary is boring doesn’t mean that you will. In fact, one of the most time-tested positions as far as orgasm goes is a variation on missionary.

Keep challenging yourself on ideas about sex that seem to hold you back. Worried that women shouldn’t initiate a good make-out session (or sex) even though you’re itching to pull your boyfriend onto the couch? So worried that men shouldn’t like a good cuddle that you shy away from one? First, most men enjoy cuddling – second, even if they didn’t, why let what other men do get in the way of your own wants and needs?

Ask yourself where these ideas have come from – your family? Friends? Movies? Magazines? – and then keep the ideas that enhance your life and get rid of those that don’t fit. Being sexual (whether that’s kissing, touching, or full-on nakedness) with someone you’re crazy about has too much potential for pleasure to be held back by misconceptions.

Check back next week for my MUST #2 for Great Sex.

[Originally published in my weekly column on]

[Above image by miss mass, via Flickr.]

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at