What’s one thing you ladies think everyone is doing wrong in bed?
— Anonymous, from Tumblr
Sarah: I think it’s actually two things that people are doing wrong, and neither of them have to do with sex acts themselves. The first one is not talking about the sex they’re having with their partners. We have some weird hangup in our collective socialization that seems to make everyone feel shy about discussing the high points of their sex lives with the people they’re having sex with. I’m not suggesting a play-by-play analysis the next morning, but I think we’d all have a lot better sex if we talked about the things we like that our partners do to us in bed. It breeds experimentation and creativity. It keeps the fires stoked.
The second thing is that we’re still not comfortable in our bodies. We seem to have this weird relationship with body positivity that is either this loud, constant affirmation of our beauty or the same-old “I’m not good enough” self-messaging. Even the current trend it “healthy weights” and “clean living” implies transience: we are a constant work in progress. We will be better, leaner, fitter with every bowl of kale and every mile run. I’m not talking about the Pinterest-ready mantras about who we are becoming, but about the flabby sack of meat and bones staring you in the mirror every day—the body you inhabit right now. I’m not saying we all have to go around demanding hugs and high-fives for our lovehandles, but rather a sort of nonchalant self-acceptance where you can look at your naked form in the mirror and have no reaction at all other than, “Yep, that’s what my naked body looks like right now, and it deserves pleasure as much as any other body.” That also means not making judgements based on the body types that others find attractive, and doing away with bullshit notions like whatever the hell the shape of a “real” woman or man is supposed to be. I got all kinds of straight and curvy female friends, big and small male friends, and I can say for sure that I’ve never passed through their hologram illusion of a person. They’re all very real.
When we decide that the body we have today deserves as much pleasure as the body we’ll have in the intangible “tomorrow,” and we learn how to have real conversations about pleasure with our partners as an everyday occurance, everyone will have better sex. Guaranteed.
Debby: There's nothing that "everyone" is doing wrong in bed but here are some things I feel we could be doing better: including sex in education in developmentally appropriate ways throughout life (which would result in more comfortable approaches to our bodies and sex), talking more with our partners about sex and pleasure, not taking it so personally when our partner doesn't have an orgasm, and being open to and accepting of each other's unique likes and desires.