10 Things I’ve Learned About Sex That I Wish I Understood Sooner

If I’d learned half the things I now know about sex back in high school, I’d have avoided a lot of messy pitfalls and felt a lot more empowered in my body when I started navigating sexual relationships. Instead, I had to come by this knowledge the hard way. Here are some things I wish I’d learned in school:

  1. Some women don’t get orgasms from penetration. If you’ve never had a vaginal orgasm and feel like you’re missing out, go easy on yourself. Many women never actually have a vaginal orgasm, and a study from a few years ago claims that they are, in fact, a total myth. All the movies we see of women having insane vaginal orgasms are in no way representative of reality. While plenty of women do experience their climaxes vaginally, many—perhaps the majority—do not, and it has absolutely nothing to do with “effort.”
  2. STDs are extremely common and you should feel absolutely no shame about getting one. Most sex ed teachers consider it their life’s mission to convey the horror of sexually transmitted diseases/infections to their students. And while some STDs are extremely dangerous and potentially life-altering, many of them are quite common and can be dealt with through medical attention. STDs are an unfortunate part of life worth avoiding, but usually not the end of the world. Never be ashamed of talking about it to anyone, especially to your doctor. They’ve seen everything.
  3. Sex is a great form of exercise. While sex, unfortunately, can’t really replace the treadmill in terms of caloric expenditure, it’s a great way to get in a workout at times you might otherwise be sedentary. Having sex in the morning instead of hitting the snooze button or on the couch after dinner instead of bingeing a TV show are great ways to incorporate an extra sweat sesh into a usually motionless window in your schedule. There are even ways to make your sex life more energetic than it already is if you’re so inclined.
  4. Guys will do almost anything to avoid using condoms. Don’t fall for it. Let me clear things up a bit: condoms are absolutely necessary, and if a guy is still capable of getting hard and having an orgasm while wearing them, they’re clearly not doing much to ruin his experience. If you’re ever in a situation where a guy tells you he really can’t enjoy sex with a condom and you’re miraculously still attracted to him, tell him he’s full of crap and break open the Durex.
  5. Talking openly about sex actually makes the sex itself more pleasurable. Even though the entire premise of sex ed is to talk about sex, teachers of the class rarely tell you how to have a healthy sexual relationship emotionally. Studies have found that talking about sex can greatly improve the physical aspect of it, so as you’re searching for the next greatest position or technique, maybe try just having a conversation with your partner and seeing what happens.
  6. There is no “right” or “wrong” age to lose your virginity. Chances are you know people (or are someone) who lost their virginity at 15 or 16 or younger, and you probably also know people (or are someone) who didn’t lose it until they were in their mid-twenties or later. And you know what? No matter what your parents or friends or sex ed teachers told you, both of those timelines are normal. The right time to lose your virginity isn’t about age but about emotional readiness, and that’s not something anyone other than you can determine.
  7. The clitoris is your friend. Why are health instructors so obsessed with the whole “p in v” thing and completely neglectful of the most magical female pleasure center, the clitoris? Even though most men don’t seem to know what a clitoris is let alone where it is or how to stimulate it, it can be the deciding factor in whether you enjoy sex or think it’s a burden. Educate your guys. Just because you weren’t taught about the clitoris doesn’t mean you can’t be the one to teach someone else about it. Think of it as a public service or a charitable contribution. Write it off on your taxes next year.
  8. Sex can actually make your heart healthier. Sex has been shown to have many health benefits beyond the obvious pleasure it brings. Apart from heart health, it’s also linked to reducing your risk of cancer and strengthening your immune system. And if you have a hard time sleeping, it can help with that too. I mean, what better way is there to tire yourself out than by taking a tumble in the sheets every now and then?
  9. How much sex you have is your decision and you don’t deserve to be labeled a prude or a slut because of it. The same woman can be called a slut and a whore on the same damn day. Basically, if you don’t have sex with a guy, he calls you a prude and if you do have sex with him, he calls you a slut. Women who make choices about their bodies one way or the other deserve to be celebrated, not ridiculed. If there’s one thing young girls should be taught, it’s that labels like slut and prude are created by men who are afraid of the power of women’s sexuality and have no basis in fact.
  10. Everyone’s body is different when it comes to birth control. When I was in high school, we were told that the Pill was a miracle drug. But everyone’s body is different, and while the Pill might have zero side effects for most of its users, many women experience debilitating conditions from it, just as IUD’s may work flawlessly for some and not at all for others. Bottom line is, when it comes to birth control, it’s not one size fits all and no one knows your body better than you.


Rose Nolan is a writer and editor from Austin, TX who focuses on all things female and fabulous. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Surrey and a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Law. She’s been writing professional since 2015 and, in addition to her work for Bolde, she’s also written for Ranker and Mashed. She's published articles on topics ranging from travel, higher education, women's lifestyle, law, food, celebrities, and more.