Sex is far from what I thought it would be.
Once upon a time, I was a very sheltered girl. Sex was the ultimate taboo — I thought it was dangerous, dirty, and I failed to understand how anyone could derive pleasure from it. In high school when my friends started engaging in sex, their less-than-positive reviews of their experiences didn't make sex sound any more appealing.
It wasn't until I got to college and started meeting more experienced, sex-positive, empowered ladies that I started to cultivate a positive view of sexuality. And when I finally started having sex with an incredibly sensitive man, I confirmed that a lot of my fear of sex was based on fallacies and lies.
Here were some of my most misguided thoughts I had about sex while I was still a virgin.
1. Tummy fat is Kryptonite for men.
I used to be absolutely terrified of getting naked in front of a guy. In fact, I actually lost my virginity while wearing a dress. I thought a dude would catch one glance of my layer of chub and totally lose interest. In reality, most guys don't care and aren't that douchey, and when they're that close to sticking their goods into your mouth and/or vag, they think you're the sexiest woman in the world.
2. A small penis means no pleasure.
The average depth of a vagina is six inches. The average length of a penis is five inches. More than likely, whatever he's packing is more than sufficient. But even if it's not, a finger feels good, and the odds of encountering a penis any smaller than that is highly unlikely.
3. Liking rough sex means you have no self-respect.
I totally bought into the idea that a woman allowing a man to dominate her in bed was letting herself be degraded. Then I actually started playing with dominant/submissive role play, and it's the complete antithesis of degrading. As a consenting adult woman creating a fantasy world with someone I trust, role play is incredibly empowering.
4. Condoms are uncomfortable.
I knew before I started having sex that I would always expect dude to wear a condom, as hormonal birth control isn't an option for me. But I was expecting condoms to be instruments of evil. I mean, who hasn't heard horror stories of condoms constantly breaking or condoms getting lost somewhere in the vagina?
But condoms get an unnecessarily bad rap. As long as they're put on properly and smothered in lube, things should be fine. Sure, you may have to experiment with different ones to find one that's perfect for the two of you, but being baby- and disease-free is worth the extra work.
5. Having sex "too soon" ruins any chance of a relationship.
Full disclosure, I had sex with a guy less than a week after I first met him. We're now approaching our one-year anniversary. I know a lot of you are side-eyeing me, thinking that my situation is an anomaly. And yes, I'll acknowledge that there are tons of guys who wouldn't consider me "girlfriend material." But they're clearly misogynistic jerks, so their opinion is very much null, void, and completely irrelevant to any self-respecting woman's interests.
If a guy truly likes you, he will have complete respect for you whether you sleep with him or not.
6. You don't have to work to have good sex.
I thought sex was based solely on chemistry, and if the sex wasn't immediately mind-blowing, it wasn't meant to be. However, I've learned that's an incredibly narrow-minded view. OK, maybe if you encounter a guy who doesn't know he has to be hard to enter you, it should be on to the next. Open communication is absolutely essential to have an exciting sex life. If you can't talk to someone about your fantasies or needs, you really don't need to be getting intimate with them.
7. Blow jobs are gross.
Oh, yes. I was one of those girls. The idea of sticking a penis in my mouth used to elicit a strong hell to the no from me. I was afraid of the taste, of the smell, if I would be good at it. Blow jobs aren't rocket science, and a good guy is more than willing to give you constructive feedback to improve your performance. As long as he showers regularly, you shouldn't be gagging with disgust while down there.
8. Guys always want sex.
I thought I'd constantly be in these awkward situations where all I wanted to do was kiss and cuddle while a dude would be dying to go further. And yes, of course I've encountered the douchebag who didn't want to take no for an answer. But most mature guys value a mutually enjoyable, consensual experience, and if you encounter one who doesn't, then ditch him.
9. Good sex always ends in orgasm.
There's far too much emphasis on orgasms. They're more like sprinkles on a chocolate frosted chocolate cupcake: a delightful extra treat, but far from necessary.
10. Sex isn't fun.
While I wouldn't call myself a sex addict, my ideal weekend with my boo definitely involves a few rounds of horizontal tango. Three years ago, though? I would've balked at the idea that sex was anything more than an arduous chore, something that I would only do because I didn't want to be seen as "damaged goods."
And while I would never condone having sex before you're ready, it's important to have a clear perspective of what sex actually is like before you decide to have it or not have it.
This article was originally published at College Candy. Reprinted with permission from the author.