6 Facts About Sex That Every Smart Girl Should Know

It won't even cost you that much money!

Want to start having the best—and healthiest—sex life EVER? The secret is in these surprising facts about sex, relationships, and dating. Read on to learn the facts you need to know in order to improve your sex life while staying healthy.  

1. Avoid blurred lines–even in casual relationships.
A recent study shows that most people believe talking openly about relationship expectations is a must. Yet, 85% never start these conversations. So, figure out what is right for you and let your partner know. Most people are actually attracted to confident partners who stand up for themselves. Make sure you are on the same page and set some ground rules, ideally before it becomes intimate. What kind of relationship are you looking for? How will you protect yourself from an unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection?  Even if it’s not a committed relationship, it's still a relationship, so respect should be a part of it.

2. When searching for a good partner, it's location, location, location. 
Sure, it may be easier to strike up a conversation with someone at a bar, but easy often doesn't produce good results. Recent research officially confirms that the "beer goggles” phenomenon"—when drinking alcohol causes us to find others more sexually attractive than usual—is absolutely real. Sex and dating are much better when you're making decisions with a clear head and the bar scene can make that difficult. The good news is, sober people are around you everywhere … and it's time to start scoping them out in the supermarket, on the subway, or in line for coffee.

3. Don't assume your annual Pap test covers the whole enchilada of "below the belt" infections. 
Over 50% of women are not getting vital services that can protect their sexual health. Are you one of them? A Pap test only detects pre-cancerous cells caused by HPV; it does not test for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV. These infections, which can cause lifelong health problems such as infertility, often don't have any symptoms. That's why regular screening is so important. If found early, many STIs can be cured, and the others can be treated and managed. To find out what is recommended for you, check out this handy chart from the National Coalition for Sexual Health, and talk with your health care provider to make sure you get what you need. 

4. See a health care provider. 
These days, staying sexually healthy is a bargain. Reading the above fact, you probably had dollar signs swirling in your head—how much are these recommended services going to cost?!? But now you don't have to worry about having to choose between going broke and being sexually healthy. A wide range of preventive sexual health services, including vaccines to protect you from HPV and hepatitis, STI screenings, and contraceptives are now available free of charge through the Affordable Care Act. You can check with your insurer about specific coverage. And if you're not insured, you can probably find a local health center that offers free or low cost services.

5.  Commitment can equal a more satisfying sex life.
You might think that playing the field leads to more exciting sex than sticking with one partner, but according to new research, people in committed relationships have more frequent and more satisfying sex than people in less committed relationships. This is true for both men and women. In the current hook up scene it might make you feel vulnerable—or even dorky—to say that you're looking for a relationship rather than something casual. But relationships are a normal and healthy thing to want and yes, guys often want them too … even if they don’t always act like it. 

6. Get on top ... of your contraception. 
Whether it’s news reports, movies, or TV shows, teen pregnancy seems to get all of the attention. But, over half of unplanned pregnancies actually occur among women in their 20’s. Why? Surprisingly, many sexually active twenty-somethings—who don’t want to get pregnant—aren’t using any contraception. In fact, one-fifth doesn’t use contraceptives at all, and nearly a quarter doesn't use them consistently. Does this sound like you? If so, before you have sex again, check out Bedsider's birth control guide and find a method that's right for you.