5 Sexual Rules That Should Be Common Sense But Sadly Aren’t

1. Masturbate. This just makes sense. People who practice biking on their free time will do better in bike races, for example. I read so many stories on Sexxit about women (yes, it’s almost always women) who have trouble reaching orgasm during sex – or worse yet, have never reached an orgasm in their lives – and somehow don’t see their refusal to masturbate as the source of this problem. Folks, if you don’t jerk off on a regular basis, you don’t get to complain about your shitty sexual response.

2. Communicate. Anyone who’s ever read a sex blog, listened to a sex podcast, seen a sex TV show, or had good sex probably knows this rule. Sex tends to suck if you don’t talk about it. Doesn’t matter what you love or hate in bed, you need to tell your partner that information, or they can’t do a damn thing about it.

3. Bodies are inherently valid. This phrase is credited to the late, great Mark Aguhar. She was probably referring to the validity of bodies in a larger sense (body image, body politics, body dysphoria) but it applies to the way we should approach sex, too. Never make the mistake of thinking you don’t deserve pleasure just because you’re chubby, or “ugly,” or differently abled, or in transition. Your body is inherently valid and that means you deserve sex, good sex. We all have insecurities, many of which get dredged up in sexual situations, but that doesn’t mean we have to give those worries any credence.

4. Enthusiastic consent matters. I don’t just mean the big consent issues, the ones that center around rape. I also mean the smaller ways in which our culture dismisses the need for consent. People who don’t like to hug or shake hands are often branded “weird”; people who are uncomfortable with sensual and sexual touching get called “prudes”; the list goes on. Even within seemingly healthy relationships, there are plenty of expectations – for example, a woman who receives oral sex from a willing partner may feel obligated to give him a blowjob in return, even if she’s emotionally unequipped to do so on that night. The point is: check in with your partner, make sure they’re really okay with what’s happening, and be aware of the signals that might indicate when they’re not.

5. We get to choose how we identify. I’ve written about this before, because it’s important. No one can tell you what to call yourself or what you should be feeling. You can be a gay guy and still have sex with women if you want to. You can be a “femme in the streets, butch in the sheets.” You can identify as profoundly kinky and still have vanilla sex if that’s what you feel like doing. The acts you perform do not define you unless you want them to.

What are your sexual rules, principles, tenets, and values?