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Why you should stop comparing your sex life (and start doing this instead)


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Photo: Stocksy/Lumina

While there are plenty of things that you and your BFFs have in common (hello, flattering leggings and self-care Sundays), there are certain things that’ll always be unique to you—no matter how in-sync your lives seem to be. Among them? Your period blood…and your orgasms. (Yep, going there.) And when it comes to the latter, in particular, there are a few myths that sex expert and Well+Good Council member Lila Darville would like to clear up. 

Talking about sex is wonderful—especially talking more about female pleasure. But comparing your sex life to your friends’, or feeling bad because you believe it doesn’t measure up to some wild, societal sex standard? This is something that I would love to see less of.

No two women experience sex the same way.

The truth is that no two women experience sex the same way. While it’s easy to feel the pressure over brunch when the Samantha of your group had tantric sex that lasted hours and your BFF was double-orgasming all weekend with her new S.O., it’s important to remember that we’re each our own sexual snowflake.

why you shouldn't compare your sex life to others'
Photo: Stocksy/Robert Zaleski

So many things factor into how we experience sex, and a lot of our pleasure is actually determined first in our brains (between our ears rather than between our legs). What turns a woman on might depend on how safe she feels with a partner, how she feels about them, and—stay with me—how she feels about herself when she’s with them. If you’ve been sleeping with someone for years, you could feel either totally free to explore, sparking great sex…or totally bored by the same moves. Sleeping with a stranger might inhibit one woman or unleash another, depending on her current state of mind.

How comfortable a woman is with her body also plays a part. Consider that one woman might live to receive oral sex but another can barely stand the thought of it. There may be big psychological element behind the difference. The woman who’s turned off by oral sex might be less comfortable with her vagina and the way it looks or smells; the woman who loves it might be totally turned on by completely surrendering herself sexually.

Our traumas and our memories are another piece of the pleasure puzzle. If you’ve had a negative experience with, for example, breast stimulation or rough sex, being touched that way again can easily trigger bad memories. Some people love their neck being squeezed, but for some people, that can be incredibly frightening.

How we expect to feel often informs what we actually feel.

Ideally, we’d all embrace our sexual differences and limits. But as the saying goes: Comparison is the thief of joy. Sex talk among friends is great if it’s inspiring, but if it leads to judgment, criticism, and unrealistic expectations, it can hinder your experience rather than add to it. How we expect to feel often informs what we actually feel. Maybe you’re hung up on experiencing that classic, climactic G-spot orgasm from penetration that you see in porn or in movies. But in reality, in your case, a clitoral orgasm from receiving oral sex might actually feel better, or make you orgasm more easily.

Photo: Stocksy/Guille Faingold

Especially as porn has become the default sex education for new generations, there are great expectations (sexpectations?) about what women should get off on. Exaggerated scenes have become so popular that women are now expected to orgasm like men do: it has to be explosive (there’s even the added challenge of ejaculating like a man via squirting) and loud. Sometimes orgasms do look like that, but other times they can be completely quiet and internal.

To state the obvious, we’re not men. Women are so incredibly, beautifully complex: sometimes, we absolutely want to get off like a man, but other times, we just want to be held and rocked and it doesn’t even have to end in climax for us to be completely and utterly satisfied.

Exaggerated porn scenes have become so popular that women are now expected to orgasm like men do.

We are all vastly different sexual creatures, but the one thing that might be a universal turn-off? Worrying too much about what we’re supposed to be doing, or what everybody else is doing, during sex. It’s on you to really lean into what’s authentic for you and what you find pleasurable. When you stop trying to achieve a specific goal or compare your sex life to anyone else’s, chances are, everything will feel a whole lot better.

An expert on sex and intimacy, Lila Darville is a professional relationship coach who brings her body-positive, real-talk approach to stadiums full of women as the pleasure director of a show in Las Vegas called Magic Mike Live.

What should Lila write about next? Send your questions and suggestions to [email protected]