Let’s take a few minutes to get super personal here. Millennials, when’s the last time you had sex? Was it with a committed partner, a random stranger, or someone who falls somewhere in between? No matter what the specific timeframe looks like, many of us are disappointed (or even downright frustrated) with our sex lives.
If you’re single, you might have a hard time finding someone, or bringing yourself to sleep with someone you’re not dating. If you are in a relationship, you might have a hard time fitting sex in around work, school, family, and whatever other commitments you have going on.
Basically, your sex life in your 20s isn’t like your sex life when you were a teenager – and that’s a good thing. We’ve got 7 things you need to remember when you’re going through a rough patch.
1. Sex is a want, not a need.
No matter how much our hormones try to convince us that sex is a need, it really isn’t. It’s more like an addiction that some people can manage better than others, and some people get to skip altogether. Of course, the specifics of what counts as a “want” and what counts as a “need” might be subjective, in some regards, but when it comes to your sex life… No one needs sex as often as they want it. (There are health benefits associated with regular sexual activity, but keep in mind there are also health benefits associated with drinking wine – and the people who get the most benefits aren’t usually the ones who consider wine a “need”.)
2. You have the rest of your life to worry about sex.
Seriously, of all the things that can stress you out in your 20s – such as living on your own for the first time, going back to school, and entering the “real” workforce – why would you choose sex as something to stress over? And besides, it’s a bit ironic to have stress and anxiety about something that actually helps with stress and anxiety, but that’s another subject entirely.
3. It’s 100% normal for your sex life to have its ups and downs.
For example, at the beginning of the sexual part of a relationship (and, sometimes, right before you meet the girl of your dreams), there’s usually a lot more sex going on than say, for example, right after you get out of a relationship, or once the novelty of sex with your current partner wears off. Don’t worry – after your dry spell, your sex life is probably going to come flaring back. (Just remember that it’s okay if the dry spell lasts a while.)
4. Sex isn’t an obligation, for you or anyone else.
So, we already covered that sex isn’t a need, but it’s also not an obligation. These two things seem pretty similar, but the distinction comes down to autonomy and consent. Just because you want sex doesn’t mean your partner (or hook-up owes it to you). Sure, it sucks if you get turned on and “can’t” do anything about it, but there’s always masturbation. Remove any stigmas from your mind right now – masturbation is a way to get an orgasm without relying on someone else, and if you’re single, it’s probably a better idea, anyway.
5. Casual sex can lead to unwanted diseases, including the dreaded “feelings”.
If you’re single (especially after getting out of a long-term relationship), staying abstinent might be one of the last things you want to do. But, realistically speaking, (unprotected) casual sex can lead to STDs and infections, as well as increasing the chances that you will catch unwanted feelings for the person you’re hooking up with. In some cases, this can be super awkward, and in others, absolutely devastating.
6. Relationships aren’t meant to be purely sexual.
I’m sure there are going to be some people who disagree with me here, but let me explain: Sex is not the be-all and end-all of relationships. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, it’s pretty unimportant – especially since lesbians aren’t capable of conceiving a child naturally. (At least, not with their female partners; I am aware that some women may choose to conceive a child naturally and still identify as a lesbian – you do you!) What’s more is that there are totally other ways to conceive a child, so even for those who really want a kid, it’s been a long time since sex was “the only way”.
7. Your 20s aren’t actually supposed to be the peak of your sex life.
I know, I know – with as good as sex felt in your late teen years, and as much as you’ve probably heard that it “only gets better with time”… Now is not that time. You have other things to focus on right now, and sex really shouldn’t be a huge priority. In your teen years, sex makes itself “urgent”, because your hormones are all over the place. But in your 20s, those hormones have calmed down. Don’t worry… Once the rest of your life starts to fall into place, your sex life is going to be incredible, because there’s less other crap stressing you out. Focus on enjoying the sex you do have, rather than concerning yourself with the sex you don’t have.