Things I Hate to Hear People Say About Sex

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

1. Sex is healthy.
Is that really the point? Spinach is healthy, sex is fun. Yes, there are about a hundred and one studies that describe the various health benefits of an active sex life, but very few show unique advantages to having sex as opposed to, say, dancing, or anything else that gets your body moving in a way that you enjoy. I was going to make a crack about pickup lines based on this premise, but really, “hey, baby, let’s reduce our risk of heart disease” is about as sexy as anything else you’ll hear at a frat party. Note: what is medically well-established is the link between prostate stimulation and a reduced risk of prostate cancer – so probe away, gentlemen, or ask your partner to do it for you. Don’t forget lube.

2. Foreplay, foreplay, foreplay.
There’s no such thing as foreplay. The distinction between foreplay and sex is an arbitrary one. It intimidates and confuses, obfuscates far more than it reveals, and is heteronormative to boot, implying that anything but penis-in-vagina penetration is just an opening act for the real deal. I understand the (often long-brewing) frustration that usually precedes an anguished plea for more foreplay, but next time you’re in that position, stop for a second and think about what it is you really want. Be specific. Instead of asking for more foreplay, tell your partner what exactly you would like him or her to do. Whether it’s kiss your neck, go down on you, call you dirty names, or play with your nipples, let your partner know what turns you on. Also, try more lube.

3. What do lesbians do in bed?
Whatever you’ve heard about scissoring is false. Earth to bio-men: there’s more to life than cock. And there can be plenty of that in lesbian sex, too. Or not. It depends, just like straight sex and gay male sex and various combinations thereof sex, on the people involved and what they like and want to do. It’s not that deep, and don’t ask the queer women in your life this question – they will hate you and think you’re stupid.

4. Ew.
Your mom told you not to to pooh-pooh other people’s food, so what makes it okay to judge their sex? You have every right not to listen to extended descriptions of sexual practices that make you feel icky, just like you have every right not to eat food you don’t like, but making ugly faces is just plain rude. A swift “TMI, dude” should put an end to a friend’s overshare. However, if the person in question is your partner, take your fingers out of your ears, stop with the nyah nyahs, and pay attention. Part of being in a relationship, and this still applies if that relationship only lasts between the time Paces closes on Saturday and Sharples opens on Sunday, is listening to your partner’s desires and being open to helping fulfill them. To go back to the food analogy, try new things. You might be surprised at what you end up enjoying, like lube.

5. Don’t have sex.
People who tell you this are moralizing hypocrites who get off on making everyone as miserable and repressed as they are. Have sex if you want to, with lube.

6. Have sex.
People who tell you this are either scumbags trying to pressure you into sleeping with them or your obnoxious friends who like to brag about their exploits under the guise of being helpful. Don’t have sex if you don’t want to, but it’s a good idea to keep some lube on hand in case you change your mind unexpectedly – and it enhances the self-loving too.

7. If you’re doing it right, you won’t need lube.
Right, and if you’re a good driver, don’t bother oiling your engine.

The Phoenix