We've all heard the saying, hindsight is 20/20. Well, as a bit of a play-on words, I'm going to share some insights from people who are out of their 20s, when it comes to what they wish they had strongly considered or known about sex, back when they were that age. The objective? Well, if you're currently in your 20s and reading this, I hope that you will, as my mother used to oftentimes say, "use discernment as your teacher". If you aren't in your 20s, I encourage you to reflect on if you've shifted some things on the sexual tip since you were that age. If so, why? Following the why, how has it served you?
When it comes to aging, we oftentimes discuss how maturity applies to things like work and relationships. Oh, but there needs to be room made for sexual evolution too. Today, seven men and seven women (first names have been changed to honor privacy) are going to reveal some of their greatest takeaways in seven different sex-related categories. Pour yourself a glass of wine. This should get interesting.
1. About Sex Drives in Their 20s
It probably comes as no surprise to you (especially if you are out of your 20s), that sex drives are their highest for men who are between the ages of 18-20. Women? 18-24. While there are many factors that can affect our libidos, since age tops the list, I wanted to know what some folks thought about their changing sex drive, now that they are older.
Imani, 32, Single.
"Girl, it's stupid to only think that men have high sex drives. To this day, mine is higher than most of the men that I've had sex with. But when I was in my 20s, I could go on four hours of sleep for days on end and still be down for sex on a daily basis. Not those quickies either. Now? I can still give you a run for your money, but I need a couple of nights of eight hours and a nap the day of! My libido is cool. My energy isn't what it used to be, though. I wish I had known then not to take all of that 'always in the mood' vibe for granted."
Dexter, 39, Engaged.
"Remember when you talked to me about andropause a few years back? I thought that was some BS until around my 37th birthday. Lawd. I don't know what it is about being almost 40 that brings new meaning to 'the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak'."
"I wish I had known in my 20s to enjoy my energy and stamina while it lasted because there are some nights when my brain has thought up all kinds of nasty stuff to do and my body is like, 'Goodnight'."
(Andropause is basically male menopause, by the way. You can read more about it here.)
2. About Orgasms in Their 20s
Do you know how many people have told me that they didn't even have their first orgasm until they were in their late 20s or early 30s? For women, it's because they were more focused on pleasing their partner than being pleased (youth, chile). For men, they weren't aware that pleasure could go beyond ejaculating. Here, two people break down what these revelations meant for them once they got older.
Eleni, 41, Married.
"I can't tell you how many orgasms I faked when I was in my 20s. I used to think that it was because I wasn't capable of having orgasms. Now I realize that a lot of those young boys didn't know what the hell they were doing. Once I hit around 33 or so, I decided that if my partner couldn't please me, he either needed to figure it out or we weren't a good fit. Since then, I stay in the climax zone. If I could tell my 20-year-old self anything about sex, it would be, 'Don't settle because you certainly don't have to' and 'You are more capable of cumming than you ever thought'."
Brenden, 35, Single.
"When you're a young guy, you think that ejaculating is the goal. An older woman in my late 20s put me on to game and I learned that men can have orgasms that feel better than just 'having a nut'. I'm not sure I needed to find that out earlier than I did, though. I probably would've been a real mess in these streets if I did!"
3. About Oral Sex in Their 20s
The first time a guy went down on me, I was barely 20 and he was a grad student. Shoot, even my first love didn't do it until many years later during some rebound sex. I did it to him, though, because I wanted to make him happy (another article for another time when it comes to how selfish he was at the time). Anyway, in your 20s, you're just thrilled if someone does it to you at all. Sometimes it takes years (and years) for you to come to the conclusion who is actually doing "it" right.
Lavon, 37, Married.
"Back when I was in my 20s, there was still such a stigma on oral sex. My parents never discussed it and my girlfriends who did it were lying about; that it didn't help. You can't convince me that it's not an intimate act, that it is sex and you should definitely select your sex partners wisely. But bay-bae…there is nothing more sexually empowering than knowing you can turn your partner totally out by taking him into your mouth. If I hadn't been so 'scary' back then, it wouldn't have taken me five years into my marriage to become a real head pro."
Jarone, 41, Divorce.
"In your 20s, I don't care if you're in the giving or receiving end, you think you're doing something if you've got your mouth down there."
"Oral sex is a skill. One that few have truly mastered."
"In my 20s, on the receiving end, I was just trying to see how many women I could get to do it whether I thought what they were doing was good or not. On the giving end, I was doing it because my partner did it to me. Now, I'm not interested in a woman who performs with hesitancy or worse, her ego. And when it comes to cunnilingus — I have spent many years mastering the technique. If she ain't damn near climbing the walls, I'm not doing it right. And at 41, I care more than I ever did when I was younger."
4. About Sex vs. Romance in Their 20s
Someone told me my freshman year of college to have sex off of the yard, as much as possible, if I wanted to keep folks out of my business. For the most part, I heeded that advice. However, the times when I did have sex in a dorm room — ugh. I shudder at the thought of ever doing that again. My point? When you're in your 20s, horniness can supersede things like ambiance, romance and remembering that the brain is the biggest sex organ there is, so the art of sexual seduction is mad important. Two people share their thoughts on just that.
Dianne, 45, Divorced.
"Do you know that I didn't have sex in a nice hotel room until I was in my mid-30s and that was after my divorce? WTF was that all about? I'll tell you."
"When you're young, you don't realize how much of a privilege it is for a man to be able to be inside of you. You get older and wiser and you know that if he doesn't sweep you off of your feet, he doesn't deserve to put you on your back."
"Spending a ton of money isn't the point I'm making but damn, romance a sistah. She's about to give you some of the best that she's got."
Gregory, 40, Married.
"Guys like romance. We like the seduction process. That's why we get so hype off of lingerie. But it's not like a lot of us are told about sex while growing up, let alone how to 'woo' a woman. In my 20s, wooing wasn't important and women didn't require it. I think that some ladies need to hear that last part. Once I hit around 31-32, I started to get into setting the scene and also expressing what I liked as far as getting in the mood too. Maturity teaches you that the right atmosphere can really set the tone."
5. About Sexual Attraction in Their 20s
Damn, we take a lot for granted when we're young. On the body tip, our higher metabolism, for starters. Plus, because a lot of us are in much better shape (because of things like youth and a strong metabolism), we think everyone should have a great body. Unfortunately, a lot of us don't require too much more as far as sexual attraction goes. As we age, we learn that there really should be more than what meets the eye — even when it comes to intimacy.
Andrea, 47, Divorced.
"I dated some fine ass men in my 20s, you hear me? Fine as hell. Whew. And most of them were real assholes. Sexually, they weren't much to brag about either because some folks think they look so good that they don't really have to bring their 'A' game. I wish I had known back then that sex is better, not when someone looks good; it's when they treat you right. We all have things that turn us on but when you get older, a lot of them have less to do with looks. I'd forfeit that six-pack for a good kisser and someone who knows how to romance me right. In my 20s, I would've said the opposite. Bless 'her' heart."
Michael, 33, Single.
"In your 20s, your sexual standards can be pretty shallow. I think we all can admit that. I think it's because if we get someone who looks like a model, it somehow makes us feel like we're more attractive too. While I still prefer being with a woman who takes care of herself, a little bit of a belly actually feels kinda good and stretch marks, right on the hips are kinda sexy. You start wanting real more than anything. I think that's my biggest lesson about it all."
6. About Casual Sex in Their 20s
I've shared in several articles on this platform what casual means (without definite or serious intention; careless or offhand; passing; seeming or tending to be indifferent to what is happening; apathetic; unconcerned; without emotional intimacy or commitment). I do it in hopes that folks will get that casual sex is more than a notion…because it is. Two people share with me/us what they wish they took into serious consideration about casual sex when they were younger.
Brooklyn, 30, Single.
"Here's what I think is so crazy about casual sex — you can still get pregnant or an STD from it, so how 'casual' is it really? I think something that happens when you get older is you realize that a lot of stuff comes with serious consequences."
"Look, I used to jump out of swings and trees when I was younger too and that could break a bone or worse. Looking back, some men were inside of my being who were not even close to being worthy. I just thought it was recreational, but sex is deeper than that. If I could go back and tell my 20-something self anything, it would be that even condoms can't protect you from some of the bulls — t that men will put you through once they've had your parts. I'd use way more caution. With sex, it's too weighty to just 'keep it casual'."
Vashawn, 42, Divorced.
"If you're waiting for me to say that I regretted having casual sex when I was younger, you'll be waiting forever. I don't. I do regret certain activities that I did with certain women, though. I know a lot of y'all think that we [men] have no levels when it comes to sex but that's a lie. Now that I'm back single again, there are some women I'll engage in intercourse with and that's it. Oral sex? Oh, we've gotta be a couple of steps up from casual for that to go down. There's nothing wrong with casual sex. You've just got to remember that it's still sex and you need to think through what kind of sex you want to have with casual partners. That's where I'm at now."
7. About Committed Sex in Their 20s
Something that I tell some of my clients (especially the super religious ones) is a lot of singles aren't interested in waiting until marriage to have sex because so many married folks are a crappy example of that type of union (real talk). It's like singles are literally terrified of committing their world to someone else, only to end up with less fun, happiness and sex than when they didn't share a house and name with someone else. The point? Married couples, we're watching you. Give us something good to look at. With that said, two people share their thoughts on committed sex now in comparison to when they were younger.
Stephanie, 33, Engaged.
"Only two men have ever given me an orgasm — my first love and my fiancé. I've spent a little bit of time trying to figure out why. The conclusion I've come to is they are the only two men who completely had all of me. When you can trust someone fully, you can give your all and that makes the sex absolutely unreal. As far as what I would tell my 20-year-old self about all of this, it's weird because I was 18 when my first love and I started having sex. Well, I take that back. I think I would tell 'me' that those other guys? The lack of orgasms wasn't about anything physical; you just weren't in sync with them. Sex is better when you are with another person, so wait for that."
Dion, 38, Married.
"No man with a brain and a conscience is gonna say that non-committed sex is better than sex when you're in a real emotional zone with someone. Now, what we will say is sometimes we miss casual sex because all of the stuff that happens outside of the bedroom can feel like it's not worth it. But when you love a woman, she holds you down, you've been through some real things and there is a sexual chemistry — she runs circles around the rest of these women. In my 20s, I didn't want to be committed, so that wasn't my focus. What I would tell that version of me is sex in a serious relationship is worth it. Don't let your crazy friends who've never experienced it tell you otherwise."
There you have it. 14 people sharing what they would share with their younger self. It can't be said enough that life is about growth. Bottom line, make sure that you're growing as a person, when it comes to your sex life too. Nothing should be stagnant or it's counterproductive. Remember that.
Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.
Featured image by Getty Images
- What Tattoos and Sex Actually Have in Common (Who Knew ... ›
- Dear Single Self: What I Wish I Knew Before Getting Married ... ›
- 8 Men & 8 Women Told Me What They Wish Their Partner Would ›
- What Wives Wish They Knew About Sex, Married - xoNecole ... ›
- Sex With A Woman With Tattoos Is Best - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Dear Single Self: What I Wish I Knew Before Getting Married - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image courtesy
In 2024, there’s tons of thought and strategy that can go into dating online. While dating apps offer a convenient space to find potential partners, it’s become more complicated by the day to know just how to land a worthwhile match at all. With paywalls, roses, and Super Likes to push past while using dating apps, a common sentiment among singles is: do these apps really want us to find love at all?
Dating hopefuls are taking time to reevaluate their approach to dating as many discussions surrounding online dating are significantly influencing user behavior, particularly among Black singles. According to Jonathan Kirkland, Head of Brand and Marketing for BLK, these conversations shape the thoughts, expectations, and actions of singles and how they engage with dating platforms.
“The Black conversation shapes up the online dating world big time. We’ve seen how discussions around inclusivity, authenticity, and cultural relevance have driven more users to [dating] platforms, where they feel represented and understood,” Kirkland tells xoNecole. “But hey, it's all about personal vibes. Instead of buying into the hype, we're all about our community creating their own stories and shifting the narrative.”
How Online Dating Discourse Shapes Gen Z and Millennial Dating Preferences and Behaviors
Ilka & Franz/Getty Images
Across different age groups, distinct shifts in dating preferences and behaviors have been observed. Kirkland tells us that Gen Z prioritizes authenticity, social awareness, and online connectivity, while Millennials are focused on sharing values, pursuing their aspirations, and authentically representing their cultural identity.
These changes are not only shifting how singles are approaching the app, they’re influencing the flexibility in what was once seen as “non-negotiables" in long-term desires that are now becoming plausible considerations.
In a recent survey conducted by BLK, 100% of Gen Z and Millennials who participated in the study said they'd be open to starting a family with a friend. “It’s like, life's throwing them curveballs, and they're flipping the script on what family means,” Kirkland explains.
“Gen Z sees this whole platonic co-parenting thing as a game-changer for how we do families, making things more flexible and diverse. Millennials say it's all about building up your chosen family and locking down those intentional connections. Times are definitely changing.”
As culture evolves and social norms shift, these findings show that daters across generations are embodying a sense of adaptability in order to create the life they desire and love they deserve. That’s why we’ve tapped BLK’s Johnathan Kirkland to put us onto the 2024 dating trends that will help you win at love.
On the top trends singles can look forward to in the 2024 online dating space:
“One trend is ‘dawn dating,’ where you squeeze in dates before your workday kicks off. This offers a new level of convenience and efficiency,” he explains.
“And since it's an election year, get ready for 'partisan dating.' That's where singles prefer connecting with someone who's vibing on the same political wavelength. And with so many young voters more into the issues rather than the candidates, expect some real deep convos over policy matters.”
“Plus, we’re going to see more of a focus on looking after your mental health while you're dating. Platforms are rolling out initiatives to help you build solid relationships, while also prioritizing your own wellbeing,” he adds.
On the best icebreakers to hit a conversational flow with new matches:
Kirkland says that while breaking the ice can be difficult, one way to break the ice is to throw out questions that show your genuine interest. “Ask about their passions, where they love to travel, or maybe something cool they've experienced culturally lately.”
“It’s also nice to toss in a fun pop culture question, like, ‘So, are you #TeamMegan or #TeamNicki?’ It's all about getting that convo flowing.” he suggests. "BLK recently rolled out new profile prompts in our app last year to help spark these conversations. They're little conversation starters you can display on your profile, written or even voiced, so people can slide into your DMs without any awkwardness.”
On the best practices for users looking to connect with men who have aligned dating goals and avoid hookup culture:
“Be crystal clear about what you're after. And when you're scoping out potential matches, keep an eye out for those little signs that they're ready for something serious, too. Look for hints in their profiles, like if they're talking about their future goals or if your interests and values seem to click. But it's not all about what's written down. When you start chatting, keep it real and open. Lay it all out on the table early on—no beating around the bush.”
"Be crystal clear about what you're after. And when you're scoping out potential matches, keep an eye out for those little signs that they're ready for something serious too."
He continues, “Whether it's long-term love, a casual vibe, or just making new pals. No more wasting time on matches that aren't on the same page as you.”
On the advice he’d give to users who want to give dating apps another try, but are discouraged to do so:
“Let’s be honest. Dating apps are like any other technology —they're constantly evolving. So that app you checked out last year may have added new features, cool filters, and better ways to connect,” Kirkland says.
“If you're feeling a bit anxious about diving back into the dating app world, remember this: every swipe, chat, and date is a chance to learn something new about yourself. It's all about growth and discovery. Keep an open mind, but don't forget to set some boundaries and stay true to yourself. And if it all gets a bit overwhelming, take a breather.”
He adds, “Focus on some self-care, hit up your friends for a pep talk, or even chat with a pro if you need to. Because hey, who knows? The perfect match might just be a swipe away — so keep swiping.”
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by blackCAT/Getty Images