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.
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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 email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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