In a sophomore health class where we both went to high school, there was some discussion about the effectiveness of learning about health in a classroom setting (or something along those lines; this was a decade ago), during which one girl spoke up, in that matter-of-fact, everybody-knows tone, that experience is the best teacher. The actual teacher of the class gave her a look and said, “Really? So do you think ‘experience’ is the best way to learn, say, that you should wear a seatbelt?” That was the point at which I realized that as much as everyone likes to talk about learning from their mistakes, it’s a hell of a lot more effective to learn from other people’s mistakes.
When it comes to sex, some things you have to learn from experience. You can read all about the many ways you can have an orgasm and talk to your friends about what does it for them, but the only way to figure out what will give you an orgasm is experience, seeing for yourself what works well and what works wonderfully (and what definitely does not work at all). These processes of discovery, learning about yourself and your body and your partner(s), can be amazing, hilarious, emotional, and surprising.
But many of us have probably had a few “WELP, woulda been nice to know that ahead of time!” moments over the course of our love and/or sex lives, which is where the experience of others comes in so handy. For instance, warming lube for anal sex: DON’T. Trust us, everyone involved will be much better off if you don’t rely on personal experience to teach you this one.
The wonderful thing about Persephone Magazine is that our readers and writers are of all different ages, sexual orientations, ethnicities, nationalities, classes, locations, etc. So we want to hear from you – what have you learned that you wish you had known earlier or that you think other people would benefit from knowing? It can be something comical, like that you shouldn’t have really vigorous sex on a futon because it can break and then you have to come up with a story to tell your parents about how it happened, or it can be serious, like that the things one of you is allowed to do to the other while one of you is tied to the bed should be very clearly delineated in advance.
Send us your anecdotes – our contact info is at the bottom of the post. If you’d like your name attached to your story, make sure to let us know – all submissions will be treated as anonymous unless otherwise specified. Feel free to include a few relevant details, like your age or your sex/gender identity, or none at all if that makes you feel more comfortable. If we get enough stories, we’ll publish a post or series of posts beginning next week; if not, we’ll move onto other subjects but keep pestering you for your stories until we have enough to make a post. We’re picturing this being a two-part series, with one post devoted to amusing anecdotes and one post to more serious stories.
Got a question you’d like us to discuss, myth you’d like us to bust, or general topic you’d like us to talk about? You can e-mail us at FriskyFeminist@persephonemagazine.com, and we’ve also set up a Tumblr for the sole purpose of receiving completely anonymous questions at paperispatientsexqanda.tumblr.com.