There is a common sexual experience that few people talk about and yet is more pervasive than most people realize. Many adults are sexually inexperienced and this causes a slew of issues as they get further into adulthood, deeper into relationships and well past the age when they “think” they should know.
How Do We Define “Sexually Inexperienced”?
First, we have to ask what it means to be sexually inexperienced. Does it mean you’ve never had orgasms? You’ve only had a certain amount of sexual partners? How many? Certain types of partners? Haven’t explored sex with people of multiple genders? That you have only had certain types of sex? That you never had the sex education you know you need?
The problem with defining sexual inexperience is similar to what happens when we call someone “sexually addicted” or “promiscuous.” One of my mentors defines promiscuity as “someone who is having more sex than I am having.” Because what other bar of “normal” do we have but our own when it comes to sex?
There is no “normal” amount of sex to have and no “normal” type of sex. There is a range for all of us and what feels good to you is what matters. How much and what kind of sex do you want to be having? What do you want sex to feel like? What do you want to explore in your sexuality? These are better questions. With one good partner, you can do many of these things. You don’t have to have multiple partners. And for many people, having multiple partners over their sexual life gives them a variety of experiences and teaches them a lot about sex. We learn as much about what we do not want as we learn about what we do want.
Needs of the Sexually Inexperienced Adult
Many clients come to me in a place of feeling insecure about their sexual inexperience. I had a client who was married to one man for over 20 years and she found herself divorced at 40 and feeling like she knew so little about sex because she’d never been satisfied in that sexual relationship and it was the only one she’d ever had. She didn’t know if she could ever have a different sexual experience. I had another client who was in her 40s and had never had a deep long-term partnership—had had a fair amount of sex but not the sex or the sexual connection she’d wanted and so she felt insecure or unsure she could ever find what she wanted.
Interestingly, both women are powerful women in their lives and work. They each have strong voices, are able to advocate for their needs and set boundaries, and yet, when it came to sex, because they did not feel at the top of their game or knowledge, they would clam up, get nervous and not ask for what they desire. The first thing they needed to understand is that they are not “behind” or wrong for the trajectory of their sexual life. And as they were each stepping into doing deeper work on their sexual selves, they could design the sexual life they really desire.
Hiding your insecurity or inexperience doesn’t actually help you get to have the new experience, it just keeps you feeling shame about not knowing what you think you should know. There can be great benefits to letting a sexual partner you are excited about know that you want to have more experiences or new kinds of experiences and that you are excited to learn and grow with them. It is refreshing to acknowledge that you are in a new phase of your sexual life and that you are curious about your body’s responses and your desires.
What are the Real Issues with Sexual Inexperience?
If you want more sexual experiences, ask yourself more specifically what you are looking for. You might be seeking more variety, more lovers to learn from or more new experiences. You might want to try some things you’ve never tried before. You might want to play new roles in sex. You might feel like you are with a partner or in a sexual relationship that does not allow you enough space to explore and expand your sexuality. You might wish to shake up the status quo sex life you are currently in—and many people have a sex life status quo.
Maybe you are bored in your current relationship. Maybe you’ve never had the sexual partnership you really desire. Maybe you just have not had or created the sexual opportunities you want. Maybe you were too insecure when you were young to go for what you want now sexually. Maybe you couldn’t see what you wanted and now you’ve woken up to your sexual needs decades later and you want those years back—or the potential experience you could have gained.
Today is a new day. You can start now by defining what it is you are truly seeking.
How to Move Forward In Confidence
It can feel like the whole world is so over-sexualized that everyone is doing all kinds of things all the time. It might look that way, but it’s just not true. Know that you are by no means alone. Let go of the story that you are behind and start being embodied now in your sexual self and you’ll have far more opportunity to get what you need.
As you craft a bolder or broader sexual life and learn to ask for what you really want—instead of what you think you should want, you’ll find that it’s fun to see that when you ask, you actually have an opportunity to get what you need. Even if it’s hard to ask, you can say that: “It’s hard for me to ask for this/say this out loud, but I’d really like to…”
If you get into the enjoyment of your body, your desires, and your daily experiences of pleasure and eroticism that is the sexiest confidence-builder there is. A woman in her pleasure zone is on fire. Remember, confidence is universally sexy and if you just put yourself back in the game instead of hiding in the bleachers on the sidelines telling yourself you’ll never have it, you’ll get to move forward with the juiciest of possibilities. Let your sexuality be pregnant with that possibility.