The other day when I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, I came across this article "15 Types of Sex You Have in Your 20's" and I thought, "Why, that looks interesting, let me see if I've accomplished any of those 15 ways."
I guess before I clicked on the link I was imagining that it was going to be some how-to, crazy Cosmo survey / be sexier in bed article. What it ended up being, was a list of all the different kinds of sex that 20-something women today are apparently engaging in. That list included: "Bad Sex," "You're Convenient Sex," "One Night Stand Sex," "Creatively Located Sex" and so on.
OK. So I know I'm supposed to read that article and be all Sex-In-the-City about it. I'm supposed to check them off at random like "Oh boy, I've totally had some 'Barter System Sex'!" But the thing is, I didn't even know that "Barter System Sex", which the article describes as "sometimes you just really want help putting together your IKEA furniture", existed before this article! Back in my single days I put my own furniture together, and if I ever did require help from someone else, I certainly counted sex with me as far more valuable than the construction of an entertainment center.
I don't for one second want to pass judgment on someone else's choices in life and I'm all for owning your own sexuality. But I take real issue with the implication that every woman is running around engaging in casual (and it sounds like, unfulfilling) sex. Very few of the options even seem enjoyable or fun, and if nothing else, shouldn't sex at least be that? This list makes it sound like an impulse purchase, like, "Girl, we've all made these same bad choices, no big deal." But we ALL haven't made those same choices and some of us think sex IS a big deal.
I'll be honest with you, I've only had sex with one man and I've been married to him for the last eight and a half years. Now, before your head explodes and you start yelling that I can't possibly write about sex since my experience is limited allow me to point out that the eight and half years I've been married were basically the whole of my 20's. So doesn't it stand to reason then that I should be able to identify with at least a few of the types of sex written on that list? By not having sex in "a hostel hallway" did I somehow not enjoy my 20's as much as other 29-year-olds? I have to doubt it.
The thing is, I understand that by getting married at 21 and only ever having been with my husband I don't have any wild one-night-stands to tell tale of. But I don't think my 20's or my sex life suffered from the lack of partners or unique situations. I never had "One-More-Time Sex"... but I have had How-Many-Times Sex, and anniversary sex, vacation sex and make-love-to-me sex. I've had sex to make up and sex to make babies. I've had take-one-for-the-team sex and sex so good that the memory still curls my toes even years later. I've had it fast and slow, in multiple ways, even on multiple continents. The point is, I've had a lot more than 15 types of sex and even if they didn't make the list, all of them made my 20's exciting and fun and special.
Whatever you think about sex, I hope you wont look to that list as a guideline. Awkward sexual experiences don't make you any more grown up, and you're no less worldly for having made it to 30 without doing it in an alley way. In fact, only one of the examples on that list is something to aspire to, it's #15 and it's called "Oh THAT'S What it Should Feel Like" sex. That's the only kind you need to look for, and you don't need to have suffered through the other 14 options to know it's good when you find it.
Watch HuffPost Women Associate Editor Emma Gray discuss sex in your 20s on HuffPost Live: