ladybug sexSex. We think about it, talk about it, chase it, avoid it, admit to it, deny it, yearn for it, or maybe content without it. Some women believe it’s second only to chocolate, while others, frankly, don’t understand what the fuss is all about.

But it weaves itself into our lives in context with where we’re at, at that moment. Sex at 20 is not the same as sex at 50. Married sex is different than dating sex. Sex evolves as our lives and our relationships change.

This got me thinking about the different types of sex we have as we grow up and grow older, and I found myself laughing out loud at the mental snapshots running through my brain of the sexual experiences many of us can relate to. Some good, some questionable, and some that could only be classified as “What the hell were we thinking??”

1. Virginity sex. May or may not be precipitated by a riotous game of beer pong or tequila shooters boosted from Mom and Dad’s alcohol cupboard.

The good: Drunk young pups can still perform (although arguably well, which won’t matter because she has nothing to compare it to anyway). It’s exciting and “forbidden,” and chock-full of wondrous discoveries about our bodies and what those little endorphins we read about in health class are capable of.

The bad: We’re young and inexperienced. We haven’t done it enough to be good at it, and are really not comfortable asking for anything we want. (And how the hell would we know?) At this age, we’re long on enthusiasm, but short on technique.

2. Dating sex. Commonly referred to as “casual sex.” Often occurs after an evening out with someone you really like, but don’t necessarily see as a life partner. Also described as “friends with benefits” or “hooking up.”

The good: It can be fun and temporarily satisfying, without requiring much emotional investment. Either party is free to walk away without the messy damage control often necessary in an actual break-up.

The bad: Often, only one of you is thinking of this as casual. The other is privately doey-eyed and waiting for you to wake up and realize the two of you are destined to be together forever. Many long-term friendships have tanked when the truth finally got blurted out during after-glow pillow talk.

3. Walk of Shame Sex. Recognized by repeatedly banging your head into the shower wall the next morning, wailing “Oh my God, oh my God. What the hell was I thinking??” This includes one-night stands, office affairs, or sex with married politicians.

The good: Since this behavior is frequently alcohol-induced, you can claim no memory of propositioning your sister’s fiancé before passing out on his couch, or that your pink thong panties have been AWOL since 10:00 last night. Amnesia can provide plausible deniability.

The bad: If you have to ask…  As my mother would say, “It’s not your best presentation, dear.” If too many apple martinis tend to make your clothes fall off, consider not having that third one next time. Nobody ever regretted not doing this.

4. Phase 1 sex. Otherwise known as “falling in love.”

The good: Everything.

The bad: Thinking…thinking…thinking… Nope, I’ve got nothing.

5. Married sex.

The good: You know each other. He knows exactly what spot makes your left foot thump like a happy puppy. You know which piece of lingerie makes his pupils dilate. You have a sexual dance, and if necessary, it can get you both zinging in less time than it takes for the guests to notice you’re not at the table.

The bad: Like any activity, if repeated over a long period of time, in exactly the same way, it can become routine, predictable. Being naked at the same time is no longer automatically considered foreplay. (“We just did that last week. I’m good.” “Me too. Besides, your parents are on their way over and you still need to make the clam dip.”) Married sex can stay exciting, but at least one of you is going to need to get creative.

6. Ex sex. This includes sex with your ex-spouse, ex-boyfriend from college, or ex-high school flame during your class reunion weekend.

The good: Since you probably didn’t plan ahead for this, it’s spontaneous and “in the moment,” temporarily erasing all memories of why you two didn’t work the first time, focusing purely on whatever sexual chemistry brought you together “way back when.”

The bad: Can be disastrous if either of you are currently in new relationships. But even single, it often results in a three-day binge on Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Delight while trying to figure what, if anything, it meant. I’ve never met a woman who slept with an ex and then remarked the next morning, “Best idea ever. I should have done that sooner.”

7. Forbidden sex. Otherwise known as “cheating.”

The good: Are you seriously waiting for something here?

The bad: Pretty much everything. Actually, correct that. Absolutely everything.

8. Makeup sex. Often occurs after a fight. Sometimes after cheating sex (but I wouldn’t count on it).

The good: Can be intense and more like it “used to be” when you were first in love and couldn’t get enough of each other.

The bad: At some point, you’re going to have to put your clothes back on and work out your problems. It might simply be a marital blip (“If you loved me, you’d remember to put the damn toilet seat down”) or the result of a spectacularly stupid decision (see #7 above), but makeup sex just puts fires on the back burner. It doesn’t put them out.

And so it seems that sex is a part of life. It’s usually good, but occasionally leaves us wondering why we didn’t just stay home and read a book. But, deep down, we know why. Because when it’s good, it can rock your world.

Sex. The Good, The Bad, And The WHAT Were We Thinking? was last modified: by

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