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Women Reveal The Sexual Advice They'd Give Their Younger Selves

So helpful even today as we navigate sex and middle age.

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illustration of woman looking at a younger version of herself in the mirror
Jordan Sondler
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I was 21 the first time I had sex, and I can't say that I liked it. I didn't understand the power of it. I wasn't comfortable in the vulnerability of it, and I wasn't truly in touch with my own desires. I was just doing it because that’s what was "supposed" to happen.

Today, at 45 years old, I am confident in my sexuality. I feel a new sense of sexual freedom and it is oh-so empowering. I know my likes and dislikes, I can comfortably discuss my desires and fears with my partner, and I am open to trying just about anything. I wish I could go back in time and tell that 21-year-old version of myself to wait a little longer and not have sex just because everyone was. I'd promise her that at some point in the near (ish) future, sex would be effortless and enjoyable — and well worth the wait.

I couldn't help but ask my girlfriends, "What sex advice would you give your younger self?" Their answers were insightful and helpful even today as we navigate sex and mid-life. Take what you like and leave the rest!

Embrace Every Fantasy

"When I was younger, I felt like my fantasies were dirty or wrong or not meant to be shared. I certainly needed a level of experience, maturity and confidence to bring my fantasies into the bedroom, but I wasted so much time trying to suppress my fantasies due to guilt, shame and embarrassment. Little did I know, the key to true pleasure and intimacy started in the depths of my own imagination.” — Katie, 43, Massachusetts

Enjoy the Journey

"It's ok to not know what you are doing or even what you want or what feels good. Learning about your sexual response is a lifelong journey, one that I am still learning. Giving up anxiety and self-doubt was the natural doorway to curiosity, and although it took decades longer, the more that I allowed my fantasy life to flourish (whether I could share it aloud or not), the more rocket fuel it added to my pleasure." — Wendy, 62, Oregon

It's a Learning Experience

“I was raised Catholic, and it was indoctrinated in me that I had to save myself for marriage. As a result, I waited far too long to experience intimacy with a man and looking back, I know I would have had a far more satisfying sex life with more experience. There are many outdated ideas about sex and marriage, and my belief (now) is that as long as one practices safe sex, it's a personal choice.” — Vicki, 69, New Jersey

Go For the (Heart of) Gold

“My younger self overlooked a lot of red flags because I was focused on the wrong body parts (broad shoulders, height, big hands, strong chin and pants that didn't fit like a Ken doll). I'm not proud of it, but it's true. What I learned is that the rhythmic pulsating of a big, throbbing, healthy heart is the best indicator of what type of lover a man or woman will be." — Monica, 61, Texas

Choose Love

"Sex weaved with love is so much better than a one-night stand, so stop sleeping with strangers!” — Lisa Jo, 53, Colorado

Trust the Process

“I used to think I was asexual. I am laughing at the thought of it now because I am most definitely NOT asexual. For a very long time, though, I did not enjoy sex, and I was certain I never would. I wish I could tell that version of myself not to worry or overanalyze. With time, experience, and the right partner, everything will fall into place, so don’t force it.” — Meghan, 48, Maryland

What sexual advice would YOU give your younger self? Let us know in the comments below.

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