1. The perfect one-night-stand sex after which you conveniently feel nothing at all. If you ever doubt your ability to separate sex and emotion, this kind of sex is so reassuring. It’s fun, safe, and respectful, you have no regrets, and you also wouldn’t be remotely sorry to never see them again. Thanks for the oral, have a wonderful life!
2. The one-night-stand sex after which you feel all of the things. You exchanged a total of maybe 10 words, but the next day, you can’t help but jump every time your phone buzzes as you imagine the two of you on your first date … on your 50th … at your wedding. You know you’re being ridiculous, but they had cute hair! And they smelled really good!
3. The perversely good sex you have when you’re fighting with your S.O. They’re complaining about having to go to dinner with your parents. You went out with your friends instead of checking on them when they had a cold. The only thing you’re not fighting about is the sex, because you are both channeling your pent-up rage into it, and it feels amazing. Bonus fucked-up points if you find yourself chasing conflict to up the sex ante.
4. Sex with the friend you never considered sleeping with … until you did. As in you never once thought, Hmm, maybe there’s something there, and you never felt even a frisson of sexual energy when you hugged, and then, all of a sudden, you find yourself in the kitchen at a party, four drinks in, and furiously making out with your “friend” as your “friend” fumbles for their phone to call an Uber to transport you both to a bed. Any bed.
5. “Is it too soon for this?” period sex with the date you don’t know very well. The first date with your latest Tinder match went well (they didn’t check their phone once!), and you’re contemplating ending the second one at your place. You remember you’re on your period … then realize your date is a grown adult who understands how bodies work, and you say, Fuck it. You throw down a towel and go on to have two orgasms.
6. Earnest, awkward Skype sex with a long-distance love. If anyone has ever had truly satisfying Skype sex, please contact me immediately and tell me how. Thoughts I have during Skype sex: I would never masturbate like this alone. Oh my god, they’re making that dumb face they think is sexy. Is that what my vagina looks like? None of these thoughts have ever led to an orgasm.
7. Sloppy post-wedding-reception sex with the bride’s second cousin’s college roommate. Your close friend from high school just walked down the aisle, you’ve spent 12 hours in the god-awful dress she insisted would “complement your eyes,” and after six glasses of cava you want nothing more than for a decent-looking stranger to rip it from your body in a fit of passion. Then maybe also burn it.
8. Impromptu bar bathroom sex. You and your partner head for the bathrooms together during a night out with friends and, lo and behold, the sex angels have smiled upon you, and there is no line for the single-stall bathroom. You two commandeer it until somebody knocks, and then you both walk out very, very calmly, avoiding eye contact and smiling politely.
9. Anal sex that doesn’t go as planned. And if by “as planned,” you mean “without any pain, awkwardness, or evidence that I have ever had a bowel movement,” then you know that anal sex doesn’t go “as planned.” Doesn’t mean it’s not great.
10. The sex that shows you how rough you like it. It starts slow: Someone pinches or grabs something a little harder than usual, and you realize that you … like it? And maybe you’d like it even … harder? A little more than that … a little more … and, ow, that’s too much. Hey, look at you, you figured it out. Cheers to controlled experiments.
11. Your first sex with someone new after a long relationship. You aren’t even sure you remember how to “have sex” because the only body you understand anymore is your ex’s, leaving you to wonder: Is that ear-licking thing I do weird to everyone but them? Will anyone else ever master the exact circular tongue motion that we figured out gets me off every time? What if I’m actually horrible in bed and I was dating the one person in the entire world who thinks my ineptitude is hot?! The answers, fortunately, are probably not; yes, if you give instruction; and, no, calm down. You’re only in your 20s — there is so much more sex to be had.