When the topic of sex education comes up, most people imagine a high school health class where their gym teacher outlined the basics. Perhaps some type of film was shown.  But these classes hardly skim the surface of the depth and breadth of what we call human sexuality. To each individual, it is a process of self-discovery unraveling the hidden layers beneath, and if you are in a long-term monogamous relationship, those of one’s partner too. This can be one of the most invigorating journeys of your life. But navigating how things work, each person’s wants and needs and how best to fulfill them becomes exceedingly difficult. Many feel that they didn’t get proper sex education even in high school. Luckily, we live in more open times than in the past. In a bygone era, when talking about sex was taboo, most people were left alone groping in the dark, and piecing together bits and pieces of information as they moved along. This was the only avenue they had for figuring out one of humanity’s most complex processes. Today, we have whole sections of bookstores, workshops, videos and the internet. We can call up information whenever we want, and anonymously if we choose to.

Another important aspect to consider in adult sexual education is that, as we age our bodies change. We need to take these changes into consideration for intercourse to remain an enjoyable, zesty enterprise between partners. And so sex education really doesn’t begin or end in high school. Instead, it’s a lifelong process that begins and ends with you. One of the most important things we learn is the almost unimaginable variation between people. Likes, dislikes, turn-ons and offs, wants, needs and desires can be exceedingly different from one person to the next. Sometimes we get a new partner and are thrown for a loop by some aspect of their sexuality. At other times, we are in a long term relationship that’s going through a dry spell or a boring phase. We need to spice things up. Of course, sexual compatibility is integral for mutual enjoyment. After all sex isn’t just a physical act, it’s a very emotional one and a bonding experience. If it goes well chances are the relationship will and vice-versa.

Knowing the facts can help you enjoy sex more. Some people had a strict upbringing or lived for a time in a sex negative environment. They need a different kind of sex education, the ability to get over body issues and negative attitudes towards sex. Instead, they have to be able to see themselves as beautiful or handsome and sexy. These people also should learn to embrace a sex positive attitude. That doesn’t mean being promiscuous or doing anything one doesn’t want to. It simply means being open and positive with the right partner and being ready when the mood and time is right. Some couples harbor secret fantasies from one another. They don’t know how to approach their partner with what they believe is a strange or bizarre request. What they don’t know is most times, good partners want to please their mate. What’s more, they believe that if they do something for you, you will be open to whatever kinky thing they’re into. The most important thing for couples to remember is to be open, non-judgmental, curious, supportive, thoughtful and fully present. Don’t do anything that compromises your personal ethic. That said good communication is the most important part. Negotiation can help. You can always have an, “I’m not into that. But I will do it for you if you do this for me” conversation. Or “I won’t do _____ but what about _____?” Be sure to build an atmosphere of openness and curiosity. If you want to keep the relationship fresh, explore workshops together, read books about sex, watch lectures and look into the things you are both into. Take some time to explore your sexuality, and your partners and your sex life will blossom.

Photographer: Craig White