What Does Real Sex Look Like?

The reality of sex is rarely like it is portrayed in porn or movies. Sex is messy and there are bodily fluids involved.

It is important for people to realize that sex is not like cooking, macrame, coding, power grid management, astronomy or veterinary medicine. It is about connection and pleasure.

Body

Most people in porn tend to be slim and look a certain way, however, real bodies come in all shapes and sizes and are beautiful just the way they are. In true intimacy a couple cares about themselves and each other and is loving towards their own bodies.

In addition to the climax there is oral and anal sex, which are definitely sex and it is important not to forget that you can still get STIs with these methods so condoms are always recommended. Also sex can be pretty gross in real life, it can make you sweaty and smelly, there may be farting or queefing. People sometimes get nauseous and need to stop, which doesn’t happen in porn. Real sex is awkward too, not all of us are vocal and passionate.

Emotions

For many people, sex is an emotional experience. You may feel sexual impulses that stem from pride, power, vulnerability, need, fear or anger. You may have a hard time showing those emotions during sex, but it’s important to recognize and express them. You can use varying facial expressions, tones of voice, gestures and posture changes to show your lover your feelings.

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During sex, you’ll also experience the rush of hormones that produce feelings of happiness and relaxation. But some women, particularly those with hormonal imbalances during premenstrual syndrome,5 pregnancy,6 or menopause7 and those taking fertility treatments, may cry during sex.

It’s important to talk about your expectations for sex with your partner. If you want to enjoy orgasm, it’s a good idea to know how much clitoral stimulation is required for that. But don’t assume that just hard jackhammering gets the job done.

If you’ve watched a lot of porn, it can be easy to think that all sex is hot, sweaty and awe-inspiring. It’s important to realize that real sex isn’t like that, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not pleasurable. For some couples, sex is less about orgasm and more about a physical connection that’s enjoyable for both parties. And that’s okay. For other couples, sex is a way to bond emotionally and sexually. And that’s just as exciting as orgasm.

Feelings

There’s a lot of room for variation in how sex feels. Depending on your partner, the type of sex and your mood, you may feel intensely pleasurable or completely unsatisfied. You might also feel scared or confused. The physical sensations can range from tingly to orgasmic, and you might even get goosebumps.

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What you feel is totally unique to you and your relationship. If you’re feeling excited and aroused, that’s a good sign that your sexual experience is going well. You’ll also likely be able to laugh with your partner. Whether it’s during foreplay, during the act or afterplay, it’s good to have some playful banter and not take yourself so seriously.

Many people define sex as penis-in-vagina penetration, and while that’s definitely part of it, it’s far from the whole picture. There are lots of other things that can be considered sex, including oral sex, hand sex, anal sex, outercourse, and kissing. And don’t forget, sex can be messy too! If you want to see what sex really looks like, skip the scripted porn videos and try searching for amateur couples or passionate couples on your favorite porn aggregator site. You might be surprised at how authentic they can be. Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who’s dedicated to helping people love their bodies. Her work has been featured on Healthline, Greatist and Women’s Health. She’s also into CrossFit, hiking with her border collie, and enjoying pleasure products.

Communication

In many relationships, one of the reasons sex is so controversial is because it can be defined so differently. It depends on your culture, what you learned in your youth and how much respect and intimacy you and your partner feel. For example, some people grow up viewing sex as something sordid and secretive. As a result, they might have a narrow definition of what constitutes sex and only view certain sexually related activities as “sex.” Other people might have a very broad definition of sex and consider a variety of things to be sex.

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Whether you’re having a one-night stand or entering a committed relationship, communication is key for both physical and emotional comfort. It’s important to talk about how you’re feeling and what you’re looking for, as well as set expectations for yourself and your partner. It’s also important to communicate openly throughout sex to ensure that both parties are satisfied.

Korin Miller is a freelance writer specializing in general wellness, sexual health and relationships, and lifestyle trends. Her work has appeared in Men’s Health, Glamour, Self, and more. She lives by the beach and hopes to own a teacup pig and taco truck someday. Her writing explores what it means to form a realistic, yet joyful narrative around sex and love. You can find her on Twitter @korinmiller.

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