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Anonymous asks:

I've had sex with my boyfriend for the first time a few months ago, and we've been having problems with positions. I like when he's on top, but he has trouble holding himself up for a long amount of time because he's heavy and doesn't want to hurt me. However, I've been having trouble being on top because I can't seem to find a rhythm, and I find it hard to get the up down motion. I really want to please my partner, and not have him doing all the work every single time. Please help!

Sarah replies:

Think back to when you first learned to ride a bike. I bet it took you a while to get the peddling motion down, learn to balance, guide the bike with the handle bars, and watch where you were going all at the same time! Right?

Well, just like learning to ride a bike, it can take a while to really get sex with a given partner figured out. There's a lot going on, and that can be a bit overwhelming when you're new to it. It's actually probably even more complicated than bike riding because, with a bike, it's just you to worry about. With partnered sex, you've obviously got a partner to consider too. So in that context, it's a bit like learning to dance. You've got that physical aspect for each of you that you're getting used to. To some extent, sex involves movements and body positions that may be new for you. So just like when you're learning to dance, you've got to try out those movements and figure out how to make them work for you. Your body also has to get used to moving and using muscles in ways that it may not have done a lot before.

Then, beyond your individual body movements, you've got to learn to move with somebody else, which can be tricky as well. While we know what's going on in our own heads and with our own bodies, it's harder to know what's going on with somebody else. You are learning to read your partner's body language and their responses in the situation. You won't learn to dance like a professional after going out dancing just once...and you won't necessarily get everything exactly "perfect" (however one chooses to define that) on the first try either. It's going to take some time.

P.S. from Heather: Don't forget that there is also no one way to move with intercourse in any position. For instance, when a woman is on top, more times than not women move back and forth vertically rather than up and down (as if you were hopping on a pogo stick), because that's how the clitoris gets any real stimulation in that position.

So, how do you work it out then? Well, it's a good idea to start with some good, solid communication. By making sure that you're both on the same page with everything that's going on (including pregnancy and STI issues), you're automatically starting out in a better place. This is also a good time to make sure that you're talking about what feels good and what doesn't, what works and what doesn't, for each of you. By opening up these discussions before you're in a sexual situation, it's easier to deal with the things that do come up during sex. Next up, it's wise to just relax about things and worry about getting everything just right. If a position just isn't working, that's okay! You can change those things as many times as you want or need to during sex. So if you start in one position and somebody gets tired, try something else. If a rhythm isn't working, try a different one or change things up entirely. Remember that sex really isn't about single-mindedly doing X, Y, and Z to get straight to whatever outcome within a time limit...things work best when we concentrate on enjoying the moment and the experience holistically rather than pursuing some end. Don't be afraid to try things out, because you never know what might end up really feeling good for you. There's no one thing or one position or one way of doing things that's going to work for everybody, so it's up to you and your partner take your time and work out what feels best for you.

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Question:

I will be a junior in high school next year, and because I've been lucky to stumble on a lot of really great sex-positive resources, I've learned I have a pretty strong interest in sexuality--as in, studying it/doing something in it as a career. However, getting information about this field is much more difficult than, say, engineering or law. What are jobs within this field, what are areas in college/majors you'd advise, and what are some ways I can get involved now, as a minor? My areas of interest are not really in the medical field--I'm more interested in counseling, giving advice, activism, and education

Also, do you have any advice for telling people about my interest? Right now the only person who knows is my boyfriend, because it's really difficult for me to trust most other people to not equivocate wanting to study sexuality with being obsessed with having sex. Esp my parents, who are politically liberal in every way except in their parenting. They ask me what I want to do with my life really often, and it's kinda stressful to not be able to talk to them.

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