Raise your hand if you're having way better sex now compared to when you first started having it... okay, that's a lot of you. And that tracks. Not everyone is a sex god right out the gate! In fact, the first few times can be kinda awkward, kinda fumbly, and that's okay.
The more experience you have getting comfortable with your body and pleasure, the better sex can be for you and your partner. And if you're willing to experiment and get out of your comfort zone a little, the returns can far outweigh any in-the-moment self-consciousness you might have.
With that in mind, we asked ten real women to look back on their sex lives and offer up the most surprising, unexpected, and time-saving sex advice they wish they could have given their younger selves:
"Masturbate in front of your partner."
"Taking the matter into your own hands (quite literally) ensures you'll get what you want. It also turns your partner on and allows them to know exactly what you like in bed."—Marion, 27
"Have sex with more than one person."
"I've only been with one person, my husband, and now I find myself fantasizing about other guys I meet or know on a fairly regular basis. I'm open with my husband about it. But now I have no one else to compare to and 'size up.' I wish I had the opportunity to explore and hook up with other guys. For years I thought I was 'good' and waited for the right one. Now, I feel like I'm a total animal ready to unleash."—Vanessa, 30
"Stop asking yourself, 'What would he like?'"
"I can't begin to describe the number of times I got ready for a date and worried about what they would be into. This thought served as motivation for what shoes to wear, and what my partner would like in bed. It was at the forefront of my concerns, and I wish I had prioritized my own pleasure."—Emily, 30
"Porn is not a guidebook to real-life sex."
"Don't feel like you have to do everything you see porn stars do in order to blow a guy's mind in bed. Find your own stride. Leave some of that sh*t up to the pros. They get paid to do these things, you do not."—Krysta, 30
"Don't feel bad if you can only orgasm with a vibrator."
"People might be afraid to use one, thinking that it'll make their partner feel incompetent, but from my experience, it takes pressure off the other person and allows you both to have a good time."—Morgan*, 26
"Squeeze your nipples during sex to reach orgasm.""It's absolutely worth the little bit of time it takes to get completely naked before masturbating, as this kind of individual sexual experience has most informed how I have sex with another person."—Grace*, 22
"Lube is for everyone."
"For so long, I thought lube was for other people, when really, it's for everyone, and makes everything much better. Also, it's not unsexy if you have to be incredibly specific about what makes you orgasm. For me, penetration alone does nothing, and I knew that forever but was too shy to communicate it. Another one I truly didn't understand was what to do with your hands during blow jobs, and the answer was 'literally hold the dick.'"—Shelby, 25
"It's okay if you need to close your eyes and hold still to orgasm."
"I definitely have to have my eyes closed, be very still, and not try to make any sexy faces or noises in order to orgasm. It took me nearly a decade to figure out that if I actually wanted to enjoy sex I had to focus on my own feelings and not how I looked and sounded to my partner. "—Brooke, 25
"Get over your fears of feeling awkward about it and buy a decent vibrator early on."
"I never had the confidence to get one when I was younger. I had gone to sex shops with friends and always knew I could find something that would work, but felt too awkward to ask. I was also too scared to order anything online in the fear the box would reveal what I was ordering. Vibrators would've been way more satisfying to me than most men I was with."—Dani, 23
"Stop worrying about what you look like during sex."
"I spent a lot of time feeling self-conscious about how I looked on top or how my boobs looked from a certain angle, when literally, it doesn't matter at all. I was only making sex *less enjoyable* for myself because of that thought process. If you let go of that negativity against yourself, you'll be in a way better position. Pun very much intended."—Katherine*, 25
*Names have been changed.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.