There’s a big rumor going around that says, unlike wine and McDonald’s french fries and Brad Pitt’s face, sex does not get better with age.
I guess we’re just supposed to lie down and take it (insert laugh track here). What I mean to say is, most of us have succumbed to our fate and are under the gross misconception that grown-up sex, and especially sex in a committed relationship, is nothing if not boring.
I only have two different decades of being sexually active under my belt — my 20s and my 30s — and already I can see a huge difference. Sex in my 20s was equally exciting and awkward. It was new and fresh and frequent, and it was also fumbling and insecure. Maybe I am the exception and not the rule, but I suspect (based on many tipsy talks with my girlfriends) that plenty of women feel the same.
There are quite a few people I know, quite a few moms I know, who are getting freakier with age. This is great news for those of us who have been presented with an idea of sex that looks more like a depressing death march and less like a budding blossom with each passing birthday.
I’d like to be the first to say: This rumor is false. There are several sexperts and sexually active thirtysomethings who agree. Chin up — and pants down — because sex may be even better once you hit your dirty thirties:
1. You have more experience
On this one, I’m sure I’ll get a resounding “duh,” but do the math. One of the best reasons that sex is so satisfying in your 30s is because you’ve had time to perfect your craft. Dr. Alyssa Dweck, OB-GYN and author of V is for Vagina, says this much is true, “You have likely figured out by your 30s that the clitoris is the action zone.”
2. You have more stability
Being single in your 30s still makes for a fun and wild ride, but not all of us in long-term relationships are hitting the snooze button. If you happen to find yourself adrift in the sea of commitment after age 30, that doesn’t mean you can soon expect to go numb below the waist. Dr. Kat Van Kirk, licensed marriage and sex therapist, considers later-in-life monogamy beneficial to a sexual relationship, saying, “By the time you’re in your 30s, there’s a better chance that you are in a loving, stable relationship, which means there is a safety in exploring [your] wild side.”
3. You have more wisdom
OMG pregnancy scares are so much fun, amirite? While constant pins-and-needles-am-I-pregnant-action makes for a thrilling Lifetime movie, it gets old real fast back here in the real world. Dr. Dweck considers your 30s a great time of sexual release because you no longer have to worry about sex slipups (fingers crossed): “You have likely honed in on a reliable method of contraception and are compliant with it.”
4. You have more confidence
With wisdom comes a deeply-rooted personal identity — or at least, that’s the hope. Dr. Kat refers to your 20s as a “trial run when it comes to sex,” and I couldn’t agree more. All of those rookie mistakes in the bedroom, terrible choices in partners and embarrassing sexcapades you only see on Sex and the City are not only hilarious — those notches on the bedpost gave you the sexual confidence you have today. Dr. Kat continues, “Research suggests that our identities aren’t even done forming until we’re almost 30. By this point, you’ve been able to take some time in getting to know your body — both with partners and without. You can use this found knowledge to fortify your confidence and thusly communicate your needs all the better to your partner.”
5. You have more tricks
Whether it’s from learning the hard way or watching your share of porn, sex in your 30s presents a delicious buffet of possibility because you have so many options to choose from, even with a committed partner. Sex, intimacy and kink coach Trevor Jones says this is exactly why your 30s can be ripe for sexual awakening: You’ve moved beyond the basics and have mastered at least a few advanced techniques. If you’ve been around the block a few times, “you’ve probably got a ‘trademark technique’ or ‘special move’ that you love to break out,” says Jones.
6. You have a better partner
For thirty-something women dating or married to partners within their age range, there are some perks: Men in their 30s are on the upswing too. No more inexperienced boob gropes or 30-second liftoff, says Jones. Guys in the over-30 category are bringing more to the bedroom than just their equipment: “If you’re a man in your 30s, then you’ve recovered from some of your reckless hormone imbalances of your youth and can now pace yourself. You take your time with foreplay and can tell it makes a difference with your partner.”
7. You have no inhibition
You know what you’re doing. You know what you like. You know what you’re working with. So what do you have to lose? Nothing says YOLO like a confident woman in her 30s who’s ready to get it on — she’s no longer trying to impress, she’s just trying to get off. JoEllen Notte, a sex writer and educator who went from a sexless marriage in her 20s to a sexual revival in her 30s, says that by the time you hit the big 3-0, “Most people have overcome the hang-ups they may have had, whether they be shyness, guilt or body image issues. The 20s may be time of dipping your toes into sexual waters, but the 30s are a time when you can dive in with gusto.” As if you needed another reason to let your freak flag fly.