2023 is the year to rip up your sexual script and abandon ideas about what is normal, according to Ruby Rare, author, sex educator and co-star of new Channel 4 show Sex Rated.
Ruby has outlined her top tips to help people with their sexual debut on metro.co.uk’s Smutdrop podcast, arguing that the phrase ‘losing your virginity’ is outdated because the experience is more about gain.
She tells host Miranda Kane: ‘I don’t really like the idea of losing your virginity. Because – where does it go? What happened? It doesn’t mean anything. To me, experiencing sexual pleasure and sexual intimacy is about gaining experience and knowledge.’
Her advice for people making their sexual debut is to go at your own pace and try to dismiss the idea of what may or may not be normal.
‘The typical way that we see virginity is a man and a woman having sex, which involves a penis going into a vagina. For lots of people, that isn’t the sex that is going to appeal to them, maybe because of sexuality, but also because of pleasure,’ explains Ruby.
‘We know that for the vast majority of women, penis and vagina sex isn’t the most pleasurable because it actually doesn’t stimulate the clitoris as much as loads of other wonderful, sexy things.’
Ruby argues that the emphasis on partnered sex devalues masturbation, adding: ‘I first had sex with someone else, when I was 15, and for years, that was the moment I started having sex.
‘Actually, now when I look back on it, I had been exploring solo sex for years before then. And I’d already had some sexual encounters with teenage girls. And I completely devalued those experiences, because the cultural script had told me that that wasn’t what sex looked like.’
Ruby calls on those encountering sex for the first time to make sure they’re clued up on issues like lube, ‘an essential part of sex’, condoms, STI testing and consent, advising a look at info from sexual health and wellbeing experts Brook.
Alongside the term ‘losing your virginity’, the idea of what’s ‘normal’ needs to be binned, she adds, as everyone is different.
‘Normal is not the same for everyone. And it’s not about trying to fit into what other people’s versions of normal are,’ says Ruby. ‘What you’re doing and experiencing as long as it’s not causing you pain, or other people pain – I want that to be okay.’
But above all, she advises that if you’re having your first sexual encounter, it needs to be with someone you trust, respect and can have those awkward conversations with.
‘It’s less about – are you in love? Is this person someone who you’re going to spend the rest of your life with?,’ she explains. ‘The 2023 version is, is this someone I respect? Is this someone who respects me? Is there mutual care there between us? And that can still exist in really casual sex.’
Smut Drop is a weekly podcast with host Miranda Kane from Metro.co.uk, touching on sex, dating and relationships.
With no holds barred, it’s the home of sex positive chat, where Miranda will be joined each week by sexperts and special guests to explore the world of the erotic.
And we want to hear from you, too! As part of our podcast we’ll be sharing listeners’ experiences, thoughts and questions on a different theme every week.
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Ruby also tells Miranda that she would like sex education to focus more on pleasure, a word that is missed out when the subject is discussed at schools, and warns against following the ‘sexual scripts’ that we’ve been given – arguing that sex does not need to look like anything that you’ve seen or heard about before.
‘Provided things are consensual, and that you’re checking in with each other, there’s no rules for what happens or what order it happens in,’ she says.
And Ruby wants experimenters to understand that real life sex is nothing like porn; which is an entertainment form.
‘Porn is like Formula One racing. People who do it professionally, they really know what they’re doing,’ she explains. ‘I struggle to parallel park still -but there’s beauty in being able to just pootle around and go for a drive.’
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