My boyfriend and I recently started having sex. It’s fine, but I’m kind of disappointed… I like the things we used to do (oral, fingering, etc.) a lot more! Is that weird? How can I tell him that I want to do more of those other things without hurting his feelings? I’m a girl btw.

First, it’s great that you’re thinking about what you need to have the sex life you want! Second, it is NOT weird. It’s actually very common.

Only about 25% of women consistently orgasm (or come) from penis-in-vagina (PIV) sex.

The vast majority of people with clitorises need something extra to get them off. Most of the time that means direct clitoral stimulation from hands, a tongue, or vibrator or other toy. So you’re not alone in wanting more than just PIV sex.

Yet despite this, our society STILL thinks of PIV sex as the be-all-end-all of sex. We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again: sex includes a bunch of different acts, not just PIV sex! Sex can also include oral sex, manual sex, anal sex, mutual masturbation, and more. When you think about it, it would actually be weird if everyone preferred the same sex act. After all, everyone has a unique sexuality.

Unfortunately, our culture has a lot of sexual hang-ups. This prevents us from talking about sex and sexuality in an open and honest way. This is particularly true for girls’ sexuality. TV shows and movies often center guys’ pleasure, and rarely show girls experiencing or pursuing sexual pleasure for themselves.

Sex shouldn’t always be about only one person’s needs, though—it should be about what both of you want.

In a healthy sexual relationship, you should both feel comfortable talking about sex and asking for what you want in bed (without pressuring your partner, though!). Talking about sex can feel awkward at first, but it’ll get easier the more you do it.

Porn (and movies and TV shows!) makes it seem like everyone just knows what gets their partner off. In reality, partners need to talk about what they want in bed. Your boyfriend will probably be happy for any pointers you give him. After all, he’s not a mind reader! He (hopefully) wants to know what you like.  Tell him what you want to do more of. Explain that most people with clitorises need clitoral stimulation to come (even though coming doesn’t have to be your main goal!). You can even show him this column if you want.

Keep in mind that there’s not one way to have PIV sex.

If you want to, you and your partner can experiment with different positions, going at different paces, or adding in toys. If you don’t already, use water- or silicone-based lube to make PIV sex more comfortable and enjoyable (Oil-based lube weakens latex condoms and can make them break). With some time and experimentation, you may find ways to make PIV sex more fun and pleasurable for you. But if you’d rather stick to other types of sex, that’s totally fine too! Just keep being open and honest with your partner about what’s working for you and what’s not. Make sure that you both understand and practice enthusiastic consent.

If your boyfriend blames you or makes you feel bad about yourself, think about your relationship. Has he ever put you down before?  Do you want to be having sex with someone who doesn’t understand that sex is about BOTH partners’ pleasure? Is your relationship built on trust and respect? If you’re not sure, talk to a friend or adult who you trust. You can learn more about healthy relationships here and here.

Chances are, though, that your boyfriend will be happy you brought this up! Take a moment to feel proud of yourself for communicating openly and asking for what you want.

In addition, make sure you and your partner are using condoms and a reliable form of birth control, like the intrauterine device (IUD), implant, or pill.  Both of you should also get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

If you’re 10-26 years old and near NYC, adolescent medicine specialists at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center can provide birth control and STI testing and treatment, and answer any other questions you have–all at no cost to you!