The first swoonworthy sex experience I had where an encounter felt “out of this world” was in my early 40’s.

And it was a result of allowing myself to unlearn a bunch of jacked-up messages. Like the ones related to sex roles, sex as a performance, and identifying/showing up in the world as female in America. I was already divorced and on that rough journey at the same time as going back to school to study sex/uality. 

Unlearning is hard when it’s all you’ve known. 

America has a nostalgia for a rosier past. This longing for some moment when America was “great” (groan) presides over our cultural life, from movies to political campaigns. I’ve often wondered what decade they’re referring to. After listening to I❤️80s Radio in my car recently I can guarantee that the decade they are referring to is not the 1980s.

There are some seriously disturbing lyrics that come out of that decade. “Don’t You Want Me Baby” makes the male lead singer sound like an abusive, threatening domestic abuser. “Magic Man” sounds like a potentially underage girl leaving home to shack up with an older man who has “magic hands“. “Some Guys Have All The Luck” sounds like the InCel anthem we never wanted. “Funky Cold Medina” sounds like a trans-abusive/trans-phobic ass.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of these were favorites of mine – I spent time singing these songs at the top of my lungs when I was young. 

But it’s no wonder our culture is as messed up as it is. I spent hours and hours listening to the radio and watching MTV and letting all of this nonsense marinate in my developing brain. 

Never did I ever hear a healthy example of relationships in popular media. Eighties TV was Dynasty, Dallas, scandals, cheating, trouble, excess, posturing. I get that it draws us in for ratings and sales but without a healthy counterbalance, where would we ever learn it?

And that’s what I want to get back to. What can be possible when you unlearn the bad.

This person I met and had this remarkable experience with was a few years younger than me. Tall and handsome. We met at a costume event and he was dressed in all white with a mask over his eyes; he looked like an angel without wings. We spent a long time talking and getting to know each other and discovered that our basic notions of sexuality were aligned. I attribute that to my new insights into sexuality and how he was raised with sex-positive parents.

We exchanged numbers and became friends. Since we didn’t live near each other, we emailed each other often. I was so excited every time I would hear from him because of how he wrote…he was so brilliant and funny! Then, many months after our initial meeting, we had the opportunity for a quiet evening together. 

We were completely sober – drank only water and discussed whether or not to have sex. He told me his fears, how he wanted no chance of hurting me emotionally, said I deserved a really great man, and shared how he had been hurt in the past by women he got close to. 

I shared how I wasn’t sure he was the person I wished him to be because I was ready for a relationship. Then we talked about just keeping things as they were and decided to have sex. 

And whoa. It was amazing and connected. Passionate. Tender. Strong. Warm. 

I really don’t know how to describe it without getting porny. I guess I could say it was pretty vanilla intercourse but to me, it felt so much more emotionally connected.

I had a PermaGrin. I was satiated. And happy. A State of Contentment I’d never felt before. 

It was sex as an energy transfer. 

It fed me in a way where I was not hungry. For food. For attention. For sugar (that’s a big one for me). 

Before this experience, I hadn’t understood how transformative it could be to actually talk about having sex before having it. I’d avoided talking about sex before because who does that?? OMG. AWKWARD! 

Instead, we were both vulnerable in what we shared and both chose to move forward. It was seductive in a way I’d never tried, as if the words were pieces of clothing being stripped away. 

I wondered if it was just me or if that connection was normal for him. I’ve had some pretty intense, passionate, and wonderful experiences since then, but I can’t recall one where we discussed sex to that extent before doing it. I never had quite so intense a feeling of being entirely satiated afterward until this particular relationship. 

We’ve stayed in contact but drifted apart. You know, the long-distance thing. 

But I can say this: I’m so f*cking grateful for that experience and for the education that helped me to unlearn the bad. It allowed me to concretely feel in my body what amazing sex could feel like so I could attract it again. 

That experience made me open, and that openness brought me my current partner.



If you want to begin to examine what you have learned (and perhaps where you have things to unlearn, . It’s written to help parents with “The Talk” but reviewers say it’s great even if you don’t have kids. Check it out!)

About the Author

The MamaSutra

Dr. Lanae St.John is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sexology and certified sex coach with a background in sexology and a passion for helping people improve their sexual health and relationships. She is the author of "Read Me: A Parental Primer for "The Talk"" and the upcoming "You Are the One: How stopping the search and looking inside will lead you to your romantic destiny," and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the field. Dr. St.John aims to share her knowledge and expertise in a relatable and approachable way through her blog on

  1. I grew up with a sex-positive parent. My mother was open and honest about relationships and sex. I’m so grateful for that. Great article! If we could have open and honest conversation with our partners we could have more satisfying sex and relationships.

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