Image: Sian Bradley
It’s true what your nan used to warn you over Sunday dinner as a kid: as you get older, the years start to fly by. Mere minutes ago it was 2014, “Anaconda” had just dropped and I could still handle drinking a bottle of wine before getting anywhere near Manchester’s Canal St. In another blink, I will be 30 years old, staring at my microbladed brows and regretting that I’ll never be able to bleach them in an attempt to look younger and fabulouser.
But if I, like Cher, could turn back time? I would never. The main reason being not that I don’t think I could handle that much MD consistently flowing through my veins again, but that shagging has only gotten better. By 30, you probably know what you want and not feel embarrassed about asking for it. By 30, you probably don’t need a list to tell you what you should know about shagging. But also, maybe you do, and that's fine. That’s where I come in.And what makes me, a beautiful blonde 20-something with brilliant tits qualified to give this advice? My body count should be proof enough, but I also spend half my time writing about kink, shagging, anal, eating ass, fingering… Essentially, consider this my knowledge, rolled into one digestible list.So, here are 30 things you should know about shagging before turning 30.
Even if you’re dating. Even if you’re married. Even if you can’t remember the last time you bonked or even swapped saliva with someone. This is a responsible and obvious start to the list, but a tres important one. You’d be surprised how many people think they don’t need to get their junk checked regularly.It’s not even that hard to do anymore – the world has moved past sitting in miserable clinics with dropped ceilings, harsh lighting and brightly-coloured posters with graphic photos of untreated STIs on them until a nurse says that you need to piss in a tube. You can get STI tests in the post, even HIV ones, and you can order some treatments to your house. What a time to be alive.
1) Get check-ups regularly
You know what’s harder than working out what a new partner likes in bed? When they don’t even know what they like in bed. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as a specific kink or imagined scenario, but even being able to provide the info that you find motting out boring without a finger in there too is a perfect example of the fact that knowledge really is power. Plus, it's extremely fit when someone knows what they like and are vocal about it.
2) Find out what you like first
It’s gotten to the point now that if someone doesn’t have a kink or a predilection to something a little out of the ordinary, that’s a fetish in itself. X-rated normcore, you might call it – where the good old in 'n' out is more than enough. The best bit about approaching 30, in my opinion, is that you stop caring about what other people are up to. Your old flatmate is an adult baby? Good for her. Someone you went to school with has changed their Facebook pic to the Joker whipping a belt? I’ve seen worse things on God’s green internet. So yeah, embrace your inner freak because there's no reason not to. Even if that means being open about the fact you like missionary once a week.
3) Everyone’s a freak, so get over any embarrassment
When I was a teenager, I thought fisting worked by punching your way into the hole (I’m sure that’s probably a thing for some people). But the slow work up of adding in finger after finger until someone is Italian hand gesture-ing your pussy is often more pleasurable than when all the digits have climbed up there at once.This is half because foreplay is often better than full penetration (to be discussed later in the list) but also because the care and adoration put into sex prep can feel fulfilling in its own right. It's about the whole event after all. Same goes for anal – the fingering and rimming before you’re ready to get a cock up your ass is often more sensual and key to making the finale itself enjoyable too.
4) Preparation is everything
A controversial but brave take: the first time you bonk someone isn’t going to be the best time you bonk them. Either because you’re pissed out of your head, you’re nervous as fuck or just because you don’t know them that well yet (see earlier point). The moral of the story is to not ghost someone you like after one bad bang. Ghost them after the second.
5) Your first shag with someone doesn’t have to be good
It’s not just good enough to know where the clit anymore, lads – you have to know what to do when you’ve got your tongue on it. Some people prefer clit licks and some people prefer clit sucks. Make sure to master both. And don't, for the love of God, be spelling out words with your tongue on someone's flaps at the grand old age of 26. This isn't a Love Island challenge. Which brings us to our next point…
6) Clit licking vs sucking
As much as weirdo YouTube men might want to convince you that there are certain one-size-fits-all tricks that will get your partner going every time, the monotony of one routine will a) kill your relationship and b) not work on half the people you try and get with.
7) Everyone has different bodies and preferences and they can change over time
Even if you’re knackered. Even if you think you’ve used all your piss during the act. Even if you have to walk through a living room of smelly boys to get to the worst communal bathroom you’ve ever seen in your life. I have never met a UTI that made it worth missing going for a quick wee after a quickie.
8) Piss after sex, EVERY TIME
If you are 27 years old and haven’t had any bum fun yet – that's fine. Each to their own. Who am I to judge!
9) Anal doesn’t have to be your enemy
That said, in my opinion, there's no need to shut the door on your back door completely if you’ve never tried it. Good lube and a lot of patience is your best friend if you haven’t mastered this skill yet (someone loading their cock / dildo into your crack without prior preparation is a no-no).I once had an ex compare getting their bumhole played with like going from a Playstation One to a Playstation 4 – the 5 wasn’t out yet, my age is showing – and it really stuck with me. In other words: be open-minded to all that the body can offer.
It’s already in your mouth – why pass it over your tongue another time to spit in the nearest waste receptacle? Unless, of course, that waste receptacle is the other person’s mouth (shout out Tom Wambsgans).
10) There's nothing wrong with swallowing
Do you remember watching Friends reruns at 13 years old after school and Monica was screaming and panting “seven” while you tried to work out what “erogenous zones” existed outside of one, two and three? Nah, me neither. But I fully understand now that a thigh can be one of the sexiest bits of equipment you’re working with. As can an ear, or a neck – whatever! There's no need to be 27 years old and focusing on the genitals and the genitals only.
11) Use all your body parts
Need I say any more? Lesbians already know this so you can skip this part, but if you're a cis straight man – I implore you to master the act of making someone cum with your fingers.
12) Fingering is underrated
There’s no need to feel self conscious when shagging at this age, because the fact they’re fucking you means they already want to shag you. Which means they must find you sexy in some regard.
13) If they're having sex with you, they probably think you’re fit
There is a misconception among straight teens that lube is pointless – or rather, there was in the Valleys in 2010 – but we couldn’t have been more wrong. Lube a necessity for certain sex acts, and there are also many different lube options out there for many specific needs. Silicone lube is super slippery (great for arse stuff) but best to avoid when using condoms and/or sex toys; water based lube is amazing for not fucking with your fanny’s pH balance, or breaking down silicone toys; CBD lube can enhance your experience and if you have ever tried those weird heating lubes, you know it’s the lubricant version of accidentally getting that Original Source mint bodywash on your bits. Perfect for certain kinds of masochists!
14) Lube is your friend
Speaking of additions to the bedroom: Sex toys are some of the most necessary purchases you’ll make in the first three decades of your life. Don’t feel like you have to go buck wild and get one of those alien egg laying dildos either. A good rule of thumb is to ensure you have an innie, an outie and one that vibes with your particular preference. For example, if you rummaged through my box of toys, you’d always find a dildo, a wand and some sort of anal device. This section isn’t just for the gals and gays either – it’s incredibly erotic when a straight guy has some kind of vibe ready for you on a one night stand. So if you're in your 20s, get investing.
15) Everyone should own a minimum of three sex toys
This one applies to general life too, but especially when it comes to shagging. Of course, I don’t mean telling your bezzie mates that someone pissed on you and you quite liked it – these are people who can be trusted with sex gossip because you have more than enough intel on them if they ever spilled the beans. But when you’re at the afters at 4AM and someone asks what shagging so-and-so was like, keep the gory details to a minimum. We're not 16. You’d want the same respect back, after all.
16) Don’t gossip
When me and my ex-girlfriend were both in the business of selling nudes, we used to share pics of our shockingly similar baps with each other to flog to strangers. This was especially doable because of the golden rule of handing out nudes: show absolutely zero distinguishing features. This saves you from any worries of revenge porn and helps you with any deniability you may need at a later date.
17) No face / distinguishing features in nudes
We’re all adults here. If you can’t accept this then I am confiscating your laptop until you’ve done the appropriate research.
18) Sex work is work
You’re not Patrick Bateman. Not even in an ironic, femcel kind of way. As multiple romcoms point out, it’s not easy to fuck a friend without getting your feelings involved. It may seem like cinematic exaggeration, but have you ever been in the girls toilets at 2AM at the club? Someone’s always crying about a fuck buddy not taking them seriously.By pretending you can have sex without getting your emotions involved, you’re only going to hurt yourself and your partner(s). Plus, having your feelings included in shagging is by no means a bad thing or even a romantic thing – it’s just something to be aware of.
19) It’s normal for emotions to be involved
For years, the debate of if squirt is piss has plagued clickbait articles, podcast episodes and sesh convos. The enlightened and adult answer to this question is that it doesn’t matter if squirt is piss – either way it’s fucking hot and feels amazing.
20) Who cares if squirt is piss?
Not everyone has a big dick. Not because not everyone has a dick, but because if every dick owner had a big one, then that would be the national average and all dick riders would sleep easy at night. Instead, those who own a willy have to worry about their cock size without knowing that at the end of the day, an average sized cock is often better. Who wants to be torn in two every time they bonk? And another thing – many big knob owners rely on the fact that they have said big knob rather than learning how else to be good in bed. All hail the average pork sword possessor, for they fill our holes and hearts with their attention to detail.
21) It’s definitely fine to have a normal-sized cock
Mate, seriously, relax a little. Have some fun. Laugh at a queef. Throw a tit over your shoulder. Giggle at the ludicrousy of being naked and rubbing your bits together when only five minutes ago you were watching Planet Earth and eating pizza.
22) Have a laugh
Just like fingering, getting yourself off is seriously underrated. Even when you’re in a relationship, take the time to pleasure yourself solo. Not only is this a good way to match up with a partner who might have a different sex drive to you, but it’s also fucking sick. There is nothing more empowering than knowing you have the ability to make yourself cum whenever you want (within reason).
23) Masturbate regularly
This used to be “always have baby wipes handy”, but the world is on literal fire and disposable anything is not allowed to be promoted anymore sorry. But yeah: ensure your preferred wiping apparatus is always nearby during the act, just in case. And try to always use the same towel, so nobody accidentally uses the cum rag and feels tainted.
24) Always have a towel handy
Don’t agree? You’re not doing it right. So much of heteronormative representations of sex show a shag as the man entering the woman with little lead up before they miraculously orgasm simultaneously. I’m not saying that nobody has ever cum from the above, but the intense gorgeousness of teasing a girl’s tits for 15 minutes before going anywhere near the golden south is infinitely more erotic.I have previously enlisted partners into a deal that I have to cum at least once before penile penetration, which means that foreplay is given her proper respect in the sex act.
25) Foreplay is better than penetration
All the best sex stories involve poo in some way and all these sex stories leave you absolutely howling with laughter. If you don’t laugh, you cry. In all seriousness though, if your sex involves arses, be prepared for the very realistic possibility that you may accidentally see some literal crap at some point. Come on, you're nearly 30. What's a bit of shit between lovers?
26) SHIT HAPPENS
If you’re willing to give eating snails a go because you’re in Paris and it’s the done thing, why not give pegging a chance? Either you find out you definitely don’t like it and have a legitimate excuse for turning it down in the future or, best case scenario, you have the ride of your life and get to level up your sex life forever.
27) Try anything once
Did you know that the balls on a dildo actually serve a purpose? It’s to stop the shaft getting stuck somewhere in your insides and being the topic of a TikTok story time that’s embarrassing enough to get you loads of views. When it comes to shoving shit up your arse, invest in something with a flared base. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
28) Use toys with a flared base
A serious moment towards the end of the list, but a crucial one. Consent isn’t sexy – it’s a necessity. Make sure you’re checking in throughout your various sex acts that what you’re doing is wanted, enjoyed and consented to. I would say it should be pretty obvious by the age of 30 if your partner is consensually participating in what you both are up to, but when in doubt it’s always worth asking. And finally…
29) Consent, obviously
If I had a quid for the amount of Channel 4 dramas I’ve sat through in my mam’s living room where middle aged female characters proclaim sex only gets better past your forties, I’d probably stop worrying about the cost of living crisis. When I was single, this idea used to comfort me while scrolling through my ex’s Twitter account. It doesn’t matter how good he was at licking me out, there are better muff divers out there somewhere. And if you're in your late twenties, you still might have yet to experience them. So there you have it. Take a shot for every one of these you already do and/or agree with. If you’re hammered, then you’re a top shag. If you don’t drink, then you’re just gonna have to trust your own instincts on this one.@GINATONIC