As long as it’s legal and consensual, there are very few sexual taboos that should remain taboo. Cultural norms are constantly changing, which means things that we used to think were “weird” or “out there” become normal and accepted if you wait long enough.
Here are 10 sexual taboos that we think should be normalized. Let us know if there are any we missed!
1. Butt Stuff
For some reason, anal play still falls on the list of sexual taboos (especially for cishet men). But messing around with your backdoor is incredibly pleasurable, no matter what gender you are or who you prefer to have sex with.
It’s one of the most equal-opportunity sexual acts; everyone has an anus, after all! And speaking of equal opportunity — there is absolutely nothing “gay” about anal play.
Start investing in your booty play by buying new anal toys designed to pleasure your backdoor. And don’t forget the lube — artificial lubrication is non-negotiable for anal play (your butt can’t protect itself).
Start slowly using a fingertip, then work up to doing whatever you’re comfortable with. And avoid using numbing creams or gels, which can make it harder for you to recognize when you’re experiencing pain and need to stop.
2. Not Getting Off
We tend to make orgasms the goal of having sex. If you don’t get off, what’s the point, right? But wait, not so fast!
To break down this sexual taboo, we need to look at sex differently. The “point” of having sex, especially in a long-term relationship, isn’t getting off; it’s just one more way of being close and intimate with your partner.
Work on taking the pressure off sex by making it less goal-driven and more about the experience of being together — if you have an orgasm, great! If you don’t, that’s okay too! Sex can still be pleasurable without getting off, and not having one doesn’t mean it was worthwhile.
3. Ethical Nonmonogamy
We’ve been raised in a society that puts a lot of value on monogamy. What’s the goal of life if you don’t end up married to your partner for 50+ years, right? While there are a lot of positives to being in a long-term monogamous relationship, the truth is that they’re just not for everyone.
Enter ethical non-monogamy (sometimes called polyamory). With ethical non-monogamy, you’re not “tied down” to one partner — you’re free to pursue multiple relationships with different partners! Many people choose to have a primary partner (sometimes called Hierarchical Nonmonogamy), but that’s not a requirement.
The only important part, and the part that makes it ethical, is that you communicate with all of your partners. If you get easily bored with one partner, feel unfulfilled with one person, or just crave having more than one intimate relationship, don’t settle.
4. Period Sex
Does the thought of having sex while you or your partner is on their period gross you out? You’re not alone; this is one of the most lasting sexual taboos for a reason! However, take a second and think about why you feel that way. Do you think it’s gross, or have you just been told that you shouldn’t like it?
Sure, period sex may be a little messy. But other than that (and the fact that you’ll need to use lube to keep things slippery and comfortable due to hormone fluctuations), it’s exactly the same as having sex when you’re not on your period (and often includes more sensitivity).
So throw a towel down, put the bad sheets on the bed, and stop letting your body take a week of potential pleasure away from you every month.
5. STI Status
No one is saying that you should want to get a sexually transmitted infection, but calling them a sexual taboo is a bad take that needs to fall by the wayside. Getting an STI doesn’t mean you’re gay or a slut (although there is absolutely nothing wrong with either of those things). STIs are just infections, the same as catching a cold or the flu — only you hopefully had a whole lot more fun catching them.
Normalizing STIs doesn’t mean you should be lax with your sexual health and wellness, though. Get tested regularly (especially before becoming intimate with anyone new), communicate openly with your partner (or partners), and wear condoms when you’re having sex with a new partner.
6. Body Hair
Body-hair styles continue to change as the culture does, but the idea of body hair is still fairly controversial (especially when we’re talking about those who identify as female). For some reason, “women” shouldn’t have body hair — especially armpit hair or pubes.
We’d love to see that sexual taboo left behind, too. If you choose to shave because you like how it looks or feels, cool! If you’d rather grow your armpit hair out or feel self-confident when you have a giant bush, that’s also cool! The important part is that you’re doing what you want and not what you think you should do.
7. Talking Openly About Your Sex Life
We’re not saying that you must walk through the streets telling strangers about how you got destroyed last night. But we should normalize talking openly about our sex lives, especially with our friends and medical providers.
Discussing what’s working for you, what’s not working or frustrating you, or what you wish you could change can help you feel more satisfied with your sex life. Plus, your doctor needs to know what your sex life looks like so they can help you stay safe (and not get pregnant if you’re able to do that).
At the very least, start talking about your sex life with your bestie. Don’t underestimate how good it feels to vent or talk about solutions with someone close to you. You may even discover that something you thought you were alone dealing with is more common than you think.
Masturbation isn’t selfish and doesn’t make you a bad partner. If anything, spending time getting to know what gets you off and turns you on makes you a better sexual partner. Invest in sexual pleasure by treating yourself to a new sex toy.
There are many options, regardless of what type of genitals you have, so we guarantee you will find something that will blow your mind and make your eyes roll back in your head. If you still feel weird about it, bring your partner into the act.
Masturbate together or put on a show for each other. Plus, this allows you to show them exactly how you want to be touched. You’ll be more likely to get off and get rid of an unfair sense of shame or guilt around a perfectly normal (and not at all selfish or sinful) act.
9. Expressing Your Gender However Feels Right
Have you ever felt like the outside of your body doesn’t match how you feel on the inside? This is known as gender dysphoria, and it can be an incredibly uncomfortable feeling.
It’s also a very real mental health concern, although we understand that not everyone has the ability or safety to do anything about it publicly. However, we’re huge advocates for expressing your gender in whatever way feels right — whether in public or in the safety and security of your own home.
Start slowly by buying a few articles of clothes that feel more in line with your gender identity. Experiment with makeup, do your hair differently, or wear a packer under your clothes. You’ll feel whole and self-confident, even if you never leave the house.
10. Being a Slut
You should be able to have sex with whomever you want, whenever you want. Unfortunately, society tends to look down on people who aren’t in long-term monogamous relationships (especially those who identify and present as female). In many cases, this comes down to jealousy — people wish they could be that open and honest about what they want and who they are.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having sex with as many people as you want, as long as you do it ethically. Wear condoms, protect yourself from pregnancy, and be honest about who else you’re sleeping with or what you’re looking for with anyone who is more than just a one-night stand. And if it feels right, embrace the title of “slut” as a form of empowerment instead of an insult.
Most sexual taboos aren’t “bad;” they just don’t always fit in with the current cultural norms! But norms are made to be broken, and you should be able to do what you want with your body (as long as it’s consensually and legal, that is).
So buy that sex toy, explore ethical non-monogamy, and experiment with butt stuff — life is short, so don’t settle for a dull sex life because you’re afraid to step outside the box.