Below, obstetrician-gynaecologist Dr Anna-Kay Taylor-Christmas shares 17 facts about sex that women should know by the time they hit 30.
1. Sex is not supposed to be painful
Dr Taylor-Christmas said unless it's on purpose, if you or your partner are experiencing pain, a health professional should be seen for a thorough evaluation of the cause. "It may be something simple, such as inadequate relaxation, or a more serious problem in the reproductive organs," she said.
2. Foreplay is very important
The ObGyn said many people are unaware of the need for adequate preparation of the female sexually before penetration. "Take time for arousal," she said.
3. You can get pregnant without penetration
"Once the male ejaculates around or on the vagina or vulva, sperm can ascend the vagina and cause pregnancy," Dr Taylor-Christmas said.
4. Period sex is OK
Dr Taylor-Christmas said sex during menstruation is not harmful or dangerous.
5. Birth control can enhance sex
She explained that when using proper birth control the sexual experience can be enhanced as depending on the method used, the underlying fear and anxiety of unwanted pregnancy is removed.
6. You can get pregnant the first time you have sex
"There is no 'first time bonus' when it comes to pregnancy, as many women have unfortunately found out. So once you have intercourse around your fertile window you can get pregnant," Dr Taylor-Christmas said.
7. Bleeding, bad odour and discharge after sex are not OK
Dr Taylor-Christmas said if you notice unusual bleeding, odour or discharge after sex, see your doctor right away as it may be a sign of an infection or something more serious.
8. Sex organs are not dirty and men are no more sexual creatures than women
"The vagina and penis are not dirty organs once proper personal hygiene is practised. Women enjoy and want sex just as much as men, sometimes more," Dr Taylor-Christmas said.
9. Protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections at all times
Dr Taylor-Christmas said to make sure you and your partner have been tested for common STIs, practise having a single committed sexual partner and use a condom every time if you are uncertain of your or your partner's status.
10. Do not be afraid to get counselling/ sex therapy
"If you are experiencing persistent problems in the bedroom, seek help. Sex is an important part of most committed relationships, so don't neglect it," she said.
11. A healthy lifestyle will improve your sex life
The ObGyn explained that poorly controlled chronic illnesses and general poor health can directly and indirectly impact your sexual well-being. "Ensure that you eat well and exercise," she said.
12. Sex after children should still be enjoyable
"Even though raising children can be quite challenging, making the time for intimacy is very important," Dr Taylor-Christmas said. "Get a babysitter and have some alone time together. Kegel exercises are an excellent way to strengthen and tighten the pelvic floor and vaginal muscles after pregnancy."
13. Withdrawal is the worst form of birth control
"This poses an extremely high risk of pregnancy," she said.
14. Quality sex is always better
Dr Taylor-Christmas said when it comes to sex, quality is more important than duration.
15. Multiple orgasms are not common
"Not every woman can have multiple orgasms, so do not feel inadequate if you can't," she said.
16. Sex during pregnancy can still be safe and enjoyable
Dr Taylor-Christmas said to discuss this with your ObGyn if you have concerns. "Avoid rough sex or positions which are painful. Occasionally, specific conditions in pregnancy may prevent penetrative sex, but other forms of sexual contact may still be possible," she said.
17. Sex forms bonds and relieves stress
The ObGyn said that sex in a loving, committed relationship serves to strengthen the bonds of intimacy with positive psychological effects, partly through the release of the hormone oxytocin. She added that it also acts as a stress reliever.