In endless places, women get the message that literally everything they do, in bed and elsewhere, is about pleasing men (never mind that lots of women don’t even sleep with men!). If your sex ed was thorough enough to cover erections, it probably left female arousal unmentioned, and many anatomy textbooks just omit the clitoris altogether. 

Then, uninformed adolescents turn to large tube sites, where 78 percent of men but only 18.3 percent of women orgasm (at least in the top 50 videos). Even women’s orgasms are depicted as existing for men’s ego-stroking, with women’s magazines declaring that they provide a “private show” and make guys feel like they’re “the best” (thanks, Cosmo). 

Once people finally make it into the bedroom, men are off to a head start, to put it mildly. While they’re thinking about how they can get what they want, women are often wondering what noise they should make, what angle their body looks best at, and whether they’re doing it right. With all that buzzing around in your head, it’s hard to even hear your own desires. 

So, it’s time to stop telling women what they should do for other people — in bed or in life — and start asking them what they want. Here are some things no woman should ever feel pressure to do in bed, because you should only do what you truly desire. 

1. Make any kind of noise 

Sometimes, being loud in bed can help you lose your inhibitions and get into it. What does not help you get into it is worrying about what kind of noise you’re making. Many people are naturally quiet in bed, but watching certain porn videos can give you the impression that women don’t have that option. Women feel so obligated to make noise for their partners, one study found they were more likely to moan before their partners’ orgasms than before their own. Nobody should have to brainstorm what kind of sound would be sexiest when they’re in the heat of the moment. That’s distracting AF. 

2. Shave anything at all (ever) 

Shaving your pubic hair is not obligatory. Shaving your legs is not obligatory. Shaving your armpits is not obligatory. No form of shaving is obligatory. Seriously, there is nothing inherently unpleasant about eating out a vulva with a full bush, stroking a hairy leg, or seeing a hairy armpit. Some might have their preferences, but it’s still your decision. 

3. Give oral sex 

When did we collectively decide that fellatio was on the prix fixe menu while cunnilingus was on the special menu? The truth is that there is no prix fixe menu when it comes to sex. If you don’t like something, whether that’s oral or anal or kissing or intercourse, don’t do it. There is literally nothing you have to do.  

4. Orgasm 

I think most of us can agree that orgasms are pretty fun. However, sex can be just as great without an orgasm. And if it’s not happening for you, you shouldn’t feel pressure to have one to give your partner a sense of accomplishment. Your pleasure should be for you. Definitely don't fake it.

5. Make someone else orgasm 

Similarly, sex can still be complete and enjoyable without your partner orgasming. Women are often expected to make their partners orgasm, while their own orgasm is considered optional. It’s nice to have both, obviously, but not at the expense of your own comfort.

6. Have intercourse 

If fellatio is the appetizer on the prix fixe menu, intercourse is considered the main course. And some women do love it, but for others, it doesn’t do much of anything at all. That’s completely fine and normal. There are other ways to please both of you. 

7. Suffer through pain 

One in ten women say sex hurts for them, and many feel they need to have it anyway so they don’t disappoint their partners. Unless we’re talking BDSM, pain should never be a normal part of sex. If you experience pain during sex, it could be Endometriosis. Talk to a doctor because there is treatment. 

8. Anything 

Affirmative consent means that everyone does what they want, not what they’re just OK with. Not what they’ll put up with. Not what they think they have to do. There is nothing you have to do in bed whatsoever, regardless of your gender.