When it comes to sex and intimacy in college, sometimes we do what we think we should do instead of what we really want to do. This is largely because we’ve learned to behave according to age-old social scripts that tell men to be sexually dominant and aggressive and women to be timid and coy.

But if we’re being honest, these gender expectations convince us to assume roles we may not be happy or comfortable with. For example, many women feel passive or dissatisfied with their sex lives since they’re often expected to follow their partners’ lead or prioritize their partners’ needs and desires above their own. In heterosexual and queer relationships alike, these difficult gendered dynamics can arise.

So we started asking ourselves (and each other):

What kind of sex are we having now, and what kind of sex do we want to be having?

We asked around, and then summed up what we learned in this series of positive examples and advice to help the rest of The Coral community find ways to feel good about their sex lives too!

Here are five of our favorite pieces of advice from some really wonderful humans in The Coral community (complete with both visual and verbal examples to help you visualize and start working towards the kind of intimacy you want to be having).

Important note: This series is packed with suggestions and examples we hope you’ll find useful. That said, it’s a long list, so we realize it might feel a bit more like a To Do list than a toolbox (which is not the goal). Our hope is that you’ll find a few of these suggestions powerful / consider trying them, but we realize that feeling good about physical intimacy is a process, and at the end of the day, letting go of what you should do and instead being present is one of the absolute best things you can do!