I made my students repeat aloud “Sex is a skill,” as I was beginning the sexuality module in my college courses last week, their collective voices paired with open and uncomfortable grins.

I am always amazed at how many people do not realize that yes, SEX REQUIRES SKILL! It does not come naturally. Nothing does, except maybe breathing. When we come into this world, we don’t know how to do anything—not even eat. That’s why there are so many breast-feeding consultants. Babies need to learn how to take their mothers’ breast into their mouths and suckle, and new moms need to learn how to teach them!

When we are born, we don’t know how to drive a car, play Frisbee or soccer, cook a turkey, or dress ourselves with style. All of these things must be learned. And so must sex.

Yet we have all these romantic notions that somehow sex is just natural, it “just happens” and, it’s perfect with “the one” you love, right? Gender roles have a particular hold on men in this ready-and-able department—quietly dictating that men should always want sex, be ready for sex and know how to do it. Whoah! Pressure!

Most of us experience fumbly, awkward, unsexy early ventures into the forays of sexual pleasuring with a partner. In a culture like ours, where we place so little emphasis on teaching sex education, we are all left to fumble about and try to figure it out on our own. Sometimes we have a happy accident and something new is learned and pleasures, even orgasms, happen. Cheers for happy accidents! But by and large, if we don’t work on learning the skills of sex, the quality of our sexual lives will reflect that lack of emphasis.

All skills require practice to become good at them and sex is no different. So since most of us had no sex education, or had limited education that focused on prevention of unwanted consequences, we have to roll up our adult sleeves and do the work to learn the language of erotic pleasure.

When we take time to develop our sexual skills—everything from sexual techniques, breathing/breathwork, anatomy & sexual functioning, communication, how to create deeper intimacy/relationships, developing awareness of desires, or how to be playful—we reap the rewards with more satisfying sexual lives, bigger orgasms, and deeper sexual connection and intimacy. What sexually active person wouldn’t want that?

So what sexual muscle do you want to work on? This year I decided I wanted to have 10 sexual firsts. I’m well past 7 or 8 already. It’s fun to figure outwhat’s next and to be surprised. I’ve been teaching sexuality for 15 years, but there is always room to grow.

Your Assignment, should you choose to accept it…make a list of the top 5 or 10 sexual skills you’d like to learn or improve. Then look at where and how you could learn those things. What books could you read? What teachers and coaches work on these issues? What lover might explore them with you? What teleclasses, webinairs, or other events could help? What community resources might be useful?

Your sex life and sex skills will not magically get better or materialize out of nothing. They will develop out of your consciousness and commitment to grow them.

I have spent my life giving the sex education to adults they never got as teenagers. If you’re looking for a place to start, you can check out my Claim Your Orgasm masterclass. You’ll learn all the stuff you wish Sex Ed had been about: how to give yourself pleasure, finding all about your body, communicating your sexual desires with your partner and much more. Choose to take charge of your sex education today!