Disclaimer: I am a heterosexual woman, so I will predominantly discuss sexual acts between a male and a femal in this article. However, all of the general messages about sexual experiences and personal empowerment remain true for any type of partnership.

Lately, I have been surprised by the number of female friends who have confessed to me that their sex lives aren’t satisfying. “He will never go down on me.” “He only focuses on himself.” “He won’t make eye contact—I feel separate from him during the experience.”

Sometimes, the most obvious advice can be the best advice: just ask for what you want! According to one survey, 62% of women report that they are unhappy with their sex lives, and the other 38% admit that they themselves are mostly responsible for their satisfaction, not their partners. In fact, 62% of women report having an orgasm during masturbation, but less than half of these women (27%) report orgasming during sexual intercourse.

This means that the majority of women know what they like and how to make themselves feel good, but that less than half of these women feel comfortable or capable of communicating these desires during sex. This is doubly true of young women on college campuses, where many sexually active students are inexperienced or uninterested in anything more than “hooking up,” and it can be difficult to form an emotional and/or sexual connection.

While the impact of sex may be downplayed on college campuses and in modern culture, sex is an important means of establishing a connection between two people, and both people should be equally heard and respected during the experience. Whether you are in a serious relationship or having a casual hook up, it is important for both partners to enjoy the experience and feel comfortable with the sexual acts being performed. Ask and ye shall receive! If you aren’t satisfied with your experience, then change it! And if he isn’t complying, then he might not be worth your time.

A common misconception in modern culture is that men are more sex-driven than women and that women are interested predominantly in emotional, not physical, intimacy. However, the same previously mentioned study reports that 60% of women want more sexual activity. Unfortunately, many sexual acts are designed for male pleasure. Because of this, it is important for every person as an individual to know what they like and to guide their sexual experience in a way that feels most comfortable and enjoyable.

Even if a woman is focusing on giving rather than receiving, this is still an opportunity for a woman to redefine an experience that is sometimes thought of as submissive or acquiescent and to instead view these sexual acts as a choice, not an obligation. It is always okay to say no! If your partner does not accept no for an answer, then that person is violating your rights to safety and autonomy.

Whether you are sexually active or not, it is important to know what makes you feel comfortable in your relationships and to share your wants and desires with your partner openly. If you take ownership of your body and your sexuality, then your relationships and experiences will continue to develop in a positive and healthy way.

COVER PHOTO: Her Campus