Think back to the beginning of your working life (if you can bear to); remember how inexperienced you were? How you would struggle with tasks that seem second nature to you now?
The likelihood is that, at several points along the way, a kind boss took you under their wing, a seminar boosted your confidence or a piece of advice from a friend helped you see your career in a whole new light.
Now think back to the beginning of your sex life, we're certain lots changed since then too, though you'll likely find it a little harder to pinpoint what, or who, has influenced you along the way.
Having great sex is not a given and getting to know what we like and who we are in the bedroom is one of the biggest journeys we can go on within ourselves. After all, great sex is all about both partners feeling satisfied. Yet we so often keep these discoveries private.
However, we've found 6 women who are willing to share what had the biggest impact on their sense of sexual self or the way they view sex as a whole.
From the book that helped one woman not only come to terms with her sexuality but feel excited by it for the first time, to the piece of advice from an unexpected source, hearing what has improved the sex lives of others can have a positive impact on our own.
The one thing that improved my sex life was...
'...asking my partner what he found sexy about me'
'We never think to really ask people what they find sexy because we always think we know what is sexy and what isn't already, but actually it varies wildly from person-to-person.
'I found it quite jarring when an ex-boyfriend first asked me what I found sexy about him and I joked that he was looking for an ego-boost, but actually it turned out to be an exercise in mutual confidence boosting.
'Not only did it make him feel good, and meant we had much better sex afterwards, but I also asked him in return and it was one of the first times I ever felt truly confident in my own body. I'm not with him anymore but I've always asked every partner since what they have found sexy about me. It means I can accentuate or focus on those things in bed and it helps me feel like a total sex goddess. The more confident you feel, the better the sex your having will be.'
'...introducing lube into the bedroom'
'I'd never really thought about using lube during sex before a bottle came free with a sex toy I ordered. We sort of used it as a joke the first time, but I immediately felt the benefits. In fact, it helped me self-lubricate more than normal as the feeling of it turned me on so much.
'Now I use lube all the time and have found it's become a bit of an erotic act in itself. Rubbing lube onto someone else feels incredibly intimate and sensual, I highly recommend giving it a go. Don't be fooled by advertising — you don't need to be struggling with dryness to benefit from a bottle of lube.'
'...a piece of advice from Cheryl Cole'
'It sounds weird to say that Cheryl Cole improved my sex life but she really did. In a 2008 interview [with The Mirror] she talked really openly about how much she loved her sex life with Ashley Cole [her then husband].
'During the interview she said, 'I think most men prefer to hear little breaths rather than big loud screams. Otherwise you sound like a porn film.'
'That was a lightbulb moment for me because I'd always felt that trying to be like the porn stars my partner had watched was the sexiest thing I could do, but I suddenly realised that they wanted to have sex with me, as me, not me as an unattainable 'sexual ideal' that they had no feelings for.
'To cut a long story short, I tried Cheryl's breathing technique the next time I had sex and was shocked by how much it changed the feeling of the moment. I've never looked back... where breathing is concerned at least.'
'...reading Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters'
'I had had sex a few times before I read Tipping The Velvet. A friend had stolen the well-thumbed copy from her mum and given it to me for fear she would be caught with it. It sat by my teenage bedside for a while before I decided to read it, not knowing what erotic literature really was.
'Up until that point I had only had sex with men and not found it overly enjoyable, though older friends had told me it would get better. Reading the story of Nan and Kitty's affair was the first time I'd really had an insight into what sex with another woman might be like – and it helped me realise that perhaps what was missing from sex was real sexual attraction to the man I'd been having it with.
'The book gave me the confidence that there was something better (for me) out there and when it did come to my first time with a woman, I realised it had helped normalise it for me. I have continued to read erotic lesbian fiction throughout my life and have always found it stirs up renewed sexual confidence. Plus desire for my partner and what we are able to do together.'
'...hearing that my friends weren't 'doing it' every night'
'I always thought that a healthy sex life meant one where you were having continuous sex, whether you were in the mood or not. No-one ever told me differently and I'd read so many articles that seemed to give advice on how to up your libido and have more sex, that I thought that was all there was to it.
'It was only when one of my friends shared that she only had sex a few times a month – but each session would last for hours and leave her feeling fulfilled for days – that I thought I'd ask other friends about their sex lives. I soon found out that no one was having as much sex as I thought they were but most of them still felt they had a healthy sex life.
'It's such a small, seemingly obvious, thing but learning that having sex as and when you want it in a relationship rather than feeling pressure to do it more often has revolutionised how I think about sex. Now that the pressure is off, I actually want it more and I have sex for pleasure not for the sake of it.'
'...doing an orgasm workshop during a friends hen'
'The idea of doing an orgasm workshop would normally have me running a mile but when an expert joined our hen group to lead us through a sensual session, I was drunk and threw myself into it in the spirit of friendship. I didn't actually realise how much I would get out of it.
'Though the session taught me all sorts of things about how orgasms work and the different types, the main thing I took away was that sex doesn't actually have to end in an orgasm. I'd always assumed that, because it felt like that was the end goal for the man, that was my end goal too and it meant that I often felt frustrated or like I'd let myself down if it didn't happen.
'Now I find it much easier to just enjoy sex in the moment, regardless of where it's going to lead, and so it now really feels like down time rather than just another thing I have to worry about.'
You Might Also Like