Ah, sex. It’s right there at the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, alongside food and air. We think about it every seven seconds, and then we go to sleep and dream about it continuously. It is, as George Michael affirms, natural and fun. (Best when it’s one on one is open to debate, as I think even George would now concede.) As Esquire‘s leading sex expert (or, for short, “fuckpert”), I have been asked to analyze and rank all the different kinds of sex you might come across in your travels through life. Read and debate with a loved one, or someone who is less than 250 feet away from you on the hookup app of your choosing.
11. Mile High Club Sex
What It Is: Sex on an airplane. Specifically—and this is the best-case scenario—inside the cramped, filthy lavatory.
Advantages: Will make you appreciate having sex literally anywhere else.
Drawbacks: Like the girlfriend who lives in Canada or any number of sex tricks teenage boys talk about, the Mile High Club is not a real thing.
10. Breakup Sex
What It Is: You and your significant other cannot go on this way, but just one more time before you drive off in the U-Haul…
Advantages: Can provide closure, tears are socially acceptable, you can be reasonably sure this is the last time you’ll hear those weird noises they make.
Drawbacks: Can’t help but feel like a chore, like closing up the cabin for winter—or like an exit interview.
9. Hate Sex
What It Is: There is that person in your life you cannot stand, but to whom you are inexplicably attracted, and then one night you slip right over that thin line that separates love and hate.
Advantages: Intense! Dramatic! You cannot help but feel like Sam or Diane from Cheers!
Drawbacks: Happens almost exclusively on television, is precisely the reaction Milo Yiannopoulos and Stacey Dash are trying to get out of us.
8. Hookup App Sex
What It Is: Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, Scruff, and probably 20 new ones I’m too old to know about. You select a picture, you judge others based on theirs, you text and you flirt, and then sometimes you end up in a stranger’s apartment.
Advantages: It’s kind of like an adult version of Pokémon Go!
Drawbacks: You might end up catching a different, much less appealing team of pocket monsters.
7. Three-Way Sex
What It Is: You, your significant other, and an adventurous college friend/rando from the bar/that co-worker about whom you’re a little concerned have a few drinks, listen to some Prince, one thing leads to another, and then come the high-fives.
Advantages: Makes an average person feel like a pornography star. (There has to be a shorter, more efficient way to say “pornography star.”) In a three-way, one is never not thinking, “I cannot believe this is happening.”
Drawbacks: Difficult logistics, high potential for hurt feelings, strong possibility you will be permanently overshadowed by your special guest star (or: “Urkel’d”). In a three-way, one also thinks, at least once, “I can’t wait for this to be over so I can masturbate thinking about it.”
6. Fuck Buddy Sex
What It Is: You and a platonic friend discover that you’re sexually compatible, equally down for some no-strings shoopin’, or just have complimentary problems with emotional intimacy.
Advantages: Efficient, business-like, nobody has to buy anybody dinner.
Drawbacks: But then one of you develops unreciprocated feelings for the other one, and there you are in the middle of a romantic comedy, except it’s real life, so it involves much less Sara Bareilles music and much more quiet, seething resentment.
5. Hotel Bar Sex
What It Is: You’re on a business trip in an unfamiliar city, you’re by yourself or with coworkers with whom you’d rather not socialize, you swing by the lobby bar for a decompression cocktail, you bring a book and read the same paragraph over and over until you make eye contact with someone who’s doing the exact same thing. This leads to small talk over Yellow Tail Shiraz, which leads to flirting, which leads to raiding the minibar “intimacy kit” in whoever’s room is cleaner.
Advantages: There is an inherent role-playing involved here. You’re in Cincinnati. You can be anyone you want to be in Cincinnati. You just have to stay on your toes and remember the name and occupation you’ve given yourself. (Brock, military contractor.)
Drawbacks: Potential awkwardness around the continental breakfast.
4. Morning After Sex
What It Is: You and a loved one are slowly coming to, and you really should start getting ready for work, but you’re already in bed, your partner is wearing—at most—an old t-shirt of yours, and your boss won’t notice if you show up twenty minutes late.
Advantages: The pressure is low, and you’re too groggy to be self-conscious about how you look or smell.
Drawbacks: At some point, you will have to acknowledge that you both need to brush your teeth if this thing is going to go any further.
3. Middle of the Night Sex
What It Is: You and your boo wake up in the middle of the night smooching, and you have no idea who started it or when.
Advantages: Feels like— and may in fact be the result of— a really hot dream.
Drawbacks: Will you even remember it in the morning?
2. Parents’ House Sex
What It Is: You’re visiting your hometown with a significant other, and in the middle of the night, they leave the guest bedroom and sneak into yours. Or you just take a five-minute break in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. There are a lot of ways to play this one. Whichever you choose, you have to be very quiet, because your folks are in the next room.
Advantages: Forbidden, hot, generally involves a familiar old quilt. Plus, nothing creates intimacy like a shared secret.
Drawbacks: Cannot help but make you consider all the times you were the person in the next room, and your parents had to be very quiet. Gross.
1. Makeup Sex
What It Is: You and your significant other had a huge fight, emotions are raw, feelings are hurt, but you both hold on to the slender reed of hope that there is value in your relationship, and you choose to put in the work to fix it. But first, strenuous fucking.
Advantages: Probably the most passionate of the sexes. Sometimes worth instigating a fight for.
Drawbacks: Somewhere during this cycle, you might say something you don’t mean, like “I can’t stand your family,” or “I have always thought I could do better than you,” or “Will you marry me?”