Sex Ed

Ariana Grande’s “34+35” Sets High Sexpectations. But Are They Real?

By Jennifer Newell

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There are few things we at Betty’s love more than a pop hit with a sing-along melody and cheeky lyrics, especially when the song is coming from another Betty!

Of course, Ariana Grande’s “34+35” checks all of these boxes. So, we’re going to take our love of pop music and combine it with our love of sex-positive sex education to break down Ms. Grande’s latest song.

 

Watch the video here!

 

Let’s be real for a minute. Most pop culture—including music, movies, and TV—tends to exaggerate sex. We totally understand the entertainment value of sexual hyperbole, but we want to make sure our Betties have realistic expectations for sex. Those expectations can make or break relationships, and they can make or break a person’s overall view toward sex.

We know that by the age of 20, about 50% of women have had sex. This means 50% of 20-year-old women listening to “34+35” haven’t had sex yet. Whether you have or haven’t, we’re here to tell you how it really is—no sensationalizing. And the best place to start is at the top.

 

Verse one has us thinkin ‘bout babies

You might think I’m crazy

The way I’ve been cravin’

If I put it quite plainly

Just gimme them babies

So what you doin’ tonight?

Better say, “Doin’ you right” (Yeah)

Watchin’ movies, but we ain’t seen a thing tonight (Yeah)

Lyrics by Genius

 

It might not seem like there’s much to break down here, but oh girl, or boy, there is. The line “just gimme them babies” holds a lot of meaning. We take it to mean she’s having heterosexual intercourse and that she may want her partner to come (“ejaculate” or “finish”) inside of her.

This is a thing that doesn’t get talked about often, so a lot of Betties don’t know what to expect.

First things first, if you’re to the point with your partner where you’re having sex without a condom, we want you to be safe. Make sure you and your partner have both been tested for STIs, neither of you is having unprotected sex with other people, and, if you don’t want to become pregnant, you’re on some form of contraceptive—like an intrauterine device (IUD) or a birth control pill.

For all of that to happen, you need to plan when and where your partner will come. Don’t just let it happen or make an in-the-moment decision. So, you and your partner will have to talk about it. This might seem unromantic, but communication is the key to good sex.

You need to plan when and

where your partner will come.

Knowing when and where your partner will finish is also important for post-sex cleanup. One thing a lot of Betties don’t realize is that the ejaculate doesn’t just stay in there. When you first become upright, it drips out. For example, if you end with your partner lying on his back and you on top, you will drip as soon as you separate—likely on your partner.

So, make sure to have a towel or some other type of cloth nearby to catch the drippage. You may also want to use a panty liner, either immediately if you’ll be up and moving for a bit, or the next morning.

 

Let’s try and keep up

I don’t wanna keep you up (You up)

But show me, can you keep it up? (It up)

‘Cause then I’ll have to keep you up

Sh*t, maybe I’ma keep you up, boy

Lyrics by Genius

 

As you can see, the next lyrics talk about keeping it up, then later in the chorus, Ariana sings “Can you stay up all night?” Again, there’s a lot to unpack here!

For those of you who don’t yet know (and that’s okay), she’s talking about an erect penis. For intercourse to happen, the guy’s penis needs to be erect…aka “hard” or “up.” But once he comes, he is no longer erect. If a woman hasn’t yet had an orgasm, it can be a bit frustrating because the guy’s end typically signals the end of your sexy time. You see, guys need a “refractory period” after ejaculating, with most needing several hours—and that’s okay! It’s just how their bodies work.

However, due to this, it is oh so important for the woman to come first. Many women don’t orgasm during intercourse, which is another reason to communicate with your partner what you need either when fooling around before intercourse—aka “foreplay”—or during intercourse.

One thing we don’t want you to do, though, is put a lot of pressure on your guy to stay up. That kind of pressure can actually have the opposite effect and not only make it more difficult for your man to stay hard for a longer period of time, but to get hard at all.

 

Squeaking by on hygiene? Not this Betty!

I’ve been drinkin’ coffee (I’ve been drinkin’ coffee; coffee)

And I’ve been eatin’ healthy (I’ve been eatin’ healthy; healthy)

You know I keep it squeaky, yeah (You know I keep it squeaky)

Savin’ up my energy (Yeah, yeah, savin’ up my energy)

Lyrics by Genius

 

We love that Ms. Grande is focused on her hygiene! But what actually makes for a clean vagina?

We need to do a quick biology lesson to get to that. The vagina is the internal organ. So, if you insert a (clean) finger into your vaginal hole, you’ll feel fleshiness surrounding the finger that has the firmness of a memory foam mattress. THAT is the vagina. The fleshy parts on the outside of the body make up the vulva.

So, when Ms. Grande sings about keeping “it squeaky,” we’re hoping she’s talking about the vulva and not the vagina. You can clean the vulva area. Just be gentle and use warm water and a mild, unscented cleanser. The vagina, however, cleans itself. Betties, you don’t need to do anything to clean the vagina unless your medical professional tells you otherwise because of an infection. Even then, it’s unlikely you’ll need to clean inside the vagina. (BTW…cleaning inside the vagina is called “douching.” Don’t do it!)

Betties, you don’t need to do

anything to clean the vagina!

Now, there are things you can do to make sure the vagina is in prime condition to clean itself. Ms. Grande gets an A+ for her line “and I’ve been eatin’ healthy” because that is the first thing a Betty can do to make sure her vagina stays in tip-top shape. Nutrient-dense foods like vegetables and fruits, whole grains and other fiber-rich foods, and monounsaturated fats help support a healthy microbiome, which is what helps reduce the amount of discharge and prevent strange odors. There are some vaginal probiotics out there that can help your body maintain its vaginal health, too. We’re fans of the Good Girl Probiotic by Love Wellness.

 

Good sex + good sleep

Can you stay up all night?

F*ck me ’til the daylight

Thirty-four, thirty-five (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)

Can you stay up all night? (All night)

F*ck mе ’til the daylight

Thirty-four, thirty-five (Yeah, yеah, yeah, yeah)

Lyrics by Genius

 

We’re FINALLY to the chorus, and it has a big myth that needs busting: all-nighter sex. Having sex from dusk ‘til dawn certainly has its appeal. It seems passionate and romantic and hot AF, right? Well, the truth is most sexually active people don’t want sex to last more than 20 to 30 minutes.

And of that 30 minutes, on average only seven to 10 minutes is actual intercourse. The longer intercourse lasts, the more likely you’ll feel some soreness and dryness in your vagina. If sex lasts longer than 20 to 30 minutes, it’s usually due to extended periods of foreplay and the timing of that is really all about the personal preferences of both partners.

Most sexually active people

don’t want sex to last more

than 20 to 30 minutes.

Now, perhaps you’re one who enjoys all-nighter sex. Your partner’s refractory period may be shorter, and you may use a lubricant to keep your vagina from becoming irritated, which could allow you to have multiple sessions throughout the night. If that’s you, fantastic. If that’s not you, fantastic. We just want you to know that it’s perfectly normal, and often preferable, to have a one-and-done sex session.

 

Is it…tasty?

You drink it just like water (Water)

You say it tastes like candy
So what you doin’ tonight? (Tonight)

Better say, “Doin’ you right” (Alright)

Lyrics by Genius

 

If you don’t know, the title of this song is about oral sex. “34+35” equals 69, which is a sex position in which both partners are performing oral sex on each other at the same time.

With the lyrics, “you drink it just like water” and “you say it tastes like candy,” we can only imagine what a Betty might assume about oral sex. So, we want to make sure all Betties know what is safe and what to expect.

It doesn’t taste like candy.

First, is it safe for either partner to ingest fluids? If you’re certain your partner does not have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), then yes, it is. If your partner does have an STI, the danger doesn’t come from ingesting their fluids but from the contact between your mouth and your partner’s sex organ and surrounding area. This is why trust and communication are so important in sexual relationships. Be sure to know your partner before going down unprotected.

Second, what does it taste like? Well, it doesn’t taste like candy and it’s a little different for each person. What a person eats can affect the smell and taste of their fluids.

A male’s ejaculate (or “come” or “semen”) has a slightly thick and sticky texture. When a man orgasms, the fluid comes in short, rapid bursts, lasting around five to 20 seconds.

In rare cases, a woman can ejaculate during an orgasm; it’s completely normal. That fluid is tasteless and odorless. It is also pure liquid and not sticky, like male ejaculate. Now, if a female’s general scent is a bit fishy, it could be an indicator of bacterial vaginosis—a common bacterial infection that can be treated by your medical professional.

 

Let’s stay together (yeah, right)

Yeah, we started at midnight

Go ’til the sunrise (Sunrise)

Done at the same time (Yeah)

But who’s counting the time when we got it for life? (Got it for life)

I know all your favorite spots (Favorite spots)

We can take it from the top (From the top)

You such a dream come true, true

Make a b*tch wanna hit snooze, ooh

Lyrics by Genius

 

We’ve skipped over some of the bridge because we feel like we’ve covered what you actually need to know in those lyrics. But, we do want to stop and take on yet another misconception about sex: finishing at the same time.

It’s really difficult to time your partner’s or even your own orgasm. Communication helps, but even with great communication, a simultaneous finish is unlikely. Remember above when we explained why it’s important for the female partner to come first? That applies here. Our recommendation is to focus on timing and communication for the female to finish first because she’s able to continue until her male partner orgasms. This has proven to be much more satisfying for sexually active couples.

 

Finishing strong – the song, that is.

Means I wanna “69” with you

No sh*t

Math class

Never was good

Lyrics by Genius

 

You now know this song is titled after the sex position “69” and you know that it refers to oral sex. Since we’re all about setting realistic expectations for you about sex, we feel compelled to tell you that we think the 69 position is overrated and over-romanticized.

Satisfying sex is all about

communicating expectations

with a trusted partner.

If you and your partner enjoy it, great! However, in Dr. Wendy’s work counseling couples on their sexual health, the 69 position can cause a person to focus more on performing rather than enjoying. So, if it’s not your thing, that’s okay. Remember, satisfying sex is all about communication and expectations with a trusted partner.

 

A quick note to Ms. Ariana Grande

Thanks for putting your music and experiences out into the world. Here at Betty’s, we’re all about sex-positive sex education and we love that your songs give us the opportunity to have open conversations with our fellow “Betties.” Keep doin’ you, boo.

-With love, the Betty’s team.

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