When you're in the heat of the moment with your SO, there are certain things you should never do while you're being intimate. Through trial and error (and a lot of communication), you and your partner should learn how to satisfy each other's needs and wants. And even though sex is already considered a sensitive subject to talk about, it's important to be completely transparent about not only your desires but your turn offs as well.
"We all have insecurities and baggage. During a time when we are being intimate, we are more vulnerable than at any other time. To say anything off color, to joke or poke fun at one of these hot buttons is magnified during a time when we are already feeling exposed and so we should be extra mindful of our words and actions," says psychologist Nicole Martinez Psy.D., LCPC, in an interview with Bustle over email.
Even though sex can come with a handful of insecurities and awkward moments doesn't mean it shouldn't be great. So to make sure that your and your SO's sex life is healthy, I had chatted with a few experts to see what kind of things couples should never do while they're being intimate. Need some help of your own? Here are all nine examples, below.
1. Embarrassing Your Partner
Let's be real: When you're being intimate with your partner, you're most likely not thinking about how awkward things may or may not be. And if something out of the ordinary does happen (leg cramp, anyone?) you probably will laugh it off. However, if your partner happens to accidentally say something not so sexy or make a weird noise (it happens to the best of us), you shouldn't make your partner feel worse by embarrassing them. "The most enjoyable intimate experiences require both partners to be open and vulnerable. If we let down our guard only to be criticized or embarrassed by our partner, it’s going to make it that much more difficult to want to open up and be vulnerable again," says clinical psychologist, speaker, and founder of the AZ Postpartum Wellness Coalition Christina G. Hibbert, Psy.D. in an interview with Bustle over email.
2. Criticizing Your Partner
There's a right and a wrong way of expressing your wants and needs to your partner when it pertains to having sex. While you want to kindly show them what you like through gestures and sounds, you never want to completely shut down your partner or make them feel insecure. "If you have something to say related to intimacy and think it might be critical or embarrassing to your partner, hold it in until later. Then, give it some thought. Is this an important point that will ultimately help the two of you in your intimacy? If not, then let it go. If so, then find a time to talk it over with them in a loving way. Try saying, 'it would really help me if…' Phrasing it this way takes the pressure off of them and opens the door to their being able to help you be happy and feel loved, instead. " says Hibbert.
3. Comparing Your Partner To Someone Else
Comparing your partner's performance to someone else's is just going to hurt your SO's feelings. Even though your sex life might've been better with an ex doesn't mean you need to express that to your current partner, because the next time you have sex with your SO, they could possibly doubt their moves and compare themselves. "Never comment or joke about performance, never compare your partner's performance to anyone else's, and most importantly do not ever shame a person who is having performance issues. They already feel embarrassed and exposed enough. One less than understanding word can result in long-term anxieties and issues with intimacy. While it is hard not to take it personally, realize there are many reasons that people can not perform that are not about you and that making them feel worse about it will not fix anything, it will make them profoundly worse," says Martinez.
4. Ignoring Foreplay
Foreplay, especially for women, is essential to get your SO excited. Skipping this step can sometimes make your partner feel dissatisfied — which is probably not on your agenda when you want your partner to have an orgasm. "Partners have a habit of taking the foreplay, the tenderness and closeness that they exhibit early in the relationship for granted the longer they are together. They become more in a hurry, or more focused on one task instead of each other. This is an important part of the relationship to keep alive and to make an effort to work on if it has faded," says Martinez.
5. Being Worried About Your Needs Only
According to Martinez, "[People should not] only be concerned with their own needs." Sex, in general, is about give and take. While your needs are incredibly important, the experience should be pleasurable for everyone involved.
6. Thinking About Someone Else
If you're thinking about someone else while you're having sex with your partner, then you might want to reevaluate your relationship. The only person you should have on your mind is your SO. If you continue to do this, you could eventually compare your current partner to that person you think about — and that's never a good idea. "If your goal is to remain sexually focused on your partner in general, do NOT fantasize that you are having sex with someone else while with him/her. Enjoy one another and live in the moment. Fantasizing about other people is perfectly fine during masturbatory endeavors, however do think about your partner at least some of the time then, too," says sex and relationship therapist and professor of psychology at Columbia University Laurel Steinberg, PHD, in an interview with Bustle.
7. Assuming Your Partner Wants The Same Thing As You
NY state licensed marriage and family therapist Gracie Landes says in an interview with Bustle over email, "Never assume what you want is want they want." Just because you like to be kissed on your neck doesn't mean your partner likes it, too. Not everyone wants the same thing and some people get confused by this — because if it feels good for them, it must feel good for everyone, right? Not so much. Communicate with your partner about what they like and try again the next time you have sex.
8. Crossing Or Ignoring Boundaries
According to Landes, "Never do something you yourself wouldn't consent to." While most people try to figure out what they like, they most likely know what they don't like. If your partner expresses any of their dealbreakers to you, whatever you do, don't do them or pressure them into doing them. Trust is one of the most important factors when it comes to having sex and you don't ever want to cross that line so you can satisfy your own needs.
9. Having Apathy For Your Partner's Performance Insecurities
Not everyone is comfortable while having sex. They may feel insecure about their body or lack confidence when it comes to pleasuring their partner. Being empathic during these situations are vital to make your sexual relationship with your partner grow. "Never make someone who is having a hard time with performance feel worse about it, as this will only amplify the issue, increase their anxiety, lower their self-esteem, and likely cause the issues to repeat itself," says Martinez.