Even though we know it when we feel it (or even, sometimes, when we see it in a movie) it isn't a question that can be answered very easily: What makes someone good in bed? We can give our personal thoughts and opinions on the matter, but since every person out there probably has a different idea of what constitutes being great in the sack, trying to pin down an exact formula for what makes someone good in bed, from beginning to end, isn’t going to fly: What one woman might think is phenomenal another might think is the total pits, and vice versa.
That said, there do seem to be some commonalities when it comes to what many women like in a lover, no matter our sexual orientation. For example, we probably all want someone who’s going to really pay attention to our sexual needs, someone who values foreplay, someone who is very present in the moment, and someone who actually knows where our major pleasure zones are. I think we can all agree that those three things are essential, and that it is only then the particulars in taste come into play.
Because we were curious about those particulars, we asked our readers to tell us about what they think makes someone great in bed. Here’s what 15 of them had to say.
1. Cate, 24
"Someone who isn't too gentle. I can't with this bullshit Hollywood romance 'let me just barely touch you' bullshit. I want handprints, motherf*cker.
Also, not taking the whole thing too seriously. Like, if somebody farts I want to be able to laugh. Sex is really gross and hilarious when you break it down, can't we all just enjoy the gross hilariousness?"
2. Kylie, 26
"Someone who makes getting you off just as much a priority ― if not more [of a priority]― as getting off themselves. Also, someone who is still intimate during sex and caresses/kisses your body and makes you feel incredibly sexy."
3. Vanesa, 23
"Definitely someone who takes the time to make me feel good. A selfless partner is always a great partner in my eyes. Sure, it is wonderful to feel good and BE pleasured, but someone who loves to make his or her partner feel good always makes sex better."
4. Colleen, 30
"If I had to sum it up in one word it would be 'attentiveness.' Someone who is paying attention to my body, how I'm reacting, what noises I'm making, and whether or not I am engaged in whatever activity we're doing is really the baseline for good sex. Someone who is keeping tabs on my enjoyment and making sure they're not making me uncomfortable by asking if I like something or if I'm doing okay if I make a weird noise. Someone who can see in my face that what they're doing is working ― that makes it or breaks it."
5. Leah, 25
"First of all, that they communicate — and I don't mean dirty talk (though that can also be fun). [I mean] that they tell you when something feels good, or guide you to doing something better. Secondly, that they don't rely on a routine. They switch up foreplay, positions, and vibe every time. Lastly, that they listen to your needs."
6. Ilana, 24
"I'd say being good in bed is about being intuitive; being able to feel what your partner wants while also being able to guide your partner to help give you what you want. It's also about communication; being able to tell your partner what you want or ask them what they want."
7. Tea, 30
"Great sex is SO much about chemistry and compatibility, which can't be summed up in any set of qualities ... [But] I think that great lovers are the ones who don't see orgasms as the entire point of sex ... they enjoy every step of the process."
8. Erin, 20
"I think that having a partner who understands consent and is really in tune with your body is really sexy! Someone who actually knows what they're doing when they give oral sex, asks permission, and really knows how to read how good something feels based off of your body language is hot.
If people make jokes about drunk sex, that's the biggest turnoff for me, because it tells me they're not as feminist as I want someone who I sleep with to be! Respect and enthusiasm are the two things that really matter when I think about how great someone is in bed."
9. Lisa, 32
"The key to being a great lover is to pay attention to your lover, the verbal and nonverbal cues they give, and to focus on giving him or her pleasure. It's all about being connected and behaving generously.
Terrible lovers watch porn, think that's how sex should be, and expect women to enjoy whatever they want to do to them. I call it greedy penis syndrome."
10. Irene, 26
"Being able to take direction and being able to ask for what you want or need. Like 'touch me here NOW!'"
11. Kelly, 36
"I'm not cement, no jack hammering please! It's when he pays attention. Confidence is a big turn on, too."
12. Sonya, 27
"I like dominant feminists: guys who take control in a way that is based in respect and consent, and who make me feel like they are really getting off on the act of giving me pleasure — rather than acting like they're going down on me just 'to be nice.'"
13. Emily, 28
"Someone who’s good in bed is someone who has a firm grasp on the female anatomy. I’m in my late-20s and date men either my age or older [for that reason]. If they don’t know where things are then it’s bad."
14. Jennie, 33
"Good sex means being willing to keep things fresh and surprising. When you’ve been with someone for so long the only way you can do that is by constantly expanding your repertoire and experimenting with new positions and places."
15. Natalie, 27
"It really boils down to the simple ideas of communication and enthusiasm: Show the other person you're having a good time ― don't just lay there like a dead fish ― and share what you like, whether it's dirty talk, a certain position, or whatever else gets you off."
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