As much as we all might want to believe we're amazing between the sheets, the truth is that not everyone is inherently a first-rate lover. But how can you tell if you're good in bed when "good in bed" is such a subjective idea in the first place? After all, everyone has different sexual likes and dislikes, so what's "good" to one person might be awful to the next. But when you boil it down, there are a few key traits that people who are truly good at sex have in common.
"Being good in bed means that you’re an enthusiastic partner and you can communicate well," couples therapist Alisha Powell, PhD, LCSW, tells Bustle. "Having a quality bedroom experience requires both people to be comfortable with each other and their bodies. Both individuals have to be willing to learn more about their partner in order to have increased pleasure... When both partners are equal participants and are open to learning each other, then the intimacy experience is heightened."
Simply put, being good in bed isn't just about your technical skills: it's about your overall attitude and willingness to improve your sexual performance (even if it's already great). According to the 2018 SKYN Condoms Millennial Sex Survey, 67 percent of millennials think of themselves as "amazing" or "very good" in bed which, IMHO, is great — being confident in bed is key! However, being overconfident in your sexual abilities can get you into trouble, because your ego might prevent you from trying new things or taking feedback from a partner. Here are some ways to know if you're *really* good in bed, according to experts.
1You Make An Effort To Learn What Feels Good For Your Partner
No two bodies are exactly the same, which means that with each new sex partner you have, you'll have to learn what feels good for them specifically — a process that doesn't have a finite ending point.
"Amazing sex, like so many other things, requires patience, practice, observation, communication, more practice and, as a result, a lot of introspection," Tara Struyk, Co-Founder of Kinkly, tells Bustle. "It requires you to ask yourself (and your partner) what went well — and what went not so well — and learn from those things to become a better lover over time."
2You're Confident In Yourself
If you want to be a good lover, you first have to believe you're a good lover. Everyone has their own insecurities, but if you want to improve your performance in bed, working on boosting your confidence in yourself is a great place to start.
"Yeah, everyone's insecure to some degree, but just believing you've got 'it' can go a long way in helping your partner get carried away in the moment," Struyk says. "Their pleasure? You've got this!"
3You're Not Selfish In Bed
It's important to ask for what you want in bed, but sex shouldn't be one-sided. No one likes a selfish lover.
"You haven’t turned the bedroom into a bean-counting tit-for-tat zone," sex and relationships coach Ken Blackman tells Bustle. "Your general tendency to do nice things for each other, just because it feels good, extends right into your love life."
4You Enjoy Sex Every Step Of The Way
There's a time and place for steamy quickie sex, but you shouldn't always be in a rush to reach climax. A good lover is someone who takes their time, and enjoys sex every step of the way.
"You’re in no rush, because you’re enjoying the whole process," Blackman says. "The flirtation. The feeling of wanting them, and vice versa. The undressing. All of it. You savor the afterglow just as much as the finale itself."
5Your Love Life Has A Sense Of Continuity
Although each sex session might *technically* be totally different than the last, a truly hot sex life will feel continuous — like there's always a lingering sexual energy, even when you're not in bed.
"Your next sex seems to pick up right where your last sex left off," Blackman says. "The good feelings carry over into life, subtly permeating your time outside the bedroom."
6You Want To Share Your Fantasies
Everyone has kinks and fantasies, and one of the trademarks of being a good lover is being willing to share your sexual fantasies and desires with your partner — as well as not judging them for their fantasies.
"Whether you’re in a long-term relationship or having sex on a casual basis, talking about your sexual fantasies with your bedmate can open up a whole new world of experiences," Dr. Andy Zamar, Founder of The London Psychiatry Center and creator of the Prolong Climax Control Device and Training Program, tells Bustle. "It taps into your imagination and activates deeply held concepts of what turns you on."
7You're Respectful Of Your Partner's Boundaries
A huge part of being a good sex partner means being in tune with your partner's needs and wants — including having a sense of when they are, or aren't, feeling ~in the mood~.
"A good sexual partner is respectful of boundaries," Bethany Ricciardi, Sex Educator at TooTimid, tells Bustle. "They should be loving and patient to your feelings. So just like they should fulfill your new sexual desires and try new things, they should be considerate when you're not in the mood."
8You're Open To Trying New Things
It's totally OK to get into a sexual routine with your partner, but being good in bed means you're willing to look for new ways to keep the spark alive too, like by experimenting in bed from time to time.
"Even couples with high chemistry and an amazing sex drive for one another can get bored," Ricciardi says. "A good sexual partner shouldn't be afraid or embarrassed to discuss introducing new desires to the bedroom. These could be sexual acts, sex toys, multiple partners or different sexual sceneries. If you're open to trying new things, you're going to start giving your partner sexual pleasure in ways you might not have imagined!"
9You Communicate Your Sexual Needs Well
If your goal is hot, hot sex — for both you and your partner — you need to be able to communicate your sexual needs to your partner, because only by communicating can your partner learn what does and doesn't ~do it~ for you.
"This means everything from being open to dirty talk, to just simply telling your partner what you want in bed and how you want it done," Ricciardi says. "...Be sure to describe the way you like it, because at the end of the day we are responsible for having our own orgasms!"
Unfortunately, there isn't one secret sexual trick that will automatically make you amazing in bed by anyone's standards. The good news? Being truly good at sex is about so much more than just your technical sex skills. As long as you're open-minded, respectful, and communicative, there's nothing stopping you from developing a five-star sexual reputation.