We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions will remain anonymous. Please send your sex and relationship inquiries to email@example.com. Now, onto this week’s topic: how men can be good lovers to women.
Q: “Hi, I'm a guy who has been shown your column a few times by my girl friends, so I thought I'd email you directly. I've learned a lot from all your articles, but since they are usually addressed to women, I'm wondering — as a guy who sleeps with women — what your top sex advice would be to me. I want to be a good lover, so what are the things I should know about sleeping with women that I might not have thought of?”
A: Thanks for the question! This is obviously a huge question, and I could probably spend several days sharing my thoughts with you! But let me try to distill this down to the top 11 ways to be a good lover to a woman.
Treat Her With Respect
It’s bizarre to me that I even have to mention this as a “tip,” but I hear enough stories in my sex therapy practice to warrant adding it. Please, make sure to treat all of your partners with respect, kindness, and decency. The Golden Rule isn’t so hard to remember, is it? Here’s another trick — try thinking about how you would want another man to treat your sister, or one of your girl friends, and act accordingly.
I love that there’s so much more attention being paid to consent these days. Unfortunately, a lack of education around consent is still a major problem. It’s really as simple as this — yes means yes. No does not mean yes. A lack of a yes does not mean yes. Only yes means yes. You can be an excellent lover by making sure you each enthusiastically consent to everything you do together. And don’t forget — asking for consent can be incredibly sexy, so it’s not like this is a chore!
Be Appreciative Of Differences
Human bodies are like snowflakes — no two are alike! I know it’s a cheesy metaphor, but it’s true. Unfortunately, men and women alike are socialized to believe that our bodies should look and act exactly the same. You can be a great partner by admiring the uniqueness of a woman’s body. Give her specific compliments about her body. Treat her body as if it was the first female body you’ve been with. In other words, don’t assume that something you’ve tried with another woman in the past will work with the woman you’re currently with.
One of the absolute best qualities in a lover is a willingness to be open minded about sex. It means you’re open to other people’s fantasies and desires. You’re curious about what makes them tick, sexually. You’re willing to experiment with things that are outside of your own comfort zone. And of course, you don’t shame your partners for having interests that are different from your own.
Mix Things Up
In a similar vein, a great lover is invested in keeping things new and interesting, especially in long-term relationships. We’ve all had experiences with getting stuck in a rut. It’s normal, but it’s still something we need to actively work to overcome. Make sure to keep suggesting new positions, new toys, new fantasies, new locations, new experiences.
Stay In The Moment
A lot of my female clients tell me that they wish their partners were more present during sex. A lot of men tend to zone out or get distracted during sex. One of the major culprits for “sexual ADD” for men is worrying about performance. If you’re worrying about getting hard, staying hard, and controlling your orgasmic timing, it’s easy for you to tune out. But here’s the real deal — your partner doesn’t care as much about your “performance,” she cares about the connection that the two of you create together.
Acknowledge Her When She Initiates
This is a pretty specific tip, but it’s something that comes so often in my sex therapy practice that I thought I should mention it. A lot of women tend to feel uncomfortable initiating sex. There’s an old but still persistent myth that men are supposed to be the ones who initiate. There’s also a myth that men have a higher sex drive than women. As a result, a lot of ladies out there feel like they’re not “supposed” to initiate sex. If you’re in a relationship with a woman who initiates sex frequently, or seems to have a higher sex drive than you, respect her for it! It doesn’t mean you have to say “yes” when you don’t want to, but make sure you acknowledge her when she tries to initiate.
Communicate With Her
Great sex requires great communication. I know that talking about sex makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable, but it’s an extremely important skill to develop. Tell her what you want. Give her feedback when she focuses on you. Ask her what she wants. Ask her how something feels. It might feel hard at first, but it gets much easier, I promise!
Be Invested In Her Experience
If there’s one defining quality that makes a good lover, I would say it’s this one. A good lover doesn’t have sex solely for their own benefit. They genuinely care about their partner’s experiences. You can show her that you care by ask her for her feedback during sex, or paying attention to how she responds. Ask her what she wants. Spend time focusing on just her. Make it clear that you want her to have as good of a time as you want to have.
Revel In Pleasuring Her
That last point is so important that I’m going to take it one step further — not only should you care about her experience, you should revel in it! Have you ever been with someone who treated giving you a hand job or a blow job as a chore? And have you ever been with someone who seemed to delight in focusing on you? The difference is night and day! Truly, there’s nothing hotter than being with someone who enjoys pleasuring you.
Don’t Pressure Her To Orgasm
If you’ve read my articles, you know that I spend a lot of time talking about female orgasm! A lot of women feel pressured by their partners to reach orgasm. When you’re feeling pressured to orgasm, it makes it so much harder — and many times even impossible — to orgasm. Caring about your partner’s experience is great, but expecting her experience to take on the specific form of an orgasm is not. Make sure you focus on bringing her pleasure, but without making her feel like she “needs” to orgasm in order for you to feel satisfied. Because then it’s not really about her orgasm, it’s about your ego, isn’t it? And if you’ve even taken the time to write in this question, I know you care about more than just your ego!