As a sex therapist and founder of Good in Bed as well as the author of numerous books on the subject of pleasuring, such as She Comes First, I guess you could say I have one thing on my mind. Sex is pretty much all I think about and talk about all day (and if I’m lucky, I also get to do it with my wife). Over the years, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to pleasure a woman, so without further ado, here are my 10 “best practices” for being truly good in bed.
1- Think like a “knob,” not a “switch.”
When comparing male and female sexuality, there’s no shortage of adages: “Men are like light switches — just flip them on, and they’re ready to go. Women are like knobs — you can turn them up and down.” Or as Dr. Emily Nagoski writes in the Good in Bed Guide to Female Orgasms, “Men are like driving standard transmission — if you move through the gears in the right order, you will get where you want to go. Women are like baking a soufflé — the outcome depends on the ingredients and the chef, sure, but it also depends on the reliability of the oven, the altitude, the humidity of the day… more variables, more variability.” In short, think of foreplay as a 24-hour experience that happens both in and out of the bedroom. Sex is all about context. And while it may take very little to rev your engine, remember that she probably needs to simmer.
2- When you’re getting it on, make sure she’s completely relaxed and comfortable.
Researchers in the Netherlands have found that the key to getting a woman turned on and to the heights of orgasmic bliss is a deep sense of relaxation and a lack of anxiety. Brain scans showed that the parts of women’s brains responsible for processing fear, anxiety and emotion slowed down the more aroused they became, producing a trancelike state at orgasm. Men showed far less change in these regions. “What this means is that deactivation, letting go of all fear and anxiety, might be the most important thing, even necessary, to have an orgasm,” says the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Gert Holstege.
3- Take the time to figure out what works.
Every woman is different, and most women don’t even orgasm the first couple of times they’re with a guy. A woman has to feel comfortable, and a guy has to figure out what makes her tick sexually. Some women love wet, sloppy kisses; other women find saliva a total turnoff. Some women love lots of breast stimulation; other women can’t stand it at all. Some women love to be on top in bed; others love missionary style. Some women respond to intense clitoral stimulation; others require very little. Some women have an innate capacity to experience multiple orgasms; others are more like guys — they roll over, and they’re ready to go to sleep. Figure out a sex script that works, and stick to it. Sure, familiarity can breed boredom, but it can also yield consistent orgasms.
4- Once you know what works, wrap it in something fresh: fantasy.
A healthy fantasy life is one of the keys to a great sex life — even when your partner might not always play the leading role. Most people find that they are most sexually satisfied when they are intimate with one person with whom they feel completely comfortable. Along with this intimacy comes the freedom to let go and explore, including fantasizing about other people, places and situations. One study on sexual fantasy by noted expert Dr. Harold Leitenberg found that sexual fantasies occur most often in people with the highest sexual satisfaction and the healthiest sex lives. If you need some ideas, check out our Good in Bed Guide to 52 Weeks of Amazing Sex, in which we offer a different sexy scenario for every week of the year.
5- Play to your strengths.
Very few guys make love like porn stars, nor should we. We live in the real world, and we all have sexual strengths and weaknesses. For example, I suffered from premature ejaculation for years and compensated with oral sex. Some men suffer from erectile disorder on a regular basis, and some guys have a smaller-than-average penis. Develop “sex scripts” — paths to pleasure — that play to your strengths. And be willing to communicate. As Dr. Madeleine Castellanos writes in her guide to Male Sexual Issues, “Wouldn’t it be great if penises could talk — honestly and clearly — about their feelings, especially when it comes to issues in the bedroom?” Most women don’t know how to “speak penis,” so give them a clue.
6- Get cliterate.
When embarking on a journey of female sexual response, know your way around her vulva — from the northern tippy-top of the clitoral glans (the “love-button,” so to speak), to the western and eastern boundaries of the labia minora (her inner lips), to the southernmost regions of the perineum (the smooth expanse of skin just below the vaginal entrance) and anus. Stop thinking of the clitoris as a little bump, and start thinking of it as a complex network, a pleasure dome, the Xanadu at the heart of female sexuality. The clitoris has more than 8,000 nerve fibers — more than any other part of the human body — and interacts with another 15,000 nerve fibers that service the entire pelvic area. “Nerves are like wolves or birds: If one starts crying, there goes the neighborhood,” writes Natalie Angier of the clitoral network. Think in terms of stimulating her vulva rather than just penetrating her vagina.
7- The tongue is mightier than the sword.
When it comes to pleasuring women and conversing in the language of love, cunnilingus should be every man’s native tongue. Even porn star Ron Jeremy, in possession of the famous 10-inch member, observed, “More women have gotten off with my tongue than with my penis.” Once found, a skilled cunnilinguist rarely goes unappreciated. Not sure exactly how? Just press a flat, still tongue against her vulva, and let her do the work. It’s the cunnilingus equivalent of letting her get on top.Unfortunately many men do not learn the true principles of cunnilingus or how to pleasure a woman at the outset, and so, even with the best intentions, their form is without substance. If we were to compare cunnilingus to another art — the martial arts — it would be Tai Chi. Unlike Kung Fu, Tai Chi is slow, focused and graceful, with an emphasis on the balance of yin/yang (male/female energy) to create a harmony of movement and strength. Artful cunnilingus involves many of the same principles as Tai Chi: stillness within movement, balance and pressure, resistance, and key postures. In the Good in Bed Guide to Orally Pleasuring a Woman, we outline our approach to sexual Tai Chi, also called the Mount Method.
8- Show some sexual courtesy, as in “she comes first.”
Unlike men, women don’t reach a point of “orgasmic inevitability” — the moment when, even without further physical stimulation, a guy ventures past the point of no return. In fact, men and women are so different in this respect that many women claim to “lose” an orgasm just as they’re on the verge of having one, which can be particularly frustrating, especially if it occurs regularly. Guys need to pay attention to the journey through female arousal, particularly those final moments of potential orgasmic ecstasy. Recognize the visible signs of female arousal, mainly the muscular tension that develops throughout her body and that will ultimately demand release. Look especially for tension in the hands and feet and throughout her pelvic area.
9- Grab a vibrator off the shelf.
Make like Obi-Wan Kenobi with that thing. Wield it like a Jedi master, and the force of the female orgasm will be with you. According to Nagoski, most women orgasm easiest when using a vibrator. “The mechanical vibration provided by toys is more intense than anything a hand, phallus, tongue, fresh produce, or other organic stimulus can provide,” she writes. “More stimulation [leads to] more arousal [leads to] easier/faster orgasm.” Women generally take longer to orgasm than men, and a lot of men find it hard to last long enough during sex. A vibrator helps you and your partner get at least halfway home, if not take you all the way. And as I discuss in my guide to Overcoming Premature Ejaculation, “With just a little bit of practice, a guy can take the pressure off of his penis and not worry about how long he’s going to last, but instead enjoy the immediacy of plugging into his partner’s arousal.”
10- Finally, don’t forget to cuddle.
To paraphrase the pioneering sexologist Theodore van de Velde, it’s in the moments after orgasm that a man proves whether or not he’s an “erotically civilized” adult.
Love this post?