Jordan Gray says that becoming a better lover is simpler than you’d expect (and it has nothing to do with sexual technique).
Let’s face it… our current sexual education system is completely broken.
Between rom-coms, pornography, and the half-assed ‘talk’ we get from our well-meaning parents, the sexual information we learn throughout our formative years leaves much to the imagination.
The effect? Generations of unaware lovers are being spread across the world.
And this. Has to. Stop.
Over the past decade I have feverishly studied human sexuality. You name it… anything from sexual technique and Kegel exercises, to Tantra and Taoism – I’ve studied (and implemented) it.
Through my research, I specifically wanted to know what made a good sexual partner great. And not just in theory, but in practice.
Here are my top seven highest leverage tips for men to become better lovers to the women* they love.
1. Presence, eye contact, and attentiveness
No matter what sexual technique you learn to employ, it will all be wasted unless you can learn to be present with the person in front of you.
But what does presence actually mean? It can sound like a bit of a newage-y intangible concept to a lot of guys.
Presence means responding and calibrating to what your partner needs moment to moment. It means, instead of burying your face over her shoulder during missionary, you pull back and share ample eye contact. It means paying attention to the person in bed with you.
Don’t just ‘run the script’ of the sexual technique that you learned in Maxim, or from your equally uninformed guy friends. Drop into your body, pay attention to the experience of the person you’re playing with, and make your lovemaking into a mutually pleasurable dance.
No, I don’t mean you should bring dumbbells into bed with you (unless you’re into that… to each their own).
A few years ago, you couldn’t pay me to go to the gym. Regular exercise wasn’t on my radar because I didn’t care about the results that I thought I was supposed to be getting (visible muscle mass). When I found out that an exercise regime improves your sex life, it’s now impossible to keep me away from a work out for longer than a week.
A good exercise routine gives you chemical-level mood boosters (dopamine, endorphins), increases sex drive and desire (exercise encourages testosterone production), and primes your body to be able to go the distance (stronger abs, lower back, arms, etc.).
Whether it’s a 20 minute jog, free weights in the gym, or a cross fit session that gets you excited to get moving, exercise pays dividends in helping you become the ultimate lover.
3. Prioritize Your Sleep
If you are stressed from your lack of sleep, crazy work schedule, and overall lifestyle, your sex drive is going to take a huge hit. When cortisol (the primary stress hormone) levels rise in your body, your sex drive is one of the first things that takes a beating.
But fear not! If you lower lifestyle stress, and regularly get 8 hours of sleep per night, your sex drive will increase. Why is that? Because testosterone (the sex and aggression hormone in men and women) is only produced at night. So if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your sex drive plummets quickly.
To improve your sleeping patterns, aim to go to bed at the same time every night, limit exposure to any electric light within an hour before going to bed (especially the blue light that emits from cell phones and laptops), and write down any thoughts that are jumbling around in your mind so you can feel free of them. Happy testosterone producing!
4. Tune up your sex muscles
Technically there are no “sex specific” muscles per se, but certain areas tend to get used a lot during sexual play. Things like your forearms, pelvic floor muscles, lower back and abs all get used significantly during sex and it’s good to have your body parts in working order.
The one region that most people have chronically weak musculature in is in the pelvic floor region (also known as your PC muscle). Your PC muscle, or pubococcygeus muscle, is the hammock like muscle that stretches from the tail bone to the pubic bone (it cradles your groin area). It is the muscle that you can clench to stop the flow of urine when you’re peeing.
Doing Kegel exercises is a great way to start to get a relationship to your PC muscle and to give it a tune up. Try this: twice a week (say, on Monday and Thursday, to give yourself time in between for the muscle to rebuild) alternate rapidly pulsing sets of Kegels with sets of two second holds. If you’re just starting out, your PC muscle should feel a little bit tired by the end of your sets of pulses and holds. Keep it up, and over time you’ll experience stronger orgasms, and greater orgasmic control.
5. Become an expert on your own sexual arousal
The best lovers I have met have always been experts on their own sexual arousal arch. They know how to speed things up, slow things down, and switch gears whenever necessary.
Do you know what kind of thoughts, fantasies, and ideas make you climax faster? Do you know exactly what kind of speed, pressure, and sensation you need to feel sexually satisfied?
If this is something you’ve never delved into, it might help you to take out a piece of paper and write out a sexual wish list of all of the things that you enjoy having done to you, or you might enjoy in the future. You can even divide your paper into three sections: ‘I know I enjoy…”, “I might enjoy…”, and “I may, in the future, want to experiment with…”. Whether you share the entirety of your list with your partner is completely up to you. The self-knowledge that comes from the exercise is the primary goal.
Three cheers for sexual self-reflection!
6. Use your mouth
…But use it to communicate (among other things).
For something that takes up so much of our daily attention, sex is something that barely (if ever) gets talked about.
Like many items on this list, a little bit of effort goes a long way towards improving your sex life.
Talk about your likes, dislikes, and what you would like to try. Become an expert on your partner’s sexual arousal and what turns them on or off.
At the same time, let them know how they can best please you. Even during sex, giving brief less-than-five-word feedback can work wonders. You don’t have to issue orders like a drill sergeant… but a simple phrase like “a little harder”, or “a bit slower” can work wonders for your pleasure.
7. Learn to give and to receive
Giving pleasure is wonderful, but there is a barely-talked-about anxiety that can come along with truly being able to receive pleasure from someone else.
Whether it stems from growing up in a sexually repressed household, or being raised in a culture that sexually shames us left, right, and centre, a lot of people have hang ups about receiving sexual pleasure.
If you have a difficult time giving pleasure try the following…
First off, do away with all distractions. TV off, cell phones off and out of the room, kids put to bed etc.
Light some candles, put on soft music, and do whatever else calms your partner. Set aside a specific amount of time (or just block off your entire evening) and purely explore your partner’s body. Focus solely on them and their pleasure. Let them guide you with their words. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be sexual pleasure. If they ask for you to hold them and play with their hair, then give them what they have asked for (while still respecting your own boundaries of what you find comfortable and doable).
If you have a difficult time receiving pleasure try the following…
First off, do away with all distractions. TV off, cell phones off and out of the room, put the kids to bed etc.
Light some candles, put on soft music, and do whatever else calms you. Set aside a specific amount of time (or just block off your entire evening) and have your partner purely explore your body. Your only direction is to give them as much or as little verbal feedback as you need to feel blissfully content/happy/aroused. Maybe you want a massage for a while, or you might want to make out for half an hour with your clothes on. Whatever you would like your partner to do for you (within the comforts of their own boundaries) is all available to you as long as you have the courage to ask for it.
With both of these exercises (giving or receiving), you or your partner are likely to feel some internal resistance at times. We are not encouraged to be sexually ‘selfish’ and asking for what you need can bring up all sorts of nerves. That’s totally normal. Just breathe through it, expect that your loving partner will be gentle and encouraging with you through the process, and if you need to pause and take a break at any time throughout the process you are fully within your right to do that.
It Isn’t Your Fault, Our Sexual Education Was Lacking
While we were taught about many things in high school, some of the things that would become the most integral to our overall emotional fulfillment went essentially unmentioned (how to be an attentive lover and good relationship partner, for example).
My hope is that this article starts a conversation between you and your partner in some capacity.
If the seven steps feel overwhelming, start with whichever one is the most doable for you. Start there, and take baby steps towards your goal of having a truly thriving love life.
I wish you the best of luck, and I hope that you have soul-shaking orgasms as frequently as you want them.
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This post originally appeared at JordanGrayConsulting.com
*Excuse the hetero-normativity, but I can only write from my experience as a straight male. Feel free to replace all of the pronouns with your preferred gender.