Doctor NerdLove explains that in order to be the best lover possible, you’ll have to unlearn what you think you know about how to be great in bed.
Considering that we live in a post Sex And The City world, where vibrator sales are the new Tupperware parties and women are more empowered than ever to pursue their own sexual pleasure, it’s tempting to think that men and women have finally leveled the playing field when it comes to casual sex. Women are increasingly feeling just as free to go out and find themselves a no-strings attached hook-up (which isn’t as easy as many men like to say it is…) and wondering when leaving her underwear behind is worth trying to just get out the door without waking him up.
Except as it turns out… well, frankly, there’re some questions as to whether or not the sex is actually worth it.
A pair of recently published studies highlight that there is something of a pleasure-gap between men and women when it comes to casual sex. One study from the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University (which may be the only scientific study to cite Katy Perry’s “TGIF”) found that while 82% of men surveyed had a positive emotional reaction after a hook-up, only 53% of women did. Concurrently, women, it found, were only half as likely to orgasm during a casual hook-up as they would be in a committed relationship. Meanwhile, a similar study from New York University found that only 40% of women had orgasms during a hook-up as opposed to 82% of men.1
If you’re interested in casual sex or one-night stands, this should be of concern to you. After all, part of what makes a woman more likely to consider a casual hook up is whether the sex will be worth it… there’s nothing quite like a bad hook-up to put anybody off happy naked stranger time for months.
Fortunately, I have the secrets to being the greatest lover that your prospective hook-up has ever known. Seriously.
And the amazing thing is: it’s not what you might think.
You Must Unlearn What You Have Learned
The first thing is to understand that we’ve basically screwed ourselves out of amazing sex because we keep teaching all the wrong lessons about it.
We come from a very sex-negative culture; to quote NerdLove Celebrity Patronus Dan Savage, when Canada got the French and Australia got the criminals, America got the Puritans2. We have a long and celebrated history of viewing sex as something that is dirty and wrong and should only be shared with your wife or husband… and you probably shouldn’t be enjoying it in the first place. And despite the progress we have made over the years, this attitude continues to infect just about everything we do when it comes to sex.
Especially when it comes to education. The fact is, we’re very bad at teaching ourselves about sex. As I’ve said elsewhere, sex ed in this country is – at best – a plumbing manual and maybe some head-nods towards preventing STIs and pregnancy; at worst, it’s about trying to scare people away from having sex. There is absolutely nothing in most sex-ed curricula about sexual pleasure – nothing about the clitoris or even just that sex is supposed to feel good. We’re barely taught about what healthy sexual relationships look like or even how to advocate for our own sexual pleasure.
Moreover, we’re only now starting to realize just how much we’ve misunderstood female sexuality; most of our beliefs about female desire come from preconceived notions about male and female sexuality that we’re only just now starting to shake off. Everything we’re taught about sexual pleasure is almost exclusively male oriented, with women left as an afterthought at best. It wasn’t until recently that we realized just how large the clitoris actually is, for example, or that women experience even more desire than men do.
This is why the key to being a masterful lover comes as much from our understanding as it does from being able to lick your eyebrows and breathe through your ears.
Technique Doesn’t Matter
Great sex isn’t about technique. I mean, yes, I could go into detail about, say the Swirly Go-Round, the Transylvanian Twist or the Rusty Venture, but that falls into one of the classic fallacies about sex: that there is any one-size-fits-all technique guaranteed to bring any woman to orgasm.
Sorry. I realize that this is breaking the dating coach code; I’ve got three marketing emails about “special techniques to make any woman squirt” today alone from various dating gurus. But the fact of the matter is that most of the problems when it comes to lousy sex have far more to do with attitude and knowledge than whether you know how to find the OMGSpot or the difference between “core orgasms” and “deep orgasms” (Which apparently are a thing, going by my spam folder).
The problem is that we almost never have any actual conversations about “how to make sex feel good”. It’s easy enough for guys; penises are external and it doesn’t take much experimentation to figure out just what it takes to get ourselves off. Women on the other hand are not only more complicated, but have been actively discouraged from exploring their own sexuality, never mind talking about it.
Instead we are left to fumble around in the dark – metaphorically and literally – to find out what works and what doesn’t. Our next most readily available model for sex-ed – porn – teaches us all the wrong lessons and reinforces what we think we already know.
Because so much of male sexual response is tied to the penis and to penetrative sex, men tend to assume – reasonably so – that it’s the same for women. We get off the most from penetration, why shouldn’t women get off the same way? And since porn backs that up… well, as a result, we tend to get the idea that being a masterful lover is about endurance and penis-in-vagina fucking.
Except, porn is all about the performance, not the actual pleasure; assuming that porn models what sex is supposed to be like is like basing your assumption about finding apartments in New York on Friends re-runs. In porn, a great lover is one who can pound away for hours like a flesh jackhammer run in a non-union construction job, doling out orgasm after orgasm like an especially fucked up Willy Wonka. In the real world, not only is penetration the least likely way to bring a woman to orgasm (less than a quarter of women can reach vaginal orgasm via penetration alone), slamming away like that for even half that long is going to leave the inside of her vagina feeling like an Formula 1 engine at the end of Le Mans.
Moreover, the foreplay in porn is perfunctory and portrayed as a preliminary exercise to the all-important getting that proton torpedo to go in the exhaust port. Men slam their fingers into the vagina like they’re trying to dig a quarter out of a pay-phone3 and perform oral sex like a lizard on meth. While there are women who love rough sex, this is hardly a sure-fire method for getting them off.
The fact of the matter is, all women have different sexual responses and require different forms of stimulation. Sexual pleasure for women is a holistic issue, incorporating the whole body rather than just the genitals and nipples. It’s about finding the various erogenous zones besides the obvious ones. Some women get supremely aroused by having their necks kissed or sucked on; others enjoy similar attention to the inside crease of their elbow. Many enjoy the sensation of a mouth or teeth on the underside of their breasts more than on their nipples or enjoy steady pressure to the pubic mound, especially when they’re making out with someone. Even oral sex is more complicated than just trying write the alphabet with your tongue. Attacking the clitoris dead on, for example, isn’t a guaranteed recipe for good times. For some women, any clitoral contact is fine; others need a very specific speed and location – they may need gentle pressure to the side of the clitoral shaft, for example, while others will require more intense pressure and vibration than the human body can actually produce.
Moreover, most guys get obsessed with the idea of a “look ma, no hands” orgasm4 – the idea that an orgasm can be achieved strictly from penetration – and see the use of any external help, whether from her hands or a sex toy, as an indication that they are somehow failing to please her. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth; she’s having an orgasm with your direct participation. She wouldn’t be having it without you there, after all; it’s your penis or tongue or fingers she’s playing with. Again: most women cannot achieve orgasm strictly through vaginal penetration and require some sort of clitoral stimulation to push her over the edge. Accepting – even encouraging – her active participation is only going to make the sex better for the both of you – and set you far apart from the usual boors who can’t stand the idea that they don’t have the Magic Penis.
Of course, it’s easy to learn what your partner wants and needs when you’re in a committed relationship… you’ve getting to know each other over time and you’re going to feel more comfortable sharing information as the two of you grow more intimate. How are you supposed to figure all of this out with a relative stranger?
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