"Was it good?", a question that we all think about or if we're bold enough, ask, after we've had casual sex with someone. But it's highly unlikely that they will give you an honest review especially if they think it may hurt your feelings.
Moreover, their 'review' of your performance may be enough to rate how skilled you may be at sex. Yes, it is helpful to be receptive to constructive criticism but sometimes, it might do you good to be a little wary of other people's opinions on your sex ratings. This is because being good at sex cannot be completely feedback-based as your partner's experience with sex depends on their ability to orgasm, sexual functioning, desire, and their emotions, not just your performance.
Great sex is multifaceted and while catering to your partner, it also makes sure you're having a good time. It doesn't count as mindblowing sex if you just give your partner fellatio, penetration, dirty talk, and a fake orgasm but forgo your own needs for the sake of giving them a real-life freaky porn experience.
Take a look at this story of a man, who recalls his experience with a woman that described herself as "amazing in bed" but found otherwise. Before they had sex, she would share stories about giving blowjobs and having intercourse with strangers soon after meeting them, to describe how much she enjoyed sex.
The moment of truth finally arrived when they had sex and the reality turned out to be very different from the expectations she had raised. He said that she seemed too awkward and seemed like she was trying too hard to do things that she didn't enjoy, for the sake of pleasing him. He described it as watching porn in real life but he didn't feel aroused as he could see she didn't truly enjoy it.
So, porn isn't the answer, but there are certain approaches, mindsets, and actions that might make you the ultimate sex partner and make even a random stranger reminisce on the magical pleasure you brought into bed days after your sexual encounter.
Compliment your partner on their body, smile, or anything you like about them
It doesn't matter if you're getting together for the first time or are long-time partners, a compliment is sure to get a smile on your partner's face and increase intimacy between both of you. A 2016 study on heterosexual couples published in the Journal of Sex Research, showed how compliments actually increased sexual satisfaction.
It showed that sexual pleasure was reported to be higher among the couples who gave each other positive affirmations during sex and were open about embarrassing moments during sex to joke about them.
Dr. Bea Jaffrey—a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist based in Switzerland commented on the findings of the study, saying, "Don't take life too seriously. Happy couples laugh together." In other words, joking about embarrassing sex stuff like vagina farts is healthy for a good sexual relationship and creates stronger bonds.
Often, women experience anxiety about their body image due to unrealistic representations of women's bodies in media. A study from 2010 showed that females had higher sexual satisfaction if they had high body esteem and low frequency of appearance-based distracting thoughts during sex.
The more confident you are about your body, the higher the chances of you having a great sexual experience. This may apply for all genders, however, after all, we all enjoy getting compliments and feeling appreciated. So, remember to say something nice that you genuinely mean and if you want to be sexy about it - maybe whisper it in their ear and watch them blush uncontrollably.
Know their body, at least in theory
You need to do a little anatomy homework before you master the art of pleasuring your partner. As a novice, you might confuse the meaning of vagina and vulva, not know where the clitoris lies, or unintentionally press your teeth against their penis. Your partner may be forgiving of these mistakes knowing that you're a beginner, however, you're not going to have better sex if you don't bother to learn about your partner's body.
Not to make generalizations about men but according to a 2017 survey conducted by the Eve Appeal, a research-based women’s health organization in the UK found that most men can’t properly identify the difference between the vagina and vulva. In fact, even a lot of women misuse the terms when talking about their bodies.
To learn more about genital anatomy and pleasure, you can browse the web, observe diagrams, or watch YouTube videos if reading bores you. A personal recommendation would be Dr. Linsay Doe, a sexologist who posts interesting and highly informative videos on anatomy and the A to Z's of sex on YouTube.
Great sex requires more foreplay
Dr. Bea Jaffrey, in an interview with Marie Claire, says that it's vital to set the mood before sex and advises people to start foreplay long before you get down to the real thing.
She explains, "I am talking here about the mental foreplay that happens days in advance, not the one that you have just before sex. Make sure to be attentive to your partner. Small gestures and nice comments are significant in setting the right mood for sex." She suggests partners to keep communicating through texts to maintain sexual attraction and keep up sexual tension.
That was before sex, now when it comes to getting down in bed, do not underestimate the power of kissing. Unfortunately, in times of coronavirus, doctors have warned against kissing during intercourse but in any other situation, it can really hype up sexual tension.
A study from the University of Albany hypothesized that for some people kissing can be integral to good sex. They posited that kissing plays a vital role in mate selection as we can get to “know” a prospective mate chemically by the taste of their mouth and lips.
The researchers also claimed that kissing promotes bonding, partly because we're doing something new and trusting someone by kissing them and also because kissing is known to raise oxytocin levels (plays a role in bonding) while reducing cortisol (stress hormone). Lastly, kissing is the way humans raise their arousal and increase their chances of all the foreplay resulting in sex.
Interestingly, the study found that more than half of men would be okay with having intercourse without any kissing but less than 15 percent of women would be happy with that. So, if you're big on kissing before sex, it's best to hold off casual sex for a while since the risks of infection are high with this kind of intimacy.
Don't choose the quicker way all the time
A quickie might sound alluring to release the pent-up sexual tension between lovers but studies show that women are less likely to orgasm this way. While sometimes, we are truly short for time, unhurried and longer length of sexual build-up increases the chances of women reaching orgasm.
If you're only going to focus on penetration, the benefits are also going to be that limited. Studies confirm that women need more time to orgasm than the average of 5.4 minutes of penetration. So, if you want to make it worth her while, it's best to add diversity to your sexual activity and keep penetration for the end.
Ask your partner what they like in bed and in turn, tell them what you want
Three words - communication is key. As cliche as that sounds, it's one of the most straightforward advice for having a good sex life and a healthy relationship.
First off, let's get the misconception - 'it's awkward to talk during sex' out of the way. This is an idea made popular through movies and pop culture where everything is smooth, planned out, and perfectly timed. Well, that's because it's a movie - it's completely scripted! Real-life sex requires communication about what you like and don't like, no matter how much you think you know each other's bodies.
Try telling them you really like a position, their movement, or whatever action it may be rather than relying on moans so that they clearly know 'it' works. For some women, clitoral stimulation is the preferred road to get to an orgasm rather than vaginal stimulation but your partner will not automatically know this, so it's important that you tell them or guide their hand to the right spot.
As a female user rightly pointed out on a Reddit thread asking women what they like in bed - listening is also a huge part of communication. "Listening. When we say "right there" do NOT change what you are doing!! That usually means we're close to an orgasm and if you change something it all goes away. And please make noise! Sex should be fun, noisy, sweaty and a good time!", she writes in her comment.
Another user highlighted the perks of having a guy who is willing to learn. "Someone who wants to completely please me and acts like I'm some sort of goddess. A little bit of rough play, spanking, biting, and lustful grabbing of boobs and bum. But doesn't take it all too seriously. If I'm made to feel like a sex goddess, then I will make you feel like a sex god," she writes.
When your partner is giving you feedback or telling you what doesn't work, don't take it personally. They're not undermining your skills but leading you to the right places and right things that are going to be rewarding for both of you.
A user, writing along the same lines, said," Don't get sensitive if I ask you to do something differently. I want to be with you, and I want our sexy time to be amazing. You are not a sex god, and that's ok. Don't get offended, I just want you to hit the right spot. You will be happy you listened, and so will I!".
Surprise them by doing something spontaneous
Routines are great for your day-to-day activities but they're never a good thing during sex. Your 'formula' for great sex might begin to feel monotonous over time if you're following the same old routine.
To spark newness, Marie Claire's guy expert Lodro Rinzler suggests: "If you're in bed with someone and have a sense of something new you or your partner might enjoy, be it some teasing, a change in position, anything…go for it."
Dr. Jaffrey also recommends changing the time and place of your sex shenanigans to avoid falling into a rut of once-a-week "duty sex."
She says, "Try new places to have sex, maybe on the sofa, in the car or on the kitchen countertops? Or how about the back row of a movie theater? Be careful though, because sex is illegal in public places. Try role-playing...take a bath together. Be inventive, have fun."
The secret to keeping desiring high even after the honeymoon phase is adding novelty to your sex life. Otherwise, erotic tension naturally tends to dissipate for long-term couples.
In another Reddit thread, women reveal how men can 'switch it up' in bed and revive desire between them.
One user describes it as a mix of naughty and nice, "The best sex is "Jekyll and Hyde" sex, which is when one second you're a sex monster and then the next, you brushing the hair out of my face saying "you're so beautiful" and then back to f*cking me sideways... The flip-flop between aggression and tenderness puts your body and mind on such a ride. Also, not concentrating too much on 'being good in bed', like you have to prove something to me. Move with the energy of the moment, and I'll move with you."
If you really want to surprise her and in a way leave her wondering when you're going to 'finish her off' while pleasuring her - "edge her", according to another user on the same thread.
"Find out what really works for her and do it, but don't let her climax. Wait until she begs for it and then does so, make sure she comes at least two or three times. She may find it maddening at first but the release will be worth it!", she continues.
Keep your sex life alive by experimenting with new positions and toys
Mary Jo Rapini, a Houston-based psychiatrist and sex therapist, tells Marie Claire that she often counsels long-term couples to explore the unknown to enhance their sexual experience. One of her common suggestions is to shop for a good sex toy or other sex-enhancing products - ranging from couples' vibrators to massage oils to body paint to blindfolds.
Another way to set the scene, Rapini says, is to add sexy music to your lovemaking and even try massaging each other. "Make massage part of your routine and start touching each other. Your sexual partner will start feeling their libido rise after they do that," she says.
Good sex depends on your commitment to keeping things fresh and surprising. This shouldn't sound like a duty or obligation, however, make sure that you feel comfortable with whatever you experiment with and are enjoying it as well.
Don't be too fixated on orgasming
The few seconds of pure euphoria during an orgasm are hardly comparable to any other feeling but don't mistake them as a parameter for good sex. A lack of an orgasm doesn't nullify the hours of lovemaking you had and if you're a romantic, take time to use sex as a vehicle to celebrate things like trust and vulnerability.
If the finish line was reaching an orgasm, you can very well do that on your own. But we very well know that the entire thing is going to be much more fun and engaging if there's a variety of stimulation and power-play. For a lot of people, it's about "raw, primal, unadulterated connection" and as an anonymous user said on Reddit, "an opportunity to show her my affection and give her pleasure".
Be an empathetic lover in bed
Lastly, be considerate and gentle with not just your partner's body but also their emotions. Don't coerce your partner into practicing unprotective sex, not even 'just this one time' as if you really respect them, you'll bring up contraceptives for safer sex, even if they don't mention it.
Sexual consent is the cornerstone of good sex and maturity - ask for their clear consent before doing anything, especially if they're a stranger to you. This is especially important during drunk sex, where blurred visions and bad memory of a partner may be taken advantage of. Consent is the most important factor during sex and without that, everything else is pretty much invalid.