Your friends have probably given you sex advice, you may have Googled around for "hot tips," or maybe you even get your sex advice standing in line at the grocery store flipping through magazines. Spoiler alert: You can ignore most of what you've heard.
There is a lot of advice out there, and some good books about how to have better sex. Some people look for their pointers in pornography, or what they call their "online sexual education." But the truth is that most of the sex in movies, porn and in magazine articles is not actually great sex.
Maybe your friends told you a thing or two when you were out drinking, or maybe you picked up some tips in your last relationship. But as a Board Certified Sexologist and a PhD Certified Sex Therapist, I am here to tell you that what you think you know about having great sex is simply not the whole story.
Here are the five keys to great sex, and these apply to straight couples, gay couples, young, old, married or living together.
1. Great sex is planned.
Sometimes couples think that only spontaneous sex is great sex. Not true. Back when you were dating, if you went out on a Saturday night and you thought there was the chance that you were going to have sex, you shaved your legs (or face), you wore sexy underwear, you prepared. It was planned. In fact, making a date for sex can create what I call "sexual anticipation," which, for women, creates more desire for sex.
Women need arousal before they feel desire. Sexual anticipation is a good way to create that arousal, because it cooks up all kinds of fantasies in their minds about what could happen on the sex date.
Let us marinate in the idea for a while and remind us of what you are going to do to us when we get there. (If you are going to make love to a woman on a Saturday, start on Wednesday.) Tell us you can't wait to see us naked, kiss our neck, leave a note in our lunch, put a rose on the bed. Yes, those things work.
Great sex means you can be as spontaneous as you want, if you plan it. Put a date on the calendar and meet at that time. Light a candle, put on some sexy music and create the space for a great erotic night. A sex date is a sacred time to practice erotic spontaneity.
2. Great sex is frequent.
Sometimes people tell you it doesn't matter how often you make love, but it does, especially for men.
For women, if they aren't in the "mood," it often means that they are either not aroused, or they are frustrated with you. Arousal has to start before the desire. And feeling desire for your partner makes them feel wanted, so the more often the better.
Do you shut down and turn off your desire by rolling over and telling yourself you will do it when you are "less tired," or "less angry" or "when the dishes are done"? Pushing yourself to have sex when you don't really feel like it doesnt have to lead to resentment, it can actually lead to a feeling of connection. It doesn't have to be marathon, swinging from the ceiling sex. It can be what I call in my book, "maintenance sex." Sometimes, maintenance sex turns into great sex. And sometimes, even "roll over" sex on a Tuesday night can make the frustrations of Wednesday a lot easier to deal with. You might find that you snap at each other less, you are more affectionate and you want sex more often as a result.
Most of the time, magazines and therapists and your friends have an emotionalized view of sex, "don't have it unless you feel emotionally connected." But this ignores the possibility that having sex, even if you aren't in the mood, leads to heightened emotional bonding when you are done.
The frequency of your sexual contact will make both of you feel connected, and reduces the stress in your relationship.
3. Great sex is about action.
I am a therapist. I make a living teaching people to communicate. Yes, it is important. I wrote several books about it, in fact. But sometimes, not talking is just as important.
That's different than communicating. Sex does improve dramatically when you can tell your partner what you desire in bed. Don't expect them to read your mind, they can't. Most of us think, if you really loved me, you would just know what I like. Not true. If you really loved them, you would tell them what you need.
But there are other ways to show your partner what turns you on. Try not using words, tie a silk scarf around your partner's mouth (gently) and use silence as your sex toy one night. No sound can tell you more than you ever knew about what turns your partner on. And for some people, talking during sex can even be a distraction. They want to go within and feel the intensity and the sensation.
But if you are a vocal person during sex and you want feedback, start with appreciation. You always get more of what you appreciate. For great sex, don't tell your partner, "I hate it when you go to the left, " tell them, instead, "I love it when you go to the right."
And if you are a screamer, go for it. But you don't have to scream every time. It can still be great sex.
4. Great sex is relaxed.
Some people think great sex means they have to throw their partner all over the bed, tossing them into 16 different positions, or else they wont be satisfied. Please, put me down.
You don't have to sling your partner around the bed or jump around like maniacs to have great sex. In fact, sometimes it's even more sexy to force yourselves to relax and enjoy one position, to hold it longer than you would normally enjoy. Holding your partner down can be fun too, slowing down the experience in order to feel the deep impact of penetration over a longer period of time. Most of us will try to move, not because it hurts, but because it feels too darn good.
Surprisingly, it can be difficult during sex to tolerate joy. Joy, ecstasy, happiness, they are all difficult feelings to get used to. And they can actually feel uncomfortable. But before you move or change positions, either during sex or right after, see if you can take the challenge to drag out the ecstasy as long as you can.
Try not moving at all and see if you can stand it. Afterward, resist the urge get up and shower or use the bathroom. Stay in the position you end in as long as possible. Enjoy the energy between you and relax into the connection. Tolerate the joy.
5. Great sex is private.
Some books will tell you that the only good orgasm is one where you stare at one another with open eyes while both of you climax at the same time. Really? I can't do it unless both my eyes are shut or I have a pillow over my face. Everyone is different.
Sometimes you might love to gaze into your partner's eyes. But there are going to be moments when the distraction of focusing on the other person takes away from the intensity of the experience for you. It is important to experience sex as it relates to you. Be selfish with your feelings, and take inventory of your reactions. This will allow you to go with the intensity and get lost in the experience. There is nothing sexier than a partner who is totally captured by you in bed.
Being ravished is wonderful, and being the one who ravishes is even better. But great sex happens in your own mind and in your own body. Don't ignore your partner because their pleasure will give you pleasure. But it is in your own private experience within that you will learn what you need in order to experience "great sex" moments.
There is a different between secrecy and privacy. Secrets are something kept separate and away from your partner. Private is a place inside where you cultivate and develop your sexual and erotic self. Your partner should encourage that part of you, because it adds excitement and juiciness to the sex for both of you.
If you have all five of these things; a plan, frequency, quiet, relaxation and privacy, you are having great sex, and congratulations! If you have a few, then you are lucky and you have some room for growth. If you aren't having good sex and you want more information, go to my website, drtammynelson.com, to find out more info or to buy my books. You deserve to have great sex and you deserve great advice. Don't settle. Great sex leads to a great relationship and a happy life.