Why Your Sex Life Isn’t As Fantastic As You Think It Should Beby Steph Auteri on February 22, 2013
Clit pumps. Arousal gels. Tingling balms and warming lubricants. The eternal search for the female Viagra. A by-god entry for Female Sexual Dysfunction in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). These days, women tend to assume there’s something wrong with them if their sex life is not holy-shit-fantastic, and the sex industry (as much as I enjoy the contents of my naughty drawer) doesn’t do much to discourage this notion.
What’s the real problem, though? This: women are not telling their partners how they want it in bed. They’re not directing their partners to their erogenous zones. They’re not sharing their fantasies. Instead, they’re keeping their mouths shut, faking orgasms, and hoping that — if they just concentrate hard enough — their partners will suddenly be able to read their minds.
I get it. You don’t want to hurt his feelings. You feel weird/squirmy talking about what you want down there. You don’t want to ruin the mood by making A Big, Darn Deal About It.
The thing is, you don’t have to launch into a State of Our (Sexual) Union address in order to get what you want. You can be subtle. You can be sneaky. You can be slyly sexy. Here’s how.
1. Try sexting. It’s what all the kids are doing these days. Get in some verbal foreplay while simultaneously placing hints for what you’d like him to do to you in bed. For example: “I loved it when you BLANKETY-BLANKED my BLANK BLANK last night. Could we do it again tonight?” Or: “I can’t stop thinking about your BLANK. Pretty please can we BLANKETY-BLANK tonight?” Least intimidating form of dirty talk ever, if that’s the sort of thing that makes you blush.
2. Speaking of dirty talk, you can always ease into that by getting vocal via non-verbal means. And I don’t mean shrieking with horror when he slips a finger in without proper lubrication. Concentrate on positive reinforcement. Throw in a series of moans if he’s on the right track. Gasp if he hits a spot that makes your toes curl. Newbies often feel awkward trying dirty talk. They don’t know what to say, and they don’t want to end up sounding like some cheesy, homegrown porn flick from the ’80s. Utilizing sounds of appreciation can be a great warm-up.
3. Eventually, however, I feel confident that you’ll be able to pull off some full-fledged dirty talk with flair. You can always start by simply narrating what’s happening beneath the sheets (“I’m going to BLANKETY-BLANK your BLANK. Now I’m going to BLANKETY-BLANKETY-BLANK. OH GOD I’M COMING!”). But if you really want to make dirty talk work in your favor, simply show appreciation when he does something that feels good, or beg him to do something you know you enjoy. (“Oh god. Lick my nips. Touch me right here. Harder. Harder. FASTER!)*
4. Enough talk. If you’re feeling brave, and aren’t saddled by self-consciousness, may I recommend mutual masturbation? We often learn the most about our bodies, and about what makes us feel good, by engaging in some solitary self-exploration. Unfortunately, too many of us never take the next step by showing our partner what we learned. So let him watch you masturbate. Or guide his fingers to the spots where only yours have ventured before. School him on topics like location and pressure and speed. You could even use a toy like the updated Fukuoku 9000, or Jimmyjane’s brand new Hello Touch. That way, you can experience some extra stimulation while school is still in session.
5. And speaking of toys, they’re not only for alone time (though I value and protect the time I spend with my favorite smoothie vibrator in much the same way I hoard and protect that stash of chocolate in my desk drawer). Sometimes, it can be beneficial to use toys together, especially considering the fact that the majority of women can’t orgasm from intercourse alone. Sure, he can flick your clit and blow in your ear while he’s taking you from behind. You don’t need all the bells and whistles. But sometimes, the bells and whistles are fun, too. Show him how you like to use your favorite toy, and then let him take the reins.
6. Okay. Let’s put aside the nipple clamps and vibrating cock rings for the moment and swap some fantasies. We all have them. That crazy position you’ve been wanting to try. That fetish you’ve never spoken about to anyone else. That role playing game that seems like it might actually be fun. Bring it up casually to your partner. Like: “Hey, have you ever thought of trying…?” Or make a game of it. Take turns revealing your fantasies, and see if there are any you’re both interested in trying. A useful tool for this is a yes/no/maybe list, like the one available at the end of sex researcher Kristen Mark’s Sexual Adventure.
7. Of course, if you’re having trouble coming up with things, you could always watch porn together. There are plenty of couple-friendly films out there, from the likes of Candida Royalle and the folks behind Comstock Films. You can do some research with books like Violet Blue’s The Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn and the recently-released Feminist Porn Book. And of course there’s always YouPorn and RedTube.
8. Or if erotic films don’t float your boat, have some story time. Download a collection of erotica onto your Kindle or Nook, read aloud to each other, and see what inspires you. (My personal favorite? The Rachel Kramer-Bussel-edited Peep Show.)
9. Getting back to the bedroom… you do realize that there’s a lot more to fantastic foreplay than oral sex, hand jobs, and nipple play, right? You probably have so many more erogenous zones on the surface of your body that you’re not taking advantage of. Give each other erotic massages to find the spots that really make you tingle. Maybe you’ll discover that you really love it when he caresses the backs of your knees… your inner thighs… the curve of your stomach… the place where your neck meets your shoulder. I recommend following the tips in Erotic Massage.
10. Finally, always be open to trying new things. Get adventurous. Conduct sexual experiment experiments together. Make your way through every position in the Kama Sutra. Attend a sexy soiree. Consider blindfolds and handcuffs. As I’ve written in 52 Weeks of Amazing Sex, excitement and unpredictability spike the brain’s natural amphetamines — dopamine and norepinephrine — thereby intensifying arousal. Not only that but, by trying new things, you may just find something exciting you both enjoy.
*Now I feel as if I’m writing the screenplay to some cheesy, homegrown ’80s porn flick.