Good sex is mindblowing.
It’s addictive. It’s magnetic. It induces an altered state that’s exciting, wild, and fulfilling. Bad sex, on the other hand, is disappointing. It’s draining, discouraging, and at times, disgusting.
So what’s the difference between good and bad sex?
It’s a worthy question at the moment because, with the litany of hurts being talked about in our culture, it’s easy to forget there’s anything other than bad sex—truly bad sex that’s about power, not connection. The kind that wounds, rather than uplifts. The kind that makes us want to avoid the subject entirely, rather than discuss it openly and with joy in our hearts.
Sex can be a place of tremendous healing and growth—not to mention fun. It’s one of the deepest ways we are capable of connecting with one another. It’s how we propagate our species.
I have my own #MeToo stories and they are valid and meaningful. But this piece isn’t about that. It’s a celebration of really good sex, and some hints for men who want to be truly outstanding in the bedroom. I’m putting attention on what does work for me sexually, because I want to make it easy for men to know how to please me and other women (or men).
In the spirit of celebration, caring, and super-sexy sexy time, here are the top three things the men who’ve rocked my world in bed have had in common:
They were really, really present.
I’ve slept with a number of guys who, frankly, I wasn’t planning on sleeping with. This happened in part because they wooed me with their massive…presence.
One guy’s name was Isaiah, and I’d suspected he’d been into me for a while. My housemates and I had thrown a house party and he’d stayed late, so we ended up washing dishes together at the end.
It was 2 a.m. and he was drying the dishes as I washed them. I remember this because the way he looked at me when he would take a dish from me was kind of hot. He made eye contact and was really present; it was obvious his attention was on me.
Here’s what stood out: he wasn’t trying to be cool. He wasn’t trying to be funny. In fact, he wasn’t trying at all—he was just really present in his body.
I believe that when a man is truly present and in his body around a woman he’s attracted to, he naturally signals to her that he wants her. She feels desired and that is incredibly sexy.
Isaiah made it clear he was interested in me with his presence. It wasn’t with anything he said directly, or in an aggressive way; it was in the way he was noticing me. I felt heard by him as we talked, and I also felt wanted. I felt like he was listening for my “yes,” and would have been perfectly fine with a “no.” But he was paying attention and stayed present, so when I took him to my room later, I’m pretty sure he knew what was up.
I hadn’t planned on sleeping with him that night (or with anyone). It was unexpected.
They went slooooow.
This. Is so. Hot.
A man who rushes things sexually turns me off. I feel like I don’t have time to get aroused; I’m barely keeping up with the pace of what’s going on. I’m often not even wet by the time they get down there.
A man who takes his time, on the other hand, makes me want to beg for it. I’m talking about when he traces his fingers down my arm and then holds me by the waist; when he slowly reaches his hand around my head and pulls me in; when he slides his hands all the way down my body while we’re standing up and then turns me around and slides them all the way back up.
One of my first boyfriends was a master at this. I remember one of the first few times we had sex, I actually got a little frustrated because I wanted him inside me so badly, and he was slowing things down.
I also remember thinking, “This is probably a really good thing in the long-run.” It was.
Of course, there’s a time and place for quickies. But there’s also definitely a time and place for “slow-ies,” and they’re hot!
They were gentle (at first).
Not to get too grossly technical, but the female anatomy fills with blood as a sexual encounter progresses. This means that a lot of the time, the pressure I need at the beginning of an encounter is lighter/softer, and can then be harder/faster as things progress.
One of the biggest mistakes I consistently experience with men in bed is them being too rough with their hands or mouths when they’re fingering or going down on me. That hurts. And, when it happens, I can’t focus on pleasure at all; I’m too busy protecting my body from pain.
I believe one of the main reasons for this is porn. I’m a woman who watches porn, so I think I can speak to this on pretty good authority. I often find myself wincing when I watch porn, especially at the beginning of videos when they show a man fingering a woman right away, with no warm up at all. As in, they kiss once, he pulls her panties down and sticks a finger in, just like that.
This does not work for me in real life, and I’m dying to know whether it works for any other real women (and not paid porn actresses).
What’s super sexy, on the other hand, is a man who touches me really softly at first. A man who traces his fingers lightly over my panties, maybe tugging a little bit on the edges. A man who doesn’t rush to get my clothes off, but does a lot of teasing outside the clothing first.
It’s hot when I’m the one taking my underwear off, hoping he’ll slide his oh-so-gentle fingers all over me. And in me. Because I’m ready.
In my low moments, the ones where I feel like I’m never going to get laid ever again ever ever ever ever ever, I can get discouraged. It can feel like I’m never going to have sex again, let alone good sex.
In those moments, it helps me to reflect (read: fantasize) on past experiences about the men who rocked my world in bed. The men who left me craving more, who I felt drawn to, whose hands I wanted all over me right now!
Lately, there’s been a lot in our culture about what women don’t want from men, but not a lot about what we do want. I’d like to help change that.
So women: what’s on your list? Is it the same as mine, or distinct? What did the men who were epic in bed do that has you still fantasizing about them years later?
I made a survey because I want to know so I can teach men how to touch us, tantalize us, keep us coming back for more. If you’ve got four to seven minutes, complete it here.
And men: I plan to create something out of the answers women give. I want to highlight the secret themes. I intend to look for patterns, to draw out the things many women say work for them and present them in an inviting way. If you’re interested in being kept up to date on that, drop me a line.
Author: Melanie Curtin
Image: It’s Complicated/YouTube
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Sara Kärpänen