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As a sex therapist and founder of GoodinBed.com as well as the author of numerous books on the subject of pleasuring, such as She Comes First, I guess you could say I have one thing on my mind. Sex is pretty much all I think about and talk about all day (and if I'm lucky, I also get to do it with my wife). Over the years, I've learned a thing or two about how to pleasure a woman, so without further ado, here are my 5 "best practices" for being truly good in bed.
1- Think like a "knob," not a "switch"
When comparing male and female sexuality, there's no shortage of adages: "Men are like light switches -- just flip them on, and they're ready to go. Women are like knobs -- you can turn them up and down." Or as Dr. Emily Nagoski writes in the Good in Bed Guide to Female Orgasms, "Men are like driving standard transmission -- if you move through the gears in the right order, you will get where you want to go. Women are like baking a soufflé -- the outcome depends on the ingredients and the chef, sure, but it also depends on the reliability of the oven, the altitude, the humidity of the day... more variables, more variability." In short, think of foreplay as a 24-hour experience that happens both in and out of the bedroom. Sex is all about context. And while it may take very little to rev your engine, remember that she probably needs to simmer.
2- When you're getting it on, make sure she's completely relaxed and comfortable
Researchers in the Netherlands have found that the key to getting a woman turned on and to the heights of orgasmic bliss is a deep sense of relaxation and a lack of anxiety. Brain scans showed that the parts of women's brains responsible for processing fear, anxiety and emotion slowed down the more aroused they became, producing a trancelike state at orgasm. Men showed far less change in these regions. "What this means is that deactivation, letting go of all fear and anxiety, might be the most important thing, even necessary, to have an orgasm," says the study's lead researcher, Dr. Gert Holstege.
3- Take the time to figure out what works
Every woman is different, and most women don't even orgasm the first couple of times they're with a guy. A woman has to feel comfortable, and a guy has to figure out what makes her tick sexually. Some women love wet, sloppy kisses; other women find saliva a total turnoff. Some women love lots of breast stimulation; other women can't stand it at all. Some women love to be on top in bed; others love missionary style. Some women respond to intense clitoral stimulation; others require very little. Some women have an innate capacity to experience multiple orgasms; others are more like guys -- they roll over, and they're ready to go to sleep. Figure out a sex script that works, and stick to it. Sure, familiarity can breed boredom, but it can also yield consistent orgasms.
4- Once you know what works, wrap it in something fresh: Fantasy
A healthy fantasy life is one of the keys to a great sex life -- even when your partner might not always play the leading role. Most people find that they are most sexually satisfied when they are intimate with one person with whom they feel completely comfortable. Along with this intimacy comes the freedom to let go and explore, including fantasizing about other people, places and situations. One study on sexual fantasy by noted expert Dr. Harold Leitenberg found that sexual fantasies occur most often in people with the highest sexual satisfaction and the healthiest sex lives.
5- Play to your strengths
Very few guys make love like porn stars, nor should we. We live in the real world, and we all have sexual strengths and weaknesses. For example, I suffered from premature ejaculation for years and compensated with oral sex. Some men suffer from erectile disorder on a regular basis, and some guys have a smaller-than-average penis. Develop "sex scripts" -- paths to pleasure -- that play to your strengths. And be willing to communicate. As Dr. Madeleine Castellanos writes in A Man's Guide to Male Sexual Issues, "Wouldn't it be great if penises could talk -- honestly and clearly -- about their feelings, especially when it comes to issues in the bedroom?" Most women don't know how to "speak penis," so give them a clue.
This article was written by Ian Kerner and originally posted on AskMen.