How to Be a Better Lover — In and Out of the Bedroom
Maybe your current boo told you to up your game (ouch). Maybe you’ve always harbored sneaking suspicions that you’re subpar in the sack. Or maybe you just want to join the Greats.
Regardless, you’re here because you think you’re bad in bed — or at the very least, could be better.
Well, we’ve got some good news: It’s actually not possible to be bad in bed. Really!
That said, it is possible for your communication skills to need an upgrade. Or for your sex life to need a little zhuzhing up. This guide can help on both fronts.
Got an FWB coming over in 30 minutes and want tips stat? Or planning to get your flirt (and freak) on at the bar tonight? These tips are for you.
Listen to your partner’s verbal and non-verbal cues
Carly S., pleasure expert and founder of Dildo or Dildon’t, says there’s one caveat to the “It’s not possible to be bad in bed” thesis statement.
“If you’re completely ignoring your partner’s attempts to communicate with you, and steamrolling them into doing whatever you want, you’re a bad lover,” she says. TBH, at this point, you’re not having sex with your partner — you’re violating them.
Your move: Tune into what your partner is saying with their words, mouths, hands, and body.
“Are they pulling you closer? Or are they pushing you away?” asks Megan Stubbs, EdD, a clinical sexologist and author of “Playing Without a Partner: A Singles’ Guide to Sex, Dating, and Happiness”.
“Are they shifting their hips away from you, or toward you?”
These body cues can give you insight into what they like and don’t like.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
“Your partner isn’t a mind-reader,” Stubbs says. “For them to know what you do and don’t like, you have to tell them.”
For the record, she says, communicating can be as simple as saying:
- “That feels good! How does it feel for you?”
- “Yes! That!”
- “A little more pressure, please!”
- “Is your tongue getting tired?”
- “Can you do that thing you were doing earlier instead?”
Check your ego at the door
“Sex toys and sexual wellness aids are inanimate objects that are designed to increase how pleasurable the sexual encounter is,” Carly says.
So, she says, if your partner expresses an interest in bringing those into the bedroom, your first thought shouldn’t be “I’m not good enough.” It should be “Wow! My partner wants to experience pleasure with me.”
Before we talk about the trees, let’s talk about the forest…
“Confidence is a work in progress for everybody — but it’s work worth doing especially, if you want to be a better lover,” Carly says.
Confidence, she says, is key to asking for what you want in bed, graciously receiving feedback from your partner, and more.
To build up confidence, she suggests:
- repeating a self-love mantra to yourself every morning
- curating your digital spaces and unfollowing people who make you question your worth
- writing a list of things you like about yourself every week
- leaving a partner who puts you down
- trying therapy
Sensing a common theme?
“[Communication] should be happening before, during, and after sex,” Stubbs says.
Before sex, talk about:
- what qualifies as sex for you
- your sexual health status
- what protection or pregnancy prevention methods you want to use, if any
- what having sex does, or will, mean for you
During sex, talk about:
- how it feels physically
- what you’re feeling emotionally or spiritually
- what you need to feel safe
- if or when you want it to end
After sex, talk about:
- how it felt emotionally and physically
- if it’s something you want to do again
- what you need in this exact moment (water, food, blankets, etc.)
Enthusiasm, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a strong excitement of feeling.
In other words, it’s the antithesis of apathy.
And who the heck wants to get it on with someone who’s acting *shrug emoji* about having sex with them? Specific kinks aside, very few pleasure seekers do.
Some ways to express enthusiasm during sex:
- Tell them you like how they look, smell, taste, or feel.
- Compliment them.
- Verbally and nonverbally affirm what feels good.