The last sex tips you’ll ever need

Women’s magazines love running articles, often with lurid headlines, about the amazing sex tips you can use to keep your man happy in bed (and thereby, presumably, keep your man). They’re often filled with terrible advice, like “Stick a finger in his bum when he least expects it.” Of all the things most likely to have an unhappy ending in the bedroom, “surprise anal” is very near to the top of the list.

Being good in bed isn’t about memorizing the secret technique that makes you special. It’s actually much simpler than that. It’s about openness, honesty, and willingness to explore. It’s about boldness over fear. It’s about confidence, not timidity. If you want to be a good lover, here’s a list of tips which will get you there:

1. Learn what blows your partner’s mind.

There’s only one way to do this, and it isn’t by reading women’s magazines or sex tips on Web sites. Instead, try this: Ask your partner.

Seriously. It does no good and makes no sense to say “What do guys like?” or “Do girls like it when you do this?” because every single guy and every single girl is different. Even if 99.999% of the people in the world really like something, that does you no good if your partner doesn’t like it!

It doesn’t matter what “guys like” and it doesn’t matter what “girls like.” It doesn’t matter what the editors of magazines like. What matters is what the person you are with likes.

2. Don’t be afraid of a partner’s sexual past.

I call this “being responsible.”

Many people have the idea that anything that happened in the past should stay in the past, and doesn’t matter, and you should never, never, ever tell your current partner about sexual experiences in your past.

This is nonsense, for a number of reasons. First, it does nothing except shelter insecurity. When you are confident and secure, then understanding a partner’s past is no longer scary; in fact, it helps you to understand your partner better. We all have past lives. The fact that you have a past doesn’t mean you don’t really want to be with the person you’re with now, right?

More importantly, though, the things you have done in your past are significant to the sexual health of your current partner. It does not protect your health just to get a standard STD screen and call it good. Some STDs, such as HPV, can not be reliably tested for (and the risk of HPV infection goes up with a person’s total number of partners). Some STDs, such as hepatitis, are not part of a standard STD screen.

Furthermore, a person’s past says a lot about that person. Does that person have a long history of multiple, short-lived relationships? Does that person have a history of honesty and integrity? Does a person have a history of backing out of difficult relationships? These are all significant to whether or not that person might make a good partner.

And finally, the whole point of intimacy is to share yourself with another human being, honestly and completely. Warts and all. Everything you hide destroys intimacy. Everything you are too jealous, insecure, or afraid to share destroys intimacy. Everything you are unwilling or unable to discuss destroys intimacy. If you don’t want intimacy, what’s the point of a relationship in the first place?

3. Don’t be afraid that sex will make you “too loose.”

Many people seem to think that the vagina “stretches out” if you have a lot of sex. But the vagina is made of muscle, not Silly Putty; muscle becomes stronger and more limber, not looser, when it is used. The notion that the vagina gets “loose” when you have sex is as silly as the notion that your mouth will get “stretched” if you eat too much.

4. Does anal sex hurt? And won’t I get loose if I do it?

Again, the human body does not work that way; you will not get “loose” by having anal sex. The only thing that can cause that is if you actually tear the muscle–and believe me, if that happens, you’ll know. It’s not going to happen easily; you have to work at it.

When done properly, anal sex is not painful. If it hurts, you’re doing something wrong–most likely, going too fast. Be prepared to spend an hour or more at it the first time you try.

Many people believe they’re relaxed when they first try anal sex, when in reality, they aren’t. Most muscles in the human body are normally limp, and you have to do work to tighten them; the sphincter is tight in its normal state, and you have to do work to relax it.

The best way to learn how to relax it is to experiment on yourself, using a small dildo or a finger. (Don’t worry–unless you have to use the bathroom right now, you aren’t going to get “dirty”–the last several inches of the rectum does not normally contain anything.)

Another thing to keep in mind: Use a condom for anal sex, to avoid the possibility of your partner getting a urinary tract infection. Don’t go from anal to vaginal penetration, to avoid getting a vaginal infection.

And guys, being penetrated anally doesn’t make you gay. Having sex with other men makes you gay. If your girlfriend wants to try a little pegging, that doesn’t mean that you’ll suddenly start hanging out in men’s rooms looking for action or become an anti-gay Senator or something.

Of course, not everyone likes anal. You don’t have to be into it in order to be good in bed. But it doesn’t need to be scary, either.

5. Don’t be afraid of being bad at something the first time you try it.

Seriously. Relax. Every single person in the world is bad at things the first time they try them. Will you be bad at any kind of sexual activity when you do it for the first time? probably. So what?

Sex is a learned skill. Just like riding a bicycle or playing a piano. You get to be good at any learned skill by doing it. It’s that simple. There’s no other way. Everyone here was bad at something in the past.

Lighten up! It’s not a reflection on you. Your partner isn’t going to abandon you, leaving you alone until your dying day, if you haven’t mastered the Monkey With Lotus Blossom And Chainsaw position the very first time you try it. Learned skills have to be learned. You can only learn them by doing them. If you live your life terrified of being bad at something, then you’ll never get good at anything!

And if you try something you don’t like, no big deal; don’t do it again. It’s not like the world will come to a sudden and nasty end if you try something and decide you don’t like it!

And while we’re on the subject of the Monkey With Lotus Blossom and Chainsaw position…

6. Don’t be afraid of being “weird.”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say something like “I’m bored. i want to do something new, but, you know, nothing, like, kinky or anything,” I would never have to work again.

First step in dealing with sexual boredom? Get over the fear of being “kinky.” Your happiness is your own responsibility; who cares if someone else might think you’re kinky? If you never try anything new, then yeah, you can expect to be bored!

If you’re bored but can’t think of any new ideas, try mixing things up a bit. Do the same things you already know you like, but in different settings, or at different times. Experiment with role-playing–invent an imaginary character and scenario in your head, and act it out. Try adding new things to the bedroom–sex toys, blindfolds, things like that. Try new positions. Try all of the above.

And don’t expect that every new thing you try will work. If you find something that doesn’t work, try something else. If all else fails, take a look at the scenarios I’ve posted here; even if there’s nothing you like, it might spark some ideas.

7. Don’t be goal-directed. Don’t be hung up on the Big O.

Speaking of being independently wealthy, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard some variant of “I can’t get my partner to orgasm. I feel terrible. I’m worthless! I suck in bed!” I’d never have to work a day in my life again, and I’d start collecting Ferraris for a hobby.

Orgasm has far less to do with what happens between your legs and far more to with what happens between your ears than most people realize. If a person is not in the right head space, then there ain’t nothing you can do to make that person orgasm. Fifteen supermodels with extensive training in the secret arts of sexual seduction can’t make a person orgasm if that person is not in the right head space.

And so what? Orgasm is, for many people, a learned response anyway. It takes time to learn it, and even if you can’t get there every time, it’s no big deal. Sex is fun all on its own; it’s not like sex is no good if there’s no orgasm. It’s the journey, not the destination, that matters–the point, after all, is to have fun, or else why do it at all? Hell, orgasm denial–deliberately not letting your partner come–can be a great way to spice up sex!

8. Don’t be afraid of the S-word.

I’ve had 2 (or 3 or 6 or 9 or 127) partners–does that make me a slut?

I firmly believe that the word “slut” is what someone who has an uninteresting sex life calls a person who has an interesting sex life. In reality, thee’s no such thing. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had 2 or 3 or 9 or 27 or 127 sexual partners in your life; there is no magic number that is “right,” above which you’ve suddenly lost your membership in the Good Person Club.

What matters is being responsible, ethical, and honest. Someone who has slept with 127 people but has done it honestly and responsibly, treating his or her partners with compassion and respect, is a far, far better person than a virgin who is a liar or is irresponsible or unethical. Don’t sweat it. Don’t even waste your time worrying about it; what’s the point?

9. Don’t be afraid of being silly.

Role-playing is a great way to spice things up in bed, but often, we are reluctant to do it out of fear of feeling silly.

As with any other form of sexual activity, role-playing is a learned skill. All learned skills feel awkward, silly, and uncomfortable when you first do them. First time you get on a bike or pick up a pool cue, you feel awkward and self-conscious.

Don’t worry about it. Do it anyway. In time, you’ll find that role-playing, like any other learned skill, becomes completely natural and effortless. And there is little that spices up your sex life better! Besides, sex is supposed to be silly and fun. You’re not writing an MBA thesis; you’re doing something that’s fun and exciting and that you and your partner enjoy. If you can’t laugh during sex, what can you laugh at?

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3 Responses to The last sex tips you’ll ever need

  1. Bill Ward says:

    “Having sex with other men makes you gay.” You should know better than to say something like that. What about bisexual men? Men who call themselves straight but occasionally play with other men? Gay virgins?

    Having only a desire to have sex with other men, and not at all with women, makes you gay. Or better yet, calling yourself gay makes you gay.

    Really, Franklin, I’m sure you know better than that.

  2. That line was intended to be a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that some people appear to believe that sexual activity involving only partners of the opposite sex have a magical, transformative power to make a person change sexual orientations, rather than a rundown of the boundaries of orientation and identity. You’re right, having sex with both men and women makes one bisexual, at least according to the functional definition of the word “bisexual” (and whether or not it’s possible to be bisexual without having attraction to both men and women, or gay without having attraction to members of the same sex, is something that’s really outside the scope of this comment–certainly I’ve known folks who identify as ‘gay’ but insist they would never want to have sex, nor engage in sexual activity, with a same-sex partner, but that’s a kettle of fish for a different time).

  3. Bill Ward says:

    I understand what you intended, but in the interest of making a tongue-in-cheek reference, you perpetuate a myth that devalues the experience of both gay and bi men.

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