June 9, 2011

Q&A: I Don’t Know What Pleases Guys And I Lack Confidence In Bed

Talking to your partner about sex may help you to build confidence about sex in general. It’s okay to feel unsure about sex. He probably feels the same way!

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Question: I don’t have much knowledge about how male sexual pleasure works and this is making me lack confidence in bed. I have sex, and it seems to go fine, but I never want to go beyond basic missionary position because I don’t know what works for guys. I know you’ll say I should just ask, but some basic pointers would help build my confidence.

You’re right: I am going to recommend that you ask your partner what he likes, but I’ll also give you a few pointers.

Confidence Building Through Communication

One reason I’d recommend asking your partner what he likes in terms of intercourse, oral sex or hand stimulation is because you’re trying to please him –not some hypothetical man you’re reading about in a book or magazine. That means that he’s the only person who can tell you what he likes sexually.

Also, talking to him about sex may help you to build confidence about sex in general. It’s okay to feel unsure about sex. Your partner probably feels the same way.

I teach human sexuality to college students and every single one of them has questions about sex. I also talk to adults about sex all the time and they, too, have many questions about how to please themselves and how to please their partner.

By asking your partner what he likes or how he’d like to be touched, you’re unlikely to appear “bad” at sex – in fact, asking someone what they like is a great way to appear “good” at sex! It means that you care about their pleasure and are attentive in bed. It also provides opportunities for you to share what you would like to try or are curious about or how you like to be touched or kissed or otherwise stimulated.

Have Fun, Play Games

In my book Because It Feels Good, I wrote about several ways that couples can explore each other’s sexual likes and dislikes through games, conversations and things to do in and out of bed.

One of my favorite activities is what I call a post-sex play-by-play in which, after sex, couples talk about what they like. You might say to your partner, “I really like that thing you did with your tongue” or you might say that you thought a particular position you tried was fun or felt good. Then ask what he liked, too.

Another exercise is something I call a “sex lesson” in which you take turns exploring. Using hand stimulation as an example, you might say that you’d like to have him give you a sex lesson. Offer to touch his penis in different ways and get his feedback. You might start out by slowly rubbing your hand along his penis and then ask how that feels. You can try this with lubricant or without. Then you might try rubbing faster, gripping loosely one time and then more firmly.

By trying different things, you get a chance to explore how you enjoy touching him and also how he enjoys being touched. By making it a game – rather than a goal of getting him off – it takes the pressure off. You then get to switch roles while he explores with you and you give him feedback.

Control From Above

As for sex positions, you might try woman on top. Some women rock back and forth while on top. Others plant a foot on each side, sort of squatting, and rise up a few inches and then back down, either slowly or quickly.

Just try to keep his penis inside of you lest you risk the possibility of his penis coming fully out and hitting your body instead of going back in, which can hurt him and cause injury. While on top, you can also face his feet in a position called reverse cowgirl.

Find Out More

Finally, keep in mind that sex is something we are all continually learning and exploring. You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy yourself – and it’s practice and communication, as well as learning about sex, that are likely to help you feel more comfortable and more confident.

For more tips and techniques, check out Because It Feels Good or Moregasm.

Next Question: What Are The Chances Of Contracting An STI From A Sex Worker?

I’m a recently divorced, middle-aged man and although I’m not interested in getting involved in another relationship, I’m still very interested in having sex. I’m thinking about visiting a legal brothel in Nevada, but I’m wondering what the risks are in terms of contracting a sexually transmitted disease from a sex worker.

Read Dr. Debby Herbenick’s response.

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