What do men want?
June 22, 2011 1:45 PM   Subscribe

What makes a woman 'good in bed'?

As a woman, I think I have a pretty clear idea of what makes a man good or bad in bed. I've got my and my friends' experiences to draw on, but also I feel like our culture really emphasizes the importance of the man's skill in bed without paying as much attention to the woman's. (I'm talking about hetero sex here.)

Maybe I'm off base, I dunno. But if I think "man, good in bed," a whole host of associations comes up- he's patient and not pushy, yet just forceful enough to get you caught up in the experience; he knows where the clit is and how to respond to the woman's movements as she gets more excited; he can stay hard for a long time; he doesn't just focus on the boobs and crotch area, but instead pays attention to the whole body; on and on. These are obviously not what every woman wants all the time, but they're the sort of default answers to this question, I feel.

But when I've tried to ask male friends what makes a woman good in bed, they all say the same things: if you show up, don't act dead, and are willing to give blowjobs, that's enough. I just don't buy it, though! Is there really no way for a woman to improve her sexual performance other than 'don't act dead'?

I'm asking this because, while I have had a number of sexual partners, most of them have been casual and I still have absolutely no idea of whether I'm 'good in bed,' and what I could be doing differently. I haven't had any complaints, but still. This might sound really silly, but in my ideal future vision of myself I am The Best Lay Ever, and I'm just not sure how to get there from here! (Assume middle-class early 20s white chick in metro area, here.)

(And yes, I know I could secure a fuckbuddy and ask him, but I have yet to actually find one who was both good in bed and not a neurotic mess who would take that question poorly, so until I have more success on that front, I'm asking yall.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (51 answers total) 81 users marked this as a favorite

What makes a woman good in bed is the same thing that makes a man good in bed: paying attention to your partner and making him/her feel good. What exactly that means is up to your partner. So, ask your next one.
posted by katillathehun at 1:46 PM on June 22, 2011 [25 favorites]

Well I guess as you know this is going to differ a lot for each guy. Finding out what they are into before hand and during will help notch up your "Best Lay Ever" points.

I'd say generally for me: being enthusiastic, flexible, in fantastic shape, likes quickies to marathons, responsive, paying attention to the balls. Just being intense and fascinating goes a long way.
posted by zephyr_words at 1:53 PM on June 22, 2011

Dan Savage came up with helpful shorthand:
Dan Savage and his readers often use the abbreviation GGG. In his March 1, 2007 column,[10] Savage summarized: "GGG stands for 'good, giving, and game,' which is what we should all strive to be for our sex partners. Think 'good in bed,' 'giving equal time and equal pleasure,' and 'game for anything—within reason.'"
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:54 PM on June 22, 2011 [7 favorites]

90% enthusiasm, 10% technique.
posted by rokusan at 1:55 PM on June 22, 2011 [22 favorites]

One word: Enthusiasm!

You seem to be enjoying yourself, and are actively participating in the sexing--as opposed to merely letting it happen to you. "Willing to give a blowjob" falls under enthusiasm. It indicates that you're actively interested in your partner's pleasure.
posted by Netzapper at 1:57 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've always assumed that to the degree this can be generalised, this is primarily about two things: genuine enthusiasm combined with a lack of inhibition - not about specific sexual acts, but about sharing your body.

Technique is going to vary across partners, but I'm pretty sure the above is the foundation for being an epic lay on the girl side.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:01 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]

I don't think there's any one way to be "good in bed" - the chemistry and interaction between the people involved is so variable that there's no one formula for it. But I've had a number of partners who have really enjoyed having sex with me and I would assume would use the "good in bed" label, and what they've appreciated is my lack of inhibition, enthusiasm for sex in general and for sex with them in particular, my physical and vocal responsiveness, enjoyment of my own body (without getting mired into self-consciousness), willingness to try just about anything at least once, and how much I enjoy pleasing them as well. And lots of laughing and having fun.

But I really think those things all stem from just doing things I enjoy with people I am really turned on by. I would really just focus on feeling good and having a great time - you don't want to get stuck in a performative mode (unless that's your kind of thing!)
posted by Neely O'Hara at 2:03 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

A certain amount of creativity... a certain amount of enthusiasm... a certain amount of being "game." Playfulness, tenderness. An ability to be enticing. And sometimes, just being a downright slut.

Uh -- think I need to go jump my wife. "scuse me.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 2:05 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

I remember being your age and wanting to be "good in bed." Frankly, back then it meant nothing more than wanting men to think I was sexy and gave good blow jobs. Since then, I believe I have actually become much worse in bed - but conversely, I have much better sex. What I mean to say is that I no longer care about men thinking I am "good" (which often came at the expense of my own enjoyment) and as a result I will roll over and kick him out of bed if I am not feeling it. Now what I care about is connecting to my partner, in all the million different forms that can happen. What I am trying to tell you is that people are not objectively good or bad at sex as individuals. Sex is something you create with another person, and you won't even really know that you are capable of until you experience it. Some day you will find a partner you really click with - your mind will be blown, and I think you will realize that you two, together, had great sex - which has little to do with being "good in bed."
posted by mrs. sock at 2:07 PM on June 22, 2011 [39 favorites]

I am going to differ with my fellow mefites a bit and say that it takes more than just enthusiasm and willingness to please your partner.

Technique is important too. Women, you need to learn how to move, especially when you are on top, and extra bonus points if you can move good when on the bottom too. This makes a world of difference when making love. It's mostly hip/pelvis movement, not so much general body movement.

I'm not saying lack of technique is a deal-breaker, but it is what is needed if the next level of excellence is to be achieved.
posted by eas98 at 2:08 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

I think it's important to really recognize what's actually going on between you at that moment, and to approach no two fuck-sessions exactly the same way, even if you've been doing it with the same person for years.
posted by hermitosis at 2:14 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

To be totally frank, a woman who doesn't ask "What do men want in bed?" There's a sliver of over thinking it that runs throughout that question that over time could kill an erection.

Look, you've asked guys, they've given you similar answers, yet you refuse to believe what they said. Think about that for a second, consider how you'd react and feel if you told someone something and they refused to believe what you said. Does that sound fun or interesting? No, it's annoying and makes you want to spend more time arguing with the person which eventually leads to you wanting to spend less time with them.

Show up.
Have fun.
Be adventurous.
Know what your needs and wants are. Ask for them.
Listen to your individual partner's needs and wants then do them if you're game for that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:16 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

Enthusiasm. Everything else is just details, and will vary from person to person. But enthusiasm is the constant.
posted by jbickers at 2:25 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

if you show up, don't act dead,

That's pretty much what I've heard. That you actually WANT sex and actually participate instead of lie there. I gather "lie there" is a very disturbing thing.

One of my exes post-breakup told me that his new hookup knew "tricks." Since I already knew the hookup, I asked her what they were (thinking it must be something like "the swirl" from Battlestar Galactica--I still want to know what THAT is). She was all, "Tricks? What tricks? I don't HAVE any tricks."
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:26 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Seconding what eas98 said above. Men have told me that a lot of women just don't know how to move. Think of the sexiest dancing you've ever seen. Think belly dancers. For solo practice stop thinking, turn on some good music, and move your hips and pelvis to the beat.
posted by mareli at 2:29 PM on June 22, 2011

To be totally frank, a woman who doesn't ask "What do men want in bed?"

Whereas I completely disagree. If you're not asking, you either don't care or are psychic, and psychics aren't real.

And that's why there's no answer to "what do men want?" that's not a vague generalization; you've got two guys in this thread giving you completely opposite answers.
posted by dubold at 2:31 PM on June 22, 2011

If I suddenly vanish from MetaFilter, it will be that I have broken the Guy Code and they've come for me. The Guy Code has bits like "sex is like pizza, even bad pizza is still good" and "any time is a good time," possibly because admission that we did not, in fact, have a great time would sound like a critique, dooming us never to be touched again. Here goes:

Initiating, with enthusiasm, so I don't feel like this is some kind of bothersome chore you're undertaking. Initiating here refers to more than just standing about with an expectant look on your face at ten in the evening or having a drink and saying, "I'm going to bed."

Willingness to go along with, in the Venn diagram sense of it, the union of sets, rather than their intersection. In other words, making a bit of a trade. That one position you like so much? I get a charley horse doing it about every third time, but I would rather not take that fun away from you; return that favor.

Saying "Do this" instead of "Don't do that." Telling me, verbally, what you do want. Be slightly pushy every so often.

Wanting more than one particular position or methodology every time. Mix it up.

If you're having trouble on top, there's really quite a few things you can do with your arms and legs to make sure that cervix-slamming does not occur. I'll help, honest.

That dancing you love to do? With the hips and waist and all? Use it. Leave the finger-snapping out.

Remembering that, while for some the outside of the man's shoulder may be an erogenous zone, really, there's other places your hands and/or lips can go. Find the ones that make me talk nonsense and note them for future reference.

Do the work sometimes. Nobody is asking for all the time or even half the time, but a constant passivity suggests something between enduring the event (if you're the quiet sort) up to expecting it as your due.

Not biting me hard enough to leave bruises/shredding my skin at each and every climax, since looking like I have had a naked disco in a refrigerator box full of snapping turtles and angry cats is funny only the first time I have to soak my T-shirt off of my body as I have clotted into it.

Noting I might be having a difficult time climaxing and putting forth some extra effort about it. You don't have to wave pom-poms or anything but a little cheer on never hurt.

Semendread: because being aware in the back of your mind that person you're with finds the natural consequence of your climax distasteful is something of a bummer.
posted by adipocere at 2:32 PM on June 22, 2011 [81 favorites]

Independent of actual step by step instructions - what do you generally want from someone you're going to be partnering with? Not just sexually.

They need to know what the hell they're doing. They should want to be there. They need to be on the same page. They should want to be doing that activity WITH YOU - not by themselves, and not with some mope off the street - and vice versa. They'll want to know (or at least be made to think) that you're picking them because they bring something special to the table, something either no one else does or no one gets from them, except you.

Ultimately? You'll both need to convince yourselves that you're collectively better at this together than either by yourself or with someone else. If not better, than at least unique. If you do nothing more than convincingly act like that's true (even if we both know it's not), then you will be "good" at this shared activity. With them, in their estimation.

Sometimes all the effort in the world won't help it take. Doesn't mean you're bad at it (whatever "it" is) - just means you weren't good together.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 2:46 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Biggest one for me? Initiate the act. Don't always wait for the guy to signal it's sexy time. It's much sexier when YOU start it, because it makes us feel wanted and desirable.
posted by cosmicbandito at 2:57 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

I agree that there's more to being good in bed than just enthusiasm. You certainly will be bad in bed if you lack enthusiasm. But let's assume you've got enthusiasm totally covered. The next thing you need is confidence. Real confidence is great, but the secret is that fake confidence is darn near just about as good. I've been shocked, over and over again, by how well "fake it till you make it" works with sex. Pretend you are someone who is mind-blowingly good in bed, and knows it. Commit to the role. The things you come up with to play this role will, in all seriousness, actually make you better in bed. You'll either hit upon things that are pretty universal good-sex-skills (hip movements etc.), or you'll come up with something a bit, er, off-the-wall but sell it so convincingly that your partner will think you're a cutting-edge sexual genius. Probably some mix of both.

Also, nthing "initiate sex" and "say what you want". I always get really positive feedback on those.
posted by ootandaboot at 3:01 PM on June 22, 2011 [12 favorites]

My interpretation is that 'good in bed' is about the whole experience. Show that you want sex, know what works for you, and be able to communicate that. Show that you're having fun. Men want a woman who knows how to have a good time! That can be complicated. Gosh, when I was younger and guys would ask me what I wanted, I had no idea. Now that I'm older, I can express what gets me off and show pleasure when it's done, and men like that. "Good in bed" isn't just about the physical stimulation -- it's about the whole experience. sex should be FUN. playful, interesting, memorable, a good time all around. like a party -- it's truly good when everyone is just having a good ol' time.

And seconding confidence -- be willing to please your dude, try new things, etc. but also show that you are an equal participant in the sex.

And, uh, get on top. guys like it when the girl is willing to do the work once in a while.
posted by custard heart at 3:08 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, one more thought. Be able and willing -- nay, eager -- to show a guy how to make you orgasm.
posted by ootandaboot at 3:08 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

OH -- and importantly -- your wanting to be good in bed should be about truly enjoying giving your partner pleasure, not just wanting him to think that you're 'good in bed'.
posted by custard heart at 3:15 PM on June 22, 2011

Porn competes (nsfw) to depict what the greatest number of men actually want, and a quick perusal will show you it's: blowjobs with eye contact, women masturbating themselves while we fuck them, and women enjoying anal sex.
posted by Now I'm Prune Tracy! at 3:15 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]

Confidence, communication and enthusiasm.
posted by anildash at 3:37 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Porn competes (nsfw) to depict what the greatest number of men actually want, and a quick perusal will show you it's: blowjobs with eye contact, women masturbating themselves while we fuck them, and women enjoying anal sex.

I think that's a fairly contentious and extremely reductionist view.
posted by smoke at 4:01 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Porn competes (nsfw) to depict what the greatest number of men actually want

Not necessarily a safe assumption - porn competes to depict what the greatest number of men actually want to watch. It is not always wise to assume that guys like experiencing everything they like looking at (many guys like watching big explosions, gunfights, and car wrecks, too).

I'd have to agree with the other posters that have said that really being enthusiastic is like 80% of it. Keep it fun, for everyone, including you. Don't ever let him doubt that you are every bit as into it as he is, if not more.

10% I think has a lot to do with fluidity and grace of movement. A lot of posters have mentioned dance moves, and while I don't think it's necessarily the moves themselves, those tend to be a good way to show that grace and body control off (y'know, outside the bedroom).

Last but not least: nothing says "expert" like the ability to teach others*. When he screws up, don't tell him he screwed up or let it kill the mood; take it in stride, don't bat an eye, and gently show him what to do instead. The key here is to do it in a way that suggests you're just that good in bed as opposed to implying that he's bad in bed. Shouldn't be hard to sell, either - most guys will be happy to believe that they're bedding a sex goddess over believing that they don't really know what they're doing. The best part about this is that you don't actually have to know anything more on the subject beyond just knowing what you like - it's all in the presentation. If he leaves having had an awesome time, he'll think you're good in bed; if he leaves having had an awesome time and learned something, he'll think you're great in bed.

*unless maybe he's an arrogant twit who places huge value on his sexual performance, in which case, just don't sleep with him. Problem solved!
posted by mstokes650 at 4:03 PM on June 22, 2011 [8 favorites]

I think enthusiasm means more than just eager. Men, at least the ones I know, are visual creatures and providing visual stimulation is important. Can be lingerie, can be high heels, can be red nails, can be whatever pose, look, move image you present that indicates you want to have sex with him. Specific details may vary, of course. Or maybe this goes under technique?
posted by Ideefixe at 4:18 PM on June 22, 2011

You're like a laptop, and having sex with you is like installing an older version of Windows. On the outside you look sorta like other laptops, and I should just be able to stick this round thing in your slot and click OK a few times. But in reality, you've got some obscure fucking wireless card or a video card they only made 100 of or a special kind of trackpad. You have special driver requirements.

And that's great. Diversity is good. I'm willing to persist, because I really, really like playing with hardware. But please, for the love of all that is good, tell me what those drivers are. Don't make me fuck around with random discs and downloads, hoping that a make / model will work even if the serial numbers aren't quite right. You need to say 'Hello. I really, really like it when you use this driver. Yes, now I'm functioning very, very smoothly indeed. You may rest assured that there are no yellow warning triangles in my Device Manager panel.'
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:55 PM on June 22, 2011 [115 favorites]

One of my male friends told me: "the best thing a girl can do is make me feel appreciated."
posted by vanitas at 4:58 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Porn competes (nsfw) to depict what the greatest number of men actually want, and a quick perusal will show you it's: blowjobs with eye contact, women masturbating themselves while we fuck them, and women enjoying anal sex."

I try not to argue with AskMe answerers, but this is pretty flatly wrong — porn competes to show the most number of men the things that men want to see, while not turning off too many.

Hence things like ejaculating on faces — from informal (but broad) discussions about porn while I was working with porn, there is a sizable minority of men who enjoy coming on a woman's face, but the act is almost always included in porn because it gets some men off while not being a deal breaker for the vast majority. Likewise, anal.

Even further, I can say that there is a vast panoply of acts that I think are fun or sexy to watch, but that I don't actually enjoy doing all that much. A woman who attempted to please me based on the porn I watch would be making a pretty big mistake about what I wanted — to the point where that's actually pretty terrible advice, given that it would mean the woman would not be paying attention to what I wanted and instead proceeding with what she thought I wanted instead of communicating with me and listening to what I'm saying. That would actually make her bad in bed.

So, instead — initiate, have fun, have a sense of humor about it, and communicate about what you want. Be enthusiastic. Don't worry about porn (enjoy it if you want, but realize it's got as much to do with sex as Knight Rider has to do with cars).
posted by klangklangston at 5:09 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

I like being bitten.
posted by DetriusXii at 5:38 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

I feel like this FPP -- about a particular tennis player's grunt/wail upon hitting the ball -- needs to be cross-posted here. And now I have.
posted by supercres at 5:44 PM on June 22, 2011

"Willing to give a blowjob" falls under enthusiasm. It indicates that you're actively interested in your partner's pleasure.

Netzapper, I'd put that phrase at mid- to low-level in enthusiasm. "Eager to give a blowjob" is high. "Massive oral fixation, but loves receiving cunnilingus too", is a perfect 10.

IOW, "willing" sounds milquetoast.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:17 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]

Is there really no way for a woman to improve her sexual performance other than 'don't act dead'?

The good news is that many of your peers have set the bar extraordinarily low (read: no blowjobs, act dead, provide mercy fucks on a yearly basis), so even the slightest effort will make you look like a genius of fucking. The bad news is that (as you can tell from the answers here) men are all over the map in what they want, so it's not as simple as just learning two key things and knowing you have it nailed.

Porn competes (nsfw) to depict what the greatest number of men actually want, and a quick perusal will show you it's: blowjobs with eye contact, women masturbating themselves while we fuck them, and women enjoying anal sex.

Uh, no. There are definitely things you can learn from porn, especially enthusiastic and happy amateur porn -- watch a bit and you can start seeing "wow, she is making that blowjob look like fun" and things like that -- but as everyone keeps saying, porn is about what producers think people like to watch, not necessarily what people actually like to do.

Semendread: because being aware in the back of your mind that person you're with finds the natural consequence of your climax distasteful is something of a bummer.

This is a huge thing. No one is saying you have to rub the nasty slimy stuff all over your face, and it's definitely no requirement to swallow instead of spit, but it is a huge, huge downer to know that someone thinks that such a fundamental part of your sexuality is disgusting. Would you be into a guy who thought your lubrication was disgusting and cringed every time he came near it? No way. Again, no need to glory in it, but at a bare minimum a partner who has come to terms with it and can accept semen on her, in her, or near her is really nice. (And someone who thinks it is yummy? Total keeper!)

So yeah, the guys you are asking are telling you the right basic stuff: oral is good, don't act dead. But that's not so much literally true (though it is; acting dead is creepy; no oral is no fun) as it is code for a whole set of more complicated things. To name a few: be inventive and enthusiastic; give as much or more pleasure than you receive; be able to articulate or show what floats your boat; make an effort; make your partner feel good about himself; etc. Things like that, that are hard to say in simple ways, and that mean totally different things for different people in different situations.

But it definitely doesn't mean debasing yourself, denying yourself pleasure, discarding a hundred years of feminist gains, or anything like that. Nor does it mean conforming to some narrow (and perhaps pornalicious) set of rules like "shave your poon," "swallow till you gag," or "take it in the butt every night" (unless, of course, you happen to want those things on your own terms).
posted by Forktine at 7:24 PM on June 22, 2011 [8 favorites]

"delight and converse"
posted by ovvl at 8:21 PM on June 22, 2011

Semendread: because being aware in the back of your mind that person you're with finds the natural consequence of your climax distasteful is something of a bummer.

This is a huge thing for me. Women who find the consequence of a male orgasm to be disgusting are not women I would sleep with again, and are women I would describe as "bad in bed". Also, the women I've slept with who have had this attitude certainly had no problem when I would give them oral to climax. Weird double standard. Read what Forktine said above, he describes the situation very well.

For me, the women I've been with that I would describe as "good in bed" are the ones who know their bodies well enough to know what will get them off, and know how to get me to get them there. They don't have to be drill sergeants telling me what to do in a barking tone, but definitely helpful encouragement when I'm doing something right is a huge turn on. I don't know about a lot of guys, but really, sex is much, much more enjoyable for me when I know the woman is having a ball (figuratively). So, talk. Say stuff. Tell me that you like what I'm doing. Tell me what you want me to do. It's not a library, it's OK to talk. You don't have to do "dirty talk", but a little "yeah, I like that, yeah that feels good" kind of stuff I love.

Never, never, ever, never, ever, ever, ever, fake an orgasm. We may not be able to tell all the time, but the times that we can tell totally ruin everything. You're better off just saying "it's not happening for me tonight" if you want to stop or changing it up if you think it can happen, just not with what's currently going on. This goes in with my "talk to me" advice in the previous paragraph. I'm having sex with you because I want it to be fun for both of us; if I were interested in only my own gratification, I'd masturbate.

tl;dr version: Don't be disgusted by semen. Communicate with me, preferably verbally.
posted by King Bee at 9:20 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]

What made me finally good in bed was being with a good man. He let me come to him. He was infinitely patient with me. He did things to me that weren't supposesed to be done because it would unnerve other people but I ate it all up. He accepted me without reservation and thought I was so beautiful that, god damm, how could I not be good in bed? Everything else will seem empty if you find that. I was at my unhappiest when I treated sex like a performance piece. Now I know how raw and real that private time was.

So, be authentic. Otherwise, why bother?
posted by Sylvia Plath's terrible fish at 9:54 PM on June 22, 2011 [16 favorites]

Women who tell me exactly what they want me to do for/to/with them are sexy.
posted by bardic at 12:50 AM on June 23, 2011

adipocre has many useful things to say.

Let me add: make me comfortable. There's still an over-reaching social presumption that sex, for women, is a chore, that "real" women don't want this, don't want that, "porn makes women pretend to want sex they don't", and so on. If I'm comfortable, and you're comfortable, we'll talk and try stuff and have fun.

If it feels like any time I try to move outside of anything vanilla (and maybe not even that!) that I'm going to get a an, 'eww, gross, you a pervert' type of reaction, well, I'm going to find sex with you pretty miserable, frankly.

(Which is not to say the answer has to be 'yes', just that the tone shouldn't make me feel like I'm a Bad Person for suggesting we try something that you aren't interested in.)
posted by rodgerd at 2:08 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

This isn't a general thing, but, in speaking with my friends, this IS something that more than a few guys seem to encounter...

Drop the "I am a beautiful, mysterious flower and you must discover how to make me bloom" act. Ditto for the "Worship the princess" act.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:10 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

My advice is not to be too goal-oriented. Some people treat all romantic intimacy as a step on the straight-line road to orgasm. Then foreplay disappears because hey, it's all about orgasm, and it's easier just to skip straight to the goal, right? No. A better approach is to forget about orgasm. It will, um, remind you of itself. You don't need to pursue it. I suggest cultivating a sense of play and exploration. Try stuff out, experiment. You should laugh at least a few times.
posted by prefpara at 5:50 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Liking it a lot in a way that makes you feel like it is because of you.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:01 AM on June 23, 2011

Follow instructions.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:29 AM on June 23, 2011

Have to agree with much of the advice above, especially paying attention to your partner (not unlike Italo Calvino's description of sex as reading the other's body and responses), since people are all going to have their own individual likes and dislikes.

While it won't necessarily give you specific, tangible advice, the Independent ran an article a couple years ago entitled "Desire: What We Really Want":
Women would be amazed if they knew what men desire about them. Yes, of course, they want to see women naked and supine and melting, but male desire is far more readily stimulated by what the oblique glance discovers: the parted lips, the micron of eyelash which the mascara brush missed, the changing angle and shadow of cleavage, the bra-strap alternately displayed and covered up, the ripe-camembert plumpness at the edge of hips.
posted by metabrilliant at 7:45 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

As others have noted, different folks have different turn-ons and turn-offs and there are no special techniques as much as attitudes and communication.

For example, if you have a terrible gag reflex, hate the taste of spunk, and your jaw gets sore whenever you give head for long, that doesn't mean you can't give him the best blowjobs of his life. Use your hands, touch other parts of his body, etc. You don't even have to let him come in your mouth or on you if you genuinely dislike it. Instead, finish him off on his torso and admire it. Try to see how thick you can get it or how far it will go. Show him that you care about his pleasure and you enjoy sharing it with him. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Give, when you can, but more importantly, find ways to pleasure each other that you both find very satisfying.
posted by avagoyle at 9:19 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

I was on Scarleteen tonight and came across this article that tries to answer exactly your question - What Makes Someone Good in Bed?
posted by Neely O'Hara at 4:59 PM on June 23, 2011

Yoga and a fierce sense of justice.
posted by jadepearl at 6:13 PM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

It seems to me there are two types of amazing sex. One is the kind of thing you're looking for - tips and tricks, special techniques and so forth. I've had one partner who was great at this sort of stuff - she just seemed to know exactly how much pressure was good but not over-the-top with a BJ, or just when it'd be nice to lightly play with the balls and butt, and whatnot. And that's all great, but it's going to be different for each person.

The other kind of amazing sex is all about the connection you create together - one person being skillful is no help here. This is about being a team, and having so much fun together because you're both invested in it, you're both excited by it, and you're both just having a wild ol' time no matter who's getting off. That's not really something you can do just by learning a trick from the internet - for me (male), it's something that just clicked when I was with someone special.
posted by twirlypen at 10:31 PM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

From a purely mechanical standpoint: do kegels and have your partner do 'em too!
posted by Omnibenevolent Supercherub at 8:16 AM on June 24, 2011

The way to be good in bed is to enjoy having sex.
posted by tarvuz at 4:42 AM on June 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

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