She (wants to be) an Easy Lover.
July 13, 2011 7:13 AM   Subscribe

How can I become a better lover?

My bf and I both like sex. We like playing around and trying new things. Lately, however, it seems the trend in sex is more kink and fetish in the bedroom. While I am open to these ideas and have perused Mefi's recommendations for such bedroom fun, I would like to know how to be a better lover. I have been sexually active for a number of years, but I have not really developed the intimate sensual nature of matured lover. Consequently, I don't really know how to develop my sex life from where it is currently.

I would like to know what experiences you have had that made someone stand out as a great lover. Have you ever felt a "transition" from just having sex to becoming really good at sex and pleasure? Does it all boil down to intuition of our bodies and senses?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

Does it all boil down to intuition of our bodies and senses?

The short answer is yes -- but the longer answer is, "yes, however this is intuition about the specific body in question in front of you."

Everyone is completely different, and everyone has very different "triggers." Most people have the obvious "triggers" (breasts, genitals), but most people also have a couple of other...non-obvious ones. Some people get all wobbly if you touch their ears. For others it may be the back of the knee. Others, it's the small of the back. Some people may have a thing for their big toes. But lots of people have some one little spot that is a non-obvious erogenous zone -- something you could casually touch even while you're in mixed company -- that could potentially make them shudder and go all wonderfully excited.

And, everyone also has an individual preference when it comes to the best way to touch them. Some people get all tingly if you touch them really really lightly -- barely brushing your fingertips over their skin. Touch these people like that on their arms, even, and they'll go weak in the knees. However, other people just think this tickles, and they prefer a firmer touch. Some people are all "meh" about either case, but if you used a tongue or something wet, they'd go weak.

Timing also is different. Some people love jumping right into the full-on sensory banquet, where you're touching/kissing/stroking their trigger points right away and sticking with it for a good while, while other people also like a slow teasing dance around the trigger spot to draw out the anticipation before you finally hit the bulls'eye.

and finally, sometimes the same person can have different reactions to their spots -- sometimes a person who usually loves it when you lightly kiss the base of their neck may be in a mood to prefer that you dive right in and bite it a little.

Fortunately, if you're paying attention, most people also let you know when you've done something right -- their breath quickens, their eyes either get big or slam shut in bliss, whatever noises they're making get just a bit louder. If you're having sex with someone and you do something and suddenly it seems like their reaction rachets up a notch, make a note of that -- because that's a spot. Work those spots in each time, and make a note of what works and doesn't work each time.

Think of sex like jazz. We all know what the main theme is -- each time you make love to someone, though, you're riffing off that theme afresh. You're reading cues from your partner about how to riff on the theme. Sometimes it'll sound a little different, and sometime it'll sound a lot different, but it'll only work if you read their cues. (And -- of course, give a few cues of your own by letting yourself react to what they do as well.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:38 AM on July 13, 2011 [16 favorites]

but I have not really developed the intimate sensual nature of matured lover.

I think honestly, for a lot of people, the idea that it should be "innate" is the biggest stumbling block.

Good sex happens through trial and error. You relax, you try things, you go out on a limb sometimes, you daydream and bullshit and chat about it — I don't mean Deep Conversation, I mean like "Dude! Didja ever wonder what it would feel like if you stuck your qwertyu in my asdfghj?" — and you accept that sometimes it'll be awkward and sometimes it'll be great and the great times are worth the awkward ones.

If you want to act Capital-S Smooth, and pretend you've got some sort of Innate Skill as a lover, the thing to do is get really good at observation. Pay eagle-eyed attention to your partner's movements and facial expressions and all that shit. But honestly, doing that full time is likely to be stressful and tiring and not much fun for you — because it isn't ever really innate for anyone, it's always a big show. (And what if your partner gets off on seeing you relax and have fun? Then the eagle-eyed approach is doomed.) Better to just scrape off some of the romance novel mystique and be willing to fuck around and embarrass yourself and see what works.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:38 AM on July 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

I believe it is a combination of several things.

1) There is nothing magical to obtain from sex. Like sport, it is a physical activity that influences how your body and your mind work. Like brushing your teeth, it is a healthy thing to do.

2) Like sport, it is an activity that you and your partner are doing together, but each of you must enjoy themselves on your own. You do not "do sex to" someone else, nor do you get it "done to you". It is neither a duty nor a gift (except on special occasions). You can both do your thing on your own in your mind and it's still great.

3) The key part is the relationship. The foundation of the relationship should be to do stuff together and actually maintain the interest in doing things together. The relationship should make it fun and exciting to do stuff together, and make you enjoy the activities because you are doing it together, not because you "achieve" something together. The value of the together-ness is in the journey, not the goal.

4) After a discovery phase where both of you learn what each of you likes (this should be a journey of many experiments, until you both have confidence you have found many things you individually like to do during sex), comes the time of compromise: you will want to "do stuff together" to enjoy the feeling of together-ness, but maybe you won't enjoy exactly the same things. So you will need to balance your individual preferences to keep the ball rolling. This happens by accepting your partner may have different interests, also in sex, and organize your sexual activities accordingly (eg "I put up with this because you like it, but then we do this because I want to get off too").

5) Compromise is unfulfilling, and being pressured to compromise all the time is just tiring and can exhaust the relationship. So after you have enjoyed the together-ness in the discovery, and after you have tried to compromise, you will know what you don't like to compromise on and what really counts. At that point (and no earlier), you might make an investment in your relationship to adapt your sexual likings to your partner's likings (and duly expect them to do the same). This will be an effort for both of you and require patience and energy.

6) Once you have gone through all this, you will both have the strong feeling that you earned each other's respect and love in sex, and the resulting mutual feeling of satisfaction will be the mature, healthy sexual life you were looking after.
posted by knz at 7:40 AM on July 13, 2011 [7 favorites]

I'm hardly an expert, but I think it all stems from knowing what your partner likes. Of course, it helps immensely if this desire to please one's partner works both ways. Talk about it.
posted by londonmark at 7:40 AM on July 13, 2011

I have not really developed the intimate sensual nature of matured lover.

Matured lover? Great lover?

Look, sex is supposed to be carefree and enjoyable. Period. Judging yourself is both unhealthy and pointless. So rather than asking these ridiculous questions, just think about this: Do you like to have sex with your boyfriend? Does your boyfriend like having sex with you?

This is all that matters.
posted by lobbyist at 9:10 AM on July 13, 2011

Does it all boil down to intuition of our bodies and senses?

I think that nails it.

It could mean letting go of the pressure to perform and allowing yourself to share the simple, human side of sexual experience and the comfort that touching has always provided us apes.

Follow that sixth sense. Let it lead you to imaginary places in your head. Explore unrealized botanical marvels. Be carried in the embrace of invented creatures. Become an invented creature. I don't mean you should act out these fantasies. Just explore them in your own head and let them guide your body's actions and rhythms.

It's not about pushing boundaries or proving anything to your partner. Don't do things that embarrass, hurt or frighten you.

Stay well hydrated.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:12 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I like EmpressCallypigos' answer about reading your partner's cues and doing more of what gets them going. I'd just want to emphasize that it shouldn't feel clinical for you. Ideally, you pay attention to your partner because you like paying attention to that person.

I've had a few experiences where the person I was with seemed to be having a good time, but I was feeling detached about it. Those didn't last long. I was going through the motions, and the motions seemed to be working, but for me it wasn't fun. I think no level of technical excellence can substitute for really wanting to know your partner -- knowing what turns them on being just a small part of that.
posted by Net Prophet at 9:19 AM on July 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

... it seems the trend in sex is more kink and fetish in the bedroom.

Sex is like fashion: don't follow trends; find a style that works for you and stick with it.

Admittedly, the analogy fails a little bit at the end, because sticking with the same routine every time can get boring (though, I have yet to find sex boring just because it was familiar).

Does it all boil down to intuition of our bodies and senses?

Pretty much. It's partly about knowing your own body and your own likes, and partly about knowing your partner's body and likes. The first part -- knowing yourself -- is arguably more important. If you're comfortable in your own skin and know what gets you off, then you'll be much more comfortable during sex (and you'll enjoy it more).

Once you've got part one down, part two comes fairly easily; it's a matter of communication and (lots and lots) of practice.
posted by asnider at 9:41 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well now making love is like dancing except that the lead changes and the steps are rarely the same and sometimes it's three minutes long and sometimes three hours and sometimes there's crescendos and sometimes a driving beat and the music is in your head and hands and the way your bodies feel because you have to be mindful which is also in the moment which means you are paying attention to all of your senses and what they are telling you about how your partner is feeling and where they might want to go next and not thinking about your taxes or what you're missing on teevee right now because when people say "intuitive" they really mean what happens next should follow smoothly from what is happening now without too much thought or analysis and good heavens you don't want a script because each time you make love the situation will be different with different moods and feelings and levels of fatigue and levels of urgency and perhaps your leg is sore or she's feeling bloated or maybe you don't have much time and maybe it's cold or warm or you're all sweaty or you don't want to sweat so instead of a script it's all improvisation which is working together to create a shared realm which responds moment-by-moment to subtle sounds, gestures, touch, smell, twitches and oh how could I forget shared laughter which is a wonderful thing and represents the total freedom of people who are comfortable enough with each other to just do whatever seems right at the moment because it is.

So, uh, don't over-think it by planning out what you're going to do. It's not Bach with rules and rules and rules. It's Jazz, with guidelines and feeling. (And yes I know Bach can be sexy too but allow me my metaphor.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:45 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

My tips:

1. Be confident in whatever you are doing: Enjoy yourself, and show that you are! (if you aren't... suggest something that you WILL enjoy) Smile! Growl, moan, don't hold yourself back. Even if being enthusiastic feels weird at first, give it a shot, likely it isn't as weird as it seems and you and he will enjoy it (once you get past the awkwardness of being expressive). You'll get better at being honest and open with yourself with practice and then it encourages more communication in bed.

2. If you are getting into some sort of role or character, dominant or submissive etc. GET INTO IT! Take it on, fully, with passion, like an artist! If he wants to be in charge(and you are into it too), encourage his dominant behaviors and fully embrace your submissive slave side ;)

3. Talk, and talk often... especially when you aren't in bed. Communicate about what was good, what was bad, and what you want to happen more often. Never underestimate the great sex that can come with a good honest conversation about what everyone likes and doesn't like.
posted by LZel at 11:28 AM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think you're thinking about it wrong. Standard, vanilla sex with my current SO is infinitely more enjoyable than anything I did with my super-hot, GGG ex. Emotional+physical will always trump just physical.

The fact that you're thinking about it at all implies that your bases are already covered.

(But I wonder whether your partner isn't really doing it for you, and if that's why you feel something's missing.)
posted by coolguymichael at 11:54 AM on July 13, 2011

"Does it all boil down to intuition of our bodies and senses?"


Enthusiasm + Sensuality = WooHoo!

Now, how you make that all come together is up to the two of you.
posted by mleigh at 5:04 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I discovered the incredible eroticism of kisses during sex from a previous partner. I was having trouble coming from oral, and her hand technique wasn't getting me there, so I took over... She began kissing my thigh, and My Labido Went Nuts!

So, next lover I had, I made sure to mix non-genital kisses in with oral. I acted as though it wasn't enough just to kiss her pussy; I had to kiss everything in sight, like a dog going wild because his owner had come home. Rave reviews ensued.

A different instance: it takes great willpower, but after you're comfortable with "this sort of kissing leads to naked time!", cuddle up to your BF and kiss like that... a lot... for a long time. Keep hands on top of the clothes. Don't play "keep away"; let him know good stuff is coming, but the next 10 minutes are makeout time, clothed. HOT.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:59 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

What is an 'intimate sensual nature', and how exactly does anyone develop it, anyway? Rather, how would you know if you don't have it? Does it mean sex is going through the motions, or awkward, or not... not like there's Barry White playing in the background? I mean, I don't think that ever happens (...I hope, unless he's actually playing in the background).

It's good to try new things, especially things you enjoy, but I don't think fetish or kink is a new trend or anything; I know people say there's no new stories, but with sex, it's really true. There are no new kinks. There are no secrets. I wouldn't say there's no mystery, but I'm really skeptical about people who claim they're 'great lovers' in any universal sense. If so, it's just a combination of experience with lots of different people and being self-confident, most likely. There's no need to be a great lover, though, even if they existed. It's more like, figuring out what your lover likes, and then doing some more of that along with the things you like yourself.

In my experience, the things that made me 'bad' sometimes was not extending energy or interest as much in my partner the way I used to, or not paying attention enough to their cues and going off on my own. Even if it felt good, there was no room for them to try stuff, to play along. The things that made me 'good' sometimes-- from the beginning-- was finding something that worked-- often accidentally-- and then doing it again and again. Finding new things is only part of it, in a long-term relationship. It's also very important to just learn your partner's hot-spots and then press them. Not like, blindly like a lab-rat pressing buttons, but when they don't really expect it or are giving 'ready' cues, squirming, etc. Say you discover the partner responds well to sucking-thigh kisses during oral sex: you do that more! But don't always rush to the finishline-- anticipation is super-important. Enjoy foreplay, all the simple things like kissing (with or without clothes), touching, groping, etc. Mix it up and forego foreplay, too-- have that wicked kiss in an alley, or on a train-- depending on your partner's boundaries. Push them where they seem willing to be pushed. Pay attention to whether they're just being shy or really freaked out. Some people don't even want to hold hands in public, and some people are just embarrassed but really turned on. Find things that feel refreshing rather than just new, things that make sense for the two of you at any given point in time. Say, you're talking excitedly and walking down the boardwalk, and it's been a great night and there's yummy UST, but you're in public: good time for a make-out session under the bleachers (or something). If you can imagine it, try it. But don't try it just to try it.

I think being playful is key. It's not really related to having an intimate nature separate from your everyday nature. It's letting your natural affection, playfulness, curiosity, greed, selfishness-- your impulses and desires-- find expression in touching. Like, say, I think eating chocolate off someone only makes sense if you're a fan of chocolate as well as that someone, y'know? Do you enjoy letting go, or do you enjoy playing with your toys? Do you like to think and plan, or are your more spontaneous and like surprises? Do you like clothes or not care about fashion at all? Are you totally sincere and straightforward, or do you enjoy role-playing? All this directly influences what you do for fun in bed, so sexual expression is merely self-expression, except it's a team art, so both of you make this thing fun together.
posted by reenka at 9:51 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

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