How can I help my new partner learn to enjoy sex?
July 19, 2011 11:59 AM   Subscribe

How can I help my new partner learn to enjoy sex?

Hey all! So, new sexual partner. Yaaay! Been dating about a month. I like her a lot, and we're definitely "dating", although not yet boyfriend/girlfriend. We've had sex a couple of times, and also spent some time talking about it.

Basically, she's a lot less sexually experienced than me. I think I'm her third partner, and she's like my 15th. Also, I've fairly into kink, and have spent a fair amount of time reading about sex. I'm open to try pretty much anything (within reason!)

Anyway, she's not very active in bed. Basically just lays there and lets me do my thing (although we've tried maybe 3 positions). When I've gone down on her, I've felt some stirrings down there, but nothing close to orgasm. She's confided in me that, historically, she hasn't really enjoyed sex all that much.

Now, before we go any further : I realize that it's possible that she can't have clitoral or vaginal orgasms -- or can only have them by herself. I realize that she might need a vibrator or some other toy in order to get off. I realize that it's possible for her to enjoy sex even if she doesn't come. I realize that she may never be into kink. I realize that she may have a low libido and may never enjoy sex. I also realize that she might not be all that into me. But since we don't know any of these things for a fact, let's assume for the moment that anything's possible.

So here's the question -- how can I help her learn to enjoy sex? I've revealed some of my milder kinks to her, and she seems willing to indulge, which is AWESOME. But what about her? I want to make sex enjoyable for her.

I asked her how she gets off when she's masturbating, and basically she said that it takes a really long time, and in order to do it, she needs to "completely clear her head and think of nothing" -- which I can't relate to at all since masturbation for me has always been very fantasy-heavy. (to the point where I prefer written porn and still pictures to video) But then when I suggested some light BDSM activities (tying her up, spanking her, etc) she expressed interest. I'm willing go down on her for a long time, if that's what it takes. I've done some "marathons" before ;) I'm game. But after a while of being down there, she'll take my head into her hands and pull me back up.

I'll try to refrain from bragging here, but I'm usually really good at giving head -- to the point where I've brought women to orgasm who've never experienced it with another person before. Usually I'll just go for the "try a bunch of different things until I find something that makes her move, and then do more of that" approach. But maybe there are some new things I can try? Also, as far as penetration goes, maybe there are some things I can do differently? I pretty much only know the three "main" positions. Admittedly, this is an area where I'm sure I can improve.

But I know that it's not all physical. The brain is the body's most important sexual organ. What can I do, within our relationship, to make her feel more comfortable, open, and sexual?

The good news is that she's interested in sex and wants to learn more. She wants me to introduce her to things. This is really good! But she's not very experienced, and I'm not very experienced with women who aren't very experienced. I suggested getting a good book on sex and reading it together, and she likes the idea.

And so I bring the question to you. Where to go now? I'm interested in any ideas, inspiration, tips, resources, books, toys, positions, movies, stories, blogs, even personal experiences and anecdotes. I like this woman a lot and feel like she has girlfriend potential. But it's very important to me to have a satisfying sexual relationship, and at least half of that is making sure that she enjoys it as much as I do.
posted by sawb0nesKimchi to Human Relations (42 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

slow way down, do much less teaching and a lot more listening. i felt overwhelmed just reading your message.
posted by facetious at 12:04 PM on July 19, 2011 [42 favorites]

Let her teach you about enjoying love. Maybe you can meet in the middle.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:09 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Seconding facetious. You're going about this the wrong way. You need to just enjoy being sexual with her. Let some time (1 month?) help you both figure out what she wants and what you can work on. And, cuddle naked.
posted by trogdole at 12:09 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ask her. Let her lead you, and don't pressure her. I feel pressured just reading that.
posted by Jubey at 12:10 PM on July 19, 2011 [6 favorites]

Go give her some directions while you're having sex. Nice directions, almost like suggestions. But clear ones. Like move this way or do that. And when she follows these make sure she knows that it feels good to you too.

Hop on over to the black if you'd like to talk about the kink aspects further.
posted by By The Grace of God at 12:13 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: do much less teaching and a lot more listening.

Ask her. Let her lead you

Good advice, sure, but that's really general. How should I go about this? How do I talk to her about this? How do I find out what she likes? How to approach the conversation? What kinds of things should I say?

Apologies for the brain dump in the [more inside] text. Basically I'm just trying to give you all the information I can.
posted by sawb0nesKimchi at 12:13 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Now, before we go any further : I realize that it's possible that she can't have clitoral or vaginal orgasms -- or can only have them by herself. I realize that she might need a vibrator or some other toy in order to get off. I realize that it's possible for her to enjoy sex even if she doesn't come. I realize that she may never be into kink. I realize that she may have a low libido and may never enjoy sex. I also realize that she might not be all that into me. But since we don't know any of these things for a fact, let's assume for the moment that anything's possible.

No, no, no, no, no.

All of those possibilities that you brought up are extremely important. The way forward here is not to brush them off like "But forget that, let's get to the SEXXXEH."

When you "don't know any of these things for a fact" the solution is not to "assume" ANYTHING and just steamroll ahead. The solution is to find out what is going on.

1. You need to hit the brakes 100%. You need to LISTEN TO HER. Not come up with all sorts of ideas and/or ask the internet for ideas. You need to ask her, and then listen to her. It sounds like you see your role as kind of the engineer of her sexual awakening, and I think that is more likely to lead to her feeling pressured, irritated, annoyed, or even violated, than leading to some kind of sexual bacchanalia.

2. I'll try to refrain from bragging here, but I'm usually really good at giving head -- to the point where I've brought women to orgasm who've never experienced it with another person before.

I'm willing go down on her for a long time, if that's what it takes. I've done some "marathons" before ;) I'm game. But after a while of being down there, she'll take my head into her hands and pull me back up.

LISTEN TO HER. It doesn't matter how many women you've brought to orgasm by doing this. It doesn't matter how long you're willing to go down. SHE is obviously not into you going down on her for a long period of time.

It sounds like there's a good chance here that she's afraid to tell you she doesn't like certain things because you're so gung ho about all this. Her being afraid to tell you what she likes and doesn't like is THE biggest thing that will detract from her enjoyment of sex, so you need to dial this WAY BACK.

3. I asked her how she gets off when she's masturbating, and basically she said that it takes a really long time, and in order to do it, she needs to "completely clear her head and think of nothing" -- which I can't relate to at all since masturbation for me has always been very fantasy-heavy.

Here, she does a really good job of articulating EXACTLY what she needs to get off when she's masturbating. What do you do? Do you say, "awesome, I know how she gets herself off, that is very useful information?" No! You get kind of dissatisfied with what she said because it's not something YOU can relate to at all. You know, her sexuality is not going to be like your sexuality and there may well be a lot of things that get her off that would never get you off and vice versa. Ignoring what she told you she likes and wants, trying to shoehorn her sexuality into being more like yours, is a good way to move things in the direction of her NOT enjoying sex with you.

But then when I suggested some light BDSM activities (tying her up, spanking her, etc) she expressed interest.
The good news is that she's interested in sex and wants to learn more. She wants me to introduce her to things.

Great! You are paying attention to what she asks for and what she expresses interest in.

Really, as things stand right now, what is not going to make the difference here is some kind of sexual position, toy, book, video or whatever that anyone can recommend to you.

What is going to make the difference is your attitude, and how accepting you are about what she wants and doesn't want. Good luck.
posted by Ashley801 at 12:28 PM on July 19, 2011 [40 favorites]

How do I find out what she likes?

Slow down, slow down! Let her find out for herself first, encourage her to tell you about it second.

But after a while of being down there, she'll take my head into her hands and pull me back up.

Consider that this isn't about you or your skills. Some people just really like being face to face, and find that while a marathon maybe feels physically great, it gets lonely.
posted by clavicle at 12:30 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: What can I do, within our relationship, to make her feel more comfortable, open, and sexual?

Find some a book of erotic poetry. Read it to each other while you're lounging in a bathtub.

Do something non sexual you both enjoy.

Find some erotic movies (search the AskMe archives or look on Good Vibrations) and watch them together.

Work out or go swimming together.

Shower together. Wash her back and her hair. Have her do the same to you.

Get high or drunk together.

Have a meal at home where you feed each other other.

Take her shopping with you, ask her what she'd like to to see you wearing. Then wear it. Same thing with body wash or colognes.

Have marathon make out sessions that aren't about sex.

Talk about all this, but don't make it a THING, where it's all you're interested in, unless she says she wants to go that route. All or some of things I suggested may work to varying degrees. Pay attention to her responses without endlessly questioning her about whether she likes this or that. You're just a guide, she may not like what you like, so let her find her own path.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:32 PM on July 19, 2011 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Maybe try some not so sexual touching first, get her more comfortable with her body and relaxed with you touching her. Lots of the old cliches of nice slow backrubs or all over massages while you are both naked, oils candles etc. I know they are cliches, but they get that way for a reason, they work. You can focus more on the sensual side of sex get her used to you making her feel good. Don't just focus on going down on her either, lots of other body parts feel nice being played with too and if done just right you can make her beg you to go down on her.

With the kink side of things I'd work that onto that slowly and sensually again. I don't know what your kink is but say its bondage, start with maybe a nice light blindfold and just slowly teasing her with your fingers brushing her body etc, make it fun and a game, don't just whip out 50foot of bondage rope and a flogger if you know what I mean.

To me she mostly just sounds inexperienced and unsure of what she would like, use lots of encouragement, if she takes any initiative to make a move instead of laying there play up how good it makes you feel. Don't lie so much as show that you like what she's doing, if she knows you are more experienced that can be very intimating for someone newish to sex and put them off from trying things.

Just some thoughts. Hope it helps. If nothing else you get 10/10 in my book for wanting to make the experience good for her too.

TLDR: Slow down and enjoy the ride by making things more sensual and less sexual.
posted by wwax at 12:32 PM on July 19, 2011 [4 favorites]

I'd worry about how the imbalance comes across to her, that you're Thor, Kinky King of Orgasm Giving to 15+ Partners and So Generously Willing to Teach... and that makes her, what? Shy But Amenable Girl?

It's fantastic that you want her to enjoy sex with you, truly, and that you're asking the question, but if I were in her shoes, that dynamic would only make me more inhibited in bed, and in the relationship.

I think the more you can take away the "I'll do a, b and c, until her body goes x, y and z," the better. Is it possible to let yourself forget all the "techniques" you've learned, and just be excited to be naked with her and see where it goes? No pressure to orgasm, just sexy time for its own sake, with both of you as equal partners, leading wherever it goes.
posted by mauvest at 12:33 PM on July 19, 2011 [6 favorites]

Listen, I know you say you've brought women to orgasm who have never reached it before. But my god, just based on the over-whelming eagerness you show here, I want to say that at least half of those women were probably lying when they said they came.

I mean, it's really sweet and all when a guy wants to get you off, but when they are so damn eager, sometimes you just fake it to make them happy because they've been eating you out for half-an-hour and it's starting to get boring.

The point here is this: Don't be so eager. Just take it as it comes. She's still newish at new sex. Just work on her comfort for a long time before you work on her pleasure. Be affectionate without necessarily being sexual. Nothing is more annoying than getting a back-rub only to realize that there was a sexual agenda, not just a making-your-partner-happy agenda. Be kind and inquisitive about her life, not just what gives her pleasure. Don't make every kiss or touch into foreplay. Don't make every foreplay session into intercourse. Just play with each other. Play romantically, play intellectually, play physically. When she is comfortable with you, she will be more comfortable with herself. When when that happens, the juices tend to flow and the blood tends to pump. Just take your time and don't try so hard. If she's going to get to the point you want her to be at, she has to get there on her own time.

You seem to be a considerate and understanding person. Just be patient and less eager.
posted by greta simone at 12:34 PM on July 19, 2011 [13 favorites]

Response by poster: Okay, some good advice in there Ashley801. But you got kind pretty accusatory in there, which I don't really feel was warranted. Please realize that we've only had sex twice, and only have been dating for a month, so I haven't had much chance to find out what she does and doesn't want. Basically, I don't want to make any assumptions about her at all right now, as I have very little information to go on. Obviously finding out what she want she wants is key, but that is not a particularly easy thing to do, especially with someone who's not very experienced.
posted by sawb0nesKimchi at 12:36 PM on July 19, 2011

I think a book is a great idea. I will also recommend maybe buying her some books on your kinks that she can read on her own - this way she can take her emotions at her own pace. The Topping Book and The Bottoming Book (I'm at work, so I can't look up an author right now) might be good, they are super friendly and lighthearted. Also, they get into some of the emotional aspects of BDSM without coming off as super "kinky" or "dirty".
posted by LZel at 12:39 PM on July 19, 2011

Response by poster: kind pretty accusatory
posted by sawb0nesKimchi at 12:40 PM on July 19, 2011

Please realize that we've only had sex twice

Only had sex twice?!? Well of course you two are still figuring things out! You're practically strangers, sex speaking. Don't stress too much at this point, and don't make her your project, you'll squeeze all the fun out of things. Keep trying things out , getting to know one another, and see how things go.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:42 PM on July 19, 2011 [6 favorites]

Chill the crap out, dude.

How often do you guys cuddle? Kiss? Shower together? Snuggle in bed? How often do you come up behind her when she's doing dishes and give her a hug? Do you ever run your fingers through her hair when you're watching TV? Put your arm around her shoulder? I mean just do normal, physically affectionate things that don't lead to sex? These things can be important for establishing some air of sensuality for her.

Also, please please please pay attention to her when she gives you signals like pullling your head up. When you go down on her, is it a part of the whole experience or is it "OK THIS IS ORGASM TIME NOW ORGASM"? The latter approach can put even more pressure on her to feel like she has to orgasm, if giving her head is just a part of foreplay rather than an Event it can become a better way to find her spots.

If masturbation takes a long time and she doesn't think about anything, that gives you a clue as to what you can do first. It means it takes her a while to get in the zone. It means she needs to be totally relaxed. It means she doesn't want you asking "Is this good? Is this good? Is this good?" or bringing out a billion kinks or turning sex into Let's Get An Orgasm.


Just saw the part about you only having sex twice. Jesus Christ, were you an overachiever in school? There's no need to start freaking out about Pleasing Her right now. Tickle each other naked, lots of foreplay, explore each other's bodies, don't put pressure on her to tell you what she likes since she doesn't know herself.
posted by schroedinger at 12:44 PM on July 19, 2011 [11 favorites]

Best answer: OP is getting slammed here for "realizing" potential limitations, tendencies, and nuances. This eagerness that he is getting worked over for is just him trying to explain, be helpful, and provide background. Is it the perfect tone, no. Is it OMG what a dumb boy, you are so stupid to think that you could ever begin to understand the complexity that is womanhood, also no.

Sure, take it easy. And definitely, do not make it about orgasm. In fact, for the time being, forget orgasms exist (or another trick is to actively avoid anything that might have made your previous partners get off, this can actually be a really fun game).

The fact that you care is important, probably the most important. In the mean time, just explore her body together and slow it down. No one wants a gun to their head in a come-or-else ultimatum. The more external structure you bring in to this, the more forced it will feel.
posted by milqman at 12:45 PM on July 19, 2011 [11 favorites]

There is nothing worse than a "partner" who blathers on about wanting to "please" me, but gets annoyed when I don't enjoy the things he thinks I "should" enjoy.

Sorry, you are sounding a lot like an ex-boyfriend of mine who drove me mad (in a bad way) with wanting to "please" me and telling me he would do "anything" for me when all I wanted was nothing.

Let her lead and don't expect her to like everything you want to give. I'm one of those people who just prefers to lay there and I find it rude when a guy decides I'm not enjoying myself and gets annoyed. This becomes an almost instant turn off for me. I would tread very lightly with your girlfriend.
posted by parakeetdog at 12:45 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: What you can do is listen to her: listen both to her verbal cues and nonverbal cues, and believe what she tells you when she tells you things. Spend time with her connecting and being in physical contact but not having sex and not talking about sex.

If you view her nascent desires through the lens of your expectations then it is probably not going to go super-well for either of you; you will feel frustrated and she will feel pressured. So you need to communicate. Communication is a two-way street and she should be given a free and non-judgmental environment in which to communicate.

From everything you're saying here, your best bet is to try to create a mental space together where this feels like play, and where it feels like it's okay if things go slowly. If you're in a mad rush to break out the trapeze and have eight-hour-long orgasm fests, she's going to be overwhelmed and probably spend a lot of time feeling inadequate, and there's nothing less sexy than that.

On preview: You've only had sex twice? Okay, there you go. She needs time, so give her time. And be prepared for the possibility that she really doesn't enjoy sex that much, or if nothing else that she doesn't enjoy sex nearly as much as you do. But really: Give her space and give her time and don't pressure her. Be patient and be attentive. And good luck.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:45 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

The good news is that she's interested in sex and wants to learn more.

Sounds to me more like she interested in pleasing you, which you shouldn't mistake for the same thing as being interested in sex.

A lot of her interest could be about how she thinks she "should" be presenting herself.

Slow down. Focus a lot more on sensuality and a lot less on marathon cunnilingus sessions.
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:55 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Don't come at this with the idea of "Helping her to enjoy sex". Come at this with idea of "Helping me to understand what she enjoys, sexually."

Move over to the passenger seat for a while, dude.
posted by Decani at 1:06 PM on July 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I think part of the trouble here is, it sounds like you're very verbal and intellectual and goal-oriented in how you approach sex (which is fine) and it sounds like your partner maybe isn't (which is also fine), and that mismatch in communication styles is giving you a hard time.

It sounds like you want to get information and to get stuff done. You want to be told "here's what I like, here's what I don't," and to have conversations about your kinks and fetishes, and maybe even to sit down together and plan out "Okay, next time we play Kinky Poolboy, here's how it's gonna go down." That's cool. I'm a lot like you. I intellectualize everything, I like captial-P Projects, I prefer my porn to have a plot. Nothing wrong with that.

But I've learned that some people don't approach sex like that. Either they don't consciously know what they're into, or they don't feel comfortable discussing what they're into,* or they don't know how to verbalize what they're into, or they feel like too much talk takes all the fun out of it, or they just don't see the point of all that talking and planning when they could be doing.

For someone like that, hearing "Here's the goal: we're going to give you a spectacular orgasm. Now let's sketch our our plan of attack" is gonna be a massive turn-off. Better to learn by observation. Think about birdwatching, or trying to befriend a stray cat. You don't start off with a Big Plan to give the stray cat The Best Head Scritches Of Its Life. You start off by being quiet and gentle and non-threatening, and eventually the cat feels more comfortable around you, and someday if you're patient it comes to you for head scritches on its own terms. Eventually, if you keep at it, you'll will be giving that cat the best head scritches of its life,** but you'll have earned it by patience and alertness and quiet tenacity and not by storming in with a Big Plan.

*And just saying "Dude! You should feel comfortable! I want you to feel comfortable! What's wrong? Why don't you feel comfortable?!" isn't gonna solve it. You can't talk someone who doesn't want to talk about it into wanting to talk about it.

**Okay, that's stretching that metaphor far enough, I think.

posted by nebulawindphone at 1:13 PM on July 19, 2011 [53 favorites]

The good news is that she's interested in sex and wants to learn more.

Sounds to me more like she interested in pleasing you, which you shouldn't mistake for the same thing as being interested in sex.

Sounds to me that you've put some undue pressure on this lady and now she feels obligated to "step up" to make sure you don't get pissed at her for not being as into sex as you are.

Chill. Out. You are definitely being selfish.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 1:14 PM on July 19, 2011 [5 favorites]

Best answer: nebulawindphone, you get best answer of the day! I laughed, I cried, I nodded in agreement, I stopped strangers on the street and urged them to read your answer. Well done. Can I favorite it twice?

And how about laying off the crucifixion of the poor OP? He's maybe too eager, but he doesn't deserve the harsh tone of some of these responses. Sheesh.
posted by Falwless at 1:28 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

Nthing advice that OP relax a little bit. Two times is barely enough to attribute any of the observed facts to anything but coincidence at this point. You're only just getting to know one another, and some people just take longer to attain the level of comfort they need.

OP should relax, enjoy her company and enjoy some non-sexual physical intimacy, like back-rubs or foot massages. It's less stressful for her, and less difficult to be successful--all it has to do is feel good. Get her good and used to communicating what she likes and what she would like in a context that most people will find easier to talk about. Also get used to listening to what she's telling you and picking up more of her non-verbal cues. Enjoy other similar activities together, like showering, etc.

I would lay off talking too much about your kinks (or hers) until you've developed your relationship a bit more. These things can be intimidating, especially to someone who doesn't have your experience.

Hopefully, though, you understand that orgasm isn't always the point of sex, any more than getting plastered is the main point of sipping fine liquor.
posted by Hylas at 1:55 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'm going to make this brief because I am the last person to get sex advice from--- but I do NOT like oral sex. Ever. I have had so many guys determined that if they keep doing it I'm going to like it and it's like OMG! Dude I don't like it! It's warm and squishy and I don't like it! I like fingers. That is how I have orgasms and I just don't like tongues in my squishy places. Or in my ear. Shudder.

I mean it like 8 different guys have tried to turn me into liking oral sex and I just don't like it. And enduring oral sex with the goal of being turned into someone who can orgasm from oral sex in order to prove that your partner is good at oral sex and the weird identity issues with that and the pressure and the uncomfortable nature of enduring something you don't like at all is a great way to cause a state in which oral sex sounds like the most unappealing unpleasant thing ever in the whole world.

So chill with that! LOL. It's not you, it's her. She's probably already had guys enthusiastically shoving their tongues on her and promising her if she lies there and takes it long enough she will suddenly have an orgasm so maybe you could be the guy who listens to her verbal cues that it is making her feel really uncomortable and give her some better sexual experiences that don't involve her having to let you live out you're "I can turn women who don't like oral into women who do like oral with my super tongue"

So maybe, what I'm trying to say here-- ask her if she likes finger better--- or if she would prefer to just get off on your enjoyment and if that's something she likes? Because I dig that way more than someone trying to make me have orgasms which takes forever and is basically impossible unless I think someone is trying to destroy my soul which I don't like so therefore I don't want to have orgasms in front of people.

I totally did not make that brief. Keep in mind I am not normal. LOL.
posted by xarnop at 2:00 PM on July 19, 2011 [8 favorites]

OK, your girl and I might have a lot in common. I enjoy sex, but orgasms are not as frequent as I'd like, even when it's just me. The thing that seems to be a problem is stress. I'll be very close to an orgasm, and completely lose it, because I'm thinking about work, or the laundry I have to do. I have to shut everything out and clear my mind completely, and that works sometimes.

I also lose track of my orgasms when I'm paying more attention to whether or not my partner is enjoying himself. I think, "Oh, he likes this one particular thing, let me do that..." and it's gone.

So Nthing what others have said. Slow down, because pressure (even well-meaning) equals stress. You want her to be comfortable with you and in her own skin. Let her know, calmly, that you want her to feel good - when she's ready. Start with a massage or just talking after a long day - both help with stress.

A short-term option - and this might sound crazy - is to not have sex. Make an agreement that you won't have sex based on a particular reason: Mercury could be in retrograde, Seinfeld is on that day or you went to work. Making it forbidden/limited makes it more enjoyable, at least until she's more comfortable. So she might enjoy the times that you do spend together more easily. Also, high school type make-out sessions help with anticipation, and anticipation helps a lot.

Good luck - and slow down. Let her know that you want to know what she enjoys, even if it's not in your normal bag of tricks.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 2:27 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Mitzy and I think alike--slow down. You've been dating a month. Why not hit rewind and do some old-fashioned stuff, like slow dancing, long walks on the beach, etc.? She went to bed with you because she thinks she's "supposed to", but based on results, she's not feeling it. So, park under the stars, give each other hickeys, and pretend you're in high school again, in an earlier time and place. Role-play.
posted by Ideefixe at 2:55 PM on July 19, 2011

But after a while of being down there, she'll take my head into her hands and pull me back up.

Listen to her body, not just her words. If you've been "down there" a while and I need to pull your head out of my crotch, it's because I'm uncomfortable. And if I'm pulling your head out of my crotch, you've missed some signals before that point.

Granted, in an ideal world, we would all have the words to say, "huh, my clit is sore from all that vigorous rhythmic sucking," or "I'm getting a major case of beard burn," or "Kiss me now!" But I promise you, my squirminess changes from "Wow this is awesome" to "beard burn! etc" If there was moaning in the beginning and then there is not moaning, that's a good sign that it's break time. Pace of writhing is also a clue.

It's not just about what you can say to her, or share with her. It's about meeting her where she is, even more than it is about getting her where you want her to go.
posted by bilabial at 3:10 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think the keyword you're looking for to reframe your attitude is seduction. Slow, long term seduction. Quit thinking in terms of sex or physical acts - you're thinking manual when you need to think mental. You know how in the cartoons, one character will follow a trail of candy set by another? You're the one with the candy and you want your partner to follow. The trick is you can't set down another piece of candy until she's eaten the previous piece and is actively looking for another. You could set down an epic trail of fifty pieces of candy in advance, but if she gets disinterested on piece #2, you are going to have a hell of a time getting her to the, uh, climax.

So yeah, seduction. One small piece of candy at a time. Make sure she likes it before you set down another.
posted by griselda at 3:12 PM on July 19, 2011 [6 favorites]

Echoing what everyone above said about slowing down. Your partner might also have an easier time with yes/no questions about what she likes (casually, in the right context), since some people have a hard time blurting out "Lick my elbows!" or whatever.
posted by corey flood at 3:51 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Dude, if you've only had sex with her twice, that's probably a small part of the thing.

The first few times you have sex with someone you're usually still shy about your body and trying to figure out how the two of you work together. Having sex a few more times will probably loosen you both up (it did for me at least in the past).

Also, we're trained to believe that you should come right away. She's probably pulling your head up when you're going down on her because she's embarassed that it's "taking her so long".
posted by misanthropicsarah at 4:43 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

There is nothing worse than a "partner" who blathers on about wanting to "please" me, but gets annoyed when I don't enjoy the things he thinks I "should" enjoy.

I just wanted to add that there's another trap to avoid falling into. The trap is that a lot of people who see themselves as game for anything sexual, willing to do anything sexual, are often picturing wild and outlandish things.

Those people are often NOT willing to do things that they don't see as sexy or exciting, things that they see as kinda boring, things that they don't find stimulating or arousing.

Like, I don't know, if what really got your girlfriend off was to have sex in the missionary position in complete and total silence and darkness, and that was the only thing that did it for her... would that be okay?

Now, I'm not saying that would HAVE to be okay with you. Maybe, you would really need more than that, and that would be totally valid. And, none of us even know at this point what does it for her. I just think, in the case I described, the best thing would be to break up rather than pushing her to do something different if it wasn't interesting enough.
posted by Ashley801 at 4:48 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]

Two times??!!?? Dude. I have not ever had really good sex the first time I had sex with someone. Perhaps for your girlfriend, like me, sex gets better as intimacy in other areas increases.

If she isn't super confident or self knowing when it comes to sex stuff, trusting you to be someone who is interested in what she has to say, listens when she's talking and really tries to understand her, and respects her is at least as important as the two of you getting to know each other physically.

Also, as someone who doesn't generally orgasm from oral sex or regular sex, the emotional side of having sex with someone I love takes sex from fun to reaaaaallllyyyy fun. If you guys haven't been dating for that long, that piece of things is probably not there.
posted by MadamM at 4:51 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

I am a person who has a tough time orgasming. After years and years of trying, I figured out how to do it for myself, but I've never done it with a guy.

I don't know if I can convey to you just how insanely, horribly, gut-wrenchingly BAD it is to have a guy tell me that he, HE, is going to be 'the one who gives me an orgasm'.

Figuring out how to have an orgasm was one of the most difficult and frustrating experiences of my entire life. It is probably the most intensely personal things I've ever been through.

If I someday manage to date a guy for a very long time, and become totally comfortable with him, and we learn absolutely everything about each other's bodies and how they respond to each other? I might have an orgasm from sex with that guy. But for a guy I've only been with a few times to tell me that he is going to 'make' me have an orgasm- it's just not going to happen. And, what's more, the focus on MAKING it happen COMPLETELY DESTROYS sex for me. It's like I'm a job that the dude is trying and failing to finish. Ugh.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:03 PM on July 19, 2011 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Okay! Some great advice here. And yeah, also some overly-harsh responses. From the way some people are talking, you'd think they knew my partner and I personally and had front-row seats for our sexual encounters! Lots of inferring going on! I can't help but think at least some of that is projection.

Anyway, I get it, the name of the game is patience and listening. I dunno, in a lot of my past experiences, we hit it off sexually right away, so maybe I expected fireworks too early on. Still, when I hear someone say "I don't usually enjoy sex" my natural response is to want to make it enjoyable for them.

nebulawindphone hit the nail on the head -- my whole personal style is very frank and up-front. I've definitely had the conversation with past partners where it was sort of a checklist of "like that, like that, no, don't like that" and that worked out really well. Also, in the past, I've come right out and asked what she liked/disliked about my oral style -- and have gotten really great feedback. But maybe that's not what this situation calls for. That sort of thing definitely works a lot better with a more-experienced partner.

So yeah, I'll give it more time and be sure to give her an ample amount of breathing room. I do realize that I'm asking this very early in the relationship, but this is kind of an odd situation for me and I really don't want to fuck this up.
posted by sawb0nesKimchi at 10:12 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

David Foster Wallace wrote about you in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. You're the second type of guy, "the fellow that thinks he's a Great Lover."

Key point: "Because how'd you like to just lie there and get worked on like a Porsche and never get to feel like you're generous and sexy and good in bed and a Great Lover too? Hmm? Hmm? That’s where your smoothie-type fellows always lose the game. They want to be the only Great Lover in the bed. They forget a lady’s got feelings too... ‘The secret is that you got to give both the little lady pleasure and be able to also take it, with equal technique to both and equal pleasure. Or at least you got to make her think so. Don’t forget it’s about her."
posted by -->NMN.80.418 at 12:00 AM on July 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

Have you seen the movie "The Opposite of Sex?" In it, Lisa Kudrow plays a supporting character who just doesn't *get* the whole sex thing. She exasperatedly begs for people to explain to her what is so great about fluid transfer. At one point, she also suggests that she feels like the Baroness in "The Sound of Music" - everyone else is off climbing an alp and all she wants to do is shove the guitar up the nun's ass.

While I'm not nearly as opposed to sex as she is (and lord knows I love Julie Andrews), I fall closer to the end of the "Meh" end of the sex enjoyment spectrum than just about anyone else I know. And I think this is even more surprising for some people because I'm gay, and gays have the reputation of being motivated primarily by sex and a love for choreographed dance routines.

An ex of mine was surprised to discover, after we broke up, that I was just almost completely disinterested in sex and that I actually consider most sex acts to be a chore. When I told him that I'd consider myself fortunate to have a life of mutual masturbation and occasional oral stimulation, he was shocked and curious. He gained a new-found appreciation for the fact that I was willing and able to zealously take part in sexual activities that had little or no interest for me. That's about as far as I can go: I am willing and able to fake it, convincingly, and not resent someone else for wanting to have sex.

There are a whole lot of reasons why it just doesn't interest me. Smells and cleanup are, respectively, off-putting and dreary. The pain associated with penetrative sex just has never been outweighed by the enjoyment. And I still find a lot of old school feminism resonates with me concerning the violence of penetrative sex, and the power play that is inherent in such acts. It's slightly different with two men, but the questions of giving and taking pleasure - potentially at someone else's expense - are still valid. And finally... it is just a low priority in a world where there are a million other things I'd rather be doing. There is music to make and movies to watch and books to read and trails to be hiked and things to be learned and questions to be answered on the internet. When I prioritize my goals, sex isn't even in the Top 10.

I'm fortunate to have met someone who feels very similarly about sex. But it is reasonable to imagine that someday, my boyfriend might want to do something else sexually and I'm completely receptive to that. Hell. It is even possible that someday *I* will wake up and want something specific sexually. If that happens, I hope the two of us approach this from a "Here's what I'd like" perspective. That's the perspective that allows me to get my head in the game.

And finally, I'd note that it takes me varying lengths of time to get comfortable with a new sex partner. My natural state is "quiet and just lies there (and thinks of England)." I stay in that state, usually until someone tells me that they want me to be doing something else, in which case I'm happy to oblige. One ex told me he wanted me to talk dirty and dominate him. I turned on the potty mouth, held him down and actually even growled at him once. Another one really liked to moan. After about six months of radio silence from my end, I ended up moaning right along with him. It just takes some time and a bit of direction, and then I can at least put on a convincing show.

Just, you know, don't try to *fix* me. Because I'm not broken. I'm just different.
posted by this *is* my happy face at 7:51 AM on July 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

Still, when I hear someone say "I don't usually enjoy sex" my natural response is to want to make it enjoyable for them.

As one of the posters who maybe sounded harsh, this follow-up from you still sounds kinda controlling and ego-based. My "natural reaction" to someone who doesn't usually enjoy sex wouldn't be to "make" them enjoy it, but to inquire about why and listen thoughtfully to the answers.

And you still seem really focused on your experience, and her lack thereof, which also seems egotistical. Consider that your massive...experience might be a red herring.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:03 AM on July 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

I agree with Squeak Attack. Listen to her answers and believe her.

When I tell people I don't enjoy sex, the very last thing I want that person to do is to decide to make me like it.

For example, I dislike steak and find it extremely annoying when people tell me just to try the steak they prepared because I'll just love it. I've never liked steak and I doubt I ever will like steak and the way to make me really angry is to insist that your cooking will make me suddenly like steak.

In other words, if she doesn't like sex, you aren't going to make her like it and trying to make her like can quickly lead down a terrible path. This has happened to me. Men who respect that I'm not all that sexual, are the ones I end up feeling very attracted to.
posted by parakeetdog at 8:29 AM on July 20, 2011

I think there is a lot of good advice on here but I think the OP's attitude is very positive in many ways because he's open minded and willing to be patient.

Remembering back to when I was in a similar position (as the girlfriend) what would have worked for me would have been the sensuality, non-sexual touching, and doing fun things without an agenda. These are good because they are "no-fail" scenarios - she can go at her own pace, get to know your body, but without feeling stressed about techniques or results or anything like that.

Have you asked her what it was about sex with her previous partners that she didn't like - I mean was there something specific, like him being too rough/too quick to finish etc?

Something else to add (which probably goes without saying) is to avoid being judgemental and critical at all costs - be very careful how you give the feedback if she's not doing something right. If she does suggest something, give it a try if you can, or at least don't laugh at her idea, otherwise you'll put her off making suggestions/taking the initiative altogether.

Whilst it's good that you take the lead, I'd avoid making lots of suggestions (especially kinky stuff) because she probably already feels some pressure to "keep up" with you - in my case I was worried about looking prudish, and afraid my partner would drop me if he thought the sex was boring or I was no good at it. So I'd keep to the real basics to start with and ask her to tell you when she's bored or ready to experiment further - you can come up with ideas then.

Good luck and have fun!
posted by EatMyHat at 2:19 PM on January 23, 2012

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