How to seem...sluttier than I am.
September 21, 2005 3:50 AM   Subscribe

Help: my new boyfriend has had way more sex than me.

I'm a woman, mid-20s. He's the same age. I've been with a few people, but none was particularly experienced or adept either, and I basically feel like I've not really experienced "good" sex and don't even really know what that would look like.

I know if he cares about me that this shouldn't matter to him and blah blah, but I'm really quite hung up on it, and I don't want to turn him off with seeming green or whatever; in fact, I don't want to seem that way even if it wouldn't turn him off. He doesn't actually know the specifics of my sexual history, and I'd kind of like him not to be able to guess at its brevity.

We recently slept together for the first time, and I felt like I didn't have the motions or the timing down, basically just felt clumsy, compared to him. It lasted way longer than I'm used to, and I found myself thinking, "what should I do to fill all this time?" (No, I didn't come. Let's leave that out of it for the moment.) This is strange for me because I don't think I'm generally unphysical or anything; I'm very comfortable with, e.g., making out, blow jobs, and I think I'm rather good at those things. But for the actual penetrative part, I'm at a bit of a loss.

In short: what can you tell me that I would have learned from having had more/better partners? What can I do to be more adroit/what mistakes am I likely to make? There seems to be a comparative dearth of information for women on how to be good at sex. I know about the Guide to Getting It On, and I guess I'd better read it stat. I'd really like some live advice too, though.

If I'm truly treading the wrong line of thought here, then: how can I become less neurotic about this?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Making love isn't a skill. It's not a competition. It's not a series of dance steps you have to learn. And the number of notches on your bedpost does not necessarily make you a better lover.

In my opinion, great sex is about communicating affection between two partners. It's not about acrobatics or showing off. There aren't mistakes to be made, because it is not a test.

See if you can shift your position from a feeling of having to perform to a feeling of having some private time with your partner to enjoy being alive and sharing each others' company. Slowly, try to let go and enjoy receiving pleasure. The greatest gift you can give to your sexual partners - more than giving them pleasure - is to enjoy the sexual attention they give you.
posted by skylar at 4:20 AM on September 21, 2005

I've gotta vote for "try to find a way to stop worrying about it," annoying as it is to get these not-an-answer answers. You're certainly not the only person who's felt anxiety about their sexual history, or lack thereof, but it rings alarm bells for me that you're so embarrassed about it that you want to conceal it from this person with whom you are doing very intimate things.

Without going into too much detail, let's just say that after years of being uncomfortable about my own experience, the best thing I ever did was just start being honest about where I stood. Sex is more fun when you don't have to worry about whether you seem more or less experienced than you are, and get to just, you know, experience it.

On a more practical note, I don't think this guy is going to be able to calculate your number of partners from the way you move, or whatever. Sex with new people always has the potential to be awkward, no matter how fabulously, porntastically skilled both parties are; everyone's got different moves and sometimes it takes some practice to get them in sync.
posted by hilatron at 4:33 AM on September 21, 2005

No amount of technique garnered through "experience" is likely to be as meaningful or as satisfying to your partner as a genuine expression of desire and acceptance on your part. As confirmation of this, one of the highest "ratings" for professional sex workers on many "escort" rating message boards is "true GFE" (Girl Friend Experience). That may surprise you, but it is true. Men routinely pay big money to have highly "experienced" women act like girl friends - i.e. act interested and caring, and be accepting and sweet.

If you care about this guy, it shouldn't be hard to understand that he wants to please you as much as you want to please him, and that the biggest turn on for him is simply getting confirmation from you that you want him and enjoy having sex with him, just as you want to know he wants you and enjoys making love with you. Less is not more in this endeavor, but there is no reason to "act" like a porn queen, either.

Small gestures that are genuine mean a lot more than practiced "moves." Simply saying "yes" quietly and frequently at appropriate moments can have a far greater stimulative effect than Meg Ryan "When Harry Met Sally" moaning that isn't real, if you are otherwise a quiet woman, and "yes" is what you feel. People pet cats because giving another being pleasure is satisfying; the genius of cats is simply to be willing to be honest about how good it feels to be petted.

I hope you will realize that sex is inherently an endeavor that benefits hugely from honesty. There is nothing wrong with being sexually less experienced or more experienced than your partner, but trying to appear to be something that you are not in the most intimate of situations is likely to be a burden that is unsustainable, and that will call into question your motives in many other areas when it inevitably becomes evident what your real history is. If you are lucky enough to have found a caring, sensitive and experienced partner who wants to please you, why wouldn't you want to fully explore your sexuality with him, starting from a position of honest recognition about your relative experiences? By doing so, you validate your willingness to trust one another with real intimacy, and that is the greatest turn on of all.

As to particular advice on "techniques" from the male perspective, you need to realize that men are perhaps more "predictable" than women in some areas, perhaps because of evolutionary adaptations. Men are generally more visually oriented than women; the sight of your body, and more particularly, your willingness to be nude with your partner with the "lights on" is generally always likely to be welcome. You may think you have flaws aplenty, but simply being willing to be naked around your lover is enough to ensure he'll never notice them as such.

Gesture consistency helps a lot in giving feedback about desire during sex. If your partner responds particularly favorably to something you do, make a mental note of it, and do it again under similar circumstances. Some men find it is lovely when a girl puts her leg over him, and rubs his bottom with the back of her calf. If your guy likes this, it can become a valued signal that you are ready for foreplay to move on to something more, and after a few times, will generally be a valuable bit of non-verbal communication. But if you are doing that, and nothing else, all the time, no matter how much he liked it at first, it is going to become confusing and perhaps irritating. So try to develop a language of gestures that go along with your audible and verbal communication, and realize it will take some time and experimentation to discover these together. That discovery and development is a great part of the pleasure and exploration of a new sexual relationship, and it should be a pleasurable, involving part of it.

Finally, be willing to be actively pleased. If you simply focus on enjoying the ministrations of a skilled and passionate lover, and let him know, honestly, how much you enjoy and trust him, you are going to be giving a gift of trust and acceptance that has no equal on Earth. Guide him, respond to him, offer yourself for pleasure, and you'll have 10 million years of evolutionary biology solidly on your side, and one very happy man.
posted by paulsc at 5:28 AM on September 21, 2005 [1 favorite]

Tell him how you feel about it. Being less experienced than your partner isn't always a bad thing; my boyfriend told me he felt like sleeping with me was like rediscovering sex. =p
posted by Tlogmer at 5:30 AM on September 21, 2005

I suggest Googling "coital alignment technique" which I think falls into the category of "things you might have learned if you had had more partners".

If you are mindful of what you're doing, how it feels, and how your partner is responding I don't see how you could do anything that could be called "making a mistake". Probably the number one rule of sex is that what works for one person can be a complete turn-off for another, and even the same person can respond differently at different times. The worst thing is to stubbornly persist with something that is not working because you "know" that "every man loves this".
posted by teleskiving at 5:56 AM on September 21, 2005

Sex with a new person is generally awkward for a little bit (at least for me) because you're still doing the things that you used to do with the last person... It's also (gasp) sometimes awkward when you've just been away from the person for a while, and haven't had sex at all...
posted by klangklangston at 6:45 AM on September 21, 2005

Do your new relationship, and your anxiety, a favor: TALK TALK TALK about it. And with HIM. SERIOUSLY. We have the impulse to do the exact wrong thing in these situations. Reading up about sex on the internets isn't going to help youse two in the bedroom. Tell him about your sexual history. (And this is the first time I've heard a woman say, "Wow, I'm embarrassed because I *haven't* been a ho." Maybe I travel in slutty circles.) But I can't imagine a better way to build a relationship than with sexual learning together.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:59 AM on September 21, 2005

Here is what you might have learned from having more/better partners

- many women don't come from penetrative sex alone, though many do, no matter how adept their partner is. If you don't, consistently, at some point that will become clear to your partner or you may need to let him know, but it is normal, or it's one kind of normal.
- everyone feels like they don't have the motions right sometimes, it's much more about the you + him equation than any specific motions that you are supposed to know and that he already knows
- an eagerness to try and an eagerness to learn is often sexy "show me what turns you on" and "this is what turns me on" is sexy.
- some guys take a long time to come w/ the in-and-out thing and some do not. Some may think you want them to take a long time, even if it doesn't matter to you. At some point you can make clear what sort of timing works for you and if it's different than the timing that works for your partner, there are many other fun ways of balancing it all out.

Paulsc has it pretty right on, pay attention to your partner and what he likes and assume he wants to be paying attention to you and what you like. Your history or lack of it won't matter too much. I've known many guys who thought being with someone somewhat less experienced was HOT. Explore and communicate and the more times you experiment, the less anxious you're likely to feel.
posted by jessamyn at 7:14 AM on September 21, 2005

yeah, as others have pointed out, if you're timing isn't quite right it's mainly because you're still getting the feel for each other, not because he got some mystical rhythym from some other girl. And as I guy I generally assume I'm screwing up if I'm not folowing her rhythym as it's not rocket science getting me off.

basically my advice would be to take it slow and just work in little things as you go. I've had great sex with people with low numbers and bad sex with people with high numbers. It's not about experience, it's about attitude
posted by slapshot57 at 7:47 AM on September 21, 2005

In short: what can you tell me that I would have learned from having had more/better partners?

*That whatever techniques that have worked for you before with other partners have no guarantee of working with the new partner.
*That it's usually awkward when you have sex with a new person whether you have experience or not.
*That it takes time to develop a sexual rhythm/meshing with almost any new partner.
*That good and frequent communication almost always improves sex with a regular partner.
*That being comfortable in your own body and in being nude is sexy.
*That being relaxed and confident in what you already know is sexy.
*That being experimental, eager, and enthusiastic to learn/practice what you don't already know is sexy.

I hate to trot out the cliche that "the biggest sexual organ is your brain", but attitude gets you a lot further than experience. Really. No, really. You don't get the experience without the attitude.

(On preview: jessamyn's point about penetrative sex is a good one. Make sure you don't set yourself up with the idea that if you don't come at all, or if you don't come from specific acts like vaginal sex or cunnilingus, that something is wrong with you or that it's abnormal. It's not abnormal at all. Orgasm - yours or his - is only one aspect of the overall experience. And for many people, even experienced people, sometimes you take a while to adjust to a new partner's touch in order to achieve orgasm with whatever method works for you.)
posted by Melinika at 7:51 AM on September 21, 2005

I like to think about it this way: sexual experience isn't something that comes up in conversation when you're initially dating and if it does that would definitely raise an eyebrow if not out and out warning signals. What the other parnter brings to bed is a surprise and part of the excitement is the novelty of exploring with your partner. Your partner might be more experienced, but he's not more experienced with you. Have fun!
posted by plinth at 7:53 AM on September 21, 2005

Don't assume his approach is right and yours is wrong. Yeah, for some people the best sex is like competitive acrobatics. For some people the best sex is — in the words of my friend — "like a really thorough hug."

Now, it's great that you want to meet his needs, and it sounds like other people in this thread are giving you tips that will help you with that. But he should want to meet your needs too. If what you really want is relaxed, comfortable, comforting sex, then he should be willing to provide that — at least some of the time.

Of course, you can't expect him to give you what you want unless you tell him what you want. Hell, maybe he likes it relaxed and comfortable too, and he's only doing it like this to impress you.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:08 AM on September 21, 2005

Everyone above has good sex and relationship/interpersonal advice. As far as how to just get over it, I'd suggest you consider your question above read in a slightly different way.

"How do I completely hide the truth about X from my partner and give the appearance of this other opposite not-true thing."

I'm not slamming you, I'm just pointing out that your understandable personal issues are leading you to attempt to put on an inaccurate appearance for this person you want to have a close emotional thing with. Truth is often hard and can leave you vulnerable and it's scary.

Listen to all the things you said like "I know if he cares about me that this shouldn't matter to him and blah blah, but" and leave off all that stuff that starts at "but." Repeat to yourself as necessary. The first step in being a better person is often being that better person, even if you don't feel it. Start acting like you're not neurotic and I think you'll find it easier with time to not be neurotic.
posted by phearlez at 8:33 AM on September 21, 2005

Be in the moment. Don't worry about anything. It's all good.
posted by wsg at 8:33 AM on September 21, 2005

If he's had a lot of partners, you can count on his having had a lot of clumsy first times. Relax, don't worry about it, ask him what he likes, tell him what you like, don't be shy, be enthusiastic about learning to make it great for both of you, and he won't be giving a passing thought to whether you might be relatively inexperienced.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:31 AM on September 21, 2005

Oh, one more tip: If the rhythm is awkward, some music with a good beat can help both of you sync up. It's just like dancing!
posted by klangklangston at 9:43 AM on September 21, 2005

Just throw yourself into it and have lots and lots of sex with him. You will pick up the motions rapidly enough if you keep your senses open. Watch his face and pay attention to what you're feeling, and experiment with angling your hips up, or down, or throwing some side-to-side gyration into the mix. Do what feels good to you and him. Tweak various parts of his body during sex and see what he likes. Maybe he's nipply. Maybe he'd like some assplay. Maybe a few fingernails down his back. You have to experiment around and find what he likes.

I think there's a good balance to be struck in the beginning, though. First you find stuff that works pretty well. Enjoy that for a while. It doesn't have to get all hanging-from-the-ceiling crazy right away. It's fine to experience sex for the intimacy alone at first, and then ease into the erotic pleasure of it, and then work on variations.

You are asking the right question. If you focus your attention on this, you will improve. But for god's sake, if you find yourself wondering what to do to fill the time, you're in trouble. Do something! Whatever you do, don't just lie there. Try opening up your vocal cords if nothing else and treating him to a little moaning soundtrack, just by vocalizing your breathing and what you're feeling. Maybe that turns him on.

posted by scarabic at 10:08 AM on September 21, 2005

I remember playing a very dull computer game once. I wasn't having any fun at it - I had to keep repeating this level, looking for some hidden portal that I just couldn't find. I complained to my friend, the computer game designer, that I was no good at this game.

He said, "No, you're wrong. It's not your responsibility to make sure you have fun playing the game. It was the game designer's responsibility, and he blew it."


a) The first few times are usually a bit awkward.

b) The responsibility for your having fun is 50% yours, 50% his.

c) The responsibility for his having fun is 50% yours, 50% his.

d) Good communication ("I like it when you do that..") is something that can really improve things.

e) The idea that having lots of sex makes you good at sex is sort of like the idea that breaking lots of people's skulls open with a pipe makes you a good brain surgeon. It really doesn't work that way.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:33 AM on September 21, 2005

ikkyu2: "The idea that having lots of sex makes you good at sex is sort of like the idea that breaking lots of people's skulls open with a pipe makes you a good brain surgeon. It really doesn't work that way."

Haha - this analogy is simultaneously awful and brilliant! Mind if I add this to my personal collection of sayings?
posted by junesix at 12:00 PM on September 21, 2005

Not at all - feel free.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:32 PM on September 21, 2005

I'm reminded of the old joke in which the woman runs a constant mental dialogue during sex - "Do I look fat? Should I turn off the light? Am I doing it right? Will he think I'm weird I ask him to do that?" The guy: "Dude, you're totally having sex! Awesome!"

Seriously, though, so long as you're involved (ie, not lying there staring at the ceiling), are doing your best to give him pleasure and give him enough clues (we're thick, you know, completely and utterly thick) about what he can do to make you feel good, it'll all work out in the end.

Re: being less neurotic, consider this: once you know the basics, experience doesn't have a lot to do with it. You're just as new an experience for him as he is for you. You're a whole new ball game, with your own rules, secret hand signals, base stealing moves and home run techniques. If he thinks he can rely on past action at some other girl's park to know how you play, he's wrong. He might have been a good hitter in the past, but he's never been pitched at by you, either. He needs a whole new body of experience with your body, and what had Mary Jane and Sue Ellen screaming down the rafters might not do much for you at all. It's a clean slate for both of you, and he's probably just as interested in finding out what makes you tick as you are about finding out about what you can bring to the party.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:22 PM on September 21, 2005

If there is attraction/desire it usually takes care of business, we're wired that way. If there is neither, why bother?
posted by semmi at 12:16 AM on September 22, 2005

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