What makes a man a good lover?
February 14, 2017 5:12 PM   Subscribe

So I've asked about my inexperience before, particularly whether or not I should reveal this info to any future girlfriend and the highest rated answers always seem to be that you don't have to tell. Keeping that in mind what exactly makes a man a good lover? What are some rookie mistakes he can avoid to prevent her from thinking "Has he never done this before or something?"?
posted by Dynamo05 to Human Relations (37 answers total)

Enthusiasm and ability to receive feedback.

Edit: No shit like, "I've been able to make someone come doing ____" IDGAF.
posted by Drosera at 5:19 PM on February 14, 2017 [14 favorites]

take it slow, enjoy the moment.

never lead with the tongue when you go in for a kiss. lips first!!! just kiss with lips until your lover is parting their lips, then tease and play. dont stick your tongue right in their mouth (that can be ok later on but never start out a kiss like that!)

take the time to enjoy and explore, there is no hurry to get "there" and a slow teasing build up can be very erotic.
posted by supermedusa at 5:30 PM on February 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

When I was getting divorced, experienced men compared my body to the bodies of normal women -- women they had actually been with. They made these comparisons in a favorable way and made me feel good about taking my clothes off for them. I was happy to come back for more of this.

Inexperienced men clearly were using media of some sort, whether popular movies or porn, as their point of reference. These men were impossible to please. A normal human's body was just not good enough and never would be. I was happy to leave them to their porn watching and stop spending time with them.

If you watch TV, movies etc or read Playboy or anything like that, take some time to look around the internet for pictures of ordinary people who are not professional models, actors/actresses or porn stars. Get some idea of what ordinary people look like naked and don't be all visibly crestfallen that this person doesn't have a perfect 10 body when they take their clothes off.

Many of those "perfect 10" bodies literally required surgery to get there. Your romantic partner should not be made to feel that they need a boob job and liposuction to get laid at all.
posted by Michele in California at 5:30 PM on February 14, 2017 [50 favorites]

Nothing compares to being perceptive to your partner's enjoyment, but most of this has to be non-verbal. Don't ask 'is this ok?' a thousand times. Watch and listen, and of course express your own enjoyment too. Do not be afraid to laugh or apologise if something goes a bit awry.

Practice helps, but when you are with someone new (even people who have been with many lovers), it's about learning all over again.

Honestly, if a guy told me he was a little inexperienced, it wouldn't turn me off at all. But also, you might find you just get into the groove and it's all good. You know which bits go where, try to relax and go where the mood takes you.
posted by Youremyworld at 5:35 PM on February 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

Yeah, never assume that what works for one person is what will work for another.

In the course of foreplay and even before that during flirting and friendly interactions you should be paying attention to their language (body and verbal) and learning how they indicate good vs bad vs neutral. Everybody is different - think about something like laughter, plenty of people laugh when nervous or uncomfortable, but plenty of other people laugh when they want more of whatever just happened. You have to pay attention, and if you are confused you need to ask. This inquisitiveness doesn't indicate a level of experience so much as an unselfconscious enjoyment and curiosity of your partner's body and emotions as a unique individual. And that is typically a huge turn on.
posted by Mizu at 5:35 PM on February 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

I read on here a comment basically amounting to being happy to be there. That's a large part of enjoyment and the other person feeling desired. Each person is unique in their wants, desires and responses. But if you start off with excitement and seconding genuine enthusiasm, you'll go far. Plus, it helps if you are ggg and don't sigh or make physical signs of annoyance or displeasure when you are asked to do something that they will enjoy, it's a turn-off. (unless of course it's not mutual consensual and harmful, etc.)
posted by lunastellasol at 5:47 PM on February 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

What you're asking is how do you stop being inexperienced. And the answer is, by getting experience. What you're really asking for is a shortcut because you desperately don't want to be a "rookie". Well there isn't one. You can't skip this part. Trying to is going to make you look a lot more foolish than just accepting who you are, which is: new at this.

And this isn't about you, it's about you and your partner. You can't solve this on your own.

So, find someone who will be kind to you, and who you will be kind to, and let things happen.
posted by danny the boy at 5:47 PM on February 14, 2017 [42 favorites]

Also, experience does not equate to good lover. Know that no matter how much experience you have, if you are solely focused on your own pleasure, that makes you a not-so-great lover.
posted by lunastellasol at 5:50 PM on February 14, 2017 [13 favorites]

I'm just going to provide the counterpoint. If you're getting any hints that she's like "wtf?" then by all means reveal that you've never done this before. Far better to admit you have no habits than for her to think that you really, really like and have a habit of doing [thing that is uncomfortable or awkward].
posted by salvia at 5:53 PM on February 14, 2017 [23 favorites]

Another way of thinking about this is that everyone is new to sex with that particular person when starting out. And what one person likes, and how you click in with one person can be really very very different from how it goes with other people.

So in this respect, at the beginning of a relationship, everybody is "inexperienced" - inexperienced when it comes to having sex with that other person. So it's a journey of discovery for both people, and it involves some vulnerability, some nakedness - literal and emotional - from both parties, to be truly successful.

In this respect, the gap you perceive between yourself and hypothetical lovers is much smaller than you suppose, and you will both be growing more experienced - with each other - at the same pace, at the same time .

Things that facilitate this process are not "put your arm just here like so"; they are more around respect, good communication verbally and non-verbally, gentleness (perhaps not physical, but in terms of mindset and approach), flexibility, willingness to make make mistakes and not catastrophise.

Most of these things can - and should - be worked on in and out of the bedroom; again giving you a level of "experience" you may be discounting.

I would urge you not to lie about or obscure your lack of experience when you get into an experienced relationship - you are absolutely deserving of love and sex just as you are; you have nothing to be ashamed of.

Best of luck,
posted by smoke at 6:04 PM on February 14, 2017 [13 favorites]

When she undresses with you for the first time, look glad to see her. Just glad. Don't leer or stare or try to have bedroom eyes at her. Whoever she is, I guarantee she has a sneaking fear that you will find her inadequate in some way. With your eyes, you can help make her feel comfortable and natural with you.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:07 PM on February 14, 2017 [9 favorites]

Also, it may be colloquially referred to as a "button" but that doesn't mean you punch it with your index finger over and over again like it's a WALK sign. The light is not gonna change any faster if you do that.

(Best of luck out there. You're already being way more considerate than some ever are.)
posted by Countess Elena at 6:12 PM on February 14, 2017 [20 favorites]

Show your enjoyment. Show your enjoyment when you see them naked for the first time. Show your enjoyment if they try something & you enjoy it, show you're enjoyment when you are doing all the fun things they are enjoying too. Hell show enjoyment in their enjoyment. Too many guys get so used to silently masturbating or act like it's a chore they need to get over to "get to the good stuff" they forget that all their moans, & oh yeahs & hot wanting looks are as hot as hell in their own right. Never play games or try to be too cool when someone gets naked in front of you. The first time I got undressed around my husband (back when he was just a guy I knew from online) he let out a soft murmur of beautiful under his breath, entirely unintentionally, or so he says, it made me feel like a damn sex goddess. Though as Countess Elena says there is a fine line between forced bedroom eyes, leering & appreciative so just let it happen naturally.

Secondly it's OK to fumble & make mistakes, just be willing to laugh or go with the flow when it happens. Human bodies are weird, they make weird noises, elbows trap long hair, people get cramps. Weird shit happens, be cool about it, make light of it & move on.

Also don't think you have to change things up every 2 seconds like they do in porn, if you are doing something you both like, you don't have to stop and change position if you are both having fun.

The good news is every new partner is new. Even experienced people have to feel things out, try things, be willing to adapt on the fly with a new partner. That's half the fun.
posted by wwax at 6:12 PM on February 14, 2017 [14 favorites]

Don't be afraid to laugh.

Not all the time, at everything, for no reason, but if you're having a good time rolling around in the hay, something goofy is bound to happen eventually. And rather than freezing up and going cold, just laugh it off.

I won't say that being able to laugh makes you a good lover, but it marks you as someone who accepts things for what they are, and doesn't have dumb expectations about how "lovemaking" (*vom*) is "meant" to go.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:18 PM on February 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

Understand basic anatomy and sexual response, particularly the parts you yourself may not have or be familiar with. Obviously individual people are going to have variable responses, but understanding the basic principles and mechanisms of arousal and orgasm from a real-world anatomical perspective (ie not from porn) and being able to make some basic leaps of logic there is important. Joy of Sex is a decent primer, I'd also recommend Emily Nagoski's Come As You Are. Be very very very wary of material about women written by men.

And it's not that every guy has to be James Bond slick or whatever, but at least bring a certain mature responsible adult bearing and manners to your moves first and then listen and respond to the mood and that person's mood. Like, don't whip out baby/cuteseytalk or start barking orders or go full filthymouth or make assumptions about her sexual preferences based on stereotypes, either out of nerves or because you heard some people like that. There's times and places for those things (and sometimes those times and places are only a few minutes/feet away, but there's still a right and wrong time), but people should consent to them and be receptive to them before they happen.

That's why the most important thing good lovers do is talk and listen. There are very respectful talks you have with clothes on about boundaries and general preferences and safety requirements. Those talks often get a lot more specific and sexy and interesting as some intimacy is built up. The man who knows everything without ever asking anything is a media creation that doesn't exist in the real world.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:23 PM on February 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

Learn to open and put on a condom adeptly. Don't start to put it on inside out, flip it over, and start again with the same condom.
posted by metasarah at 6:48 PM on February 14, 2017 [13 favorites]

Don't fuck anybody you don't truly desire, sober, someone you want to spend time with outside of bed. You want someone you can look at with passion, embrace with tenderness, and be unabashed in your interest. Someone who is easy to compliment, because it's the truth.
posted by gryftir at 7:01 PM on February 14, 2017 [11 favorites]

There are at least four pieces of advice so far that I not only disagree with but am horrified by. so, there's that regarding individual preference. But it really is true that the worst things a man can do in bed have nothing to do with experience level. for instance, a man who actually compared my body to any other woman's body would be basically dead to me. favorably or unfavorably doesn't matter. (But "You have the most beautiful [elbows] I've ever seen" does not count as a comparison - superlatives in general don't, they're fine if they're sincere and spontaneous and not rehearsed. whether you've seen one woman's elbows at that point or 200 isn't relevant to how well a compliment comes across. it has to be truthful, not factual.)

I think the biggest piece of advice I'd give an inexperienced man is not to try to be unimpressed and blase. Nothing is true of everybody but I think most women, like most men, really like to be appreciated and to know that they're having an effect on you, even if they differ in how they like to hear about it. If you pick a woman with a healthy ego, she will not think "wow, he must have never done this before" if you give her reason to instead think "wow, I must be really really good at this."

and then also don't feel afraid to request that she stop or change something you don't like, because you figure she must know what she's doing and other men must like it, so you should too. (I think this is probably more of a problem for inexperienced women, which is incredibly depressing, but it's still good advice even if not applicable.)
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:03 PM on February 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

Familiarize yourself with the queef and formulate what your response will be when/if it happens. The vast majority of women find the experience very awkward. Never ever insinuate that she has any control over it, she doesn't, in fact it was likely some action taken on your part that instigated it.

Be attentive and responsive. By this, I mean pay attention if she's pulling away from something you're doing and ease up or stop and change gears. If she's grabbing or pulling at you, you can be more aggressive or do more of the same. Don't rely on verbal feedback entirely.
posted by txtwinkletoes at 7:29 PM on February 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

You know, in the past, before I was married to my husband, I sought out virgins, because it was exciting to be someone's first. You might actually add to your partners enjoyment by telling them this is your first time.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 7:35 PM on February 14, 2017

For me, the best sex is a collaborative, creative event. You are equals endeavoring to figure out the best way for the two of you, at that moment, in that place, to enjoy yourselves. Respond to her cues; make sure that you pay enough attention to yourself that you can give her clear cues back. It's improv, not a recital.
posted by mcduff at 7:39 PM on February 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

Also, as someone who sort of "collected" virgins (that sounds terrible doesnt it...) virginity was absolutely no predicter of how good or bad the sex would be. As others have said, enthusiasm was always key. If someone was obviously into me and happy to be there, I always had a good time.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 7:40 PM on February 14, 2017

All of the above, but as a resource for demystifying things try OMGYes.

Level of experience, unfortunately, does not have much to do with skill. My better experiences were with less experienced partners because they didn't make assumptions, were kinder and more considerate, and more flexible and open to feedback. If anything, remember that everyone is different and try to retain the "beginners mind"!

Also, be frank about safety. Just get it out there - I'm clean (or whatever) and have new condoms (always new! Do not use ones you've been carrying in your wallet for years!), you? (Modify to suit.) No ones having good sex if in the back of their mind they're worrying about this stuff.
posted by jrobin276 at 7:52 PM on February 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

The link above is NSFW.
posted by jrobin276 at 7:52 PM on February 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

(I had a bunch more to say after I posted, it turned out.) Aside from safe-sex-type safety, please do your part regarding actual physical safety. I've cooled on a fair number of assholes for not caring that necks don't bend like that, or banging my head into the wall more than once (or slamming into my cervix or squishing/folding me so I can't breathe, for that matter - if a woman says "oof" she means it), or trying to insist on daredevil stuff that my knees (or shower fixtures) don't do, or, you know, not locking his bedroom door knowing full well his roommate might walk in ("Dear Penthouse, I never thought..."), not locking the actual front door, wanting to do risky al fresco stuff that carried a real threat of career-harming arrest (and these days, that stuff will get a person with an exposed penis on the offender's registry, it's not worth it), wanting to do stuff while driving. Wanting extensive blowjobs with my knees on a hard floor or otherwise wanting me to hold an impossible position at length. That stuff all strikes me as either rookie moves OR someone so unwilling to do his part in the most basic way that he is not worth seeing for any length of time and definitely isn't partner material.

(One of the sexiest things a man ever did for me was roll over to my side of the bed when I got up to pee after sex on a cold night, so it was warm when I got back. That was nearly 20 years ago and it still makes me smile. My husband and I have a heated mattress pad, so it's not the same, but he does stop the dog from taking my spot when I get up to pee.)

If you know your bed can't take it, fix it or get a new one or don't have sex there. Everyone breaks a bed once in their life, but don't court it. If you are over maybe 27 you need a grownup-person's bed in a clean bedroom with clean sheets and a clean bathroom and more than one pillow (by which I mean five pillows minimum) and no creepy stuff out in the open. Put the katana in the closet, and take down anything torn out of a magazine that you didn't write/create yourself. Put lube and condoms (if you want to be real cool, offer at least one latex option plus one poly, for the allergic) in the bedside drawer (have a bedside drawer) and have at least tissues or clean washcloths/hand towels or a box of flushable wipes for wiping anything that might have gotten on anyone.

Keep a couple cheap new toothbrushes in your bathroom, and if you can pick up a contact lens case and a cheap bottle of common contact solution (if you don't wear them) that kind of makes you a hero in a sex emergency.

This is sorta but not really outside the scope of your question, but one of things I miss the LEAST about being single was that feeling, every time I walked into a man's place or let one into mine, of "is this how I die?" It's not your fault, personally, it's just a thing we have to think about. And if it's not death, then it's "am I going to get fleas/lice/contact dermatitis?" from someone's disgusting apartment/bedroom/bed/toilet, or how awful a night of sleep I was going to get if I stayed afterwards. That's a bigger part of being a good lover than men, I think, want to believe. We want to feel comfortable psychologically. Be a good host, or be a good guest. Don't mock her stuffed animals or ugly furniture or even her gross toilet, if that's the case. Own toilet paper. Be kind to her pets, and leave or ask her to leave if she's not kind to hers or yours. Grab two glasses of water when there's an appropriate pause in the action. Be able to offer a snack or order pizza afterwards if you're both starving (sex pizza is the best pizza, and if that's a Totino's Party Pizza with a shake of Italian Seasoning at 4am, it'll be the best Party Pizza you ever ate).

Do not buy into the inexperienced fallacies that a) lube somehow means someone's not good at sex b) the only good sex is spontaneous sex. There are many good things to say about sex that is planned, discussed in advance, anticipated, teased. And women get short-shifted on foreplay and play and fun and arousal (I think the last survey I saw said that men thought women needed about 5 minutes to get ready, where women prefer 45+ minutes) and teasing and feeling wanted as a whole person rather than a hole attached to a person.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:53 PM on February 14, 2017 [40 favorites]

When I was having anxiety related to lack of experience, I read a book about cunnilingus (I'm a lesbian, but my advice is broad!) and it gave the best advice ever and to this day I hate when partners don't follow it: don't say "does this feel good?" or "do you like this?", give options, or at least make it a specific enough question that yes or no would correct it. "Do you want me to go higher or lower?" "Softer or harder?", etc. Being asked vague questions can take you out of the moment and it makes you seem like an amateur. Some people dislike a lot of questions but I prefer people who err on the side of more rather than less.

The other thing I've found with people without a lot of experience is that they do WAY too much experimentation once things get good. Most women need consistent action when they're close to orgasm. If things appear to be going well and if your partner does something like gasp "don't stop!", don't. change. a. thing. This is the #1 thing that I find separates who can get me off and who can't. I haven't had sex with a man in a long time but very few seemed to realize this and even lesbians who presumably should be more familiar with this don't always figure this out. (Relatedly, almost no women are going to get off from just penis in vagina action and you'll look like a pro if you recognize that your partner may want a vibrator or manual stimulation on her clit.)

I think you're going to be fine. :)
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 8:11 PM on February 14, 2017 [12 favorites]

File your nails and don't claw at her crotch.
Also, anything starts to hurt if you do it for too long. Moaning can mean, "This hurts but I don't want to spoil his good time."
posted by serena15221 at 8:28 PM on February 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Learn to kiss, well. How one does that I don't know, because different people have and enjoy different styles. I think it might be safe to say most people don't enjoy dealing with gobs of spittle; keep moisture at a reasonable level. But, mostly, follow your partner's lead if you're not quite in synch (and if you don't like what your partner's doing, dig around for a happy medium).

I'd also say it's a mistake to smash faces together the whole time. One hand at the nape of the neck, other on the chest, kiss other places -- look for areas, like just behind/beneath the ears, that don't get a lot of touch on a day-to-day basis.

> inexperienced fallacies that a) lube somehow means someone's not good at sex

Oh man, that sounds like something a boasting, zero-experience teen would buy into. I hope that's not common. Slippery bits = good. And there are a million things that can interfere with one's natural lubrication -- I don't know why men get so nervous over the odd episode of erectile dysfunction; from here, it looks like the male equivalent of the self-lubricating thing just not working for ??? reasons.

(If you can't get it up, please don't make a big deal about it. At all. If you need to make a quick face-saving excuse -- 'Hmm, maybe that's what i get for having whisky for dessert...' -- that's fine, but then hush about it and talk about how it's nice to just relax and do other things and everything still feels good regardless. Nobody likes babysitting somebody through a too-extensive drama there. Oh, and anybody visibly put out or bothered is the amateur in the room, and a mean one to boot, so if you get crap for "performance" issues that are out of your control, it might be a good hint to get dressed and call it a night.)

Consent is pretty hot. ("I've been daydreaming non-stop about banging you, and...??" rather than "Would it be acceptable for me to...") Phrased right it can provoke a sort of OMG YES YES YES. So are compliments. Slightly more obscure ones are neat. Most women have heard various positive comments about their breasts, but a lot less about how exquisitely soft their thighs are.

Sex can be some pretty weird mammalian shiz, so don't let anything weird you out. World's largest queef? Either ignore or 'Ooh, now I feel like I was in there pretty deep. Hot.' Somebody sharts the bed after anal play? Throw them a wet washcloth, whip the sheet off, throw down an unfitted one to get back to business on. Sudden gush of blood? Ditto, with a towel. Even if you haven't seen it all, expect it all, and respond with the same courtesies you'd extend outside the bedroom -- looking to quickly put them back at ease and clean up with the least amount of fuss possible.

Your coming is not the signal that it's all over for everyone! Enjoy your moment, and then get back to work, unless your partner is sending clear signals that they're done.

Re.: filing nails. Yes. And cut your toenails. If you have really scratchy heel skin or cracking super-dry skin anywhere, look into filing that down (pumice stone?) and moisturizing away -- an aggressive scrub in the shower followed by Vaseline overnight helps a lot.
posted by kmennie at 9:34 PM on February 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

I think gryftir and mcduff both got to the heart of it.

Great sex is like improvising music - two or more people who are constantly reacting and responding to each other in ways that add to the experience. There's nothing one can describe as far as technique goes that can't be done in a tone deaf and inappropriate manner. Women really are all different to each other so you have to learn to appreciate each one as you find them. This means being open to understanding them which means you really have to like them. It also means that you need to focus on what you can do for them rather than what they might do for you.

Technique is important in the sense that it's great to already have an idea of the kinds of things that often work for women, but if you really like the person you're with, which is absolutely essential in my view, eating her like a starving man or always knowing how to touch her in just the right spot is simply icing on the cake.

If you really like each other, the things you do or don't do won't be, by any measure, the most important part of making it a great experience. Being right there with her in that moment and appreciating and revelling in her loveliness and the great treasures of joyful sex will though.

That said, I could also suggest a few things that might help get you started:
• Be gentle. You can always get stronger/harder/faster if that's where it feels like it should go;
• Don't rush. Anticipation and tension are very sexy for a lot of people and women especially, as a rule, often like things to happen at a leisurely pace at first;
• Make sure you're wanted. Enthusiastic consent is a huge turn on. Never go somewhere you're not welcome and make sure you know. Don't assume;
• Regularly check for consent while you're getting to know someone. This doesn't have to be disruptive or intrusive to the vibe. You'll get better at working it into sex talk as you go;
• Listen. With your ears to their sounds of course, but try to listen to their body as well;
• Appreciate the person you're with and the situation you're in. Say nice things and mean them;
• Remember and contemplate the fact that the only erogenous zone that matters is the brain.
posted by mewsic at 12:19 AM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Vice Magazine published a pretty good guide to oral sex (NSFW).

Adult film actress Nina Hartley has a fantastic video tutorial on oral sex. Very NSFW.

There's an artsy porn channel called Hegre Art (very NSFW) that features sex with a much nicer vibe than most porn, often very centred on the female partner's pleasure. I think it's a nice perspective switch from male-focussed porn.

Lyn Never's comments about having a clean, hospitable home are fantastic. If you aren't sure what to do, have a female friend you trust come over and give you tips, or check out Reddit's sub r/malelivingspace for some ideas.

It is totally ok to say you're a virgin or inexperienced. A kind, caring person won't mind your inexperience, and in fact the right kind of person will go out of her way to help you feel comfortable and make it fun. I'm fairly experienced myself, but I have had several virgin or very inexperienced male partners and each time:
(a) I could tell they were inexperienced, whether they told me or not, and I didn't mind... but
(b) I respected them so much more when they were transparent, because I don't like being lied to or misled, and I don't like the emotional energy I feel from people who are concealing secrets from me,
(c) I never ever minded that someone had less experience than me, and
(d) quite the contrary, I sincerely treasured the chance to be trusted enough to join someone who's exploring their own sexuality. It's so hot!
(e) I loved the idea that I could show them how fun and exciting and affectionate sex can be.

I lost my virginity 20 years ago with a truly fantastic partner who genuinely liked me, never rushed me even though I was nervous, made me feel like a total babe, and made sex so fun and free. I have always appreciated his approach to sex (still friends 20 years later!) and I always wanted to be as good a partner to others as he was to me. I really took that responsibility seriously.

So my best advice is... try to find someone who you trust enough to be honest with, be honest, be open, and I bet you'll have an amazing time. Good luck! I truly hope you find a situation that makes you feel comfortable enough to actually enjoy yourself!
posted by spockpuppy at 12:24 AM on February 15, 2017 [11 favorites]

I think it's a great idea to ask your partner to show you what they do to pleasure themselves - watch, learn, help. Masturbation can be this super intimate thing and you can learn tons from watching and participating with their road to climax.

Providing you feel your partner is supportive and it's safe for you to do so. Talk about fantasies and then try to make them happen for each other. Some pan out - some are better left in the dark recesses of our minds, but it's fun to see what works and what doesn't.

Security within sex. For example; lets say one is a man who is a premature ejaculator. Instead of trying desperately to avoid acknowledging that - look at ways to talk about how you can make sex a longer/mutually enjoyable act. For example training up to longer sex. Starting with the knowledge the man will probably ejaculate quickly, but plan for sexual contact to continue and be enjoyed after that and indeed hopefully end with more intercourse that lasts longer later on. Same goes for someone who for example is not as well endowed as they/the partner would like - discuss toys/aids to help make sex what you want it to be, rather than feeling inadequate and hoping it will work out in the end.

Remember that your partner likes you and also wants great sex - find a way to make it happen together.

Don't be sexually lazy or selfish and remember that the penis is not the only star of the show. (Just stating he latter, because this appears to be a common misconception)

Be generous with your words, talk to each other even if it feels embarrassing. I used to be painfully shy during sex - I now realised I missed 15 years of being told various things that make me feel like a goddess plus it's wonderful to also be able to turn your partner on with words. Keep in mind this is a personal preference - but certainly worth exploring - what person doesn't want to hear how amazing they are? Also - communicate when it's blowing your mind; moan, groan, discard inhibitions - be clear.

Make your interactions create a safe place to be sexual. I believe sex is better when you don't feel like you'll be judged by your partner.

Mostly; be willing to explore together, be open, honest and enjoy each other. And don't be afraid to say exactly what you want and encourage them to do the same - I 100% would rather be told 'do XYZ' rather than see what I'm doing is not working and not know what to do next. Sex isn't about learning a specific 'move' that will work every time, don't aim to be generically good at sex - aim to be the person your partner wants to go on a sexual adventure with again and again!

Massive good luck - great sex with a trusted and respected partner is so much fun and I wish you the very best.
posted by TheGarden at 1:37 AM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Another way of thinking about this is that everyone is new to sex with that particular person when starting out.

This is very good advice. Even men with lots of "experience" can be getting divorced for the first time and re-entering the dating pool after a long marriage, getting involved with a younger woman for the first time, getting seriously emotionally attached for the first time, etc. I was both very surprised and reassured during my divorce to find that even men who were much older than me or men who had many more partners than me were "new" to the experience we were sharing together, whatever that was.

People were not nearly as suave as I imagined they would be. Just like me, they were nervous and muddling through and didn't have all the answers.

It takes two to create a good experience. It is a process of negotiation. It isn't all on you to have all the answers. If someone is going to treat you horribly and blame your lack of experience, the odds are good they would have treated you horribly regardless and just used another justification.

I had good relationships with men from various backgrounds. When it worked, it worked in large part because we both made an effort. We both wanted it and we both treated each other decently, whatever the details.

for instance, a man who actually compared my body to any other woman's body would be basically dead to me.

I imagine if a man literally said "Compared to Amy's tits...Jane's hips...etc", that would be the end of that for me as well. So, if anyone else is misunderstanding my comment in that way, yeah, don't do that.

I just meant when experienced men commented on my body, their mental point of reference was obviously women they had known in the biblical sense and not Beyonce, Madonna or some porn star. And their comments indicated they liked what they saw. Whereas some inexperienced men were horrified that I failed to live up to air brushed, edited, yadda mainstream media images of women's bodies -- which are absolutely Not Real. Even the models and stars do not look that way without help from makeup, a hair stylist etc. Just check out any "Stars without makeup" articles for a reality check in that regard. Madonna without makeup does not look like Madonna in her music videos. Those images are art, not reality, and they should not be your standard for what your lover should look like in bed with you.

Your initial experiences will be vastly better if you are not making that mistake. You are much less likely to have some woman unload a lifetime of emotional baggage on you while she shows you the door and tells you to not come back (or, the "nicer" version: just stops seeing you altogether without bothering to explain why).
posted by Michele in California at 10:21 AM on February 15, 2017

You can always say that you get nervous when you have sex with someone for the first time, or that you haven't had many partners (which is true), if you kind of get to the WTF, what-do-I-do-now moments. I was experienced when I met my husband and I still got nervous when I had sex with someone for the first time, so I told him that. It's kind of endearing for this person you think is hot, whom you're excited to have sex with, to show some humility.
posted by Pearl928 at 10:37 AM on February 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Read this book.

And take what it says seriously.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 12:20 PM on February 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

here's one: familiarize yourself with what Dan Savage has to say about the male masturbation 'death grip'. He claims that it makes men lose sensitivity, which can supposedly cause you to need hand masturbation to come to orgasm yourself. This may or may not be annoying to your partner- it can be hot to see someone ejaculate outside of a vagina, and of course that's a porn scenario all the time which may or may not be hot to your partner- but to me it feels like a habit to have control over. I'm not sure if any of his claim has really been vetted by anyone but several of my male friends have talked about trying to avoid becoming thusly desensitized, and I've found myself personally annoyed about partners who consistently need their own hand to finish themselves off.

Here's another: I had a partner who, like you, started having sex rather late (I met him much much later). While doing similar research as you, he got the advice from someone that a way to become more confident/comfortable with condoms was to practice masturbating with a condom on. I've also heard this advice from other people and possibly it was in the same context as the death grip- about dealing with the reduced sensitivity while wearing a condom.
posted by girl Mark at 3:04 PM on February 15, 2017

I liked this video from Laci Green as well.

Also: sexual techinque is like learning to play an instrument (or learning to do a lot of different things) in that even the masters benefit from a beginner's attitude and lifelong learning.
posted by Pearl928 at 6:53 PM on February 15, 2017

"What are some rookie mistakes...?"

I've heard so many guys brag or mock each other about how long they last... and I've heard so many women complain about their SOs taking way too long.

Personally, I would take a passionate quickie over a neverending jackhammer session a million billion times.

I say this because I think a lot of guys feel self conscious about duration, but as far as I know women don't care nearly as much as guys do. Same with size. You can have fun at any size, really (although I do have a friend whose bf was way too big for her and some positions were painful).
posted by Tarumba at 7:05 AM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

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