How do you know what to do during sex?
December 3, 2006 7:50 PM   Subscribe

How do you know what to do during sex?

I'm 30/f/hetero. Asperger's (but aren't we all). I tend to be very submissive in bed, but mostly it's because I can't think of anything to do. I would love to be more aggressive or even dominant. In theory, it sounds really appealing, but in practice I just have no idea. Books, tv, magazines say that you should just "go with it" and "do whatever feels good". But I end up feeling lost. My mind goes blank, and I focus on the details so much that I am paralyzed. For my whole life, I've had to work hard to learn how social interactions work, and I feel like this is an aspect of that, but there's no place for me to learn it. Unless porn is an accurate representation of sex (which I'm led to believe that it isn't). I just feel like I've never learned how sex progresses. Are there sex scripts? Helpful books? Podcasts (yes, I'm kidding)? How do you know what to do? If you have further questions or private advice:
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (20 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Start with kissing. Kiss long enough that you have undeniable urges to do more than kiss. Touch him: touch his chest, his legs, his belly, his shoulders. Touch his penis and testicles and butt. While you are touching him, he should generally be touching and kissing you. Let him play with your body for a while, caressing, kissing, stroking of your breasts and belly and bum and vulva. Take over and touch him, stroking his penis. You may want to perform some oral sex. Do that for a while. Lie back and let him do the same to you. Let him know when you want to be penetrated. Try one position for a while. If it seems like you're going to come, don't stop! If not, try another position. Keep things simmering all the while with kisses and caresses.

Don't be afraid to talk during sex, to ask what he'd like, or to tell him what you'd like to feel/have done to you.
posted by Savannah at 8:26 PM on December 3, 2006

The book "The Guide to Getting it On" could be helpful. I know it was for me.
posted by k8t at 8:29 PM on December 3, 2006

You're right about porn. Porn stars do ridiculous things that most people only do because they like pretending that they're porn stars. You'll throw your back out, son. Porn stars have sex in a way that allows the camera to see their naughty bits, not because it feels best that way.

People have bad sex because they would rather silently fumble than discuss it - so just bite the bullet and speak up. Ask your partner what they like, what they want to do and don't want to do. Plan out together what you want to do in bed- or make your own plan and then spring it on your partner, telling them step by step what you plan to do to them. If you're comfortable being submissive, then stick with that or maybe even step it up a notch or two, by making it explicitly understood that you're handing over the reins.

If you really can't bring yourself to talk about it (boo!), then you need to find some good external sources of inspiration. Find some erotica you like and use it as a script. Go to a good sex shop and browse the eight billion sex books out there.

And there are sex podcasts - here are a few of Violet Blue's Podcasts, some of which are readings of erotica. Don't ever doubt the amount of smut you can find on the internet. Happy humping!
posted by SassHat at 8:34 PM on December 3, 2006

Porn isn't an accurate representation, but it does tend to reflects (men's ) fantasies.

Since you seem to find a "script" or unambiguous list of directions helpful, you could do worse than finding a porno you enjoy and following that as a "script". Using that merely as a starting point, as you become more comfortable, you can mix-and-match from other pornos, or substitute acts that you or you partner particularly like.
posted by orthogonality at 8:37 PM on December 3, 2006

I'm going to throw this out as an idea, with no clue if it will help you, but it turns me on.

I'm also 30ish/f/het and I love reading fanfic erotica. A lot of it is idealized, but a lot is fun, and it can be a jumping off place to think of things to try. (hmmm, spanking). Especially if you focus in on characters that you can relate to. Willow, Scully & Hermione are all out there getting laid, and it's mostly written by women. Any stories marked as PWP (porn without plot) will get you right to the action.
posted by saffry at 8:44 PM on December 3, 2006

I'd like to second k8t - try the "Guide to Getting It On" book. It is as much of a script as I think you can find. It goes into lots of detail about things to do, how and why thinks "work" (biologically, emotionally, and mentally), and has lots of drawings. It's almost 900 pages, so nothing is left out. :) It is better - much better - than most of the books out there.
posted by Houstonian at 9:34 PM on December 3, 2006

My wife is shy in bed - married 8 years and she still sort of hides when naked. I know that she won't be forward in bed, so I generally end up taking the lead. It isn't a bad thing for me. Even if you can't be open about what you like, be up-front about what you don't like. Try to make it clear that you are willing to try new things (either verbally or by going along with it) but don't let it go to a place that makes you feel uncomfortable (either emotionally or physically - some things make you feel bad, some things just hurt!). Let him figure it out from there. Unless he tells you that your lack of forwardness is an issue, it isn't. The last thing people need in this country is another reason to have a hang-up about sex.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:41 PM on December 3, 2006

I know this might sound off, but you might consider taking a salsa dancing course?

Oh, and I'll put in a third for the Guide to Getting It On.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:15 PM on December 3, 2006

I found the Joy of Sex to be helpful.

Also, do you like cats? When stroking a cat the right way, you feel the skin stretch under your fingers, as long as the cat still wants you to scratch there. I think people skin is similar and while you're touching someone, and it's pleasurable to them, their skin might be tauter or more goosebumpy than normal. As the touch wears out, the skin becomes less responsive, a good cue to move elsewhere.

Also, people are different. I almost had a sexual partner who though any orifice was fair game and stuck his tongue up my nose. That just ruined it for me. So while books and movies can be helpful, I recommend asking your partner to either say what he likes, or to make really helpful noises when you do stuff he does like. I'm pretty sure most of my partners have appreciated me letting them know when what they're doing is particularly nice. For extra subtlety (particularly when sharing a house) a long sigh can be as erotic as a loud moan (a la Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally).

Oh and another thing some people recommend is masturbating in front of each other so that you can learn each other's preferred techniques. Mind you, I don't think I'd like my partner to touch me the way I touch me, so YMMV.

Ah, also, how about fantasising in advance, and building up a mental plan. That way, you don't have to think in the moment.
posted by b33j at 10:18 PM on December 3, 2006

b33j writes "When stroking a cat the right way, you feel the skin stretch under your fingers, as long as the cat still wants you to scratch there."
I second this. Cats will teach you a lot about what people enjoy. Use this knowledge to make your partner feel new and exciting things. Just don't try to sex your cat.
posted by mullingitover at 10:42 PM on December 3, 2006

"The Joy of Sex," to me, was one part hippie ideology and one part medical textbook - in short, not particularly appealing. I learned more from Nancy Friday's "My Secret Garden," from "Story of O," from the very wonderful Anais Nin's "Little Birds," (read this if you're picking one off my list); from Samuel Delany's "Dhalgren," from Heinlein's "Friday." I liked Erica Jong's "Fear of Flying" but I liked "Serenissima" better.

I read de Sade and von Sacher-Masoch, and while they didn't appeal, they were well written and I could see how they'd appeal to those so inclined.

As a woman, you've got a lot of voices to turn to. It's even harder for men, especially American men - taking too much care with your partner's pleasure is somehow French and therefore inherently unmasculine - and don't forget that your enjoyment is in part your partner's responsibility, just as his is part of yours. If he's not on board for your voyage of discovery you'll never get there.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Sockpuppetry at 10:52 PM on December 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

I third it on the cats. Taught me a lot.

Don't worry about it as a social issue. It's just between you and that person. Enjoy. There is no right way.

If you like porn, okay, well. I find it repulsive and I would not recommend it for anyone. That is all about looks and images and getting a reaction from you. It's not necessarily about what people want to do together -- unless you like it, I suppose. It makes sense to me to tune into your feelings and relax. Yes, relax above all. Relaxing is a precursor to sex, I think. Just as being overly stressed is anti-sex.
posted by Listener at 11:12 PM on December 3, 2006

re: the joy of sex, it was the only book I could get my hands on back then. It was better than nothing, but I concede, probably not by much.
posted by b33j at 3:17 AM on December 4, 2006

Just whatever you do : If you are enjoying something, make sounds of pleasure. If you dislike something, let your partner know.

Nothing worse than spending time (verb)ing your partner's (noun) and later having them say `I'm not really into that'. What a waste! They could have been experiencing something they like!
posted by tomble at 4:51 AM on December 4, 2006

I focus on the details so much that I am paralyzed

I think you do know what to do, it's just that your brain is getting in the way, and you need to find a way to shut it off. You could do this by using your breathing as a focus, or mentally repeating a phrase in your head, like "I love you" or "You're beautiful". This works for massages, cuddling, and other kinds of touching as well.
posted by teleskiving at 4:54 AM on December 4, 2006

I recommend some text pr0n. Among my favorites are Little Birds and especially Delta of Venus both by Anais Nin. From the stuff I learned in those two books my first real boyfriend had no idea that I was woefully inexperienced before him. :) They are erotica, btw, and some of it a little on the deviant side, but full of great ideas of how real people have sex.
posted by frecklefaerie at 6:37 AM on December 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

Porn is not a monolith. It varies as widely as humans do. Don't assume you can't find something out there that works for you and represents aspects of your aspirations in the sack.
posted by loiseau at 7:00 AM on December 4, 2006

Maybe it's because I'm a guy but porn actually to work for me.

Seriously. I mean, I didn't do anything too far out but pretty much the progression was pretty much what I've watched in porns. Even though my girlfriend at the time had a lot more experience than me, I still was able to take lead and she loved it. Porn isn't really realistic but at least it'll give you an idea.

Also, try talking to your partner during sex. It's really not weird or odd or anything. Just ask them what they want and go for it.
posted by champthom at 10:26 AM on December 4, 2006

Read a book, preferably a good one. I was a late bloomer and so I had read every damn thing on it. Sorta hooked up with someone at my house when I came in late to a mini-party. They next day a friend told me that my first told him that I was great in bed. We had a repeat performance the next night. I always had confidence in the bedroom after that.

My point is that don't feel strange learning from a book. It will give you confidence because you will have an array of techniques to use despite never having used them.

You also get a bit of a break being a female, because you can just lay there until you feel like making your own moves.

No matter what, smile when you are glad to be there! It will work wonders! Your partner wants to know that you are glad to be there. If you can get that message across, you are doing great.

Also focus on the blow jobs! When you are doing it, let him know you like him and are glad to be making him feel good. You will turn him into a mush-headed slave! Do not abuse your powers.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:29 AM on December 4, 2006

#1 Show enthusiasm! - seriously, there's nothing in the world sexier than letting the person you're with know you want to be right there, right now. Push back into it, explore each other's bodies, pamper each other. Go so far as explictly saying "I love being here with you!" _Do not_ censor yourself. If you feel the need to exclaim "fuck yeah!", growl, or whatever, do it. However, don't force such things. Mumbling "Yeah baby yeah" over and over like some lewd mantra won't help if you don't mean it. Forget the commercial porn; the scripted stuff tends to be exactly that - commercials for an activity that bear no resemblance to the actual thing. If you must look to porn for inspiration, get some of the amateur or homegrown stuff. The people in them may not be as airbrushed and/or plastic as the professional stuff, but they're about 50x hotter than the scripted stuff.

Also, give feedback, both on the spot and later if you think of it, and ask for it too (preferably after the event; a few minutes into post-sex cuddling, after your minds and bodies have reunited, can be an appropriate time). If your guy is blowing your mind with his mad cunnilingus skills, but keeps on jogging you out of the mindspace when his teeth drag across your better bits, let him know. Similarly, if he shifts angles and suddenly things start feeling dramatically better or worse, speak up! 90% of the time, your lover will thank you and it will be better for both of you. The 10% of people who can't take constructive criticism in the sack are not people you want there. Don't assume that what worked for the last guy works here - try what you know, but also try new things - you might find something that you both enjoy. Every single partner I've been with has worked differently in bed, even if they've had similarities.

All that aside, figure out what YOU like, then share it. Again, 90% of guys will love to know how you pleasure yourself and will want to explore along those lines, and 10% will be intimidated by anything other than their own equipment and tired methods. If he's threatened by you having a sexuality apart from him, dump him - it's not worth it. Buy "The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex" - the gals who wrote it know what they're talking about and explain things very clearly. Buy some toys; online if you're intimidated by a sex store (side comment - the people that work in these places are human and enjoy sex like anyone else - they're not there to judge your selections, but rather to help you with them [and they really will give you space if you say "just browsing" when they ask if they can help you]). Personally I'd start with a "bullet" vibe, a "rabbit" vibrator, and whatever dildo looks like fun (make sure it's long enough to have a bit outside your body to manipulate - some even come with handles for that purpose) - don't get the anatomically correct "flesh" colored ones to start with - they're not realistic enough to be anything other than creepy, IMHO. If you can afford it, silicone is one of the better substances for these toys - safe with the water based lube you'll be using with condoms and cleans up easily; can also be boiled safely to remove germs and doesn't tend to pick up coloration from body secretions, containers, or age.

The "Guide to getting it on" is another good book, I agree - it's one of the ones that I actually reread from time to time.
posted by neolith22 at 12:00 PM on December 4, 2006

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