In a recent study, participants who were nonmonogamous reported higher levels of sexual satisfaction and more frequent orgasms. But the study used a fairly small sample size and was all self-reported — so the degree to which the research can be relied upon is questionable. Nonetheless, the news was greeted with no small amount of enthusiasm because most of us are looking to have better sex, more often. Nonmonogamy may be one way to achieve this, but we’re fairly certain that there are other, even easier suggestions to implement. Seriously, non-mon looks fun until you are working the calendar like Todd the dental receptionist in order to manage dates and hook-ups.
For some solid, practical sex advice, we turned to women who know sex. Can we call them experts? Hell, yeah. Sociologists, doctors, sex workers, and sex toy retailers are exactly the brains we want to pick about naked time. And, they dropped knowledge that is applicable to people of any gender and any preference. These aren’t your lady mag tips about putting a doughnut around someone’s dick or sneaking black pepper under your partner’s nose before they climax. Yes. Those have been published. These pieces of advice are logical and pretty close to guaranteed when it comes to improving sex for yourself and your partner.
Peruse the below advice with an open, sex-positive brain, and hop into the comments with tips of your own. If you like what you read, consider following these amazing women on social media to learn more.
Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals: Sociologist and Author of Exposure: A Sociologist Explores Sex, Society and Adult Entertainment
Communicate. From international relations to partner pillow talk, communication is one of the most challenging – and most important – dimensions of social interaction. It’s also one of the most difficult things to work on. Try to figure out how the person you’re corresponding with communicates and encourage them to consider you in this manner too. Misunderstanding and poor communication are huge blocks for so many social situations.
Take social norms into account. We all have things we like and dislike, as well as things we are interested in and so would never. This is totally fine. You are 100% entitled to your own sexual proclivities. But when thinking about making improvements to your sex life – and really, improvements to any aspect of your life – always take a beat to consider where those feelings come from. A lot of what we think, especially when it comes to sex, comes from wider social ideals and norms. This doesn’t mean they’re wrong, both in general or for you specifically, but always take a moment to consider the source of your beliefs and desires.
Be open. Be open to considering new things, but also be open to the possibility that you know what’s in your own mind and heart. It sometimes takes just as much confidence to stay true to your wants and desires as it does to push your own boundaries. In a world fraught with sexual shame and issues related to consent, it’s important to be okay with where you stand — while you work on communication and also are okay with where others stand as well.
Dr. Emily Morse: Doctorate of Human Sexuality and Host of Sex with Emily Podcast
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Communication. The best way for anybody to improve their sex life is by talking about it. We’re not mind readers, so there’s no way for a partner to know exactly what you like or don’t like unless you discuss it with them. And it doesn’t have to be this technical conversation, either – talking about sex should be fun! That’s why I always say that communication is a lubrication. Knowing what you want in the bedroom shows confidence and we all know that confidence is sexy. Talk to your partner about what turns you on, your fantasies, your likes, and even your dislikes.
Just make sure to make it a conversation about the both of you, and not just about yourself.
Go Slow. This doesn’t mean having slow and sensual sex all the time, even though that’s hot, too. A lot of times we rush through sex and forget to enjoy all the things leading up to it, the stuff that causes us to be aroused. Take the time to explore each other’s bodies, all your erogenous zones (not just the obvious ones). Kiss more, give a massage and experiment with different sensations. Many people think that sex is just penetration, but it’s so much more and it’s not necessarily as linear as people believe. It’s finger play, it’s oral sex, it’s whatever you want it to be.
So, no more thinking it’s just make out, rip clothes off, penetrate, roll over, and fall asleep.
Lube. I cannot stress this enough –– lube is an amazing addition to anyone’s sex life – for all kinds of sex acts. Don’t think about it as something that you need to solve a sexual problem like dryness or discomfort (although of course, it helps for that). A few drops of lube adds a different kind of sensation to sex and foreplay, and it’s been scientifically proven that women who use lube orgasm more than women who don’t.
Elle Stanger: Sex Worker, Writer, and Co-host of the UnzippedPDX podcast
Practice asking for what you want. “Could you take your fingers out of me?” “Can you add a finger?” “Could you lick me here?” “It would feel better if I can put my legs like this, can we adjust?” People who want to please you will love suggestions as to how to do so.
Don’t compare yourself to others. I’ve met plenty of lovely folks who had kinks and desires that I didn’t share, and those are the people that I don’t build long-term sexual relationships with, but there’s nothing wrong with them.
Pay attention to how someone respects your personal boundaries and the boundaries of others. Does someone touch you without asking, ask you personal questions, feel entitled to your time and attention? These are red flags of a person who is likely to push on you in other ways too.
Ela Darling: VR Porn Queen
Listen and pay attention to your lover. See how their body reacts when you try new positions and
if they respond favorably, don’t fucking stop until they get off.
Ask questions. If you’re not sure if something you’re doing is hitting the mark, ask them! “Does this feel good?” is easy and it signals to your partner that their pleasure is important to you. Everybody is different and that totally awesome thing that your last partner couldn’t get enough of might be meh to the person you’re fucking right now. I’ve hooked up with people who have had what they consider their “signature move” and at the end of the day, the best signature sex move you can have is communicating with your partner well and caring about their orgasm.
Be realistic about porn. Just because you see something in porn doesn’t mean it’s something that transfers well to real life. Porn is entertainment! Not health class! Please don’t use it as a guide for your personal sex life. Not even porn stars fuck the way they do in porn when they’re not on camera. Sometimes the positions in porn require strength, flexibility, and stamina that take time to achieve. Some of them are more strenuous than they are sexually satisfying. Sometimes they are visually erotic but just not that physically enjoyable. Don’t watch porn to learn how to please your partner. That’s like watching The Fast and the Furious to learn how to drive a car.
Jessica O’Reilly: Host of the Sex with Dr. Jess Podcast
Be selfish! Our culture tends to frame sex as a performance, and as such, sex is often positioned as something you give, achieve, or excel at. While there is nothing wrong with honing your sexual skills, learning to be a taker is as important as being a giver. If being a taker doesn’t come naturally, practice with a lower-intensity activity like receiving a massage from your partner. Relish in the sensations as you train your body and mind to simply lie back and receive pleasure.
Talk about sex starting with the 3Fs: Frequency, Fantasy & Feelings.
- Feelings: Talk about the sex scenes you see on TV and in the movies. What do you like? What turns you off? It’s often easier to talk about other people’s sexual interactions than our own, but you can still gain important insights from these conversations.
- Frequency: How often do you want to have sex? What can you do to find a happy balance between your partner’s preferred sexual frequency and your own? This isn’t a one-time conversation. Your desire ebbs and flows over time, so you need to revisit this conversation regularly.
- Fantasy: Talk about your core erotic feeling — this is the feeling you require in order to have sex. Do you need to feel loved? Safe? Relaxed? Sexy? Challenged? Identify your core erotic feeling and train your partner so they know exactly how to make you feel it.
Be monogam-ish. Push your comfort zone when it comes to monogamy and support yourself and your partner in expanding whom you fantasize about, flirt with and talk about in the bedroom. You can think, talk and even flirt (respectfully) without ever touching another person. That is, you can remain monogamous in action and allow yourselves the freedom to be turned on by other people and scenarios.
Polly Rodriguez: CEO, and co-founder of Unbound, a sexual lifestyle company aimed at redefining the retail experience online for sex toys
Keep an open mind. Whether it’s experimenting with sex toys or exploring a new erogenous zone (hello butt play), never say never.
Know your boundaries. On the flip side, it’s important to be clear with yourself and your partners about where you draw the line. The more familiar you are with your own limits, the easier it will be to explain them to a partner.
Masturbate. You’re one of your best sex partners. Embrace sex solo as an experience, rather than a means to an end.