How To Be Better In Bed: There's Talking - And Then There's Communication
I’ve written five sex education DVDs for the Lovers’ Guide, had 25 books about sex published internationally and founded the UK’s original erotica site for women, Cliterati.
As you might expect, I get asked a lot of questions about sex. A lot.
And by far the most common answer is, “communicate.” However, the word alone does not suffice.
Knowing how to communicate is far more complex than simply opening your mouth and letting words come out.
Guest post by Emily Dubberley
Know What You Want
Real sexual communication starts with knowing what you want. We all have sexual hang ups, phobias, kinks and quirks – diversity is as common in sex as in life – and until we understand our own sexuality, it can be hard to share what we want with a partner and truly connect on the most intimate (rewarding and potentially filthy) level.
Start by getting to know your own body. Once you understand where you like to be touched, how you like to be touched or indeed, if you like to be touched, you’re in a much better position to communicate. Should you need any guidance, my book, The Field Guide to F*cking gives a comprehensive guide to understanding your body’s blueprint via measurements, experiments and masturbation (for science, of course).
Open Your Mind
The mind is as important a sex organ as the body - if not more important - so get to know your own sexual fantasies. Relinquish any guilt you may feel: this is your space to explore whatever you want. Fantasy and reality are not the same thing; feminists can be submissive, ‘nice guys’ can have Dominant fantasies; and hell, if you really want, a space ship full of aliens can probe every orifice you’ve got. It’s fantasy. It’s OK.
You might choose to keep all of your fantasies private. Alternatively, you could choose to share them with your lover. If you opt for the latter, it’s advisable to start with the tamer end of your fantasies if you’ve never talked about them with a partner before.
You may want to distance yourself, by posting your story online rather than simply emailing a lover. I founded Cliterati in 2001, to provide a space for women to share their fantasies and explore their own desires. Now it’s open to all genders and sexualities, so there’s nothing to stop you posting stories for a lover on the site, and sending them the link to garner their response.
If posting a story online is a little too public, but you’re not embarrassed to admit your desires to a lover, you could handwrite an erotic love letter or simply send a suggestive text, hinting at the pleasures to come if your partner responds in kind.
And of course, there’s always the option to whisper filthy things in your partner’ ear during sex: sometimes, it’s easier to be free when you’re pumped full of endorphins - the body’s natural high.
It Goes Both Ways
Take time to explore your lover’s sexuality. What do they find arousing or a turn off? Where do they fit on the kink spectrum? The monogamy spectrum? The sexuality spectrum? We all have our own idea of what makes great sex and a great relationship: communication is about sharing this information to see whether you can form a successful bond together (even if only for one night).
You also need to learn about your lover's genitals (even if you prefer the sexual company of your own gender, you still need to study each new set of genitals you encounter - everyone is different and the homework is fun). Just because a trick or technique worked on your ex, doesn’t mean it’ll work on your new partner.
Everyone has their own psychology and biology and, while there are some broad techniques that are good to master (use lube; worship your lover’s body; listen to your partner’s body language as much as their words) when it comes to the mechanics and complexities of sexual play, there is no ‘right move’.
Nipples, necks, balls, pubic mounds, thighs, cocks, pussies and every other inch of the body can all be sensitive, responsive or turn-off zones depending on the individual. So plan a field trip and explore your lover from top to toe, making sure to ask for directions along the way.
Let’s Talk About Toys
Sex toys offer another opportunity for communication. Browse a toy website, looking through all the categories to see what appeals. The conversation can be more valuable than anything you might purchase. You might discover that a partner loves prostate massage, hates vibration, fantasises about double penetration, likes the idea of wearing a role play outfit or any number of other insights. And you also have the opportunity to share your own desires. Just make sure that you don’t laugh or judge negatively if a partner suggests something that doesn’t float your boat; and pull them up on it rather than getting defensive if they take a judgemental tone with you.
That’s not to say that you have to do everything you’ve fantasised about together: but simply that you respect each other enough to appreciate the honesty and receive any information in an adult and sensitive way. Which fantasies you decide to live out – if any – is a mutual decision.
Great sex doesn’t have to involve sex toys and experimentation. Some people are perfectly happy doing the same thing all the time, even if that’s the missionary position once per week (there’s a reason it’s so popular: it’s a great position). Some people want to try every kink available, moving through an array of smutty encounters. Neither is right or wrong as long as you keep it safe - but communication will help make your sex life run more smoothly.
Work out what you want; if you’re in a relationship, share this with your lover; and encourage similar sexual honesty in return. Great sex comes from honest communication, trust, affection and respect. And a selection of lubes probably won’t go amiss…