It can be hard to know what women want in bed. Articulating desire doesn’t always come naturally, especially for women. While some women will let you know exactly what they like in bed, others have a harder time expressing what they want, which can make the whole let-me-d0-that-thing-you-love thing a bit more difficult. Generally speaking, this makes sense, considering what social scripts say about gender roles in the bedroom. Men have traditionally taken the lead when it comes to accessible sexual narratives (hi, porn). But that doesn’t change the fact that women want different things during sex. In the absence of mind-reading, there are some universal things men can do to help please women in the bedroom. Communicating more. Finding the right pace. Considering sex toys. These are five things women want in bed, according to sex experts.
Talk About What They Like and Plan Ahead
A simple lack of communication in the bedroom can balloon into astronomical problems. While sex is a largely physical experience, there is an important verbal component that’s often overlooked. Actually sitting down and talking to your partner about what they like in bed, what they aren’t so crazy about, and what they might be curious about can be a transformative experience. Of course, we know it’s not always easy to get that ball rolling, so maybe talk it out over a glass of wine. Maybe you could turn on a show that you know has some steamy sex scenes. It’s not important how you chose to go about it, what’s important is that it demonstrates effort, intention, and a desire to please. That’s what you need to keep sex healthy and exciting. “It’s important to make sex a priority,” Dr. Chris Donaghue, sex therapist and author of the upcoming book Rebel Love previously told Fatherly. “It’s important to articulate what you want to be working on.”
Find the Right Pace and Rhythm
Experts estimate that it takes women around 20 minutes to become fully aroused. Men, meanwhile, can typically hit that mark in a fraction of the time. Of course, these estimates should be applied in general, as not everyone is going to abide by that specific timeline. But the point is, different individuals will gravitate toward different ways of initiating sex. The hard-and-fast approach might work for someone who is easily aroused, but it’s not going to work for everyone. Remember, that vaginal tissue is delicate, and can respond negatively to the aggressive touch when not fully lubricated. We get it. It’s hard to remain chill when dealing with a full-blown erection. But it’s important not to get too excited too fast, especially when getting handsy with your partner. Keep the conversation going throughout the sexual encounter. Keep tabs on what your woman likes, and ask before moving on to the next step.
Monotony is a terrible thing to associate with sex. In fact, it’s often what people say drove them, in part, into affairs. “People in long-term marriages, or long-term partnerships, can sometimes become a little less curious about their partner. They can stop being adventurous, or stop growing in their erotic lives,” Dr. Tammy Nelson, sex therapist and author of the book When You’re the One Who Cheats previously told Fatherly. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to avoid falling into that trap. Role-play is a pretty popular bedroom stunt. Talking dirty is another one. And it doesn’t even have to get that involved. Mixing up the positions, even the places you have sex can help reignite diminishing bedroom flames. Remain cognizant of that fact, and take active steps to avoid falling into too much of a “routine.”
Forget About Your Penis, for a Bit
Studies have shown that generosity has a positive effect on marriage. Small gestures can go a long way in the context of a long-term relationship, and that can certainly apply to the bedroom as well. Simply put, some selflessness in the bedroom can be a major turn-on. Besides, research suggests that women are much more likely to orgasm when sex involves a variety of activities besides vaginal intercourse. Digital stimulation (with trim fingernails, only), oral sex, and other kinds of sexual play are much more likely to deliver her an orgasm than straight sex.
Don’t Forget About Sex Toys
A study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that using a vibrator can lead to multiple orgasms in almost half of all female users. The researchers also found that a majority of orgasms triggered by vibrator stimulation were more intense than those that were not. That’s a pretty solid sell on the vibrator jam, especially when you compare these findings to some other statistics floating around out there.
According to the book The Case of the Female Orgasm, penned by American philosopher of biology Elisabeth Lloyd, just 25 percent of women orgasm consistently during vaginal intercourse. Given what we know about mechanized stimulation, it seems as though throwing a vibrator into the mix during sex might help even the playing field. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen as often as it should. Women tend to worry about how their partners will react to accessories in the bedroom. Apparently, fears of being replaced by the machine are still a thing when it comes to vibrators and other bedroom accompaniments. So take initiative, and bring a sex toy into the bedroom. It will take the pressure off her and prove that you’ve dodged the toxic pit of male insecurity. Win-win.