How To Be Good In Bed

Regardless of your gender or relationship status.

Magazines and the internet are littered with stories about how to be good at sex, and the advice nearly always assumes two things. First, it assumes that good sex takes certain “moves,” and second, it assumes that consent is a non-issue.

The truth is that good sex starts with consent whether we like it or not. For a long time, pop culture and the media painted a picture of sex where it was somehow okay to coerce or manipulate somebody into the act. They called it seduction, as if being “good in bed” would make it all okay.

Thankfully, I think our society is moving away from that acceptance, and that is good for all genders. You’re not really good at sex if you have to manipulate somebody to get there.

And no, it’s not only men who manipulate to get their way in bed. Women do it too.

However, the term consent leaves much to be desired. As someone who spent her formative years in the 90s, I’m happy that consent is now a part of the discussion. But what I don’t like is the way a lot of people see consent as a mood-killer.

You know what’s really a mood-killer? A sex partner who makes assumptions the whole way through. As if you’re not even there and your reactions don’t matter. Like they know your own body better than you.

If you want to be good at sex, you’ve got to accept that it all begins with consent, because without consent, it’s not even sex.

So, there are no tricks to good sex, but there are definite principles that make it good. Amazing, even. And yes, every one of these principles rests upon consent.

What’s great about truly good sex is that it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. It doesn’t even matter if we’re talking about relationship sex, casual sex, or a one-night-stand. And it definitely doesn’t matter if we’re talking about penetrative P in V sex or not.

Seriously good, mindblowing sex is more of a mindset than any technique.

Good sex is enthusiastic.

All parties genuinely want to be there. Forget about begging or coaxing anybody else into sex. Say goodbye to being begged or guilted. Few things are as incredibly sexy as seeing someone else’s enthusiasm to be right there with you.

That's worth savoring.

Regardless of a person’s sexual style, if they genuinely want to be there, they are an active participant. You might be role-playing, doing your BDSM thing, or having straight up "vanilla" sex--yet none of that matters if all parties can participate with gusto.

Enthusiasm leaves no space for shame. And there's no such thing as "overeager" or being too silly if all parties are welcomed enthusiastically into the scene... not to mention enthusiastically heard. And in addition to consent, your enthusiasm is rooted in a natural give-and-take.

Note: Selfishness is not enthusiasm.

Good sex is honest.

This one is sorely underrated. We have to be honest with ourselves and each other in the bedroom--but also before and after. Few things taint an episode of supposedly good sex sooner than the discovery that someone misled somebody else.

If it’s a one night stand? Both parties need to know that. If you want it to be “just sex” and not mean more for your current relationship? You’ve definitely got to be honest about that too. And then the other person needs to be honest with themselves about whether or not the sex is enough. Conversely, people need to be honest when sex is too much.

Good sex means we aren’t fooling our partner(s) or ourselves.

Likewise, good sex is honest about what feels good. And what doesn’t. Good sex requires no pretense like fake orgasms or gritting your teeth until, omg, it’s finally done.

Good sex is relaxed.

Relaxation is such a primal need. And in good sex, this is where we drop our masks or expectations. Relaxed people get to enjoy sex while they’re having it instead of drowning in the anxiety of impressing somebody else.

Good sex is not a performance, despite what you might have heard.

Relaxed sex means we can laugh and speak freely. Hiccups and missteps don’t throw us off course into painful awkwardness. Embarrassment? It’s a non-issue.

You are relaxed enough to talk about what you like and vice versa. We’re not second-guessing whether or not that thing we just said or did was stupid.

We’re not worried about climaxing too slowly, too quickly, or perhaps even at all. Destination? You and your partner in bed are all about the journey.

Good sex is fully present.

Everybody knows that one of the most disappointing sexual experiences is getting it on with a partner when you can tell they aren't really there with you.

Maybe it’s not that they don’t want to be right there with you, but for whatever reason, they aren’t fully present. That shit stinks for everyone.

Because good sex isn’t just going through the motions. It’s about being present and aware. Reading the reactions in the room rather than simply plowing along and doing your own thing.

When in doubt, good sex asks how you like that. Or this. Good sex is about paying some damn attention. It’s more than tuning out the world and your phone. It’s tuning into the person right there with you.

And it still doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a casual or serious thing. Good sex can apply to all of it. There is a multitude of methods to connect with a partner of every variety, and good sex covers it all.

Technique and even confidence are overrated.

Some people are so confident in their sexual prowess that they won't even consider what the other person wants. If you happen to encounter this kind of sexual partner, they may very confidently tell you what you should like in bed. Meh.

That's never been a helpful recipe for good sex, but it's a great shortcut to faked orgasms and unhappy partners.

You don't need to tell anybody what they like in bed. Or should. All of your confidence is a mood-killer if it's not used with finesse in the form of some humility. And that technique you think you've perfected means nothing if the other person doesn't enjoy it one bit.

In essence, good sex is more about being a student than a master. You want to learn about the other person and yourself and respond to what's actually happening rather than whatever you think is supposed to happen.

That's why love scenes in movies and even some pornography may be instructive on some levels, but hindering on others. You don't want your head to get fixated on one certain route when it comes to sex and foreplay. You need the ability to meander and explore.

Ditch the script.

Good sex isn't difficult.

Seriously. It's kind of like having good manners or basic human decency, except that good sex is also super chill instead of prim and proper.

Even when it's passionate and intense.

People work themselves up so much about being "good" or "bad" in bed that they forget about what actually matters.

Because unless we're talking about solo sex, sex is always a shared experience. Good sex celebrates that. It doesn't shy away from pleasure, joy, earnestness, or fun.

Oh, that's right.

Good sex is supposed to be fun.