Written by sex journalist and expert, Gabrielle Kassel, for The Cowgirl.
Sex, so the saying goes, is kinda like pizza: Even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.
As both a sex educator and person who’s had sex lacking chemistry, confidence, and communication sex, I think this quote oversells pleasure-free sex and undersells the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical power of great sex.
But if you agree with the essence of this Threesome quote, likely you can deduce that if bad sex is pretty good, great sex must be otherworldly. The goal of this article is to help you achieve that extraterrestrial, sextra special shagging that makes you feel like you’re on Uranus.
What is ‘Better Sex’, Exactly?
Before tacking an adjective to the front, let’s start simply by defining sex. Sex is any meaningful act of pleasure that feels like sex to any of the people involved.
The definition of better sex isn’t quite so succinct. “There is no universal standard for good sex nor ‘better sex,” says Searah Deysach, longtime sex educator and owner of Early to Bed, a pleasure-product company in Chicago that ships worldwide. “And that’s because what’s good or better is in the eye of the beholder.” Make sense.
For some pleasure-seekers, better sex includes the same ‘ole missionary they’ve always enjoyed, but with more sustained eye contact. For others, better sex might be synonymous with kinkier, more explorative sex.
The bottom line: You get to define what better sex means to you, and so does everyone else. So, to know exactly what someone needs in order to have ‘better sex’, you have to ask them.
The Three Commandments of Better Sex
While every person has a different definition of better sex, in my opinion, there are three main components of pleasure-forward sex: communication, confidence, and chemistry.
Just as a veggie or Hawaiian pizza isn’t going to be good if a pizza shops slice of plain cheese is not, your sex life isn’t going to be good if these three keys aren’t there!
All people are different and have different sexual needs and wants, says Deysach. And because humans are not mind-readers, it’s impossible to know what that means to your partner(s) without having an open, honest conversation with them.
“ Are multiple orgasms the goal? Does your partner desire nipple play? Does dirty talk make or break the sex mood for you?” she asks. You cannot know these things about your partner(s) and they cannot know them about you unless you communicate.
Your move: Communicate often, communicate with intention, and communicate kindly before, during, and after sex.
No doubt, there is some level of technique involved in sex! After all, if you need direct clitoral stimulation to experience pleasure and/or climax and your partner can’t find your clitoris, nor stimulate it in the way you need it stimulated, then that sexual experience is likely going to be pretty ‘meh’.
But there’s a lot to be said about confidence.
A confident partner is less likely to get butt-hurt while receiving feedback, and instead can acknowledge the fact that their partner is sharing with them information about how to make the sex more pleasurable is a good thing!
Confident partners also help a person trust that they can let go enough in bed. And when you can let go in bed? *Fireworks*.
If you and your lover are communicating constantly and enacting self-care like it’s your job and the sex sucks worse than The Gilmore Girl reboot, lack of chemistry could be to blame.
Chemistry is the word I’m using for that unknowable, unnameable, you’ve-got-it-or-you-don’t connection that draws individuals together. And sadly, sometimes two(+) people just don’t have it!
“If you really click with a person on a deeper level emotionally, hopefully, you can find ways to make your sex life work,” says Deysach. “But if it continues to be an issue and the two of you cannot make it satisfying despite how much you communicate, it may mean it’s time to stop seeing the person.”
Whether or not you have chemistry is something you have to trust your gut on.
Other Top Tips For Better Sex
Already have the three commandments locked and loaded? Here’s a fun list of tips to try out. Consider these the pepperoni on your already mouth-watering pizza…
The first step in telling someone how to get your rocks off? Knowing how you like to get your rocks off. And learning that information means taking the time to experiment with different sensations, strokes, positions, and tools during your solo love sessions.
2. Mutually masturbate.
Yes, telling your partner how you want to be touched is important! But showing plays a role here, too.
Enter: Mutual masturbation.
The team sport version of solo sex, mutual masturbation invites all partner’s to show their partner’s how they like to be touched, and see how their partner touches themselves. Basically, it’s a lovemaking lesson.
3. Be good, giving, and game.
“Besides communication, keeping an open mind about sex can help you have better sex,” says Deysach.
This does not mean that you have to do everything, nor does this mean that you have to do anything you don’t want to do. This does, however, mean that you should try to avoid prejudging certain activities, toys, and tools. (Renowned sex educator and writer Dan Savage short-hands this as GGG, or good, giving, and game).
“Not judging may allow you to find something new and exciting to add to your repertoire,” Deysach says.
If your partner suggests a position, pleasure aid, location, dynamic, etc that you do judge, rather than immediately saying no, use that discomfort to learn more about yourself. Ask yourself:
- What about this idea makes me uncomfortable?
- Would this make me uncomfortable if another partner had introduced it?
- What insecurities does this bring up?
- Is there anything about it that excites me?
4. Try toys!
“Introducing sex toys and accessories into sex can help make having sex more fun,” says Deysach. “Vibrators, dildos, butt toys, rings, and sleeves can all make orgasms easier to achieve, achieve different sensations, help maintain erections longer, and so many other things,” she says.
If you’re new to the wonderful world of sex toys, start with an external vibrator like the Le Wand or Le Wand Bullet. After, you might graduate to a rideable vibrator/sex machine like The Cowgirl for hands-free stimulation or a vibrating butt plug like the b-Vibe Rimming Plug for intermediate anal play.
5. Lather up with lube.
Whether you’re touching nipple or nub, butt or boob, clit or cock, “pretty much any touch is going to feel better if it is slippery,” says Deysach.
For penetrative vaginal and anal play, bottled lube (like the b-Vibe Water Based Natural Lubricant) is especially useful.
“Many receivers have experienced pain during penetration not realizing that more lube could reduce irritating friction and make the experience much more pleasurable,” she says. And when the receptive partner is not experiencing pain or discomfort? Everyone has a better time.
6. Talk about sex more outside the bedroom, too.
And not just with your partner(s)!
In our sex-negative society, people are taught not to talk about sex. But when we do talk about sex, a few things happen. First, “we realize that sex should be embraced not stigmatized,” says Deysach. Second, “we become more comfortable talking about sex.”
And when we’re more comfortable talking about sex communicating before, during, and after sex becomes easier.
7. Create a sexy space.
With more and more people working where they eat, eat ass (*wink*), and sleep, the bedroom may begin to feel contaminated by non-sexy things.
*Cue Justin Timberlake*. To bring the sexy back into your sexy time sanctuary, start by separating your workspace from your #werk space as much as possible.
Next, zhuzh up your space, invoking as many of the five senses as you can! Fill the room with candles, soft lighting, tantalizing textures, erotic artwork, arousing smells, and anything else that tickles your fancy (or fanny).
Trust, if your space reminds you of sex, it will improve your sex life.
There are three key prerequisites for pleasurable sex: communication, confidence, and chemistry. But once you have those, there is no shortage of things you can implement to make the sex even better.