The assumption is that often women need to be pleased on more of an emotional level and men are more physically driven but I’d be wary of making this assumption for everyone. All of us want to be sexually satisfied emotionally and physically in the long haul.
Ultimately, it’s about feeling a sense of connection to one’s partner and wanting to contribute to their happiness in and out of bed. It’s all related — sex does not exist in a vacuum. But since pleasing your partner is so subjective, how do you know when you’re doing something right?
Some people assume no news (aka complaints) is good news, but I would go a step farther. Ask yourself a few questions…
- Does your partner seem happy with their sex life?
- Do they give you verbal and/or non-verbal feedback that they are satisfied in bed?
- Do they go out of their way to make you happy when having sex?
- When sex is going well, you should be able to answer yes to most of these questions at least some of the time.”
How do you know when you’re doing something wrong? Many people suffer in poor sexual relationships because there is some basic need not being met, only to years later breakdown and leave because they can’t take it anymore. Signs that there is something wrong include: lack of interest in sex overall (they’d simply rather be doing something else), lack of eye contact, lack of physical affection even outside of the bedroom, and petty fights over unrelated issues.
Maybe you are on a first date and you want to know how to gauge how far to go. I believe it’s a matter of intuition. There’s a shared energy when two people first get together. There’s a nuance to first date sex and/or make out play that is going to vary depending on who you are with. If you push the envelope a little based on the verbal/non-verbal cues you are getting from your partner, you should be willing to linger there for a while so you can gauge their comfort level. And it can never hurt to ask, ‘Is this ok?’ I think post people see that as being respectful and responsible, especially being with someone one doesn’t know as well.
In regards top “skill”, people simply have to get out there. Yes, I know of individuals who have sought out sex surrogates or prostitutes if they have major social anxiety but that is pretty rare. If you go slowly, maintain your integrity and are respectful of whomever you are with, you can’t lose. I’m also all for reading, watching and talking to other people about their practices. Thanks to the internet there is a lot of good information out there now.”
Dr. Kat is the resident sexologist at Adam & Eve and also runs a private practice and media consulting business. She has a Doctorate from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Her professional affiliations include AASECT, SSSS, and the American Board of Sexologists. She also has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and completed a postgraduate degree in Marriage, Family and Addictions Recovery Therapy.
© Copyright Dr. Kathleen Van Kirk
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