In the movies, sex always looks great. But if you're like a lot of men, sex may not be as good as you think it could be. You might feel anxiety, concerns about your performance, or even self-consciousness about your body. No matter what the scenario, it just feels like you're not having sex as often as everyone else.
An Ohio State University study found young men think about sex about 19 times per day (as compared to young women who think about it 10 times daily). Despite it being on men's minds much of the time, men still remain confused about what great sex is, and how to have it. Men face both mental barriers and physical barriers to great sex. They may be plagued with self-doubt, and cling to myths and misperceptions about sex. Physically, many men could use some work on the mechanics of lovemaking.
"Great sex is in the eye of the beholder, or the be-hander," says Patti Britton, a clinical sexologist and author of The Art of Sex Coaching. "For some men, it might be the ability to produce fantabulous multiple orgasms in their partner. For other men, it might mean being able to last three minutes. Being a great lover means becoming a great lover to your particular partner, and that requires doing something very difficult: opening your mouth."
Men may talk a good game when it comes to sex, but most don't think the sex they have is as good as it could be. The following slides are a guide to great sex in a relationship with six tips for more sexual pleasure.
Pillow talk is important. Aside from kissing and other sexual activities, men can use their mouths for talking to their partner about what they want, and what their partner likes. It's about being open and trusting.
"If you get to know yourself and your partner, you'll have a much more erotic and explosive sexual relationship," says Joy Davidson, a New York-based psychologist and sexologist, and the author of Fearless Sex.
Men may brag to friends and exaggerate the frequency of their sexual activity, but unlike women, men are less likely to talk about insecurities they have surrounding sex. The result is that men create distorted pictures of sexual frequency and prowess for themselves and one another.
According to Michael Castleman, a San Francisco-based sex expert and author of Great Sex: A Man’s Guide to the Secret Principles of Total-Body Sex, the average frequency of sex in committed long-term relationships is roughly once every 10 days.
"A lot of men wind up thinking that their sex life is missing something, that other men are having wilder sex or more frequent sex," Davidson says. "They have a sense that the pleasure ship has sailed and left them behind."
Unfortunately, men may learn a lot of what they know about sex from pornography. The problem with that is women and men who appear in porn are often in great physical shape. Both women and men are well-endowed, which can create unrealistic expectations.
"One of the most destructive myths of porn is that it convinces so many guys that they're too small," Castleman says. "They forget that pornography is self-selecting... These are not average men. They're the extreme end of the scale."
Other myths men may learn from pornography include the ideas that women are always ready for sex, that the same moves work on every partner all the time, and that sex always ends in orgasm.
Porn isn't all bad. It can give men ideas for sexual exploration and fun scenarios to enjoy with their partners, with a caveat: "As long as you're aware that it's not reality," Castleman says. "It's like watching a car chase in an action movie. It's exciting. It's entertaining. But everyone knows it's not the way to drive." And men should be aware of the dangers of porn addiction.
Stress, anxiety, and distractions can lead to less satisfying sex. Leave the stress of the job at work, and minimize your anxiety about your performance. "If we can quiet our monkey-minds, put a stop to that ceaseless inner-chatter, we can open ourselves up to better sex," Britton says.
She recommends that men adopt a mantra: FOPS, or Focus on Pleasurable Sensations. "There are techniques ranging from eye-gazing to massage and synchronized breathing that help keep you in the moment," Britton says. "Great sex happens in the present. It doesn't happen in the future, like worrying about how quickly you're going to come."
When it comes to penis size, men always hear that size doesn't matter to women. While this may be the case for most, it's not so much about having the biggest penis as it is fitting with your partner. "I'm not going to pretend it doesn't matter," Davidson says. "There are plenty of women for whom it absolutely does. But I prefer to focus on the idea of the right fit."
People come in all shapes and sizes and some fit better with each other. For many women, average sized men are the best fit. This is usually a matter of personal preference. However, it's not something to get caught up in and worry about. Focus on foreplay – kissing, caressing, and other ways of giving pleasure – can lead to satisfying sex for men and women of all shapes and sizes.
Don't forget to talk to your partner, too. "A lot of women are very responsive to a man's voice during lovemaking," Davidson says. "If a man has verbal facility and can entice a woman through his voice that can become a powerful part of his repertoire."
It may sound mundane to schedule sex, but it can actually make it more relaxing with both partners having more realistic expectations. "There's this powerful mythology that says you should fall into each other's arms spontaneously, with string music playing and the sun setting in the West, and if that doesn't happen there's something wrong with you," Castleman says. "Nonsense. Real life doesn't work that way."
Scheduling sex can also eliminate conflict over desire differences and remove the pressure to perform. "People say, 'What if I'm not in the mood?' Well, one of the things about relationships is that you sometimes make compromises. But what astonishes people once they start scheduling sex is that they can actually enjoy it," says Castleman.
IMAGES PROVIDED BY:
- Michael Castleman: Great Sex: A Man's Guide to the Secret Principles of Total-Body Sex.
- Ohio State University News Research Archive: "Study Debunks Stereotype That Men Think About Sex All Day Long."