Disclaimer: these are points I’ve discussed with friends, and I’ve put up things where we seemed to generally hold the same opinion. Obviously, these are not going to be true for everyone. Some of you may love these things, but some of us don’t. Generally, they’re places where SOME men can do with thinking a little harder (equally, a lot of men don’t have to worry about any of this, because it’s common sense to them).
Also, most of these problems, my friends and I decided, were due to watching too much porn. But, they may just be how that person is organically, as it were. Again, I’m not trying to speak for everyone. And when I talk about porn here, I mean very mainstream, man with huge penis mindlessly fucking woman kind of porn.
- I personally have watched very little porn, because I don’t find it erotic, and one of the main reasons I don’t find it erotic, is because it all just seems too darn fast. Men, please don’t act like you’re trying to set a sex speed record. A lot of the time, we will quickly be a) in pain or b) numb. Either way, we aren’t going to be getting anywhere, so please slow down. I’m not saying you can’t go quickly, sometimes, but acting like you’re trying to start a fire through friction is not a good way to go.
- Please don’t go straight for the back entrance, with hand or penis, without talking about it first. If that’s what you’re into, that might be okay, but it can be deeply disconcerting for women to have hands straight round the back. Be very sensitive to any kind of pulling away here, because some people just don’t like it. If you persist, you could run the risk of her thinking that you believe her anus to be her vagina. Not ideal.
- Don’t spit on our stomachs. If you think you need some saliva, put your finger in your mouth. We do not appreciate being spat on.
- Don’t say “Call me Daddy” unless that’s something you’ve talked about previously and you’re both up for it as a thing. If you throw it in out of the blue, we’re probably going to laugh. A lot. And then tell our friends about it. And never be able to look at you without laughing again.
- Careful with sex talk. Some phrases, particularly in American slang, only really come up in the UK in porn or in very laddish conversations. For example: any references to “meat”, “bitch”, “whore”, “juice”, “hole”, etc. Even “pussy”, which is now ubiquitous thanks to porn: some people don’t mind it, but others will get weirded out by it.
- I understand it’s now the norm for men to expect women to be totally shaved because that’s what women are like in porn. Menfolk, be careful what you wish for: the one and only time, ages ago, that I tried this I was in a hissing, spitting, miserable temper for the next week at least because it was so gods-damned itchy and uncomfortable. Any time my then boyfriend came near me he was told to back off in no uncertain terms. Rarely have I felt less like having sex. I’m sure some women don’t mind removing their hair, and good for them, but do not expect it and do not feel you have the right to tell someone to do it, especially if you’re not willing to remove hair from requested parts of your own body in exchange. A friend said she asked her boyfriend if he minded if she didn’t shave her legs for a few days, and he looked at her and said “I really don’t think I have room to complain.” Exactly. Equality and all that jazz.
- Don’t come on us without asking. Face, chest, stomach: some people just really hate it. If you do come on us, particularly somewhere like chest or stomach where if we move it’s going to go bloody everywhere, be nice and go get some tissues. Do Not use your finger to start drawing little patterns on our skin. I doubt they do this in porn, but I have heard about it happening, and it’s a proper WTF?! moment.
- Don’t expect women to make encouraging or appreciative noises all the time. If they’re not, you’re not necessarily doing it wrong. I know this is what happens in porn, or in films, but it’s tiring and starts sounding fake and weird in real life. Plus you get a really dry throat if you’re panting all the time and coughing as a result isn’t so sexy.
- Apparently in porn they often show legs or bum cheeks being pulled apart, hard, to get the shot. Do not do this. It sounds extremely uncomfortable.
- Anything remotely borderline – spanking, extreme dirty talk, etc –should not be assumed to be part of a woman’s repertoire. All personal preference. Talk about it.
- Sometimes screaming orgasms don’t happen. This does not mean the sex was bad. I’m hoping this is becoming common knowledge, but 50-75% of women don’t come from only vaginal sex. Most need clitoral stimulation. And I’m guessing that isn’t shown in porn much. For more information on the clitoris, see this article.
- Don’t just push our heads straight down towards your penis. It provokes an instant ‘um HELL NO’ reaction. Be considerate about asking for a blow job, sometimes it just isn’t what we want to do. Especially straight after dinner. (Ugh, I hate the phrase blow job. It has so many negative connotations from hearing it thrown around in laddish circumstances. Plus, it’s factually inaccurate. I’ve heard stories of inexperienced young men and women using a penis as a trumpet thinking, quite understandably, that that’s what it’s all about. And no, suck job is not an improvement. Female equivalents are equally poor. Eating out? Eew. No. Please do not EAT anything.)
In summary: a) just because you’ve seen it in porn, doesn’t mean all women like it, and b) talk about what people are comfortable with and be very sensitive to any looks of disconcertedness /horror/ incredulity.
In case you’re feeling confused about what you CAN actually do now, here are some general things my friends and I agreed on to make sex better.
- I saw an AMAZING meme the other day saying: ‘Hey Mr Impatient. How about you go down a water slide while it isn’t wet. Maybe then you’ll understand why foreplay is so important.’ It is (hopefully) well-known that women take longer to be ready for sex than men do, but it’s easy to forget. It will be better for you and better for us if we take time to warm up first. By the way, good ways of getting us in the mood do not include just sticking your hand down our pants. Our thought process is often then: ‘oh cheers. Is that the only part of me you’re interested in? Shit I’m not feeling this at all. Quick, think of sexy things. What are sexy things? Wow his hands are cold. What am I supposed to do? Should I make a noise? Did I leave the oven on?’
- Good ideas for foreplay include: KISSING (shocking). Telling us how attractive we look and what you want to do. Kissing/touching neck, back, breasts, stomach. Think of Monica in Friends telling Chandler about the seven erogenous zones, and that he should ‘hit ‘em all (not literally), and mix ‘em up.’ Although, I read a very funny thing online trying to work out what the seven would be. They decided that number one was the ear, and so to carry out her ‘start off with a number one…’ you should approach the woman from behind (not sure why) and kiss her on the ear. She’ll then turn around, aroused, and off you go. Obviously this is fraught with potential mishaps. I really hope he’s talking about a woman he knew already. But even with a woman who you are in a relationship with, going up behind her and kissing her on the ear is possibly going to earn you an elbow in the face/stomach as an involuntary reaction. But anyway, the point is, don’t ‘head straight for 7 and set up camp’- or, stick your hands straight down our pants and expect that to work on its own.
- Do: tease. Not too much. Enough to be mildly annoying, but not enough for us to decide oh sod this. What do I mean? Stroke/kiss around the clitoris, but take your time getting there. That sort of thing.
- But, once you’re in the right place, stay there. This is going to be confusing but bear with me: if we’re moving slightly up and down to increase the friction from finger/tongue, stay where you are. If we’re fairly obviously trying to shift our hips up OR down so that you’ll be in a different place, again, stay still. Don’t move with us. We’re probably trying to get you to a slightly different, better, place, without having to break the mood by telling you orally up, down, right, left. So if your intention is to get us to orgasm, basically, stay where you are once you’re in a good place. I hope that makes sense.
- Do be sensitive when you’re not in the mood. As women, often we’re still brought up to believe we shouldn’t want sex. That we should be permanently irresistible to men, but that there’s something slightly shameful about really wanting sex yourself. So if we make a move and you just aren’t in the mood for whatever reason, be gentle and reassuring about it. As a friend of mine put it, ‘a) I’m not supposed to want sex so asking feels bad, b) when you indicate you are not interested, even if you haven’t realised I was asking, you aren’t just rejecting sex, you are rejecting me and everything I ever was or will be.’ So yeah. Be nice. And do tell us we’re still attractive. And don’t keep banging on about how we want sex so much. Even if you actually love that about us, you talking about it a lot even in a gentle teasing way will feel like criticism.
- Ask us what we want. But then, sometimes, tell us what to do. I think for both parties, a lot of the time the most erotic thing is the other person being turned on. So obviously that means you need to know what people like. Ask and tell.