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Let's set the record straight: There's no be-all, end-all guide that can definitively say what all human beings enjoy between the sheets. (Different strokes for different folks, right?) But there are simply some moves that most people don't actually enjoy — despite what various media might want us to believe.
"Whether they primarily come from slumber parties and the locker room, men's magazines and porno, or women's magazines and bachelorette parties, the helpful hints we get may be seriously flawed," says Carol Queen, Ph.D., sexologist and author of The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone. "More commonly, they are perfectly fine moves for someone — but if they don't work for you and your partner, it doesn't really matter who else likes them, right?"
Here are 10 moves that might not be working for your partner. How to know? Read them over, then ask your partner if they're working for you both.
1. Giving forceful kisses.
Thrusting your tongue down someone's throat is (almost) no one's idea of a good time. "I blame middle-school gossip for this," says Queen. "It has the hallmarks of a person who's trying to figure out what 'frenching' is, exactly."
2. Hair pulling.
As anyone who owns a brush knows, "there's a right way and a wrong way to pull hair," says Wendy Newman, dating, sex and relationship expert. "A grab and hold at the roots is better than grabbing at the end, unless ... you're with someone who does not like their hair to be pulled. Ask."
3. Twisting nipples.
If your nipples are sensitive, you know this move causes more pain than pleasure. "In particular, pinching them and twisting them like radio dials is not everyone's idea of fun," says Queen. "You can see this move in porn, but I also believe that some people handle their lover's nipples they way they want their own handled."
4. Diving into the action.
There's a time and place for quickies, sure. "But diving into the action without making sure the lady is ready does not lead to optimal sexual pleasure for her," says Claudia Six, Ph.D., clinical sexologist, relationship coach and author of Erotic Integrity: How To Be True To Yourself Sexually. "Men are like microwaves, women are like crock pots: it's takes us a while to get turned on."
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5. Dirty talk.
While some dig dirty talk, others might be repulsed by the implication they're doing anything with their "daddy" when they get down. "For some it's a real turn-on, for others, it's a mood killer, or just downright distracting," says Newman. "Know your audience."
6. Moving too fast.
Lubrication is the key to pleasure for many women. Yet, "many men [penetrate] way too soon for most women's arousal level to have increased enough for it to feel good," warns Queen. "There's a simple way to avoid this gaffe: Ask her to tell you when she wants something inside of her."
7. Giving a firm hand (job).
Says Queen, "Some women believe that grabbing a penis very firmly is the way to please it and the person it's attached to. But plenty of guys complain about rough handling, though, and there are men — especially uncircumcised ones — who strongly prefer a lighter touch, especially around the head where the majority of the nerve endings are found."
8. Sex standing up.
Unless you're an acrobat, this isn't the easy move some media might make you believe. "Who can pull that off?" asks Six. "Most of us haven't had the Cirque du Soleil training to do that without getting injured, let alone experience pleasure. Unless you're young, skinny, super strong and bendy, sex standing up is not really an option. Looks good on screen, but not so attainable."
9. Putting your focus on their orgasm.
Says Newman, "It might seem to you that you are generous by paying attention to what your partner needs to feel good." But in reality, she says, what you're really doing is "causing pressure to perform."
This move, says Queen, "is loved by some and not at all appreciated by others. We can thank porn for making this activity look like a regular part of intercourse. Again, some will like this, while others will equate it with assault!"