Asking for what you want during sex isn’t exactly easy. As much as the feminist and sex positive movements are helping to encourage women to take agency in their lives (and in bed), we still have a long way to go.
For most girls and women, we’re not encouraged to say when something isn’t working for us during sex. We’re supposed to just lie there and take it. And having expectations is often considered being difficult. Le sigh.
This thinking needs to change. Otherwise we’ll be mired in the Land of Fake Orgasms for the rest of our lives, fruitlessly rooting around trying to show our partners where the clitoris is—without actually saying where it is.
Don’t worry, the situation is not at all hopeless. Here are eight real women with good advice on how to get the sex you want—because they do.
"Communicate. Before, during, after... what do you like, how do you like it, what intensity, what makes you feel comfortable, let go of fear about what your partner thinks and surrender... it really comes down to allowing yourself to feel and enjoy the moment." —Kay, 33
"First, know what you want in sex. You have to self-pleasure to know what feels good and what does not. Explore every sensation in your body. Next is to communicate with your partner, be vulnerable and open. Gently and passionately guide him on what to do. Appreciate him." —Jeneveve, 29
"The best way I've found to get what I want out of sex is to bring down my enthusiasm a couple of notches. Once my partner does something I love, I bring the enthusiasm back to 10/10. The really obvious visual cues and reciprocation makes it easy for them to follow along, and eventually, they will be left with only the moves I really enjoy."
"Talking about what you want out of sex will usually be difficult but definitely manageable with a supportive partner. My way to approach this is to warn them about the talk beforehand. Say that I want to know the things they like best about what I do and possibly something they don't enjoy or are indifferent about. Explain that I want to make our sex life the best it can be for the both of us, and I'll think of my favorite things to share as well." —Jessica, 33
"Communicate, check-in with [yourself], say ‘yes’ when it feels good and say ‘no’ when it doesn't." —Krystle, 29
"Explore yourself; get to know what pleasures YOU. If you don’t know, how can you tell your SO what, how, etc.? Be gentle in communicating it to him/her and not necessarily in the heat of the moment. Reciprocate and ask what they enjoy." —Kimmie, 60
"Know what you like. Talk about it before having sex. Don’t get mad, get clear. Talk with them outside of the bedroom, just the two of you. You can always open with the question ‘What could I do to give you a better orgasm?’ or my personal favorite ‘When was your favorite time that we had sex and why?’ These questions open up a dialogue. But you gotta remember that it is a two way street. If there is something you can do to better assist your partner, then do it. Hold them accountable to your talk. The next time you have sex, hold your partner accountable! Don’t just let it happen per usual. Set the stage. Gently remind your partner and make it dirty talk if that feels better. Enjoy the phenomenal sex, Goddesses! You deserve it." —Olyvia, 24
"Communicate, be confident, feel sexy, and don’t be afraid to give instruction." —Kathleen, 33
See more: 17 Women on How They Initiate Sex
"I learned what I enjoy through masturbation, and I stopped faking my own pleasure. Masturbation is such a good way to learn what you enjoy and where you like to be touched. Once you know that it's much easier to know where you'd like your partner to touch you and how much or how little of it you really want. We're told that we have to speak up in bed (and it's true) but that's not always easy. For me it was easier to stop speaking up—no more faked orgasms, no more breathy moans when I was composing my to-do list in my head. By going quiet, my partner (who was used to those noises) began to ask, ‘Is this good?’ and ‘Do you like it?’ When asked the direct question, it was easier for me to say, ‘Harder’ or ‘A little to the left’ or whatever." —Kayla, 39