Whether you’re very experienced in the bedroom or a relative newbie, it’s totally normal to ask yourself the big question: “Am I good at sex?” It’s natural to feel slightly insecure in the bedroom, but being great as sex is actually a lot easier than you might think. A lot of it comes down to your attitude, how you make your partner feel, and a simple knowledge of anatomy.
And the proof is in the pudding. Study after study has been done on what brings people the most sexual satisfaction and the most orgasms (because the two aren’t always the same) and there’s so much to glean from the research that has come out over the years. So if you’re not sure about your sexual prowess or just want to see what works for other people, it’s time to take some lessons from science. And remember, there’s so much more to great sex than penetration.
Make Each Other Feel Sexy
First of all, it’s about the attitude. Before you even get into the bedroom you can prime yourself for good sex: A study from 2010 found that female participants had higher levels of sexual satisfaction when they had more body confidence and self-esteem. So making your partner feel sexy and desired—by touching them or simply telling them how amazing they are—will set your both up for a better sexual experience. Or you can use other cues to help them feel sexy—a candle, the right music, or anything that will help set the mood—because little hints can go a long way.
If you’re someone who’s organized, you may already be performing better in the bedroom. A German study published in The Journal of Sex Research found that more organized and efficient people had better sex lives. And another study found that those who schedule in sex end up having more of it, as unromantic as it sounds. We all know that practice makes perfect, so taking a strategic approach to your sex life can really pay off.
Don’t Ignore The Basics
When we think about sex, we often think about the actual act of sex—penetration, oral sex, digital sex. But the foundations are important; A study from the University of Albany found that kissing was influential in bonding between people, so make sure that you’re not rushing through it. Not only that, a lot of women take a little time to be sufficiently turned on and lubricated enough that they can really enjoy sex. By taking your time with the early stages, they’ll be able to really enjoy penetration, if that’s going to be a part of your sex life.
Learn From Lesbians
Whether you’re in a lesbian relationship or not, there’s a lot to learned from lesbians' sex life. A plethora of studies, including a 2014 study by the Journal of Sexual Medicine, have demonstrated that lesbians orgasm more than straight women and have better sex lives generally. Why? Well, partially because they understand the anatomy and, crucially, the clitoris.
Many reports, including the OMG Yes Sexual Pleasure Report: Women and Touch, have found that around 75 percent of women need clitoral stimulation to orgasm—and that it can increase the power of their orgasm. Even if you’re in a hetero couple, rather than focusing on penis-in-vagina penetration, make sure you’re also spending time getting the clitoris involved, either during penetration or as a separate act. And don’t be afraid to incorporate toys, as some women need a lot of stimulation in order to orgasm.
See more: The 7 Best Couples Sex Toys of 2018
Finally, one of the basic rules of sex—and of relationships generally—is to keep the communication going. The easiest way to know if what your partner wants, and if they’re getting what they need, is to ask them. Verbal and nonverbal communication is the fastest path to both of you having a good time.
It’s also crucial for a larger understanding of what you both want in the bedroom. You should open up conversations about fantasies and sexual kinks—because they’re far more common than you think. For example, one study found that 62 percent of us fantasize about outdoor sex and 59 percent fantasize about being dominated, showing that there's a good chance your partner has the same fantasies you do, you just might not know it yet. The faster you start communicating, the faster you’ll start having the kind of sex you really want.
It can be intimidating not knowing whether or not you're pleasing your partner in the bedroom, but being good at sex isn’t rocket science—it's just regular science. Make your partner feel confident and comfortable, give them what they need sexually, and keep the communication open. Master that and you're doing just fine—the science proves it.