Chances are you would never tell your best friend’s boyfriend what she’s spilled to you about their sack sessions—and for good reason (um, awkward!). Sex therapists, however, are more loose-lipped, at least when it comes to sharing guys’ secrets that will strengthen your relationship and make for even hotter sex. Sometimes, it’s all about exploring new techniques, toys, or even mindfulness techniques during sex, to expand your comfort zone while still staying in it. Learn what men are dishing out behind that closed door and how you can use those sex tips to make you and your partner happier, in and out of bed.
Be Open to Trying New Things with Me
Guys tell sex therapists that they’d like you to act more uninhibited and confident when it comes to sex, and to be open to experimenting to see if different things are pleasurable for one or both of you. “Variety is part of what keeps the spice alive in a relationship and men definitely need that,” says Laura Berman, Ph.D., director of Dr.LauraBerman.com. Keep in mind that your boyfriend or husband doesn’t want you to do things you don’t enjoy—but at the same time give at least a fleeting thought to his desires (and air yours too!), and see what you’re both curious about, whether that’s new positions, locations, or costumes. “Sex is about a give and take,” Berman says. “At the end of the day, the best sex happens when you are connected and truly open about your needs and desires.”
Let’s Test Out Some Toys
While some guys seem to still fantasize about a threesome, which might totally turn you off, there’s another way to bring a third party into your sexcapades. Sex toys can be a fun and experimental way to connect and keep things fresh in the bedroom. One way to introduce them is to having your partner use your favorite solo sex toy on you, says Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., author of Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters—And How to Get It. She also suggests purchasing a couple’s vibrator, or a sexy card or dice game to keep the variety alive. If you’re really feeling frisky, Mintz recommends a kinkier toy that involves bondage or restraint of some kind to take things to another level (if and only if both you and your partner are actually into it).
Try Watching Porn with Me
Because porn is often associated with secrecy, an escape from the relationship to fulfill a fantasy, it gets a bad rap. But sex therapists explain that porn doesn’t have to be something you hide from your partner. “Some people are really uncomfortable with porn–if that describes you, don’t feel any pressure to incorporate it into your sex life. That said, if you’re open or even a little bit interested, porn can be a fun and sexually arousing part of sexual relationships,” says Sarah Hunter Murray, Ph.D., a sex researcher and relationship therapist.
To find porn that actually gets you get you in the mood, instead of making you want to punch the screen, search for “feminist porn,” Mintz suggests. Even though it’s for entertainment purposes and meant to be exaggerated, it can still give be some brainstorming material for trying new positions, styles, or whatever it may be. If it’s watched in this way as a creative inspiration for sex, with the acknowledgement that it isn’t what real sex is, Mintz says, it can be great for conversation and arousal. “It can put them in the mood to have sex, even if that sex is much more vanilla than anything being acted out on screen,” Hunter Murray says.
Keep Your Head in the Game During Sex
It turns out meditation isn’t reserved for just your yoga mat—it has a place in the bedroom too. Guys want you to stay focused so everyone can have the most pleasurable experience: just like you’d bring your mind back if it strays during a meditation class, the same applies here. “It’s not just about having your head and body in the same place, though—it’s about being able to bring your head or thoughts back to your bodily sensations when your mind invariably wanders (as all minds do, even during sex),” Mintz says.
Dr. Hunter Murray has a great tip for bringing your mind back to your partner, and squelching self-consciousness, when those thoughts creep up: “If your mind isn’t in the moment, simply invite your attention back by focusing on your breath and the touch of your partner.” Mintz also advises practicing mindfulness in your everyday movements and activities, which can help keep you locked in mentally during sex too.
All’s Not Lost If I Lose An Erection
Men feel emasculated, ashamed, and powerless when they go soft. “It’s shocking how personally they take it when they report it to me,” Dow says. “Men who are with women who don’t make it a big deal do a lot better than the ones who make the proverbial mountain out of a molehill.” The more a guy thinks about losing his erection, the more anxious he gets trying to make it come back—and the less likely that is to happen. So take this as a cue to shift gears and touch each other in places other than your privates, or ask him to go down on you, suggests Mike Dow. Ph.D., co-host of Logo TV’s That Sex Show. (Thanks for the Rx, doc!) “Sit back and enjoy it. The more he senses you’re liking it and that he’s really pleasing you, the more likely his erection is to come back since he won’t be thinking about himself.” You can also have him watch you masturbate or you can bring out sex toys if you’ve used them together before.
Tell Me What I’m Doing Right
You may have heard that guys want their women to be more vocal and louder in bed, but it’s not just because he wants you reenacting his favorite porn scene. Men complain that their partners aren’t speaking up and that they’re unsure if they’re pleasuring you, Berman says.
The solution is easy: Say something! “Many men find it erotically charging when the woman is very affirming during sex,” McCarthy says. “He enjoys hearing things like, ‘That really feels good’ or ‘I’m really turned on’ or moans.” It doesn’t hurt that doing so will mean more enjoyable sex for you since men assume silence means you’re happy.
And when you’re not happy, don’t stay mum. A lot of guys tell Dow that they want to know what they’re doing wrong—but then they’re pretty upset when they find out they’re not the best lover in some ways. Criticism will make a man defensive, Dow says, so think positively. He recommends trying something such as, “I love it when you X and Y to me. It’d make me so hot if you’d Z.” (Fill in the variables, of course.)
We Want to Boost our Connection with You
It’s a common myth that all guys want is sex, all the time (and this is true in some cases, tbh). “The notion that men want sex more often than women is definitely a stereotype, but it’s a widely held belief and many heterosexual couples do experience that dynamic in their relationship,” Hunter Murray says. This can be exhausting when you’re not on the same page. “When a woman’s partner wants more sex than her, it can be frustrating because it can feel like all he wants is sexual gratification versus emotional closeness,” she explains.
However, everyone releases the same hormones when they finish, which pretty much dispels the myth. “Both women and men have oxytocin (often referred to as the “bonding” or “love hormone”) released during orgasm,” Mintz says, so basically men and women have the same desire to cuddle and connect, especially immediately after sex (check out more reasons to make time for cuddling).
Men don’t always appreciate this stereotype of being “animalistic” or “caveman-like” in their desires, and many of them want exactly what women do in a sexual relationship, researchers say. “The men I spoke with talked about how they felt there is a misconception about how all men want is sex. When in fact having sex is a way for men to reach out, hold and be held, and connect with you in a way that they were socially groomed to embrace,” Hunter Murray says.
Appreciate Me—and Show It
“For most men, making their partners happy is the number-one way that they feel masculine and empowered, so when they know they are making you feel loved and cared for, they feel like the man,” Berman says. And guys say a little reminder here and there that you value them helps—especially since we’re all guilty of putting in a 10-hour-plus workday and getting angry when we come home to a partner lying on the couch instead of cleaning up.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let him know when something isn’t working or if you need him to step up more. But verbalizing more tokens of appreciation will make him feel like he’s doing a good job for you and in turn encourage him to step up to the plate even more. Berman suggests giving five genuine appreciations a day—even for the things he’s supposed to be doing, such as taking out the trash or picking up the dry cleaning. “I cannot tell you how many relationships have been turned around by this,” Berman adds.