There are countless books, instructional videos, and colorful diagrams devoted to answering the question, “How can I please my lover in bed?” While plenty (if not all) of this advice is helpful, perfecting your lovemaking techniques isn’t the sole path to having better sex—especially since not everyone’s brought to a mind-scrambling climax the same ways.
“Sex has no goal but pleasure and fun, and doesn’t always involve genitals, penetration or even orgasm, either,” says Dr. Chris Donaghue, sex and relationship therapist, podcast host, and author of Rebel Love. “Good sex is about play.”
In the spirit of enjoying the ride, we asked experts to recommend the best sex tips for women.
Get to know your own body, first and foremost.
Yes, “this means masturbation,” says Gigi Engle, certified sex coach and author of the upcoming All the F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life.
Knowing what brings you pleasure doesn’t just make sex more satisfying for you; it boosts your confidence during an encounter, making things more fun for everyone involved.
“So many women don’t spend time with themselves, nor do they devote enough time to really get to know what brings them pleasure,” Engle adds.
Ask your partner what they like.
Whether you’ve been together for years or just started seeing each other, it’s likely you’ll learn something new about your bedmate’s desires by…simply asking.
“Communication is a huge cornerstone of good sex,” Engle explains. “Asking each other what you like is pretty much the only way either of you is going to get what you want.”
If you’re sheepish about broaching the subject, preferring to go by moans alone, remember that it’s a chance to learn more about each other and make sex better in the long run. “We have a lot of shame and embarrassment in general around sex so talking about it can be nerve-wracking,” says Engle. She says,”Approach your partner with empathy, and express a desire to bring them the most pleasure possible. Then, share your desires as well.”
Sext your partner during the day.
Tap your phone’s potential as a seduction tool by sending sexy texts—a.k.a “sexts.”
“Sex and arousal can begin long before you’re face-to-face,” says Donaghue. “Building arousal prior to sexual engagement will lead to peak sexuality.”
You can share a fantasy, or describe—in detail—what you’d like to do to them later. If you’re both new to exchanging sexts, you might want to start off PG-13 and let things naturally escalate at your own pace. Only you can speak to the specific vibe of your text exchanges (such as whether peppering in some eggplant emoji will be met with laughter as opposed to confusion), so the main rule is to keep it playful.
One more tip: Fix your phone’s notification settings to prevent new messages from displaying on your lock screen. It’ll keep your steamy exchange away from coworkers and/or kids’ prying eyes.
Use (and ask for) multiple levels of stimulation.
You might strike up a dialogue about the speed or pressure your partner enjoys when you’re stroking them down there. And don’t neglect the rest of their body, either—skin is the body’s largest organ, after all.
“While performing oral sex or during intercourse, use your hands to stimulate other areas of the body, and ask partners to do the same to you,” Donaghue advises. Rub their thighs, stomach, and any other place they’ve let you know they like to be touched.
If your partner has a prostate, pay it some attention.
The prostate—the typically-walnut-sized gland located between a man’s penis and bladder—is most often discussed in a medical context. But Donaghue urges people not to “shame or avoid this powerful, pleasure-giving body part. It can lead to bigger, and even multiple orgasms.”
Some men are able to experience a prostate orgasm—as the International Society for Sexual Medicine points out, this earns its nickname as “the male G-spot.” You can massage the prostate with your hands, or stimulate it anally by inserting a finger or clean sex toy (you’ll want to get consent in a conversation before you try this, of course).
Lube makes everything go more smoothly.
It cannot be stressed enough: Lube is great for adults of every age.
“Too many women act under the false assumption that they should be getting so ‘wet’ that they don’t ‘need’ to use lube,” Engle says. “This is completely wrong. You should be using lube no matter the situation.”
Skipping personal lubricant can lead to vaginal tearing, irritation from friction, and pain during sex, Engle explains. “Lube also helps everything slide and slip more easily, providing a barrier between skin and fingers or toys,” she adds. To find the lubricant that’s best for you, here’s a lube 101 primer—and ten great options.
Follow your fantasies.
“What’s your fantasy?” isn’t just the title of an incredible Ludacris song; it’s a question you should know the answer to when it comes to your own. Sexual fantasies are far from unusual—in fact, here are eight of the most common ones.
Donaghue calls fantasies the “most honest parts of our sexuality.” While not every fantasy needs to be acted on in real life, they can serve as a valuable guide. “The arousing thoughts and ideas in your head, the types of porn that you watch, and the things out in the world that turn you on are all important aspects of your sexual psychology,” he says.
Try out new sex toys.
If you’ve never used a sex toy in the bedroom before, Donaghue recommends them to “amp up arousal and to explore diverse sensations.”
Once considered the province of perverts, toys have come a long way in terms of image, features, and the materials they’re made from. There’s an exciting product out there for every taste—like these 20 for couples to enjoy, for example.
Resist falling back on what “works.”
Donaghue says that though our turn-ons are “always evolving and changing,” it’s easy to “fall into sexual habits and routines, reinforcing the same sexual behaviors over and over.” Shake things up with different positions, role-play, or even just get busy in a new room (in or away from home). “Sex can be new and novel even with repeat partners,” he says.
Harness your attraction to other people.
Even those who are wholly devoted to a significant other can find themselves attracted to someone else. Instead of beating yourself up about your natural, hormonal reaction (or worse, acting on it and cheating), redirect those fired-up feelings and love the one you’re with. “If you’re turned on at work, or by someone you see at the gym, carry it with you and take that sexual energy home to use with your partner,” Donaghue says.
Don’t forget that “sex” means way more than just penetration.
“Sex doesn’t have a hierarchy wherein one act is better or more important than the other,” Engle says. To that end, she recommends more oral sex all around—not just giving, but receiving, too.
Your pleasure will be a turn-on for your partner, and Engle urges you to “take as long as you need to fully enjoy yourself, and orgasm, if that’s on the table. Getting fully aroused is crucial before having intercourse, as the vagina naturally lubricates and expands, and oral sex can get you there.”
Don’t fixate on orgasm as the only goal.
Intense Os are great, but they’re not the be-all and end-all, and pressure to perform is like a cold splash of ice water on an otherwise good time. “Putting focus on orgasm puts you into a negative feedback loop,” Engle explains. “You pressure yourself to orgasm, which gives you anxiety about not having an orgasm, which in turn makes you too anxious to orgasm.”.
“Instead of thinking of sex as a performance with a big finale, think of it as a journey,” says Engle. “This will actually make you more likely to orgasm. When you don’t feel pressured, you can experience your full range of pleasure.”