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Attention Men: Three Keys to Becoming a Better Lover

By embracing three easy precepts, men of all ages can earn top marks in bed.

According to conventional wisdom, women are very emotionally complicated, and therefore, sex with them is too. But with all due respect to women’s complexities, men can become much better lovers by implementing just three simple guidelines:

  • Enjoy at least 30 minutes of whole-body caressing before sex.
  • Don’t imitate porn. In fact, do the opposite of what you see in porn.
  • Every time, provide her with gentle, extended oral sex (cunnilingus).

Genital Play Only After Seven Songs

Mention sex, and most men, especially those under 40, think vaginal intercourse. That’s like mentioning basketball and thinking slam dunk. There’s a great deal more to hoops than spectacular finishes, and there’s much more to lovemaking.

One of women’s main sexual complaints about their lovers is that men rush into intercourse before women feel ready for genital play. A few kisses, some swipes at her breasts, and many men are ready. Men rush intercourse for several reasons:

  • Fear that she might change her mind
  • Fear of interruption (parents, roommates)
  • Concerns about erections and performance
  • That’s how sex often unfolds in porn
  • And no woman ever shook them by the lapels and said, Slow down!

So I’m saying it. Dude! Slow down, and then slow down even more. In addition, to make ordinary sex great, widen your focus beyond intercourse to the whole body. This not only enhances women’s experience of lovemaking and the grade she gives you, but also helps you perform the way you’d like—less risk of premature ejaculation, erection problems, and difficulty with orgasms.

The entire body, every square inch, is an erotic playground. Women get rightly annoyed when men explore only a few corners. Some women are ready to get down immediately, but the large majority require around 30 minutes of warm-up time before they feel open to genital play. If you have sex with music playing—I recommend it—we’re talking six or seven songs.

During those half-dozen songs, kiss her, cuddle close, and run your hands gently all over her—except between her legs. Massage her scalp. Fondle her ears (very erotically sensitive). Caress her neck, arms, and shoulders, areas where many people store chronic tension. Run your hands up and down her back. Massage the backs of her knees. And massage her feet. Foot massage is remarkably relaxing, and deep relaxation is a prerequisite for great sex. Continue caressing her for six or seven songs—or more.

Whole-body massage is the bedrock of great sex. The skin contains two types of nerve fibers, P and C. The P fibers, for pain, react to bee stings and stubbed toes. But the C fibers, for caresses, respond to gentle, massage strokes by producing deep relaxation, sensual pleasure, and erotic arousal.

If you base your lovemaking on whole-body massage, chances are she’ll be happier, meaning less risk that she’ll change her mind in the middle of things. In addition, whole-body massage helps men. It spreads the excitement beyond the penis, and that helps men raise firmer erections and last longer.

The program that sex therapists have developed to teach men reliable ejaculatory control includes several elements, among them: a slower sexual pace, deep breathing, and whole-body massage. If you receive erotic touch only on your penis, you may not be able to handle all the attention and you come before you want to. To last longer, enjoy more reliable erections, and then come when you want to, don’t focus exclusively on her—or your—genitals. For seven songs, gently massage each other everywhere but between the legs.

Do the Opposite of Porn

Parental talks, school sex education classes, and Internet searches may provide useful information, but when it comes down to getting down, most men get most of their sex education from pornography. In two previous posts (the one, the other), I’ve defended porn against the accusation that it contributes to sexual assault. The evidence shows that it does not. But porn deserves to be criticized for another reason. With a billion pages available for free on the Internet, porn has become the leading sex educator of men—and it models sex all wrong.

Porn is 90 percent genital—overwhelmingly fellatio and intercourse. There’s a smidgen of kissing, caressing, and cunnilingus, but most of the action involves women eagerly welcoming erections into two, and sometimes three, erotic openings. In other words, porn is all about the genitals and vastly under-emphasizes extended, playful, mutual whole-body massage.

Women complain that men discount foreplay and rush into intercourse. That’s standard procedure for the men in porn. It’s almost entirely XXX, genital-fixated hardcore action.

Genital play is certainly part of sex, but as I just explained, elevating sex from blah to great involves a shift away from genital preoccupation to the whole body. By modeling that sex equals fellatio and intercourse, porn seriously misleads men about the experience of sex for both genders.

If you enjoy watching the Roadrunner tricking Wile E. Coyote into chasing him off a cliff, go ahead, enjoy yourself. It’s animation, a fantasy. You’d never run off a cliff yourself. But by imitating porn, that’s what men do—run off an erotic precipice and fall into lousy sex.

For great sex, do the opposite of what you see in porn. Instead of the porn ratio—5 percent gentle, mutual whole-body touching and 95 percent fellatio and intercourse—flip it to around to something like 60 percent whole-body massage and 40 percent genital sex (after seven songs).

Not Your Penis, Your Tongue

Ever since the late 1940s when Alfred Kinsey compiled the first scientific survey of how Americans get it on, one finding has been confirmed and reconfirmed literally hundreds of times. Compared with men, women have much lower rates of orgasm. Men climax during about 95 percent of erotic interludes, but for women, depending on the study, the figure is only 50 to 70 percent. And when women languish unfulfilled, they’re unhappy with the sex—and with their lovers.

Why do so many women have trouble working up to orgasm? Emotional complexity may contribute, but sex research is clear. Women have trouble with orgasm because so many men think intercourse is the source of women’s erotic satisfaction. It isn’t. The key that unlocks most women’s climax is gentle, extended caresses of the clitoris with fingers, tongue, and/or toys.

The clitoris is located outside the vagina, about an inch above it, beneath the top junction of the vaginal lips.

Intercourse can be great fun and many women love it. But no matter how large the erection or how long the intercourse, missionary sex doesn’t provide enough direct clitoral stimulation.

Gentlemen, you may feel obsessed with penis size, but how you use what’s between your legs is much less important to most women than how you use your tongue. Every time you make love with a woman, provide gentle, extended oral sex.

To recap:

  • Massage her all over for at least 30 minutes (seven songs) before you touch her genitals.
  • Do the opposite of porn—more whole-body massage, less genital fixation.
  • And always provide cunnilingus, gentle extended oral sex.
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