Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a working knowledge of 52 sex positions or a background in porn to be ridiculously good in bed. Instead, it comes down to more subtle (and realistic) factors that you may already posses. And if you don’t, we’re here to help you hone the skills you really need to blow your partner’s mind.
1. YOU’RE NOT JUDGMENTAL
Whether it’s hearing out your partner’s fantasy or allowing yourself to really identify your own, being open to different desires and turn-ons is essential in a partner, says sex therapist Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First. “Remember it’s all in the realm of fantasy—it’s not something you ever have to do,” says Kerner. So put aside your judgments and really listen to the desires of you and your partner. You may find that you’re into some really interesting stuff.
2. YOU’RE INNOVATIVE
We see the arm of a couch, you see a great prop for doggie style. We see a bra, you see a bondage tool. Being creative and looking for new ways to spice things up is crucial in a lover, says sex and relationship therapist Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., author of The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples. “Someone who says ‘let’s dress up,’ or ‘let’s go into the closet,’ or anything that’s a bit more interesting is great,” says Schwartz.
3. YOU THINK ABOUT SEX—A LOT
And we don’t just mean while you’re getting busy or whenever you see that so-sexy-it-should-be-illegal guy at your gym. “Sex has a strong mental component,” says Kerner. So pay attention when you have a sensual thought or feel randomly aroused throughout the day, and don’t immediately dismiss it. “Allow yourself to feel eroticized and observe what’s sexy around you,” says Kerner.
4. YOU’RE ABLE TO PUT SOMEONE ELSE’S NEEDS ABOVE YOUR OWN
Practicing compassion in every area of your life is clutch, but practicing it in the bedroom can make you a seriously good sex partner. We’re not suggesting you always put the other person first (after all, your orgasms are important too), but it can be really hot to focus on pleasing your partner every once in a while, just for the sake of satisfying them. “Maybe it’s going for it in the morning when your boyfriend typically wants to have sex,” says Kerner. Or maybe it’s indulging in a position they love or treating them to oral that isn’t just a precursor to the main event, says Kerner. It’s not about being selfless all the time, but rather about treating your partner how you’d like to be treated. We promise, these generous acts will not go unnoticed.
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5. YOU’LL TRY (ALMOST) EVERYTHING ONCE
“It’s hard to be good in bed if you only do what you know and don’t do anything but that,” says Schwartz. “You don’t have to be willing to swing from trees, but you should have that feeling of ‘it could be fun!’ or ‘why not?'” Obviously, if your partner is dying to have a threesome and you’re not into it, then it’s perfectly justified to say no. But when it comes to new tricks, tips, and techniques, we suggest giving it shot—like these six adventurous sex tips from erotic novelists. Hey, you might love it.
6. YOU ENJOY SOLO TIME
No, not with your Netflix, with your vagina. Someone who is in tune with her body and aware of what feels good will be a better lover and will enjoy sex more. Women can forget how fun and pleasurable masturbation can be, especially when they’re in a relationship; and although some may think that masturbating will make you less interested in sex, very often the opposite is true, says Kerner. So use these self-love tips and check out 21 ways to have even more fun with masturbation. And if you feel like you’re neglecting your partner, there’s no harm in inviting them to watch.
7. YOU’RE NOT SELF-CONSCIOUS
Think of the best sex you’ve ever had—chances are your partner was passionate, enthusiastic, and just oozing sex appeal. We’re willing to bet they weren’t worried about their body, making sure the lights were off, or complaining about their belly. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: Confidence is the sexiest asset you can have. “Someone who says, ‘I’m sexy any way I look,’ pretty much has you believing it,” says Schwartz.
8. YOU KNOW WHEN TO GET A LITTLE LOUD AND CRAZY
Being able to let loose, let go, and be a bit uncensored is a great attribute in a partner. For one thing, you’ll be less inhibited, which is always sexy. Another reason: Men said that one thing they really want in a lover is for them to make some more noise, says Schwartz of a study she conducted for The Normal Bar. “Men aren’t always sure what women want and if she’s enjoying herself if she’s not giving them any direction. They want to use those sounds as direction.” This can be anything from a well-timed moan to words or phrases, like “harder,” “slower,” or “right there.”
9. YOU’RE SPONTANEOUS
When we asked real men about the hottest thing a woman has ever done during sex, a major theme emerged: taking the reins and doing something surprising or spontaneous. From waking them up with a blowjob or waiting on the bed in lingerie, these are little things that make a huge impact because they’re so out-of-the-blue.
10. YOU’RE PHYSICALLY FIT
Researchers know that being physically fit and active is a big aphrodisiac for women, but it can also make you better in bed. For instance, exercise boosts focus, revs up your libido, enhances your endurance, and helps you gain confidence.
11. YOU CAN LAUGH AT YOURSELF
Someone who is great in bed can see the fun and humor in any situation, because come on, sex should be a good time. As sex expert Logan Levkoff, Ph.D., recently told us, “You may not remember the strongest orgasm you’ve ever had, but you’ll remember the time you fell off the bed because you were so into it that you didn’t realize you were on the edge.” Weird noises, sounds, and failed positions happen, but if you can roll with it and still enjoy yourself, that’s what makes someone amazing in the sack.