Do you want to know how to have better sex? You’re certainly not alone. Many women want to know why sex doesn’t look — or feel — like it does in the movies. Sadly, we’ve become accustomed to sexual imagery that’s misleading coupled with the fact that there’s a lack of quality sex education in many countries. Fortunately, this guide can help any woman have better sex (and men should pay attention, too!)
Ditch the Sexual Script
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The main thing that prevents many women (and men) from having better sex is that they rigidly adhere to sexual scripts. It’s not necessarily your fault, but thankfully you can do something about it!
A sexual script is an idea of how sex is supposed to look between a man and a woman. A sexual script helps you understand how to act in sexual situations . Different cultures may have different scripts, and it’s easy to fall under the assumption that you need to abide by a sexual script. It’s more difficult, however, to recognize that you’re doing so, and it’s especially difficult to break from those scripts.
Here’s an example of a sexual script in the United States; although, elements may apply to other cultures. Assume you’re in a relationship with the man.
- The man initiates or asks for sex; you oblige even if you’re not in the mood.
- You kiss/makeout. There may be stimulation through clothing.
- Clothes come off.
- You go down on him. There may be oral or manual stimulation for you lasting just a few moments.
- “Sex” begins, consisting of penis-in-vagina penetration. Your clitoris is (mostly) ignored.
- He orgasms. Sex has finished. He rolls over and goes to sleep.
Sexual scripts make a lot of expectations about what sex should look like and what we want. In this example, you may not even want sex. Lack of desire means your body isn’t receptive, and sex may hurt. Nominal foreplay only adds to this. Women consider themselves lucky if their partners give half a thought to their pleasure. Yet they worry that asking for something different will offend their partner or bruise his ego.
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While 91% of men always or usually orgasm during sexual encounters, only 39% of women can say the same . This has become known as the orgasm gap [3, 4, 5]. However, the gap shrinks with women who have sex with women [6, 7], perhaps because they each focus on the clit. Dr. Laurie Mintz points out that the belief that orgasm should come from intercourse also contributes to this pleasure gap [8 p 6].
When you follow scripts, you fall into routines that can often focus on his pleasure and not your own. So…
The question is..
How do you go about ditching these traditional sexual scripts that may be affecting your sex life negatively and holding you back from experiencing more pleasure?
1. Accept Your Body
The first step toward better sex for many women is to accept their body, own it and love it. It can take baby steps to love a body that is real when we see so many fake images on the screens we look at every day. On top of that, we’re told that to be attractive is to fall within a narrow range. You know the look: thin, busty, often blonde, white, so on and so forth.
Real bodies are more diverse than that, however. There’s no one way to be sexy, and you’re not worth less if your body isn’t perfect or isn’t what’s deemed as acceptable by society. You aren’t hideous and unlovable. Remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and there are people who will be attracted to you no matter what your body shape.
But it doesn’t matter if your guy loves you and how you look if you aren’t comfortable with it. If you don’t like your body, chances are you don’t feel comfortable having sex. Many women have a negative body image, so if that’s you, you have company.
If you spend all your time worrying about how you look, including during sex, you will take all your focus away from potential pleasure and connection with your partner. Women often become so preoccupied with how they look during sex that they are more spectator than a participant.
Spectatoring is nothing new. Masters and Johnson coined the term decades ago [9 p 41]. Yet, we haven’t managed to move beyond it.
The road to accepting, and perhaps eventually loving, your body is a long one. You can start the journey by choosing to surround yourself with media featuring real and diverse bodies. And when you look in the mirror, concentrate on your good features and what you like about yourself. That’s what he’s focusing on. As you gain body acceptance, you’ll notive that it’s also easier to ride your man with confidence.
This is how you figure out what you want and like without any pressure. You can learn to orgasm (find out how to masturbate) or squirt.
Most women prefer clitoral stimulation for orgasm; although, many women like penetration and vaginal stimulation as well. You can branch out with nipple stimulation or anal play. Add toys. You won’t like everything, but anything you do like, you can add to your partnered sex life.
Plus, you’ll reap all the benefits of masturbation 😉
3. Understand Your Sex Drive
If you think that women want sex less than man, think again. Many women desire sex just as much as men when a few conditions are met:
- The sex is good.
- They understand their desire.
Much of the advice in this guide on how to have better sex will help with the first thing, having sex that’s good. Check out the FAQ and this post about desire to learn more about the second thing, understanding your desire. Specifically, you’ll want to discover ways to get yourself horny and incorporate them into your life.
4. Initiate Sex More Often
While women may report that initiating is fairly balanced , men still do most of the initiating [11, 12, 13, 14], which can feel unfair to men. Your man will appreciate it if you initiate sex more, but it also means that you get to have sex when you want it.
Instead of sex being something that you give because he wants it, it’s something for you. It’s okay to be a little selfish. You deserve to have the sex you want. Plus, you’ll feel less pressure when you do more of the asking for sex, and he won’t run the risk of rejecting your man as much when you’re not in the mood.
Initiating can also make you feel powerful as you seduce your man and get him horny.
Not sure how to start? Discover 9 ways to initiate sex, drive him wild, and take control of your sex life.
If you’re struggling to see sex as a positive or something that women can enjoy, you might need to change your attitude about sex. Fortunately, we break it down in this guide to improving your sex life.
5. Redefine Sex
Stop thinking of sex only as penetration. The whole thing is sex. When everything is sex, no activity is unimportant. It’s all worth doing and doing well.
When we view only penetration as sex, we tend to view everything else (i.e., foreplay) as unimportant or unnecessary. We rush through the very activities that many women need or prefer to experience pleasure (one study found that women were most likely to orgasm if their last experience included deep kissing, genital stimulation, and oral sex in addition to PIV ). Although female same-sex couples have sex less frequently, their sessions are longer and their satisfaction levels are only slightly lower .
While a quickie can sometimes be exhilarating, it can also leave you unsatisfied. If you want to ensure satisfying sex, you need to slow everything down and give your body and mind a chance to get into the game.
6. Prioritize Your Pleasure
This means knowing what you want and asking for it. You don’t have to settle for onesided sex, either. If you don’t want to go down on him, you don’t have to. If you don’t want sex without oral sex for you, don’t settle for any less.
Asking for what you want can be difficult. It’s hard to open up about your desires. You might risk rejection or judgment. Start small, and if it’s too hard to use your words, you can guide your man’s hands where you want them, instead. A breathless moan can direct your man to the left or right, to be softer or firmer.
When you feel ready, you can say something “You know what I’d like to do?” or, “I think it would be hot to..” or even “Watch this” as you reach for your sex toy. Remember that asking for what you want can be hot when it’s part of dirty talk!
When you or your guy hear erotic or “dirty” words, you’re both likely to become aroused.
If you want to say something he’ll like that should also benefit you, tell him what you like: “I love it when you kiss my neck.”
For some things, however, you might need to talk a bit more beforehand. Get tips in this guide to sexual communication.
After a great romp, tell him what specifically you enjoyed. He’ll welcome your ‘lessons’ from now on 😉
7. Use Lube
One way sex can go from mild to wild or painful to pleasurable is simply by using lube. Lube makes sex more comfortable and is essential for anal sex because the anus doesn’t self-lubricate.
A lot of people think something is wrong or that they’re not turned on enough if they need lube. However, that’s not the case. While the vagina does lubricate, it may not create enough lubrication due to a number of reasons or to last for an especially long session. Insertion and penetration can be more comfortable for both of you when you use lube. You can reduce the risk of microtears that make you susceptible to infections, too.
In fact, sex is almost always made better by lube even if you don’t need it! Some lubes, in addition to mimicking your natural wetness, add in some heat for a warm, tingly sensation. There are even flavored lubricants that might make you feel more confident before your man gives you oral sex.
You don’t need to be an expert in lube to find the right product. Find out which lube is right for you.
8. Incorporate Sex Toys
Whether you need one to experience pleasure and have an orgasm or simply like them, add toys to your sex repertoire. Vibrators can help women learn about their sexual response and teach it to their partners .
Your vibrator isn’t just for you to use alone. Sex toys can add a new, exciting experience for couple sex, too. Why not have him use it on you during foreplay? There are also vibrators made specifically for couples that allow you both to feel the same sensations. Shopping together for a sex toy or two (or three) can get you both excited from the anticipation alone.
9. Try New Positions
The more sex positions you try, the better the chemistry you’re likely to have and the more likely it is for you to orgasm because you’ll discover some truly pleasurable positions, even though most won’t actually be that satisfying. And adding variation can only lead to having better sex. Here are some positions from the sex positions section to try when you want to know how to have better sex:
Coital alignment technique or CAT – This missionary position variant stimulates the clitoris better than the standard missionary position. The man moves up higher, toward your head, so that your jaw is near his shoulder. His penis will face down, and the base rubs against your clitoris. You’ll find more info and a demonstration of the CAT here.
Reverse Cowgirl – You are on top (riding him) but you’re turned around. This should stimulate your G-spot, especially when you lean backwards. It’s also nice because it doesn’t require romance and eye contact, but if you do turn around to look back, it should really excite him. You’ll find more info on Reverse Cowgirl here.
Bodyguard – While standing, let him enter you from behind. His hands are now free to touch you in many places, and he gets to call the shots and go with a speed that pleases him. Plus, he gets deeper penetration than with some other positions. More on the Bodyguard position here.
10. Think Outside the Line
The sexual scripts we absorb are so linear. First, we do this, and then we do that. We try this thing, then end with the other. But sex doesn’t have to start or end at a prescribed time or with specific activities. So your man has cum? He might not have an erection any longer, but he has hands and a tongue, and he can also use tools!
You might engage in some oral sex and finger play, then take a break to cuddle or even get a snack. Perhaps you switch rooms or pause (psst, pausing is a great way to let your man cool off if he suffers from premature ejaculation) to give one another a sensual massages.
Maybe you have sex without penetration at all, or there’s penetration, and you go “back” to oral sex after. Ignore the clock and what you think sex should be. Just do what feels good.
11. Recognize That Pleasure Is More Than Orgasm
Don’t fall into the trap that pleasure = orgasm. Sex without orgasm can be satisfying and fantastic. An orgasm isn’t the measure of a quality sex life. You can connect if only one or none of you come. Plus, some orgasms are less impressive than others for whatever reason.
When you focus on orgasm, sex becomes goal-oriented. However, sex is about the journey and not the destination. Sex is something you create together, not a race.
While a quickie can be fun from time to time, allow yourself to slow down an savor all the moments.
12. Have Sex In Relationships
Some women love casual sex, and it’s great if that’s you. But research finds that women tend to orgasm and enjoy sex more in a relationship . Why? It could be that you’ve had more time to explore together and become comfortable. You develop trust for your man, and he learns about your body and sexual needs.
So if casual sex doesn’t cut it for you, that’s completely okay! Stick to sex in a relationship or, at the very least, find a friend-with-benefits or fuck buddy whom you can get down with more than once to make sure you’re having better sex.
Note that at least one study finds that being in a relationship doesn’t increase the likelihood of orgasm for women but that a variety of activities does .
13. Show Enthusiasm
While we’ve focused on why you should and how you can make sex better for you, it’s still important to be a giving partner. First, it’s hot to drive someone wild with desire and provide them with pleasure. Secondly, it’s only fair. Sex with another person, after all, is a form of human connection, even if you’ll never see them again. You both deserve to get something out of it.
Plus, enthusiasm is incredibly hot. What you lack in specific skills, you can often make up for by being a good sport. No one wants to think that having sex with them is a chore. Imagine every guy who made you feel that way when they went down on you.
You can blow your guy’s mind by suggesting something new to please him. It can make your sex life more exciting and might be something you like, too!
14. Take Your Sexuality Outside the Bedroom
For some people, sex happens behind the bedroom door. Those masters of compartmentalization are only sexual creatures in bed. Except that’s just not true!
You’re a sexual creature all the time, and you deserve to act like it. You can (and sometimes should discuss sex over the kitchen table. You can engage in things such as sexting throughout the day to get your engine running and juices flowing for the sex you can have once you get home from work.
Sexting is simply writing sexy text messages, and it works to get you and your honey set up for having better sex by building anticipation and sexual tension.
After reading sexy text messages, you’ll find that it’s quite easy to get horny just from the anticipation. Start by sending your guy a message that reads something like, “I just bought a new pair of panties.” If you get any kind of response at all, it means he’s game for some sexting. Ask him a question next, such as, “I hope you like them. What sort of panties do you like?”
Now he’s thinking about you and your panties, so don’t disappoint him when he gets home 😉 You’ll some great sexting examples here.
However, some people only feel as though they’re being true to themselves when they acknowledge their sexuality all the time. Try it. You might be one of them.
There’s an easy way to do that: add sex to the rest of your life. Watch tutorials, visit stores, take classes, join meetups, buy lingerie, take boudoir photos, watch burlesque, and read books to further your sex education and socialization. Reading the Bad Girls Bible and listening to our podcasts is a great first step, but there are plenty of other resources out there. You don’t have to do all of these things, but even incorporating just a few will leave you more sexually savvy.
You might even be able to teach someone else how to have better sex with your newfound knowledge.
Psst, education can also take the form of talking to your doctor about any sexual, mental, or medical problems you may be experiencing. Rest assured that your doctor is there to help and has heard it all. Taking the plunge can get your sex life on the right track.
It takes practice to let go of the idea of what’s normal sexually (hint: normal doesn’t really exist), but once you let go of what sex is supposed to be, you open yourself up to greater pleasure and have better sex — perhaps the best sex of your life!
Becoming Cliterate by Dr. Laurie Mintz is an excellent introduction to your anatomy and how to find the activities that work for you. If you need help flipping that sexual script, this book can provide it. There’s even a chapter your partner can read to help you have better sex. You can listen to our podcast with Dr. Mintz here.
Better Sex Through Mindfulness: How Women Can Cultivate Desire is another book by a sex researcher, Dr. Lori Brotto. Practicing mindfulness can increase desire and satisfaction for an improved sex life . Check out our podcast about mindfulness with Dr. Brotto, too!
Sex educator Emily Nagoski discusses the keys to a happier, healthier sex life in this TED Talk.
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ #1 – How does sex differ between men and women?
This might be key to understanding how to have better sex. You’ve been taught that sex looks a certain way, a way that works better for men than women. But there are differences from the start. For example, men more often experience spontaneous desire, which means they’re ready to go in an instant. There are exceptions, of course. But women more often have responsive desire [20 p294]., which means you’ll need something to trigger your desire. In some women, this might simply mean starting physical stimulation before you mentally want sex.
Women also have more sensitive brakes, meaning their turn offs are often so sensitive that it doesn’t matter how much you add turn-ons into the mix. This is known as the dual control model of sexual desire.
While a man’s body and mind are usually on the same track, this is less common for women who might report being mentally aroused even when their body isn’t sending out arousal cues. The opposite can also be true. This phenomenon is known as arousal non-concordance or discordant desire . Men are simply more concordant whether they’re straight or gay [22, 23, 24].
Because of this, drugs that aim at increasing genital response to solve female sexual dysfunction may be helpful only if a woman can pay attention to those genital cues .
You can learn more about discordant desire in our guide to sexual desire, which also talks about responsive desire and the dual control model.
Finally, a woman’s sexual arousal cycle might differ from a man’s. If you recall the cycle you were taught in school (if you were even taught it!), desire doesn’t even play a role. On top of that, there’s one plateau that coincides with orgasm. However, some women are capable of multiple peaks, that is, multiple orgasms. So an accurate arousal model might look much different for women.
Since most men return to their non-aroused state after having just one orgasm, sex tends to end there for them, which can leave you feeling unfinished and unsatisfied.
Appreciating how sex differs for men and women is critical to understanding how to have better sex.
FAQ #2 – What is sexual satisfaction?
Another way of defining “better sex” is to call it sex that is more sexually satisfying. However, what does that mean? Many people might associate pleasure/satisfaction with an orgasm, but sex can still be satisfying without an orgasm or disappointing with one (or several!).
Sexual satisfaction also has a complex relationship with relationship satisfaction  and if your partner is mutually satisfied . So it’s important that you feel happy with your relationship to enjoy sex and vice versa. Other factors that can affect sexual satisfaction include:
- Relationship status 
- Frequency of sex 
- Relationship duration 
- Vulvodynia 
- Pregnancy and traumatic brain injury [32, 33]
- Sexual communication [34, 35]
- Attachment style 
- Dysfunctional sexual beliefs 
- Depression 
- General health [39, 40]
While it might seem like there’s a universal definition of sexual satisfaction, research finds a diversity of meaning . In short, different people find satisfaction in different ways.
FAQ #3 – What stops women from having better sex?
As a woman, you were likely taught to be pleasing and subservient. You focus on your partner’s pleasure over your own. On top of this, society treats sex as something a woman gives and/or a man takes. Again, we absorb these messages that sex is for the man and not the woman.
On top of that, masturbation in boys is more often encouraged or condoned while girls are often shamed for the first thing. Society at large talks more about male masturbation than female masturbation. Of course, guys may be more likely to experiment simply because their genitals are more visible and accessible.
Finally, society has accepted a sexual script. We follow routines, and sex is supposed to look a certain way. It should come as no surprise that the way sex is supposed to look is often only good for men and not women. Everyone is taught to disregard a woman’s pleasure. Some people (men and women alike) think that women cannot enjoy sex.
The result is sex that is not particularly pleasing to women, men who often ignore a woman’s needs in favor of their own, and women who experience difficulty asking for what they want if they even know what that is!
If society encouraged everyone to masturbate to find out what they like, treated a woman’s pleasure as essential to sex (and that this doesn’t necessarily mean orgasm), educated people about the differences between the sexes when it comes to genitals and desire, and taught women to speak up when sex is lackluster, most women would have much better sex.
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