“People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used.” *Anonymous
*Though this chapter was written with attention to the sexual relationship between a man and a woman, many of the basic principles apply regardless of sexual identification or preferences...so please, read on.
Bordered by the countries of Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west, the Dead Sea is a 234-square mile salt lake with a depth of 997 feet. Its main tributary is the Jordan River. Because the lake’s surface and shores are 1,412 feet below sea level, it has no outlets. Its lack of flow makes it nearly ten times saltier than the ocean itself, and it supports no life outside of a few tiny bacteria. Hence its name “The Dead Sea.” It is dead because it takes but doesn’t give. This is how relationships, love, and sex function, too—they are a give-and-take, and when it’s all take and no give, the relationship/love/sex dies.
When I was conducting one-on-one research with women about what makes a good man, women consistently ranked a man who pleases them first sexually before pleasing himself as one of the top five “good man” attributes. It seems you can cut a line between boyish/immature sexuality and masculine sexuality by simply determining if a man makes pleasuring his partner a priority, and specifically if he makes pleasuring her first a habit. If a man wants to be considered to be a good lover, he needs to be two things: a giver and a taker. If he only takes, he is a selfish boy, but if he gives first, he is a generous man…who ends up “getting,” too.
This is contradictory to anyone who learned sex from pornography, where males are all about taking and not giving. Most porn contains extreme and unrealistic depictions of sex acts that most adults don’t do most of the time, so watching porn to learn about sex is like watching old Robin Hood movies to learn about archery. Those are just fantasies, and despite what many have been led to believe, most women’s idea of sexual pleasure is not five minutes of giving a guy oral followed by him jackhammering her until he gets off and she deals with the mess. Admittedly, until my first long-term committed relationship, I actually thought that scenario was how things worked. I’ve since learned that truly great sex is about understanding and accepting that the journey is as good as the destination and often even better. I’ve also learned that if a guy wants to leap from being a boy to a man in a woman’s eyes, he’ll need to follow a few directions.
Fortunately, women have been telling men what they want for years, and I’ve got some of those not-so-secret tidbits here for you. But since we fellas can have a tendency to get ahead of ourselves in matters of sex, let’s kick things off with the first and most important aspect of any sexual relationship: CONSENT. Consent matters! “No” means “no” and that’s all there is to it. Respectful, enthusiastic, and consensual sex is the goal, and consent needs to happen before and during sex. This seems like such a no-brainer, yet every day the newsfeed spits out another story about some selfish piece of shit who forced himself sexually on someone else. That is something a real man just does not do.
With the “Me Too” movement, women and men are bringing their terrible experiences to light and exposing the evilness of sexual harassment and assault, enabling society to see the true magnitude of the problem. This has brought a much-needed sensitivity to how people initiate relationships and prompts the need for men to be particularly careful how they breach the subject of sex. If you’re a man who’s concerned about this, good! You’re on the right track. If you’re a man who’s unconcerned about this, you are either living under a rock or perhaps you’re part of the problem. I think Emmeline May, also known by her blogger name “Rockstardinosaurpirateprincess,” summed up consent most perfectly when she wrote the following in her Tea and Consent blog:
If you’re still struggling, just imagine instead of initiating sex, you’re making them a cup of tea. You say, “Hey, would you like a cup of tea?” and they go, “OMG, fuck yes, I would fucking LOVE a cup of tea! Thank you!*” Then you know they want a cup of tea. If you say, “Hey, would you like a cup of tea?” and they umm and ahh and say, “I’m not really sure…” then you can make them a cup of tea or not, but be aware that they might not drink it, and if they don’t drink it, then—this is the important bit—don’t make them drink it. You can’t blame them for you going to the effort of making the tea on the off chance they wanted it; you just have to deal with them not drinking it. Just because you made it doesn’t mean you are entitled to watch them drink it.
If they say, “No, thank you,” then don’t make them tea. At all. Don’t make them tea, don’t make them drink tea, don’t get annoyed at them for not wanting tea. They just don’t want tea, okay?
They might say, “Yes, please, that’s kind of you,” and then when the tea arrives, they actually don’t want the tea at all. Sure, that’s kind of annoying as you’ve gone to the effort of making the tea, but they remain under no obligation to drink the tea. They did want tea, and now they don’t. Sometimes people change their mind in the time it takes to boil that kettle, brew the tea, and add the milk. And it’s okay for people to change their mind, and you are still not entitled to watch them drink it even though you went to the trouble of making it.
If they are unconscious, don’t make them tea. Unconscious people don’t want tea and can’t answer the question “Do you want tea?” because they are unconscious.
Okay, maybe they were conscious when you asked them if they wanted tea, and they said yes, but in the time it took you to boil that kettle, brew the tea, and add the milk, they are now unconscious. You should just put the tea down, make sure the unconscious person is safe, and—this is the important bit— don’t make them drink the tea. They said yes then, sure, but unconscious people don’t want tea.
If someone said yes to tea, started drinking it, and then passed out before they’d finished it, don’t keep on pouring it down their throat. Take the tea away and make sure they are safe. Because unconscious people don’t want tea. Trust me on this.
If someone said “Yes” to having tea at your house last Saturday, that doesn’t mean that they want you to make them tea all the time.
Emmeline May’s “Consent: Not Actually That Complicated” blog wonderfully illustrates how consent isn’t an absolute given—it is getting permission from a willing participant.
Once consent is clear, here are some things sex experts say a man can do to ensure that he reigns supreme in the bedroom by wearing a king’s crown when storming her castle. Get ready…here we go!
The number one thing is completely contrary to a man’s impatient nature when it comes to sex, but it is massively important. It’s simply this: Slow down and don’t race to penetration. Research studies have shown the average woman takes approximately 20 minutes to reach an orgasm and men only take 5 to 7 minutes. This supports the analogy of a woman being like a crockpot: slow to start but worth the wait. Meanwhile, men are more like microwaves: quick and easy. With the time-to-climax ratio being nearly 1 to 4, it makes logical sense that a man should not only go half as fast as he wants to, but at about a quarter of the speed. If you’re a man who really loves sex, this actually plays to your favor, because it allows you the opportunity to graduate from the simple school of intercourse to the graduate class of sexual mastery. And Foreplay 101 is where you earn your first degree.
So, like any good student knows, it all starts with preparation. Clean your hands and trim your nails—if you don’t, she’ll think that the sexiest thing you can do with your hands is wash the dishes. No woman wants dirty, infectious-spreading flanges in her most holy-of-holies, and you’re going to need those handy digits to get the job done. Also, good ol’ fashioned kissing is the best way to get things started, so be courteous with some fresh breath. Assuming you’ve covered the basics and given yourself permission to slow down and enjoy the moment, here’s more advice sex experts have given. Heed their words so you too can rank high on a woman’s sex-o-meter!
Communicate. Communication is key to great foreplay since there’s no single move that works on all women. Some are simply more sensitive than others, and each carry their own interpersonal story into the bedroom. Foreplay involves asking questions about her preferences and shows you care about how she feels (while also letting you avoid bowling in the dark). Some women will open right up and tell you what they like, others may ask you to just get started and they’ll let you know as you go, and others may be incredibly shy due to past unpleasurable sexual experiences. When it comes to sex, people are at their most vulnerable, and many have been hurt. It’s said that we often forget our pleasures but vividly remember our sufferings.
The largest sexual organ a person possesses is their brain. Women won’t always be able to verbally express how they’re feeling, so a man needs to get pretty good at listening to his partner’s body language. Beginning slowly with things like light touches, kissing, and caressing in an unforceful manner while working your way down builds sexual tension. If where your hands are going isn’t doing anything for her, she’ll let you know…but if you’re in the zone and hear and hear a happy groan, she’s telling you to keep up the good work, sir. A man who learns to listen, hear, and feel what a woman likes will be the kind of man who has her coming back for more.
Now that you’ve shown her your ability to slow things down (and that you’re a good listener), it’s time to earn your medal in the Olympics of foreplay, the game of champions. The most time a lot of guys spend on foreplay is about a half-hour of begging, but the pendulum swings both ways here, dude! A real man knows how to get busy with the clitoris. It regally sits on the throne at the top of a woman’s genital area, implying it should get the most attention. Men, this is why the clitoris matters to you, too: according to over 33 comprehensive studies conducted over a span of 80 years, it’s been shown that about 75% of all women never reach orgasm from intercourse alone—that is, without the extra help of hands, tongue, or sex toys. That means only 25% of women consistently have orgasms during intercourse regardless of how long it lasts or the size of your penis. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise considering that the clitoris is the primary stimulant for the female orgasm. It’s located outside the vagina and a few inches above it, tucked nicely under the top part of the labia, or outer vaginal lips. Intercourse alone just can’t provide the clitoral stimulation necessary for most women to be aroused enough to the point of orgasm.
Learn what she likes. Different women like different things because they’re built differently. She will tell you what she wants. If she doesn’t, listen to her body language, and if it’s working, don’t change it. Repetition works with clitoral stimulation, so when you find the right speed, pressure, and rotation, keep it going. This instruction isn’t only for newbies—it also includes men who are already in long-term committed relationships, because what worked yesterday may not work today, and although most women don’t stop wanting sex, they do get bored of the same ol’, same ol’. I recommend you do additional research if the female region has you a bit perplexed. Don’t worry—it has a lot of women perplexed, too. Most couples spend more time looking for their keys than for the G-spot. Oh, did I not mention the G-spot? Like I said, go do your research if that’s something you’re not already into (or if you and your partner are interested in adding to your sexual portfolio). And while you’re exploring your horizons, be sure to let her know that you’re enjoying yourself so that she doesn’t feel alone. She wants to pleasure you the same as you want to pleasure her! Conveying your pleasure takes the pressure off of you both, which relaxes her and makes it easier for her to orgasm.
Once you can consistently bring a woman to orgasm, you’ll ensure that you never commit the terrible crime of going in dry. Here's what leading sex experts have to say about that: “Don’t go in dry!” For a woman, that’s about as enjoyable as a lotion-less back rub on a sunburn. Great foreplay prepares the vaginal opening for great intercourse, and knowing you’ve pleasured her first won’t have you quite so self-conscious about finishing too quickly. And speaking of speed, racing through intercourse is like lingering over the appetizer and then inhaling the entrée. Savor the moment there, fella—you’ve earned it!
When a man embraces the concept that sex comes in many forms, he can begin enjoying the whole person, which is what sex is really all about. Our bodies were built for sex, and sex is meant to be enjoyed…by both participants. Neglecting the woman’s pleasure during sex will likely result in a sex drive as lifeless as The Dead Sea, which neither of you want. It’s a good man who learns a woman’s desires and needs while making sure the lady’s orgasm comes first. This kind of manly performer proves he’s a giver, not just a taker. That also displays his confidence and ability to make almost any lady come alive and flow like the mighty Mississippi!