Being Good in Bed and the Ins and Outs of Sexual Technique: Sexual Healing

woman bed

Column“How to Drive Your Man Wild in Bed” was a book I had in college. (I was clearly a student of more than just English Lit and Anthropology.) I don’t remember if I absorbed any special skills from that particular book, but one thing I’ve learned is that although sexual technique matters, it’s less important than you think it is when it comes to being good in bed.

That’s why this column isn’t about giving your boyfriend the “the best blowjob he’s ever had.” I’m all for practice makes perfect, because a good sexual skill set can be a girl’s (or boy’s) best friend. However, getting all caught up in whether you’re good in bed can be the ultimate vibe-killer. When it comes to the chaotic confluence of skin, sweat, saliva, dopamine and oxytocin that swirl together during the human sexual response cycle, thinking too much is definitely your enemy.

Cultivating comfort with your own body and awareness of sensation is more important, to start, than knowing exactly how to follow the rules dispensed by Vice or your sex manual of choice. That’s why Orgasmic Meditation is one of the best tools to put in your sexual/sensual toolbox – it heightens your awareness of each of your five senses as it brings you into closer relationship with your desire. (Think of it as yoga for your yoni.) It took you a while to perfect your downward dog, and it may take a while to boost your sexual confidence. And because sex is different with every new partner you have – it can feel like going back to school (but what a lovely class it is).

Even if your technique is absolutely flawless, body shame will almost always remove you from the moment, and your partner will know it. It’s as if a light goes out in your body, and even if you’re delivering pitch-perfect strokes or licks, you’re still just going through the motions. Sure, you can make your partner orgasm this way, but you will not be making sexual magic, let alone making love. Women may be better skilled at faking orgasm than they are at letting themselves experience orgasm, and although men tend to fall for it, I believe that somewhere deep inside they know you’re not really there anymore.

Presence is more important than precision, even if Cosmo magazine tells you it’s about how to work an ice cube with your mouth. This is why being comfortable naked, by loving yourself no matter what your shape and size, is so necessary to being “good in bed”. Pervasive images of unattainable bodies in advertising make this into a daily struggle for women, and so many of us bring that shame into our sex.

For men, the problem with presence may be more of a problem with porn. When you consume it from puberty to young adulthood and into your thirties and forties, it becomes difficult to distinguish between the real woman in your bed and the porn stars (or, increasingly, cam girls) who’ve brought you dozens–if not hundreds–of orgasms. Studies have begun to show that men are having trouble staying turned on with their partners because porn exponentially extends their taste for sexual novelty.

And not just that – more and more, porn IS a man’s sexual education. Rather than learning from experience with live partners, men try to replicate porn. Because of this, sex becomes a performance for them as well, not a merging of bodies in pursuit of pleasure. What makes the woman on the computer moan is not likely to make the real woman in your bed moan. And if she’s faking it, the cycle of sex without real presence and pleasure continues.

The crux of all of this is communication, which at first blush might sound like a very un-sexy thing. Being able to tell your partner what you want, what turns you on, how to get you there — that’s everything. Don’t assume your partner is psychic, and definitely don’t assume that he/she likes what your last partner liked, or what a person who gets paid to perform naked likes. Ask questions, and if your partner seems shy, ask again, gently. Or ask after, when there’s less pressure. But ask — definitely ask.

If you have trouble relaxing during sex, or your mind trails off, or you constantly find yourself worrying if you’re a bad kisser or you’re moving the wrong way, don’t assume that it’s hopeless. As mentioned above, Orgasmic Meditation can help with this. But so can simple breathing exercises during sex. Next time you find yourself between the sheets and not fully giving in to the experience, try some focused deep breathing. It’ll sound sexy, and will calm your parasympathetic nervous system — which will return you to the moment at hand.

Once you’ve got that down, go ahead and read Babeland’s sex how-to book, “Moregasm” — it’s full of tips and tricks.

Got a question for Stefanie? Email stefanie at ecosalon dot com, and she’ll answer it in the next Sexual Healing column.

Keep in touch with Stefanie on Twitter: @ecosexuality

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Stefanie Iris Weiss

Stefanie Iris Weiss is the author of nine books, including her latest title–Eco-Sex: Go Green Between the Sheets and Make Your Love Life Sustainable (Crown Publishing/Ten Speed Press, 2010). She keeps her carbon footprint small in New York City, where she writes about sustainability, sexuality, reproductive rights, dating and relationships, politics, fashion, beauty, and more. Stefanie is a regular contributor to British Elle, and has written for Above Magazine, Nerve, The Daily Green, Marie Claire, EcoSalon and Teen Vogue, to name a few. Her HuffPost blog is sometimes controversial. Stefanie is an on-and-off adjunct professor when not busy writing and teaching about sustainable love. A vegetarian and eco-activist since her teen years, Stefanie has made her passion into her work, and she wouldn't want it any other way. She believes that life is always better when there's more pleasure, and sustainable satisfaction is the best kind. Learn more about her various projects at and follow her on Twitter: @ecosexuality.