Surrender. Exposure. Dominance. Risk. Urgency. When 1430 women told us about the most erotic experiences they’d ever had, those psychological commonalities emerged. Likewise, patterns were clear in their descriptions of the sex: it was rushed, it was passionate, it was innovative; she felt confident and in control – even when tied up!
What’s going on here? Experts have at least one unifying theory: passion is primitive. “In the days of nomadic tribes, sex was probably a very public experience,” says Dr Matthew Jones, author of a study on exhibitionism in the journal Sexuality & Culture. “The idea of privacy hadn’t yet come about – people hunted together, ate together and had sex together. Exhibitionist urges may be a throwback to that.”
Here are women’s most carnal thrills – and how you can make them come true.
“We were having an argument in his car when all of a sudden things started to get hot. The yelling stopped – we kissed so hard, and then I was naked on top of him, having really good sex in the car, which was parked in front of my house. We totally forgot about the fight.” – Julia, 21
THE GUY: new boyfriend
HER THRILL FACTOR: rushed
Make-up sex mixes two volatile elements: emotional resolution and physical connection. “There’s a lot of fire and energy in your body – you’ve just experienced a huge surge in adrenaline from the fight,” says Dr Marianne Brandon, sex therapist and co-author of Reclaiming Desire. “That creates a powerful sense of release.”
It may be impossible to cool that combustion, but it helps to ask: is this make-up sex . . . or sex to make up? “Sex shouldn’t be used as a Band-Aid for unresolved conflict,” says Dr Justin Sitron, an assistant professor of human sexuality at Widener University. “It should be the result of renewed intimacy.”
Julia’s example was spontaneous; if there’s time, make sure she’s in the mood too. “Smile at her and see if she smiles back. Or make a joke about your argument and see if she responds positively,” says Brandon. “You can also try a more tender approach, like rubbing her head or touching her face.”
“He went to town on me downstairs, using his mouth and his hands. Then we had wild doggy-style sex. It was totally amazing!” – Lauren, 28
THE GUY: casual boyfriend
HER THRILL FACTORS: illicit, self-confident
Of course this gives you, big dog, an awe-inspiring, primal view. But what makes it so arousing for her? For women, the thrill of rear-entry sex may be more mental than physical, a recent study from Wayne State University found. “Women feel a certain level of exposure that they don’t necessarily feel in other positions,” Brandon says. “And that sense of vulnerability helps them feel erotic.”
That’s not to say the physical aspect is lacking, though – for some women, doggy-style can be a prime position for G-spot stimulation, says Sitron. If your partner craves face-to-face connection (or feels shy), suggest having sex in a modified spooning position – that is, with your stomach resting on her side – so you can still make eye contact. Another option: doggy style in front of a mirror. Speaking of which . . .
Sex and mirrors
“We both came twice while we watched our reflection in the mirror.” – Natasha, 30
THE GUY: a stranger
HER THRILL FACTOR: self-confident
Sure, mirrored ceilings are an enduring sexual cliché – but for good reason. “During sex, mirrors let you occupy two perspectives: the exhibitionist and also the voyeur, since you’re viewing yourself,” says Jones. Fooling around in front of mirrors also offers you a new view of her. “You can see aspects of your partner’s body that may be lost from other angles – how she sweats or flushes in certain areas, the way her back arches,” says Sitron. If seeing her in action is what excites you, ask her to masturbate while you watch indirectly through a mirror. “This adds another voyeuristic layer,” says Sitron. In fact, while we’re on the topic of masturbation . . .
“My boyfriend took the time to make me feel comfortable and really sexy before asking me to masturbate in front of him. He maintained eye contact and kept
telling me how beautiful I was and how hot it was to see me lose control. This has become a staple in our foreplay – sometimes we even start off by masturbating together.” – Sara, 21
THE GUY: boyfriend
HER THRILL FACTOR: exhibitionistic
Letting someone else in on your solo sex life can be nerve-racking for both men and women. But it can also be enlightening and intensely intimate. “You see your partner at the height of pleasure, without the question of, ‘am I performing well?’” says Sitron.
She may feel self-conscious at first, so suggest masturbating at the same time under the covers while maintaining eye contact, says Brandon. Reinforce how arousing she is, and eventually she may become comfortable tossing the sheets aside. And then you’ll see exactly how she likes to be touched. Take notes.
“My boyfriend and I were on holiday, playing in the water out really deep.
I straddled him, and we started kissing and grinding on each other. Soon my bikini bottom was pushed to the side, and his board shorts were undone. We had to grind very slowly because a couple of ladies were not too far way.” – Angela, 25
THE GUY: long-term boyfriend
HER THRILL FACTORS: exhibitionistic, romantic, rushed
The risk of being caught was cited by 38 per cent of the women in our survey. “Whether or not others see you, exposing yourself to the risk of discovery is an act of exhibitionism,” says Jones. “You just have to believe you might be seen. The sensory arousal of fear combines with the sensory experience of sex.” In other words, your brain may interpret that fear-fuelled adrenaline rush as passion.
“Start with kissing outside at night” says Brandon. “Darkness feels safe, and most women are comfortable making out in a semipublic setting.” If she seems at ease, propose going further. You may find that she’s surprisingly receptive – more than a quarter of women in our survey named outdoor, public or semi-public places (like a car) as the hottest spots for sex.
Got the exhibitionist bug? Here's why she Wants You To Watch
“We did it Fifty Shades-style before it was a book: dimmed lights, lots of mild bondage, blindfolds, feathers and ice to tease, taking sexy photographs, different rooms in the house and all different positions. It was all about doing things that felt taboo.” – Skye, 29
THE GUY: husband
HER THRILL FACTORS: innovative, sensual, forbidden
Sure, Fifty Shades of Grey took bondage mainstream, but women have been fantasising for decades about being tied up. In fact, even in the Eighties – the era of Fabio – researchers concluded that the plots of romance novels suggest a desire for domination. But it’s not so much the external stuff – the leather and the cuffs – that excites her, as the internal experience. “Bondage is really about playing with an aspect of yourself you don’t often experience in daily life,” Sitron says.
It’s okay to use Fifty Shades of Grey as inspiration, but your ultimate goal should be to find out what arouses both of you as a couple. An easy starting point: “Tying her hands with your tie may mean a lot more to her than using handcuffs,” says Sitron.
“Or you can try vinyl straps with velcro, which can feel less permanent but are still strong.”
To give her licence to unleash, establish a safe word to signal discomfort. Sitron’s suggestion: choose a colour, like “fuchsia” – it’s a word that isn’t likely to come up in sex play but won’t completely kill the mood either (like, say, your grandmother’s name).
“My boyfriend and I hadn’t seen each other for at least a week and I came home to new lingerie and a candlelit apartment. We did it everywhere and in every position possible! The best was fast doggy-style. It was a night of multiple orgasms.” – Emily, 23
THE GUY: long-term boyfriend
HER THRILL FACTORS: self-confident, exhibitionistic, romantic
Distance primes you for sex as thrilling as your first-time hook-up. “When you’re not around each other all the time, you can appreciate aspects of the relationship you might not notice when you’re buried under all the mundane parts of daily life,” says Sitron.
The key to reheating the relationship is initiating reconnection before you walk through the front door. After all, she may have forced herself to not think about you, since it would only make her miss you. So before your arrival, shoot her a sexy text – “What’s your favourite part of having sex with me?” – then plan something romantic for your reunion.
“What does she appreciate in the re-entry process?” asks Sitron. “For some women, bringing back a box of gourmet chocolates can help connect her to your experience. Other women might just want a massage and downtime.” And when you finally do come together . . .
“For New Year’s Eve, we made a plan to delay pleasure so we would both be able to reach orgasm at midnight.” – Chimene, 34
THE GUY: new boyfriend
HER THRILL FACTOR: sensual
Chimene’s example is for special occasions only. Part of the amazing high of simultaneous orgasm is the serendipity of it, says Sitron. Plus, “it’s hard to do. You don’t want sex to become an obstacle course, leading to this one thing that means you did it right.”
That said, climaxing in sync is associated with higher sexual, relationship and life satisfaction for both sexes, according to a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Just don’t expect intercourse alone to do the trick – the study revealed that few couples consistently peak together during penetration.
“With intercourse alone, it can be difficult to reach orgasm purposefully,” says Citron. “Men climax quickly through intercourse, while women may have a harder time.” So pick a position that slows you down, and speed her up with a vibrator. Or try 69 – orgasm through oral sex can be easier to control.
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