ASK A MAN TO DESCRIBE HIS thought process while he’s having sex and you’ll get this: crap-hang-on-wait-not-yet – followed by flashbacks to his team’s last Grand Final appearance and his year eight maths teacher. What’s in her head, on the other hand, may be more useful. Happily, women are eager to share, minute by hot (or not) minute. “Talking about whatever’s on your minds during sex can be the final frontier to a more satisfying relationship,” says couples therapist Ian Kerner, founder of the online sex guide Good in Bed. Here's how to read her sexual subtitles.
“Damn, you look good in that T-shirt.”
Given six choices, 30 per cent of women surveyed said muscular arms are their biggest physical turn-on. Broad shoulders came in at 25 per cent. As for that elusive six-pack? Only six per cent of women put it first on their wish list. So until your hammer curls pay off, wear fitted shirts that hug your guns; no more than two fingers should fit in an armhole. Or try a raglan tee to create contrast by broadening your shoulders and chest.
“But your mouth tastes like blue cheese.”
Why’d you order the onion rings? When asked to pick their most toxic turn-off, nearly half the women surveyed said bad breath. But avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes, which can make your breath worse, warns dentist Dr Jennifer Jablow. Her strategy: stay hydrated and use mouthwash containing zinc. You can also chew on parsley (finally, a use for it!) – the chlorophyll neutralises odours. Or pop a piece of gum containing xylitol to increase saliva production, says Jablow.
“You want to do what to my ‘sweet arse’?”
Many women find that the pressure of talking dirty interrupts progress to a screaming orgasm, Kerner says. What they’d most like to hear: moans and groans. Men typically aren’t as vocal as women are, so these are clear signs that she’s doing something right, says Dr Megan Fleming, a psychologist and relationship therapist. If you prefer being a little racier, just keep it PG (at least until you’ve tested the water). About 20 per cent of women say that a simple “You’re so damn hot” or “That feels amazing” will do the trick.
“Spend more time on my nipples. Please!”
It’s science! “Nipple stimulation activates the same sensory brain region as clitoral, vaginal and cervical stimulation,” says Dr Barry Komisaruk, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University who studies sexual response. Besides the genitalia, that’s the yes-please spot for four in 10 women surveyed. Start slowly, kissing the tops and sides of her breasts, suggests sex and relationships adviser Dr Debby Herbenick. As she becomes more aroused, inch toward her nipples.
“Slow down, buddy. This is getting good!”
Tongue-tired? Pace yourself. Nearly one in four women said men should spend more time on oral sex, and a common tip was: “Slow down and be more gentle.” Consider yourself a pleasure provider, says Dr Kristen Mark, director of the Sexual Health Promotion Lab at the University of Kentucky. Take your time and don’t go right for the clitoris; warm it up, she says. Make slow, circular motions with your fingers outside her vagina, and move steadily inward, teasing her with your tongue.
“You take control. I’ll just enjoy myself.”
Only 29 per cent of women called girl-on-top their favourite position, but that still leaves plenty of other options. More than half said they prefer the man to be either “very” or “mostly” dominant in bed. So bring on the missionary. Lots of women love the intimacy of eye contact, Kerner says. The tantalising trick: “Focus on deeper thrusts that provide more clitoral contact,” he says, “or raise yourself up so you’re coming down into her, which will increase her likelihood of reaching climax.”
“Oh, crap, is he going to come so soon?”
Good news: seven out of 10 women are satisfied with how long men last in bed. The bad news? Even if she’s not satisfied, it could be hard to tell: women tend to realise it quickly if they’re not going to climax, so they fake it to bring an end to sex, Kerner says. If she’s stressed-out, try talking during foreplay. Brain chemistry lowers inhibitions during arousal, so it’s a good time to have a sexy conversation, Kerner says. “As you kiss and touch, you can ask her what she likes and doesn’t like.”
“Okay, time to think about Ryan Gosling.”
Don’t be threatened. Roughly half of women fantasise about sex with celebrities, says Kerner. “Women tend to fantasise during sex more than men do,” he says. “It can help her deactivate and disconnect from stressors that inhibit arousal. It’s totally normal – and in an odd way, she might get more into the sex that she’s having.” Help her disconnect: give her a massage or quiet stimulation with your hand or a vibrator on low, he says. “You want to encourage her to feel, not think.”
“I may need to help myself here.”
If she reaches down to stimulate herself, don’t take it personally. In our survey, 19 per cent of women “almost always” take matters into their own hands; nearly half do so sometimes, and almost 10 per cent want to but hold back. Some women may hesitate for fear of hurting your self-esteem – even though men generally like the idea. More power needed? About three-quarters of women we asked don’t use sex toys, but of those, 30 per cent said they’d like to start.