Foreplay Can Be the Main Event "'Foreplay' is a terrible word because it implies that it's leading to something more important," says sexuality counselor Beverly Whipple, Ph. D., R. N., a coauthor of The G Spot and Other Discoveries About Human Sexuality. "You'll both have more fun if you think of it as sex play and make it about discovering and enjoying each other, not just reaching the finish line."
The women we surveyed agreed: Two in five said their last orgasm occurred during foreplay itself, not intercourse. What's more, when asked to rank their partners' bedroom skills, the women's top two complaints were a lack of sexual creativity and subpar manual sex skills, in that order. Ouch.
Your move? Tell her you want to go three sack sessions sans penetration. Ditching the same old script—foreplay, sex, cuddling—will help your creative instincts spring to life. Bonus: Sexual novelty re-creates those early-relationship, take-me-now hormones, says psychiatrist Daniel Amen, M. D., the author of Sex on the Brain: 12 Lessons to Enhance Your Love Life.
Pleasure isn't Satisfaction The good news is you can give a woman both. In a Kinsey Institute study, both women and men agreed that sex without condoms feels better—but women said using protection actually helps them feel more satisfied overall in the sack. Even those using hormonal birth-control methods felt the effect: When they used condoms, they reported a 17.5 percent higher rate of overall satisfaction with their sex lives. Why? This one's a no-brainer. When women worry less (say, about STDs), they enjoy themselves more.
Our pick for the condom that packs both pleasure and satisfaction: the Kimono MicroThin Ultra Lubricated ($12, kimono-condoms.com).It's just 0.049 millimeters thick, about 20 percent thinner than others on the market, its makers claim.
"Gentle" Means More than That "That word is a woman's code telling you to be more sensitive to her cues," says Block. The more nerve-dense the hot spot is on a woman's body, the more careful your approach should be.
Clitoral contact in particular feels abrasive without a proper warmup, says Lou Paget, a sex educator and the author of How to Be a Great Lover. If a woman yips or inhales suddenly when you go there—instead of purring or moaning—you've jumped the gun.
Use indirect stimulation first, paying careful attention to her reactions as a guide. The nerve-packed clitoris actually extends several inches under the skin on either side of her vagina (like a wishbone), which means you can massage it without direct pressure to the bud. Trace the extensions with flat, wide, extra-wet tongue strokes or slow finger zigzags. (Don't forget lube.) Then rub a slow spiral around the top, drawing closer with each pass. The combo of anticipation and indirect contact will bring her pleasure centers to life.
If she coos, you've found her sweet spot. If she fidgets or gasps, take a step back.
Climate is Crucial for Climax Egyptian cotton and dimmer switches can't hurt, but your love chamber's thermostat is just as important, according to Dutch sex researchers. "At the beginning of our trials, only 50 percent of our female subjects were able to reach orgasm," says study author Gert Holstege, M. D., Ph. D., chairman of the center for uroneurology at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands. "But we learned they were uncomfortable because they had cold feet. We gave them socks, and 80 percent reached orgasm."
The socks aren't the secret, though. "The amygdala and prefrontal cortex—the brain areas responsible for anxiety, fear, and danger signals—strongly decrease their activation during orgasm," says Dr. Holstege. "A pleasant environment, which includes the room temperature, is an important part of making her feel safe, secure, and comfortable," he adds.
"Imagine the ideal day at the beach," says Tristan Taormino, director of Vivid Entertainment's porn series Chemistry. "You want it just warm enough that she's happy to shed a layer or two, but not so hot that you'll end up drenched once you exert yourself."
Positions Need a Purpose "There's no need to be overly fancy during sex—the very best positions are the ones that focus on the clitoris," says Levkoff. Want to amp up her pleasure without risking a hamstring cramp? Ditch the flesh pretzel for these modified standards. They're all designed to boost stimulation to her clitoris, which has even more nerve endings than the head of your penis.
1. Missionary Instead of in-and-out thrusting, "have her grind against you in circles," says sex expert Tracey Cox, author of Secrets of a Supersexpert. "Keep as much of the base of your penis in contact with her outer lips as possible." Another option: Place two or three pillows under her butt to lift it off the bed at an angle. You'll rub against her more when thrusting.
2. Girl on Top Make a V with two fingers, and place it so the point of the V (just between the two knuckles) is directly over her clitoris. Your fingers should come down on either side of your penis as she rides you. "This will stimulate the clitoris, inner labia, and urethra—as well as add intensity for you," Cox says.
3. Doggy-Style "Have her lift her butt up or spread out your legs to move down and touch the supersensitive vaginal wall," Cox says. Then reach around to play with her clitoris using your fingers. (Use a small vibrator for extra intensity.) For over-the-top stimulation of her most nerve-packed parts, "keep thrusting short and shallow, rather than deep and fast."
Club Orgasm isn't "Members Only" Only one in five women we surveyed said their last orgasm came during penetration. "Most younger women want their partners to slow down and use their hands and mouths more," explains Juliet Richters, Ph. D., an Australian sex researcher who surveyed more than 19,000 people for her book Doing It Down Under.
In her survey, more than 90 percent of women were able to reach orgasm when their partners used only oral and manual stimulation. Here's the rub: Fifty-two percent of the women we surveyed said they've made a guy stop because they were afraid of taking too long.
So how can you be sure she's not letting you off easy? "Say 'I love doing this, I could do this all day. Are you sure you want me to stop?' " Whipple says.
If you're the one worried about 20-plus minutes of exhausting tongue-lapping, though, "don't go faster—it won't make her reach orgasm sooner," Cox says. "If anything, slow down. The gentler and slower and more consistent you are, the quicker she'll arrive."
Another option: Enlist help. A small vibrator on her clitoris and your moist lips everywhere else should do the job.
Don't End Quickies with "Thanks!" Only half of all women can reach orgasm when sex lasts 10 minutes or less, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. "That means during a quickie, you'll probably finish and she won't," says Levkoff.
If she doesn't orgasm, make sure you'll have access to future rapid-fire sessions by saying, "Later tonight, it's going to be all about you." Then follow through on that promise. Leave her hanging too many times, and she won't stick around for long. The G-Spot Has Friends. Find Them You're goal-oriented. Good. But the G-spot and the clitoris aren't the only bull's-eyes. "The most recent anatomical research suggests that the clitoris is perhaps better described as the 'clitoral complex,' where the vagina, urethra, and clitoris all function as a unit rather than as individual parts," explains Kinsey Institute researcher and Men's Health columnist Debby Herbenick, Ph. D.
Try working that clitoral complex by hitting multiple hot spots at once. Some researchers believe there's something called an A-spot, located far inside the vagina on the side closest to her belly button. "Stroke this spot and she'll lubricate almost instantly," Cox says. "Put one lubed finger into her vagina as far as it will comfortably go. Use the whole length of your finger to explore the front wall of her vagina."
Now triple the sensation: Stick both index and middle finger inside her, and stick out your thumb like you're hitchhiking. It'll pull your fingers more snugly against her vaginal walls, stimulating both A-spot and G-spot simultaneously. Then use your thumb to also stimulate her clitoris, and gently twist your hand.
And just to be safe, here's one more secret that might help you score... Want to Have Sex? Do the Dishes. If a woman is distracted by anything—work, lack of sleep, chores, a fight she had with a friend—it can interfere with her arousal," says Whipple. Seven in 10 women we surveyed said helping around the home was a turn-on, but men do only about 30 percent of the chores, according to the Council on Contemporary Families. The women we surveyed said they'd be most grateful if you did the dishes, cooked dinner, and did the laundry, in that order. Score bonus points: Don't brag.