Don't just go through the motions, here's how to enjoy your single sex life.
We’ve all been there, you enthusiastically head home with a nice fella with the intention of getting the ride, but once it kicks off, you’re underwhelmed.
It’s not that you dislike what’s going on, but it could be better. But instead of changing it up, you lie there getting stressed about getting off. And before you know it it’s over, on his terms, and you wonder why it happened again.
Hopefully, this is a rare occasion for you, but for many women, this is the norm. Are you doing something wrong? Should you speak up and ask for what you want even if you feel a bit cringey? It seems that many single women, in particular, find it hard to enjoy themselves in bed, and just settle for a below average ride every time. “If you’re sleeping with someone you’re very comfortable with it’s easy to discuss what you enjoy, but if you’re with a one night stand it can be kind of awkward to just tell them they’re just not doing it for you,” says Kate, 24, who is single.
It doesn’t seem fair that the gals in the relationships should get all the fun, and it goes without saying that just because you don’t want a boyfriend doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be having great sex.
“A huge part of sex is about two people being comfortable with each other,” explains sex therapist Margaret Dunne. “It’s very difficult for single women because they can be fearful of causing a problem. They think if things are going well, why would you bring up something that might potentially cause a rift.”
Before we start having sex, our only experience of it is from the internet and TV, which doesn’t teach us a lot about how it really goes. “Watching sex scenes in movies growing up, I thought every sexual encounter I had would be a mind-blowing experience. When I started having sex, I realised that this portrayal was incredibly unrealistic,” says Anna, who is single.
She adds: “Porn just has men brainwashed about how easily we supposedly enjoy sex, and there’s pressure to live up to what they expect women to be like in the bedroom.”
Margaret explains that more work should be going into the build-up, before those sex scenes we see on screen. “Arousal is the most important part, very often we just assume the arousal and go straight to penetration with very little in between. The build-up and touching can be much more pleasurable than the thrusting. Very often it’s just so focused on the end game, and it’s a pity because there is so much enjoyment that can be had.”
So if you are in this predicament, how do you fix it? Most of the time, a man will appreciate a bit of guidance, says Margaret. “The ironic thing is often the guys wouldn’t mind being told what a woman likes and what will do it for her, men often say to me that it’s brilliant if they have some kind of conversation with a woman.”
It sounds simple in theory, but we all know it’s not the easiest subject to broach, especially when it’s with someone you don’t know that well.
“Really if you’re spelling it out for them there is no reason why they wouldn’t try. And if they are not, you can realise very quickly that they are not interested in you and your needs.”
Margaret advises starting with something positive, telling them what you are enjoying, and then making a suggestion about something else they could do. “It’s a communication thing but it doesn’t always have to be verbal, a change in position is telling him something too,” she says. “It can be something as simple as moving his hand from your breast to your clitoris. Sometimes it’s a matter of steering them in the right direction.”
Worried it’s you? Margaret stresses that everyone can learn to be good at sex, but that we need to understand our own bodies before we go dishing out advice.
“It’s all about exploring the body and very often people aren’t even sure of their own bodies,” she explains. “I sometimes work with women who actually don’t know what turns them on. It feels weird in the beginning using a mirror or exploring but we need to be an expert in our own bodies before we try to explain it to anyone else. For all our independence and feminism women can still be a bit subservient when it comes to the bedroom. It really is just a matter of taking the plunge and moving into a different position in a gentle way. It’s important women assert themselves.”
So, don’t stay quiet – or even worse – fake moan. It’s meant to be fun, remember to laugh, and be comfortable – both of you will enjoy it more if you don’t take yourself too seriously.