Chances are you would never tell your best friend’s boyfriend what she’s spilled to you about their sack sessions—and for good reason (um, awkward!). Sex therapists, however, are more loose-lipped, at least when it comes to sharing guys’ secrets that will strengthen your relationship and make for even hotter sex. Learn what he’s dishing out behind that closed door and how you can use that knowledge to make both of you happier, in and out of bed.
1 of 8 We Don't Need to Have a Threesome, But Can We Talk About It?
The most popular fantasy men discuss is a three-way, usually involving their partner and another woman, experts say. He’s committed to you, it’s just that the caveman male brain was wired to keep the species going by wanting to procreate with more than one woman—and his noggin is still programmed that way, says psychologist Mike Dow, Ph.D., co-host of Logo TV’sThat Sex Show. The neurotransmitter dopamine not only controls the brain’s pleasure centers, it’s also the chemical for novelty.
The good news is you can arouse that part of his brain without inviting another woman into your bedroom (something that most experts discourage unless you are both solidly into the idea or are into swinging). Men often want to tell you their fantasies but worry you won’t be comfortable with them, Dow says, so ask in a loving, nonjudgmental way. See if there is a part of it or a version of it that you are also interested in trying. Maybe you can role-play the lawyer-by-day, stripper-by-night (hey, anything can happen in his fantasy world) woman he describes. Or consider having a “threesome” by introducing him to your battery-operated boyfriend and discovering new ways to play with your vibrator together.
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Don't Take My Porn Collection Personally
Most men masturbate to pornography because their brains crave visual stimulation while being stimulated in, um, other ways. But this isn’t an indicator that he doesn’t want you, says Ian Kerner, Ph.D., co-author of The Good in Bed Guide to 52 Weeks of Amazing Sex. The average guy approaches self-love as a private act and probably does it for stress relief, just like you might have sex toys that you turn to when he’s not around. His preferred kind of X-rated video also doesn’t mean that’s the kind of sex he necessarily wants, Kerner adds, likening porn to channel surfing: You might not know what you’re looking for until something captures your attention.
And don’t worry: While men want to you to be passionate in the bedroom and have the confidence of a porn star, guys say they don’t expect or even necessarily want their woman to be as crazy as porn stars, says Barry McCarthy, Ph.D., certified sex and marriage therapist and author of Discovering Your Couple Sexual Style.
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Be Open to Trying New Things with Me
Guys tell sex therapists that they’d like you to act more uninhibited and confident when it comes to sex, and to be open to experimenting to see if different things are pleasurable for one or both of you. It goes back to that novelty-seeking caveman brain, says Laura Berman, Ph.D., director ofDr.LauraBerman.com. “Variety is part of what keeps the spice alive in a relationship and men definitely need that.” Keep in mind that your boyfriend or husband doesn’t want you to do things you don’t enjoy—but at the same time give at least a fleeting thought to his desires (and air yours too!), and see what you’re both curious about, whether that’s new positions, locations, or costumes. “Sex is about a give and take,” Berman says. “At the end of the day, the best sex happens when you are connected and truly open about your needs and desires.”
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Say Yes to Sex More Often
Men often report being more hurt and sensitive than women when it comes to being turned down for sex, Dow says, adding that, like you, they want to be wanted. “Whereas women often tell me how they need to feel more love in order to have more sex, men tell me that if they're not having sex, they feel like they're not loved.”
Before you dismiss Dow since he’s a guy, Berman agrees, explaining that sex is how men express emotional closeness. “When he is asking to have sex with you, it's not just because he wants a physical release but because he wants to feel that connection with you and to you. It would be like him rejecting you when you reach out to cuddle or hug him, but a deeper blow,” she says.
Berman recommends saying yes as often as possible, aiming to twist the sheets at least twice a week to stay connected and keep your sexual response on point. And it doesn’t have to be hanging-from-the-rafters crazy every time. Men honestly say they’re fine with vanilla sex or even a quickie or blowjob, as long as you mix things up each time (don’t forget: novelty).
For those times you do say no, be affectionate and loving—and reschedule, Berman says. It may not sound sexy, but setting a date ensures the sex will actually happen, and it helps you prioritize your relationship and your sexual connection. Oh, and—since he wants to be desired—he’d love it if you would initiate sex more often, she adds.
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Tell Me What I'm Doing Right
You may have heard that guys want their women to be more vocal and louder in bed, but it’s not just because he wants you reenacting his favorite porn scene (although he’d probably be okay with that too). Men complain that their partners aren’t speaking up and that they’re unsure if they’re pleasuring you, Berman says.
The solution is easy: Say something! “Many men find it erotically charging when the woman is very affirming during sex,” McCarthy says. “He enjoys hearing things like, ‘That really feels good’ or ‘I’m really turned on’ or moans.” It doesn’t hurt that doing so will mean more enjoyable sex for you since men assume silence means you’re happy.
And when you’re not happy, don’t stay mum. A lot of guys tell Dow that they want to know what they're doing wrong—but then they’re pretty upset when they find out they're not the best lover in some ways. Criticism will make a man defensive, Dow says, so think positively. He recommends trying something such as, “I love it when you X and Y to me. It’d make me so hot if you’d Z.” (Fill in the variables, of course.)
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All's Not Lost If I Lose an Erection
Men feel emasculated, ashamed, and powerless when they go soft. “It's shocking how personally they take it when they report it to me,” Dow says. “Men who are with women who don't make it a big deal do a lot better than the ones who make the proverbial mountain out of a molehill.” The more a guy thinks about losing his erection, the more anxious he gets trying to make it come back—and the less likely that is to happen. So take this as a cue to shift gears and touch each other in places other than your privates, or ask him to go down on you, Dow suggests. (Thanks for the Rx, doc!) “Sit back and enjoy it. The more he senses you're liking it and that he's really pleasing you, the more likely his erection is to come back since he won’t be thinking about himself.” You can also have him watch you masturbate or you can bring out sex toys if you’ve used them together before.
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Explore My Body (Read: I'm Not Just a enis)
Just as you hate it when he spends maybe 30 seconds on your boobs, then goes straight for the goods, he also would like you to give more attention to more than just his penis. “It's the concept of multiple stimulation,” says McCarthy, whose male clients mention wanting more testicle fondling during sex as well as anal action, which ranges from buttocks stimulation to external anal simulation to internal stimulation, depending on the man. Makes sense since these erogenous hot zones are packed with nerve endings.
So try it out and see whether he responds encouragingly, and act accordingly. “Couples have to figure out and develop a sexual style that works for them,” McCarthy says.
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Appreciate Me—And Show It
“For most men, making their partners happy is the number-one way that they feel masculine and empowered, so when they know they are making you feel loved and cared for, they feel like the man,” Berman says. And guys say a little reminder here and there that you value them helps—especially since we’re all guilty of putting in a 10-hour-plus workday and nagging when we come home to a partner lying on the couch instead of cleaning up.
This doesn't mean you shouldn’t let him know when something isn't working or if you need him to step up more. But verbalizing more tokens of appreciation will make him feel like he’s doing a good job for you and in turn encourage him to step up to the plate even more. Berman suggests giving five genuine appreciations a day—even for the things he’s supposed to be doing, such as taking out the trash or picking up the dry cleaning. “I cannot tell you how many relationships have been turned around by this,” Berman adds.