Improving bedroom confidence

Tips on being good at sex

Written by Jennifer Hanson

You may have noticed by now that not everyone is blessed with the intuition to know what exactly to do in the bedroom. The good news? There are easy ways to learn how to be good at sex, and most of them revolve around tuning into your partner and their needs.

Be attentive

Picture it: everything is going right and you’re both in the mood. You get the courage to try something new on your partner, but your partner’s facial expressions indicate they might not be into it.

While it is probably your gut reaction to feel insulted, this is actually the first place to ask how you could improve. It is more than okay to switch what you’re doing in the moment to make sure your partner is equally as aroused, and once you make this a habit, you’ll be able to do it more often without thinking.

Honest communication

Studies have shown that couples who effectively communicate more with each other are more sexually satisfied, regardless of gender.1 While communication can mean being attentive as described above, being good at sex also means being open and honest with each other about what you like.

This does not mean you have to like the same things in bed, but rather compare and contrast your preferences. Similarly, communicating involves talking about what you’re willing to try if some of those things may not be as familiar to you. Share with each other what your turn-ons are, how you like to be touched, or what you need to feel special. This intimacy will also help you to accept and love each other more deeply.2

It’s important to note that sometimes actions beforehand can be equally as crucial to a positive sexual experience. If one of you is being careless, or you just had a fight and haven’t resolved it, that’s going to get in the way of the sexy feelings that are yet to come. Being good at sex involves making sure both of you are in the right headspace to get physical.

Showcase foreplay

By now you’ve chatted with your partner and are ready to initiate more physical endeavors. Even if you’re not sure you’re good at sex yet, you can always give them a preview of what’s to come by sending them some racy texts. This builds anticipation and, especially if this is new to your relationship, is shocking in the greatest of ways.

Lots of touching triggers the hormone oxytocin to be released in the brain, and oxytocin is also responsible for building trust between you and your partner.3 Once you’re in the moment, there might be something that you know drives your partner wild. It’s easy to jump to that since you know it lights their fire but try to work up to it first.

Women especially need this since psychological distraction can keep them from reaching orgasm,4 not to mention most heterosexual men only spend about 13 minutes on foreplay.5 Kiss them passionately until you can’t stand it. Tease them and let the tension build. Foreplay is all about getting their pulse racing so that they’re more than ready for what comes next.

Oral stimulation

Part of foreplay is what goes on between a steamy make out session and sex. If things are getting hot and heavy and you both want more stimulation to get you ready, try initiating oral sex. One way to be good at sex is to work your way down your partners body and remove their clothes with intention. Make sure they know what’s coming but make them wait a bit. Even if oral sex isn’t something you initiate very often, the only way to get better is to practice!

Assuming you’re comfortable with your partner, there are other ways to make this even hotter. Move their hands where you want them to be. Look up and make eye contact if you’re really into it. Being good at sex requires paying attention to their signals. The more intense their noises get, the more they’re enjoying it. By the time they’re close, they’ll be very ready for what’s next.

New positions

Maybe you know exactly how to get your partner going, but you end up in the same position once you get this far. Don’t be afraid to try a new position and blow their mind! Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you have to go crazy and do something complicated.

Go for a position that’s going to be easy for both of you to get into. Being good at sex means neither of you should feel intimidated with trying new things. Cowgirl is an excellent position to reach all new angles. Reverse cowgirl or doggy style is sure to give them a hot vantage point if you’re not quite ready to make eye contact.

Nifty novelties

Studies have shown that partner novelty boosts desire, arousal, sexual function and even orgasm.6 Exotic locales are a great example of novelty, even if that just means around your home. About 84% of men and women both reported finding it hot to have sex in a different place in the house.7 Maybe it isn’t in the budget or calendar for a vacation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and be good at sex.

About 90% of both men and women reported having sex with the lights on as another novelty. This is a chance to really revel in the views and maybe make some steamy eye contact. For women, 89% reported wearing lingerie to enhance the mood, and 63% of men reported dirty talking.7

Novelty is another simple way to be good at sex. These are only the most common novelties, but certainly there’s room to explore and see what both you and your partner are into.

Fantasy & feedback

Speaking of talking dirty, you could always try fantasizing with your partner. Based on your prior communication, maybe they confided something in you that they’ve always wanted to try. Heated sex is the perfect time to recall that memory and expand on it. Being good at sex requires being assertive. Remember, bringing it up doesn’t equate with actually doing it, but since fantasy can enhance your sexual experience it’s worth the questioning.

If that’s a little much to start with, try being more vocal in the moment. This can be anything from praising them for hitting a fantastic spot or moaning because you’re so aroused. Chances are your partner will appreciate the feedback, since studies have shown sexual satisfaction in women is linked with high body esteem.8 Sex is most fun when it’s authentic, so make sure you’re ready to show off your wild side.

Let them finish

While men report having orgasms around 85% of the time, women report having them only 63% of the time.9 This is due to the fact that women’s orgasms are usually dependent on more variables. Being good at sex means keeping her in the moment with you.

Attempting to make your partner orgasm is an important part of being good at sex. Studies have shown that nipple and genital stimulation register in two different parts of the brain10 and women are more likely to orgasm when sex includes multiple acts.11 Similarly, clitoral stimulation is the most vital type of stimulation for women.4 Being good at sex means using your hands and mouth to their highest potential.

Considering that 53% of women12 and 79% of gay men13 have reported using a vibrator, bringing a vibrator along for your escapades isn’t a bad idea. Men also reported being aroused by a toy if they mentally tied it with their partner’s pleasure.14 The first time might be a little intimidating, but that might be what’s needed in order to assure everyone is satisfied.

When it’s over

Just like you did in the moment, praise your partner in the afterglow if they did something mind-blowing. Hopefully they will do the same with you and create a dialogue you can both be involved in. Make sure you both insist on sharing these moments, even if it’s not for very long. It will help build a foundation of trust so that this progress keeps coming. Being good at sex means always being willing to communicate with your partner.

Consistently being good at sex comes down to being present in the moment, building your skill through practice, and mutually communicating with your partner. Most people aren’t perfect at these things when they first start out, but the only way to get better is to keep trying. Great sex can lead to less mental health issues15 and more rewarding relationships,16 so it’s always worth the effort!


  1. Kristen P. Mark & Kristen N. Jozkowski (2012): The Mediating Role of Sexual and Nonsexual Communication Between Relationship and Sexual Satisfaction in a Sample of College-Age Heterosexual Couples, Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, DOI:10.1080/0092623X.2011.644652
  2. Prager & Roberts (2004). Deep intimate connection: Self and intimacy in couple relationships. Handbook of closeness and intimacy.
  3. C. Sue Carter, Oxytocin and sexual behavior, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Volume 16, Issue 2, 1992, Pages 131-144, ISSN 0149-7634,
  4. Tavares, Ines Margarida Matos. “The Relationship Between Sexual Stimulation and Female Orgasm: The Mediator and Moderator Roles of Psychological Variables.” University of Porto, 2016.
  5. S. Andrea Miller, and E. Sandra Byers. “Actual and Desired Duration of Foreplay and Intercourse: Discordance and Misperceptions within Heterosexual Couples.” The Journal of Sex Research, vol. 41, no. 3, 2004, pp. 301–309. JSTOR, Accessed 14 Feb. 2020
  6. “Role of Partner Novelty in Sexual Functioning: A Review.” Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, vol. 41, 15 Sept. 2014,
  7. Mark & Kerner (2013). Valentine's Day Survey. Good in Bed.
  8. Pujols Y, Seal BN, Meston CM. The association between sexual satisfaction and body image in women [published correction appears in J Sex Med. 2010 Jun;7(6):2295]. J Sex Med. 2010;7(2 Pt 2):905–916. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01604.x
  9. Garcia, J.R., Lloyd, E.A., Wallen, K. and Fisher, H.E. (2014), Orgasm Occurrence by Sexual Orientation. J Sex Med, 11: 2645-2652. doi:10.1111/jsm.12669
  10. [Komisaruk BR, Wise N, Frangos E, Liu WC, Allen K, Brody S. Women's clitoris, vagina, and cervix mapped on the sensory cortex: fMRI evidence. J Sex Med. 2011;8(10):2822–2830. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02388.x].
  11. Arch Sex Behav. 2018 Jan;47(1):273-288. doi: 10.1007/s10508-017- 0939-z. Epub 2017 Feb 17.
  12. Herbenick D, Reece M, Sanders S, Dodge B, Ghassemi A, and Fortenberry JD. Prevalence and characteristics of vibrator use by women in the United States: Results from a nationally representative study. J Sex Med 2009; 6:1857–1866
  13. Rosenberger, J.G., Schick, V., Herbenick, D. et al. Arch Sex Behav (2012) 41: 449.
  14. Watson, E. D., Séguin, L. J., Milhausen, R. R., & Murray, S. H. (2016). The Impact of a Couple’s Vibrator on Men’s Perceptions of Their Own and Their Partner’s Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction. Men and Masculinities, 19(4), 370–383.
  15. J Sex Med. 2013 Nov;10(11):2671-8. Doi: 10.1111/jsm.12308. Epub 2013 Aug 23.
  16. E. Sandra Byers (2005) Relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction: A longitudinal study of individuals in long‐term relationships, The Journal of Sex Research, 42:2, 113-118, DOI: 10.1080/00224490509552264

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