Things Every Woman Should Know About Sex

by Stephanie Dolgoff

1. Every woman has a surefire happy-making position — find yours
By all means, try new things, mix it up, find an alternate use for your baby's exersaucer when she's asleep if it adds to the variety — but figure out your no-fail move or position so you know you can always have an orgasm when you need one.

2. That position may change
Maybe in your misspent youth you were all about acrobatics and funky props, but now you strive for a deep connection with your guy. (Or maybe it's the other way around!) What you crave, both physically and emotionally, can shift over time, says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine. Pay attention to what you're feeling (or not feeling) and adapt to your new normal.

3. He doesn't have a flaw-o-meter
That would be you scanning your body for an errant pudge or a dimple in the wrong place. "During sexual arousal, men are experiencing such a neurochemical cocktail rush, they're really just caught up in the intoxication of it all," says REDBOOK Love Network expert and sex therapist Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First. In other words, he's too overwhelmed with joy to notice your "flaws." Put aside your body angst and you'll soon be having as much fun as he is.

4. Sex in a soft, clean, comfy bed is underrated
You're supposed to want to do it on the kitchen floor, in the airplane bathroom and hanging from your light fixtures. Bah! There's no shame in enjoying your good sheets.

5. Sex clichés are clichés for a reason: They work
Get a hotel room. Have date night. Take a bubble bath. For God's sake, buy some scented candles already!

6. Everyone else is not having more (or better) sex than you are
There is no "normal" amount we should all aspire to, no magic number of times per month that signifies your relationship is hunky-dory. There's only one question you need to answer — are you having enough sex for you?

7. Asking for what you want is worth the embarrassment
What's a brief awkward moment of sounding like one of those women at the end of a 900 number compared to, well, getting what you need?

8. You need transition time into sex
Look at all the people who want a piece of you — your kid, your client, the guy who's supposed to be renovating your kitchen. So don't expect to make the leap from corporate exec or general contractor or mommy-on-the-spot to sex goddess without a little time to reassemble yourself. When you're done with the dinner dishes, take a shower — alone! — or read a book. Better yet, get your guy to do the dishes. After that, you might want to give him some action, after all.

9. The more sex you have, the more you want
It's simple — delicious recent memories make you want to reenact the fun. But the reverse is also often true — if you go too long without, you forget how much you like it.

10. Masturbating isn't just for dry spells
First of all, it's plain fun, and second, when was the last time you disappointed yourself? Not to mention the fact that more frequent orgasms will keep you craving partner play, too (see above).

11. Worrying about your orgasm is the best way to chase it away
When your mind is roiling, it's not happening...concentrate...he'll think he failed...what's wrong with me? Focus on the lovely physical sensations instead and soon you won't be able to think straight — in a good way.

12. Planned sex can be even better than spontaneous sex
Anticipation as foreplay. Think about it.

13. Yes, you can give him a hand
Touching yourself to speed up your happy ending is not only allowed, it's appreciated, especially when your guy has had his neck in an awkward position for the better part of an hour.

14. He doesn't need you to know any fancy techniques
"There are many paths to male orgasm," says Kerner. As long as you pay attention to his reactions, refrain from inflicting pain (unless invited to) and don't do anything involving teeth (again, unless he asks), you won't hear any complaints.

15. Sometimes what your body lusts for most is sleep
An "off" night or a dry spell doesn't mean your relationship is tanking. It usually means you have children or a demanding job or you need to be alone in your head. Go ahead, take the night off.

16. But sometimes "Just do it" really does work
If you wait to be struck with a spontaneous urge to tear his clothes off, you may be waiting a very long time. But if you simply decide to give it a go, your body (and your desire) will often catch up.

17. Kegels are key
These exercises strengthen your pubococcygeal (PC) muscles, a.k.a. your pelvic floor muscles, giving you more control during sex and intensifying orgasm, says Minkin. To do them, squeeze as if you're holding back urine, then release.

18. Your birth control method is not 'til death do us part
You need to reevaluate your pregnancy-prevention method at least twice in your adult life, says Minkin — when you go from wild woman to a mutually monogamous relationship and after you have children. Not only does your body change post-baby, but your habits may change, too (making you a less reliable birth control pill taker, for example).

19. Doggie-style can be fun — really!
It can make you feel a bit raunchy — and that's a good thing. It just suffers from bad PR. Let's change the name — like how the marketing people changed prunes to "dried plums." Hands-free sex? Getting the backstory? Taking the bull by the horns? Heck, call it Loretta, but try it.

20. Pain during intercourse is not normal
Occasional discomfort may just mean that you're tense or haven't had enough foreplay, but if sex hurts often, see your doctor. "It could be as simple as a low-grade urinary tract infection," says Minkin. Whatever it is, you don't have to suffer.

21. The way your vagina looks, however, is perfectly normal
And no, we don't have to see it to know that.

22. Props are your friends
Vibrators, fun feathers, unusually-shaped pillows — you name it, someone has probably patented it. At the very least, these tools will make you laugh, which can be its own turn-on.

23. Sex is how he shows love
It's an age-old problem: We gals need to feel cozy and loving to want to have sex, and guys need to have sex to access those cozy and loving feelings. "A lot of guys don't have many outlets for communication, and for them sex is a powerful form of emotional expression," says Kerner. Remember that the next time he wants to have make-up sex before you've really made up — to him, sex is a peace offering and a gift of love, all in one.

24. No matter how badly you want to cuddle and fall asleep, you gotta get up and pee after sex
Why? So you don't get a urinary tract infection.

25. He'll be snoring by the time you return from the bathroom
The buildup to his ejaculation involves a lot of muscular tension, explains Kerner. When the wave has subsided, he relaxes and sleep-inducing hormones are released. In short, he can't help it.

26. It's okay to simply take
Consider how you feel when you perform a one-way act on your guy — you get a certain pleasure out of that, right? Don't deny him the same joy.

27. Sex gets better with age
(or practice, or time with one partner, or all of the above). The future is looking bright!

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