We love it when it happens in the movies: a couple making love, perfectly in sync, gazing into each other’s eyes, and climaxing at the same exact moment. That mythical simultaneous orgasms can be hard to chase down in real life. But the ideal behind it is attainable for all of us: deep connection with your partner during sex.
That raw sexual intimacy takes vulnerability, clear communication, and a healthy dose of self-knowledge. Are you ready to be this real with your partner when making love? We have some suggestions.
1. Don’t fake it. First things first, if you’re in the habit of faking your orgasms, that needs to end now. According to a 2015 Cosmopolitan survey, 67 percent of straight women have faked an orgasm. Some of the reasons may be altruistic (sparing his feelings). But you can do better than that.
2. Ask him to help you finish first. Another finding from that Cosmo survey is that 78 percent of women think their partners care about their orgasms. And yet! 72 percent of the time guys are climaxing and then calling it a night, making no attempt to help their wives and girlfriends finish.
Here’s the thing: When men climax, they release a cocktail of brain chemicals and the hormone prolactin that make them sleepy. (Biology is cruel that way.) So encourage him to help you climax before he does. It’s the gentlemanly thing to do. And by the way, there are many different ways to get there — it doesn’t have to require a feat of James Deen–like stamina.
3. Communicate with a positive attitude. We’ve all heard it: Men can’t read our minds — so you need to tell him what you want. But the way you do that makes a big difference. “Communication starts with attitude,” says Shannon Chavez, PsyD, a certified sex therapist in Los Angeles, California. “A positive attitude about communication as a way to improve your sex life will lead to getting your needs met and improving sexual desire.”
4. Don’t ask questions that aren’t questions. Dr. Chavez cautions that women not ask, for example, “Are you coming to bed soon?” when what we really mean is “I want to have sex.” “You will be disappointed when you get the answer to the real question instead of the answer that you were looking for,” she says. Ehrm, men can be slow to take a hint sometimes. Again — break yourself of the habit of expecting him to read your mind.
Even the question “Do you want to have sex tonight?” can be tricky because it can mean so many different things. (Like, “Uh, I can tell you’re in the mood but I’m not, so I’m hoping I’m just misreading you.”) “Give yourself permission to ask for what you want and permission to express it in any way you feel comfortable,” says Dr. Chavez.
5. Be a little selfish. Before you can ask for what you want, you need to tune into your body and desires — and that can be the hard part, especially for moms. It sounds paradoxical, but to truly connect with your partner sexually you need to hold on to yourself as a separate person, at least long enough to build your arousal. Therapist Esther Perel puts it this way in her book, Mating in Captivity:
We commonly believe that the closer we feel to someone, the easier it will be to shed our inhibitions. But that’s only half the story. Intimacy does nurture desire, but sexual pleasure also demands separateness. Erotic excitement requires that we be able to step out of the intimate bond for a moment, turn toward ourselves, and focus on our own mounting sensations. We need to be able to be momentarily selfish to be erotically connected.
6. Focus on what he that turns you on, not on what turns you off. “Communication doesn’t have to start with a negative such as ‘I don’t like it when you … ,” says Dr. Chavez. Instead, tell your partner what you like, and what you want more of. And remember, Dr. Chavez says, “appreciations and compliments are the best form of foreplay.”
7. Don’t make assumptions. Do you love receiving oral sex — but worry that he doesn’t like giving it? Ask him how he feels about it. “Make a statement like, ‘I really enjoy when you give me oral sex but I’m not sure if you are enjoying it.’” Dr. Chavez suggests. You may be surprised. Maybe he’s okay with it, but has been assuming you don’t like it because you make so little sound and movement when he tries it.
8. Take on a playful attitude. Deep intimacy during sex can be intense, but it doesn’t have to be serious. Keep it light. Maintain a playful attitude while you’re having sex — and when you talk about it. “Have fun when talking about sex by being playful, letting yourself explore, and be in the moment,” says Dr. Chavez. “If you think too much about it, you will probably talk yourself out of it.”
9. Make eye contact. You knew we were going to suggest this! But for real, eye contact during sex will light your bed on fire and ramp up the intimacy like crazy. It can feel weird at first, but trust us on this one.
We have sex because it’s fun and because it feels good. But we also do it because it’s one of the most important ways a couple can connect with each other. Why not make sure you’re both all in and have the fullest connection possible?
What helps you truly connect during sex?