There are also many myths around sex and sexuality – for example, that men only want women for sex, or that men want sex all the time. Everyone’s different. Some people have sex once a week, others have it twice a day. There is no right or wrong answer. It’s all about finding what works for you and your partner.
Even in a relationship, you don’t have to have sex with your partner whenever and wherever they ask. It’s your body and you’re allowed to do what you want with it. If your partner asks for sex and you aren’t feeling in the mood, you are allowed to say no.
But remember: NO ALWAYS MEANS NO
Before having sex with a new partner
Thinking about sex with your new partner but not sure how they feel about it?
If you want to turn up the heat in your relationship, start thinking of a good time to talk about it when it’s just the two of you – maybe after dinner or a film. Try not to be drunk, because drinking can impair your judgment for such an important conversation.
Be light-hearted and positive while reassuring your partner you want to be with them because you love and respect them:
‘You’re so beautiful/handsome... I can’t wait to make love to you.’
‘As we have such good sexual chemistry, I think we'd be great in bed together…’
Then see if they also feel ready to start making love, or if they need more time.
Once you know what, when and how your partner likes to make love, the next step is coming to a compromise. First of all, never use sex as a weapon or a reward, since it will only create mistrust and anger. Most couples have sex more often at the beginning of their relationship – that’s just normal. However, if your partner wants sex a lot and you aren’t so keen, say something positive about them and then suggest another time.
‘You’re so great in bed that you’ve worn me out this week! Let’s have a night off so it’s even better tomorrow.’
Be open from the beginning. If you’ve never made love before, tell them! It’s also good to set some boundaries and explain them clearly to your partner.
Here’s a good way to do it. Start by saying something positive, then explain the boundary, then end with something positive again.
Like this, for example:
‘I really like being with you. I would never consider an open relationship or involving someone else. I like having you all to myself!’
Once in the bedroom, you should always be able to say ‘no’ and stop whatever you are not ready for.
‘I’m not feeling up for it tonight. How about we wait until tomorrow. Then it’ll be great!’
Don’t force your partner into doing something they’re unhappy or unsure about. Take each stage of your relationship slowly and show your partner respect at all times.
Talking about sex
Good lovers talk about sex. Being a good lover means talking about what you want. Sometimes this also means saying no when you’re not in the mood, tired, or don’t feel comfortable about having sex with this person.
Being able to say no makes it more meaningful when you say yes - because than it really is your choice.
Talk about what you want
Your partner might be able to guess what you like, but they can't be sure unless you tell them. So talk about what you want, and ask what they want. You can do it before or after you have sex, but also during your lovemaking.
You might find it difficult or embarrassing to talk, but be brave! It prevents a lot of trouble and makes sex a lot better.
Here are a few tips:
First, think about what you like about your partner. Are they great kissers? Are they natural talents when it comes to oral sex? Begin by emphasizing what they do well before making a suggestion to take things to the next level.
‘I really like it when you kiss me. Maybe you can also try some of that action on my neck?’
‘You’re so good at going down on me, but tonight I was thinking it would be fun to…’
Take your time. Don’t fire all your ideas or complaints at your partner at once. Feed them little by little. That way you can try them out together and see which ones work best for both of you. Plus, you never know what new and exciting frontiers the two of you may discover in the process.
When it comes to being more adventurous, take it step-by-step. You could suggest tickling your partner with a feather, and then if you both enjoy that, maybe suggest a blindfold next time. Always check that your partner is happy with what’s going on.
When talking to your partner about changes in the bedroom, think about how you would like your partner to suggest such changes. What would be the best way to speak to you without you feeling hurt or confused?
Suggest areas you could work on together. For example, start a conversation with ‘I was thinking that together we could try…’
Be their guide. Your partner cannot read minds and so won’t know exactly what turns you on. So help them by really showing them. For example, guide their hands and mouths to those extra special spots. And give them the opportunity to do the same.
‘I really like it when you touch me here. It would be even better if you did it softer/harder/slower.’
If you really feel like making love to your partner, try to get your partner’s mood in sync with yours. You could send flirty texts during the day with ideas on what you would like to try. Then you can both get excited. Continue the flirting at home.
‘You’re so beautiful, I can’t wait to make love to you tonight.’
If it’s a special occasion or anniversary, you could give them flowers or a homemade card. Or just spontaneously, for no special reason! See what their response is and maybe suggest a massage to get you both in the mood before moving towards all those fun things you texted about.
What does your partner want?
Do you know what your partner likes? Sometimes you can tell – you can feel it or see it. But sometimes you can’t. If you’re not sure, ask. The more you find out, the more you’ll enjoy sex together.
If your partner wants to talk to you about changing up the routine or doing something new, learn to listen.
Laughing at them or passing judgment after they’ve told you an intimate desire or story is unkind. Keep an open mind. Everyone is different, with their own experiences, likes, and dislikes.
Find out if your partner is happy with what you are doing and give them the space to suggest new things. Ask questions!
‘What do you enjoy the most when we’re having sex?’
'Would you like it if I….?’
‘Do you have any ideas for things we can do differently?’
Make a game of it
It can be a real turn-on to tell each other what you like. If talking about it feels hard at first, try playing a game: first, write down a few things you’d like to do with your partner on pieces of paper, and ask them to do the same. Then take it in turns to pull out a piece of paper and follow the instructions.
Show them how to please you
It’s fine to guide your partner’s hands during sex and show them how you like to be touched. If your partner does the same for you, don’t feel like it’s a criticism of what you’re already doing.
Try showing your partner what you’d like them to do by touching yourself – try not to be shy, it can be really sexy to watch!
If your partner shows you what they’d like you to do, never laugh, as this may upset your partner and stop them from sharing further. Just feel lucky that they trust you enough to show you what they enjoy.
Watch what they do, and try to practise with them. Add the action in next time you make love and ask if you can do anything to make it better:
‘Does this feel good for you? Or would you like me to go faster, softer or harder?’
Many women don’t have orgasms just from intercourse. Your penis feels great, but in most positions, it probably won’t be touching her clitoris. That’s her most sensitive spot – it’s like the head of the penis. To have an orgasm, most women need to be stroked on or around the clitoris. Ask her to show you what she likes, so that you can copy it and make her climax.
‘I would love to make you come, can you show me what you like?’
Remember you don’t need penetrative sex to get turned on. Touching, caressing and kissing can be great ways of getting to know one another before committing to making love.
Also: practice makes perfect! So don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time. Sex is all about trying things together and communicating what works and what doesn’t.
If it doesn’t feel good
Kissing, caressing, having sex… whatever you do, your first check is: does it feel good? Do you like it? Does it turn you on? Do you feel happy about it? Then carry on. As long as it feels good and you’re happy about it, it’s OK.
And if you don’t like what’s happening or the way your partner’s touching you? There’s only one solution – say so, however awkward you might find it. If you don’t say anything, nothing will change. So just try.
If you definitely don’t want to try their suggestion, explain why not and try to suggest a fun alternative:
‘I really don’t want to have anal sex because it could be painful. But I’d like it if you stroked and caressed me back there!’
In short, the more you and your partner talk about the ins and outs of making love, the more you’ll both enjoy it.
No means no
Some men still think there are women who mean yes when they say no. They’re wrong. No simply means no. And every woman or man has the right to say no at any time, whether you’ve still got your clothes on or you’re completely naked.
If you do something that a woman doesn’t want, it’s never because ‘she was asking for it’. A good lover only does what both partners feel happy about and enjoy.
A sex partner who doesn’t respect your wishes if you say ‘no’ isn’t worthy of you.
When you make love, or have sex, you caress each other, get sexually aroused and perhaps have an orgasm. There are many ways to make love - with or without your clothes on.
Making love isn’t just sexual intercourse. Lying together and talking intimately is a way to make love too. You can kiss and caress each other, you can rub your bodies together or stroke your partner’s genitals. You can try oral or anal sex.
You can also have sex on your own – that’s what masturbation is. Lots of people in a relationship also masturbate.
And of course, men can have sex with men, and women can have sex with women. Read more about this in the gay and lesbian section.
Are you ready for it?
Only have sex if you want to – in other words, if you feel ready for it. But is the other person also ready? And how long does it take before you both are? It’s different for everyone.
Sometimes you can both sense it in each other and you both want the same thing, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. This can lead to unpleasant misunderstandings. So be clear about what you want. You can do this with words, but also without them.