Knowing more about how to have sex can improve your sex skills and your satisfaction with your sex life. Here, learn everything to know about sex, so you can be confident about how to have good sex.
What is sex?
Different people may give varying definitions of what is sex, but in general, when people use the word “sex” they are referring to vaginal penetration, or penetrative intercourse, in which a man inserts his penis into a woman’s vagina.
This may be the definition for most people, but others may view sex differently, since there are multiple types of sex. What is most important to keep in mind is that sex is consensual activity that occurs between two people, and it should be enjoyable for both partners.
Different Types of Sex
While most people probably think of vaginal penetration when they think of sex, there are other types of sex. While not all of the following may be sex according to most terms, they can produce sexual pleasure and therefore fall under the definition of what is sex:
Kissing: Using the lips to produce pleasure for both partners.
Masturbation: Providing sexual pleasure to yourself, such as by stimulating your own genitals with the fingers. People can also engage in mutual masturbation, in which they simultaneously stimulate each other sexually.
Fingering: Generally describes a man inserting fingers into a woman’s vagina to provide pleasure.
Oral sex: Using the mouth and tongue to stimulate a partner’s genitals, such as by licking or sucking on the penis or inserting the tongue into the vagina.
Anal sex: Inserting the penis or sex toys into the partner’s anus.
Penetrative sex: An umbrella term used to describe the act of inserting the penis or a sex toy into the partner’s vagina or anus. This term can refer to vaginal intercourse, but it includes more forms of sex than inserting the penis into the vagina.
What is the best position for sex?
The best position to have amazing sex will depend on your preferences. Everyone probably has a different opinion on the best position.
It can be helpful to try out different sex positions and see what works best for you and your partner. For women, having sex with a man entering from behind may be an ideal position for stimulating the G-spot and helping reach orgasm.
A twist on the classic missionary position can also be a recipe for making sex better.
While face to face with your partner with the female on the bottom, the female should lift her legs over head, perhaps resting them on the man’s shoulders. This allows for deeper penetration.
Men may enjoy a variety of sexual positions, such as woman on top or spooning sex. They also tend to enjoy doggy style, in which a woman is on her knees and the man enters from behind. You can explore with a variety of different positions to decide your favorites.
If you have some anxiety or confidence issues around sex, it can be helpful to relax before having sex.
Go out to a nice dinner, or do something you enjoy, such as taking a walk. It is also important to maintain physical affection with your partner. Regular affection can make sex with your partner come more naturally.
When you’re ready to have sex, allow time for foreplay, such as kissing and touching, to prepare you and get you in the mood. Skipping foreplay and going straight to sex is a msitake that people commonly make, but foreplay is helpful for both men and women.
If problems like vaginal dryness are dampening your sex life, you may consider using lubrication for making sex better.
Another one of the key tips for great sex is to try to keep things interesting.
Try out multiple different positions, and if you find that you or your partner is getting bored, discuss your sexual fantasies together. What is something you have always wanted to try? Let your partner know, and you can explore new types of sex together.
In the video below, educator and entrepreneur Leigh Ware shares how good sex starts and says how talking to your partner helps solved many sexual issues:
Sex Drive: What is it and Where Does it Come From?
Another one of the things to know before having sex is that everyone has a different sex drive.
Sex drive can be described as how motivated you are to engage in sex. Some people may have a high sex drive and desire sex often, whereas others will have a lower sex drive and therefore less interest in sex. Sex drive can also change over time.
We may all go through periods where our sex drive seems weaker, due to stress or illness.
Sex drive is partly physical, but it also has a psychological and social basis.
For instance, mood can affect sex drive, and societal standards, such as the expectation that men should have strong sexual skills, can influence how often people are motivated to have sex.
Certain factors can lower sex drive.
For example, birth control pills can influence a woman’s sex drive. Research has shown that among women, low sex drive can also be a result of vaginal dryness, depression, alcohol consumption, pain during sex, and using psychiatric medications. This demonstrates that sex drive comes from both physical and psychological factors.
If you experience low sex drive and wish to improve it, you might benefit from talking with a doctor to determine lifestyle changes you can make to elevate your sexual desire.
Ways to Have Safe Sex
If you want to be informed on everything to know about sex, you must also know how to have safe sex. Use the following sex health tips to practice safe sex:
1. Be sexually exclusive
This means that you and your partner should only have sex with each other. When you have multiple sexual partners, you increase your risk of contracting or spreading a sexually-transmitted infection (STI).
2. Get tested for STIs regularly
When you know that you have an STI, you can take steps to treat it, as well as prevent the spread of the STI to a sexual partner.
3. Use condoms
Using a barrier like a condom reduces the spread of STIs and the risk of unplanned pregnancies. Using a barrier is especially important if you have multiple partners or are unsure of your partner’s STI status.
Dos and Don’ts During Sex
Beyond practicing safe sex, there are some basic dos and dont’s that can teach you how to have sex. If you are a man having sex with a woman, the following dos can be helpful:
Be verbal during sex.
Touch her all over her body.
Look into her eyes.
For women having sex with men, the following sex tips are helpful for making sex better:
Be confident about your appearance.
Don’t be afraid to take charge and state exactly what you want.
Share your fantasies with him.
Visually arouse him with a sexy outfit.
In addition to these dos, there are some don’ts to keep in mind if you want to improve your sex skills.
For example, you should avoid acting bored or sleepy during sex. Your partner will want to feel that you are interested in having sex with them. Also, avoid faking an orgasm or talking about things going on outside of that exact moment.
Sex Mistakes Men Make and How to Avoid Them
Aside from some basic dos and don’ts, there are some sex mistakes men may make. Knowing these mistakes and how to avoid them can help you to have a better idea of how to have sex that is satisfying for your partner.
One mistake men may make is thinking they need to be rough with clitoral stimulation. They may think they need to create serious friction to give their partners pleasure.
In reality, it is important to be gentle when stimulating the clitoris.
Men may also be so enthusiastic about having sex that they skip the foreplay. One kiss is generally not enough to get a woman excited.
Be prepared to spend a few minutes kissing her deeply, rubbing your hands over her body, or stimulating her with your fingers to prepare her for sex.
Sex Myths and Facts
Another consideration when learning how to have sex is knowing about myths and facts that surround sex. You have probably heard some of the following myths:
Myth #1: You cannot contract an STI from oral sex.
Fact: While oral sex may be less likely to spread an STI, it is still possible to contract an STI through fluids exchanged during oral sex.
Myth#2: Pulling out constitutes safe sex.
Fact: Both men and women release fluids prior to ejaculation. These can lead to the spread of an STI, and a man can release fluids prior to ejaculation that can cause pregnancy.
Myth#3: A woman cannot get pregnant during her period.
Fact: Women are able to become pregnant any time during the menstrual cycle. Pregnancy is less likely, but still possible, when a woman has sex during her period.
Myth #4: Men are always in the mood for sex.
Fact: There is a cultural stereotype that men are always ready and willing to have sex, whereas women are less interested. While men may very well enjoy sex, this does not mean they are always in the mood. Men may not always want sex, and they have a right to say no.
Myth#5: Penis size is very important for sexual satisfaction.
Fact: In general, men’s penis sizes are very different when not erect, but when erect, they are all rather similar in size. A man’s penis size has little effect on how pleasurable he or his partner will find sex to be.
Myth#6: Women cannot reach orgasm.
Fact: Women are capable of orgasming during sex, but vaginal penetration may not be the only option for achieving orgasm.
One study found that 95% of heterosexual men reported they usually orgasm during sex, whereas 65% of heterosexual women reported achieving orgasm. Women may be less likely than men are to orgasm, but this doesn’t mean they never orgasm.
According to the research, oral sex, deep kissing, and manual genital stimulation can make women more likely to orgasm.
Importance of Orgasm
Achieving orgasm can be an important part of how to have sex correctly, and it has many benefits.
For example, orgasm can relieve stress, improve your relationship, and even boost the immune system. Research shows that people who experience orgasm during sex report more trust, closeness, and commitment in their relationships.
Orgasm also releases chemicals that create a natural high. It feels good and can block pain.
Orgasm seems to have benefits for health and relationships, but sex itself is beneficial as well. It can improve physical fitness, reduce stress, enhance self-esteem, lead to better sleep, and just generally improve health.
Hopefully, with the sex for beginners tips here, you can learn how to have sex and become more sexual. If you are still wondering what do I do during sex, remember to relax and take some of the pressure off of yourself.
Enjoy your partner, and consider setting the stage by kissing and touching to get you in the mood before you move on to vaginal penetration or other types of sex, such as oral sex.
Over time, if you want to try ways of making sex better, consider new positions or share your fantasies with your partner.
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Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker with a master's degree in social work from The Ohio State University, and she is in the process of completing her dissertation for a Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology. She has worked in the social work field for 8 years and is currently a professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She writes website content about mental health, addiction, and fitness.
Licensed as both a social worker through Ohio Board of Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage/Family Therapists and school social worker through Ohio Department of Education as well as a personal trainer through American Council on Exercise.