There comes a point when those one night stands and random encounters stop being so fun and exciting, and start wearing on you. As hot as they can be, what’s even hotter is being with someone who knows you inside and outside of the bedroom. Having a partner as opposed to someone to play around with allows you to explore different sex positions, tactics, movement and sensations that you can’t explore with as much comfort when you’re with a stranger. But when you reach this critical point - where being someone’s partner is more important than getting laid — it’s time to take a long, hard look at what you’re bringing to the bedside table.
“A great sex partner is someone that is committed to the experience of having healthy, fun and satisfying sex that is mutually pleasurable,” says licensed marriage and family therapist, Marissa Nelson, LMFT, CST. “ It is important for men to be a great sex partner because instead of sex acting as validation for a guy's sense of manhood, or only being about perfect sexual performance, they focus on pleasure and creating a space for exploration, excitement, naughtiness and sexual satisfaction for themselves and partner.”
How do you know if you’re bringing the highest level of sexual commitment, attentiveness and intensity to your partner? Here, experts share the qualities of an incredible sex partner. Consider this your check off list:
1. A Great Sex Partner Knows How To Communicate
In every relationships, there are always sensitive topics: past love history, your first big fight where you completely disagree and that big moment when you give constructive criticism in the bedroom. As touchy as it may feel to talk about what gets you going and what simply isn’t working, it’s the first step in building intimacy and showing you’re a dedicated partner. “Knowing what you like and telling your partner exactly how to help you feel good is great communication and allows the focus to be strictly on pleasure,” says relationship expert Dr. Lexx Brown-James, LMF.
If you’re not sure how to get the conversation going, licensed marriage and family therapist, Esther Boykin, LMFT, says asking questions is an easy starting point to open up dialogue. “The ability to talk about sex is key to creating and maintaining good sexual chemistry,” she says. “Learn to get comfortable asking your partner about their likes and their fantasies; and don't wait to be asked to share yours. A great partner is one who is willing to set the stage for honest and loving communication about sex. After all how can you learn how to please each other if you aren't willing to even talk about it.”
2. A Great Sex Partner Is In Charge Of Their Own Orgasm
Allow the experts (and women everywhere) to set the record straight: it is not your partner’s responsibility to make sure you finish at the end of oral or physical intercourse. In fact, what’s sexier and better when you’re someone’s partner, in life and in bed, is taking charge of your orgasm so they know exactly what you need. “Taking sexual charge is hot. Sexual confidence is a turnon and knowing your body (and how to manipulate it pleasurably) can also be highly erotic,” says Brown-James. “Doing these things make a great sex partner baseline and you can add from there to meet your partner's needs.”
No one wants to spend more time down south because you’re holding on for as long as you can to get the most action, and after she’s orgasmed, she likely doesn’t want to spend another 30 minutes trying to get you to. Be in charge of your sexuality, your orgasm and the things that make you a sexual being — just don’t forget to show her so she learns, too.
3. A Great Sex Partner Can Get Out Of Their Own Way
Even if you’re healthy, active and in superb shape, it’s not always about your body. More times than not, it’s about your mind. What are you thinking about during foreplay? Or when you first start having sex? Do you spend so much time in your head that you don’t allow yourself to be fully engaged in the moments you’re missing by thinking? “Our biggest sex organ is out brain! If our minds are all over the place and we are not able to remain present, then it will make it more difficult to enjoy sexual activity and to be a good sexual partner,” says Dr. Rachel Needle, licensed clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist.
The next time you’re getting frisky with your girl, experts say to focus on the simplest things she’s doing, right in that moment (the way her face moves as she gets turned on, how she reaches for you, the way her breasts move when she’s on top) to keep your mind exactly where it should be: savoring every freakin’ second of sex.
4. A Great Sex Partner Is Curious And Open To Change
Consider what turned you on when you were 16. Then at 21. How about 25? Just like you evolve in your career and your social circle, your desires and needs change, too. When you’re a good sexual partner, you want to continuously feel connected to the person you’re making love to, and to do that, you have to not only be willing to try new things but allow their intimate feelings to change, too.
“The best part of human relationships, and often the most challenging, is that we are always growing and changing,” Boykin says. “This dynamic and evolving nature can be especially fun in your sex life but only if you keep an open-minded curiosity about each other. Great sex partners know that great sex starts with a commitment to keep learning and exploring your partner's body and mind.”
5. A Great Sex Partner Doesn’t Skimp On The Foreplay
If you don’t think by now, you should: women need foreplay more than men. When you’re warming up for a big race — as sex can often be like — you have to stretch everything out and warm up before crossing that finish line. If you have the same kiss, touch, lick and spank tango, your girlfriend is probably getting tired of it already. “The good news is that foreplay need not be relegated to some kind of step-by-step routine you learned in high school. A great sex partner knows that foreplay is anything that increases the anticipation of sex in their partner,” Boykin says. “Sexy text messages, a photo, a massage, a little help around the house- whatever it takes to help your partner transition from the busy-ness of their daily routine into a mental (and physical) space that is focused on experiencing pleasure counts as foreplay.”
The key to foreplay, really, is making sure your partner is happy. Why? When they’re at their happiest and most comfortable, that’s when they will let go sexually and both of you will have a better time.
6. A Great Sex Partner Is Confident
“Confidence and assertiveness isn't about always taking charge or always initiating. Rather it's a quality that allows you to be flexible and secure as you navigate the ebb and flow of sexuality in your relationship,” Boykin says. “Great sex partners don't shy away from adventure or vulnerability in sex; they embrace it with self-assurance. That willingness to put yourself out there and trust that you have something amazing to offer your sex partner is often a self-fulfilling prophecy leading you to be the greatest sex partner they ever had.”
By showing your partner that you are a sexual being and you’re confident in your abilities, you’re illustrating that you’re going to be in charge of your sexual destiny. This way, she knows you’re always up for something and always willing to learn. “Just remember that confidence is not the same as cockiness (no pun intended),” Boykin notes. “You still need to be curious and attentive to your partner’s needs but when you ask do so with the confidence that whatever they need, you are the man who can give it to them.”
7. A Great Sex Partner Has Fun
Ultimately, the point of sex is to enjoy yourselves, right? No one has sex because it’s horrible, a bad experience and something they ‘have to do.’ (And if they are, that’s your first problem, bro.) Nelson says that being an awesome partner is someone who loves having sex and especially, loves having sex with you. “You should make sex lively, entertaining and enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to share a laugh, try crazy positions, try sex toys together or go on a hunt for that spot you read about,” she says. “Some playfulness, mixed with adventure and some steamy moments makes for an incredibly awesome sex life, thanks to you.”