In Part 1, I talked about the power of seduction and dispelled some of the confusion about what women want from men in the bedroom. While many women seek a soul-mate friend to share their lives, they want a lover in bed—someone who is confident and in control. Women want to be seduced, and they want to be carried away from their busy, hectic lives. They want to ignite a man’s passion and let attraction take over.

Societal conditioning plays a big role in women’s hunger for seduction. Historically, women have been conditioned to suppress their desire and longing. What does that mean for women and for couples? First, many women are reluctant to say what they need and want from sex. Growing up, they may have been punished or humiliated for exploring their bodies, and as a result, they may be too embarrassed to tell their lover what feels good. From a young age, the message to women is they should be wide-eyed and innocent in the bedroom; the less they know the better. Women compound this social and cultural norm with a “knight in shining armor” syndrome that assumes men will instinctively know what to do to make them feel good. And, many women are concerned they will hurt their mate’s feelings if they offer suggestions in bed. The result is many women are having sex they don’t enjoy, a very real problem that drives down their desire and erodes the foundation of a relationship.
What’s a man to do?

Sexy Secret #1: Ask her what she likes. This can be a very fun, playful conversation that will bring you closer. Timing is important. As tempting as it is to quiz her when you’re between the sheets, I don’t recommend it. You’re both too vulnerable when you’re lying there naked. If you want answers when you’re in the moment, read her body by listening to her breathing and vocalization. Pay attention to how she is moving. Many men do what I call “the dip test” and think if a woman is wet, she must be aroused, and if she isn’t wet, she’s not aroused. This is not always true. There are a many factors that impact female lubrication, like hormonal forms of birth control, allergy medication, and dehydration… even the air conditioner can play a role! Don’t guess: Ask your sexy questions when you’re not in bed, and read her body when you are.

Sexy Secret #2: Don’t assume what worked for Jane will work for Joan. While women have a lot in common from a physiological perspective, every woman has a different life experience. The words and actions that excite and please one woman may be a complete turn-off for another. Treat every woman like the individual she is.

Sexy Secret #3: Keep moving the finish line. Women’s bodies, particularly the vulva and clitoris, need time to awaken. Many men go for the genitals right away, and if they use a firm touch too soon, women default to a “let’s get it over with” mindset. You will build sexual tension by indulging her body—but not her genitals—for 15 minutes or so. Non-genital sexual play is the secret. Once her vulva is warm and wanting, go ahead and move down. Use a gentle, almost teasing touch. Try it! Remember, few women will climax with simple penetration—the time you spend coaxing and teasing her vulva and clitoris will drive up her desire in surprising ways. When it’s time for sex, start slowly and then build. Get close to her clitoris—use your body to massage and move it. Pounding a woman’s clitoris with fast, hard thrusts is counterproductive. There’s no hurry, right? Pay attention to her breathing and listen to her body, then quicken your pace.

Sexy Secret #4: Lighten her load. Women’s sexuality and desire need space and time to bubble up to the surface, but our busy lives leave few opportunities to escape from work and family commitments. Women who are constantly running from one meeting to the next tend to feel harried and overwhelmed, and not really very sexy. Men can boost women’s desire by helping them clear their schedule so they have a few hours to themselves.

Sexy Secret #5: Remember, love is (mostly) blind. We assume our mate accepts our unbecoming habits because they love us, right? But these anti-erotic domestic behaviors—you know what they are—can decrease attraction, which is an important element of desire.

At the beginning of a relationship, we are on our best behavior. Then things start to slip—it’s only natural. When I counsel couples, I ask them to list the unbecoming behaviors that turn them off. Men usually hand me a list of 2-3 things. Women hand me a list that’s a page long. Why is this? Think about sexual desire as being regulated by a gas pedal and a brake pedal. In general, men tend to have a more sensitive gas pedal—their higher testosterone levels (the hormone that influences male and female desire) may enable them to look past some of women’s anti-erotic behaviors. And, men tend to receive more positive cultural and societal messages about their sexuality. In turn, they tend to be more permissive about potentially unappealing behavior. On the other hand, women have lower testosterone levels and they have received more negative cultural and societal messages about their sexuality than men. The combination of these two factors may result in more of her mate’s unbecoming—or even benign—behaviors landing on her brake and wilting her sexual desire.

Let’s look at a real life example: A women looks in the mirror and gasps at her smeared makeup and matted hair, but their mate’s testosterone helps him look past all that. She burps after a beer and he barely notices. But if a man presents a similar front, a woman will take notice. Keep in mind, I’m not suggesting men and women try to be perfect. I’m just suggesting we do the best we can. It all comes back to seduction. Women want to be courted—minimizing anti-erotic domestic behaviors can help to keep your courtship alive.

Everyone can have great sex
You don’t need money, fame, a great body, or a great job to have an amazing sex life. Being a great lover is 20% skill; the rest is attention and intention. Spontaneity is great, but don’t wait for it. Talk about what works and try something new with your mate… and let me know how it goes!

Stay tuned for 50 Shades of Confusion, part 3 where I’ll explore the role of pornography in relationships.