It’s a natural human inclination to want to be good at something. But in most cases, it takes a bit of practice to master a skill. If you happened to be awesome at sex from the get-go, we applaud you—for most of us, it was a pretty awkward experience at first, and, for some people, it still is.
There’s hope: According to a recent Tonic article, researchers have found that there are five things in particular that can help make you good at sex. Here’s how to up your game.
1. Make your partner feel desired.
Encouragement goes a long way and sexual satisfaction is intricately linked with self-esteem. The better your partner feels about their body, the more likely they are to enjoy themselves. Whether it’s telling them how sexy they are, admiring their body through touch, or even just moaning appreciatively, try to let your partner know how much you desire them.
2. Know their body (and yours).
Apparently, a lot of people still don’t know the difference between the vagina (the internal genital tract) and the vulva (the external sex organs). And there’s even sometimes confusion about the mechanics of a penis. So make sure you at least know the basic geography—and function of—the relevant parts of your partner’s body and how to stimulate them.
3. Understand what your partner likes.
Your partner is always happier when you get them a birthday gift that they actually like, right? The same goes for good sex. They’re much likelier to enjoy having sex with you if you’re doing things that turn them on. And the best way to find out? Ask them.
4. Don’t skip out on foreplay.
Sure, a smash and dash can be fun once in a while, but foreplay is one of the essentials to great sex—especially if you’re looking to cultivate intimacy with a partner. So instead of just getting right to the action, dedicate some time to warming things up slowly and setting the mood through kissing, caressing, and other manual stimulation.
5. Change things up.
Just as foreplay is great for helping people get into the mood for sex—not all of us are ready to get down to it straight away—it also helps to keep things varied. Instead of going straight for the same boring old position every time, try a combination of positions, and alternate between oral sex and intercourse. (Remember that not everyone with a vagina is able to climax from penetrative sex alone, so often they’ll need some kind of other stimulation as well.)