Friday, November 27, 2015

What Does It Mean To Be "Good At Sex?"

I like sex. A lot. That shouldn't be much of a revelation to anyone that regularly reads this blog. But I'm not just interested in having sex. I like talking about it, too. We have a lot of primal drives, like the drive to eat, drink, seek shelter, seek belonging, etc. We tend to acknowledge and accept all those drives. Our primal drive to have sex, though, is often denied. Yet it's clear sex is among our most influential drives. It's possible to predict pretty much anyone's behaviors with a high degree of accuracy IF you can figure out their sexual strategy. 

Anyway, pretty much all of us believe we're at least above average when it comes to sexual skill. I personally have never met anyone that admitted they weren't very good at sex. In psychology, we call this an illusory superiority bias. While some people are clearly very good at sex, there's an equal number that are kinda terrible. Contrary to popular belief, there is such thing as bad sex.

I personally have always been motivated to learn more about sex because I believed it would make me a better partner, thus increasing the number of opportunities to have sex. Seems logical, right?

There's a problem with this idea. A recent Maxim article shed some light on this idea. In the article, the author discusses how being really good at one or two techniques is far better than trying to be a master at everything. While it wasn't the main point of the article, it highlights a truth I discovered far too late in life - technique is vastly overrated

Once you learn some basic anatomy, understand the importance of pressure and friction, and understand how to read your partner's physiological signals, you're pretty much good to go. Maybe develop and master one or two really good techniques (per the Maxim article.) 

So If Technique Isn't Important, What Is?

This is the part that took me wayyyy too long to discover - sex is primarily psychological, not biological. Even though I heard and thought I understood the phase "the brain is your body's most important sex organ", I didn't really get it. 

As a lifelong pro-feminist social justice warrior, I had internalized a few beliefs including:

  • Men have to be "respectful" towards women, which I understood as "men need to act like asexual beings with zero interest in sex."
  • Comfort and familiarity are prerequisites to female arousal.
  • Women require long periods of foreplay to become aroused.
  • Manly men are a turnoff for women; better to play the "metrosexual" sensitive male role.
  • Mastering anything and everything related to the technical aspects of sexual technique.
Then I started studying gender and the relationship between masculine and feminine. Slowly but surely, I started to recognize the true scope of the importance of psychology in sexual satisfaction (i.e. - "good sex.") In general, I came to see that sexual fulfillment doesn't occur as a function of technical proficiency, but rather the degree of "passion" of an encounter. So what determines passion?

  1. The passion and intimacy paradox. I've written about this phenomenon before, so I'll keep it brief (see the linked post for more detail.) In essence, passion, or the desire to have sex with someone, and intimacy, the closeness and bonding we feel with another, are mutually exclusive. Passion requires mystery and distance, intimacy requires mutual self-disclosure and vulnerability. Most importantly, they kill each other. As such, it's important to learn to alternate between the two. 
  2. Genetic dissimilarity. Okay, I've known about this one for a while. We give of pheromones that contain information about our genetic makeup. Other people detect these pheromones. The greater the difference between our genes, the stronger we "fall" for the person. "Falling" is measured by the intensity of the feelings we have for the other person, which we often call "having a spark." This is why sometimes we have incredibly powerful feelings for a person that's not our type or feel nothing for someone that's perfect on paper.
  3. Traditional gender roles. This one was tough for me to accept... until I started seeing the effect. Traditional masculinity (not to be confused with the androgyny of the modern metrosexual male) and traditional femininity are kinda like the yin and yang of sexual arousal. The stronger that difference, the greater the potential for arousal. Eliminate one or both and passion disappears. There's nothing remotely arousing about androgynous blobs. It's no surprise the men that join our male-only San Diego Man Camp group universally experience an increase in sexual frequency and quality... men that are good at being men make panties wet. 
  4. Sexual dominance. This one was another tough lesson to accept, though the runaway popularity of '50 Shades of Gray' should have been a good hint, but it took the now-rare book "The Sex God Method" to really hammer home the point - almost all women love sexually dominant men. This is obviously problematic in a society that obsesses over the silly idea of "rape culture" because it makes most men extremely wary about expressing sexual dominance. It's no surprise sexual passivity and being overly cautious is one of the most common complaints women have about their sexual partners. 
These four elements, when combined effectively, result in a far better mutually-fulfilling sex life. Learning new techniques is a good thing; it gives us a huge toolbox of technique that can help us adapt to new partners faster OR provide novelty for long-term relationships. However, it's a small piece of the puzzle compared to the psychological aspects of sex.

Thoughts? Leave a comment!



  1. We as a couple tried the passion and intimacy theory you suggested as dog gone it, it works really well. I started it as the guy and told my wife about it a bit later, she even read your book (as did I). It has been working well, Despite her intitial hesitation to the theory (societal programming?). I struggle with over sharing with her. That is my next step.

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