7 Sex Mistakes Men Make and How to Avoid Them

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A change in thinking may improve your sex life. Get the details on seven common mistakes guys make with women, and learn how to avoid them.

Mistake 1: Sex Starts in the Bedroom

Men may turn on like a light, but for women, arousal doesn’t happen so fast, says sex therapist Ian Kerner, PhD.

Pave the way during the day by hugging, kissing, and holding hands. Have some fun together, and show you appreciate her.

Feeling safe and secure in the relationship is key for a woman to really let loose during sex, Kerner says. A long hug can go further than you’d think. “Hugging for 30 seconds stimulates oxytocin, the hormone in women that creates [a] sense of connection and trust.”

Mistake 2: Assume You Know What She Wants

“Just as many women are faking orgasm today as 20 or 30 years ago,” Kerner says. So, if she’s not enjoying herself, you might not know it.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions like “How does this feel?” or “Do you want something different?” In other words, ask for directions.

Mistake 3: Stick to Your Plan

Don’t think that “if it worked the first three times, it will work the next three times,” says sex therapist Sari Cooper, LCSW.

What turns her on may depend on her mood, and where she is in her monthly cycle. “Perhaps her nipples are more sensitive or her genitals are less tingly,” Cooper adds.

Pay attention to your partner, says psychologist Lonnie Barbach, PhD. “Try different things and see how she responds.”

When you find something that works, linger on it. Women often complain that men move on to the next thing just as they really start to enjoy an activity.

Mistake 4: Keep It Strictly Physical

Expand your idea of foreplay. Some men “focus on physical stimulation and often ignore mental stimulation,” Kerner says.

While men get stirred up by what they see, “women fantasize a lot during sex as part of [the] process of arousal.” Join in — share a fantasy or a sexy memory.

Mistake 5: Expect Intercourse to Give Her an Orgasm

For 80% of women, intercourse alone won’t do the trick. Why not? Most sex positions don’t directly stimulate the clitoris.

There are other ways to pleasure her. “Women orgasm much more consistently from oral sex than from intercourse,” Kerner says. Also, try sex with the woman on top, or a vibrator made for couples to use during sex. “Men should feel comfortable, not threatened, with sex toys,” he says.

To help her hit the high note when you do have sex, take time to get her going before you make your entrance. “The closer women are when they start intercourse, the more likely they are to have an orgasm,” Barbach says.

Mistake 6: Skip the Seduction

Women like to be seduced. “Seduction is as important as, or sometimes more important than, technique,” Cooper says.

It helps to know what kind of turn-on your partner likes, whether it’s oral, visual, or mental, she says. “Does your partner like it when you talk dirty over the phone or text? Trace your finger slowly up her chest? Flirt with her at a bar?”

Also, if you like what you see, say so. “Let a woman know how desirable she is,” Barbach says.

Mistake 7: Focus on Ringing the Bell

Most women need clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm, but it’s more complex than you may think.

Some men “don’t understand the anatomy of the clitoris,” Cooper says. It’s more than the small “button” you can see. Its nerve endings spread throughout the vulva and inside the vagina. All are potential pleasure points worth exploring.

“You can go back and forth,” Cooper says. Paying too much attention to the glans, at the top of the vulva, can take away from pleasure for some women. It’s so sensitive, that too much stimulation can hurt.