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7 Sex Mistakes Men Make

WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

You know how most guys learn about sex? You're taught the basic facts of life, then left to puzzle out your partners' sexuality -- and your own -- by trial and error.

Experience is useful, but it isn't everything. Even guys who've had a lot of sexual experience with women make mistakes.

So you don’t have to learn the hard way, three well-known sex educators tell you how to avoid the most common sex mistakes men make with women.

Mistake 1: Assuming You Know How to Please a Woman

Some men assume that the way they've learned to please one woman works for all women. Not so.

"With each sexual partner you have, you gain a growing body of knowledge of female bodies and female pleasure," says Tristan Taormino, author of The Secrets of Great G-Spot Orgasms and Female Ejaculation. "But women's sexuality is complicated, and it's really individual."

Every woman's body responds in different ways to sensation, and every woman's anatomy is a little different. What feels amazing to one may do nothing -- or even cause discomfort -- for another. Patti Britton, PhD, MPH, a sexologist in Los Angeles, says, "That is the detective work you need to do each and every time. We really each have a sexual fingerprint."

When it comes to intercourse, one key variable is your thrusting technique: Does she like it fast or slow? Deep or shallow? Or does she like to mix it up -- slow and shallow at first, and then fast and deep?

Also, no one sex position is every woman's favorite. She may prefer a certain sex position for several reasons. Different positions allow various angles of penetration, depending not only on her anatomy, but also the size and shape of your penis. Differences between partners' body shape and height may make some positions better than others. And for some women, it's important to have face-to-face intimacy during intercourse.

"I talk to tons of women who say, ‘I know missionary gets a bad rap, but I really like it.'" Taormino says. "Others say, ‘It's got to be from behind. People are really across the board when it comes to positions."

Mistake 2: "Let's (Not) Talk About Sex"

Most couples who seek counseling with sex therapist Chris Donaghue don't talk to each other about sex. Often that's because they don't have the words. Donaghue says many of them don't know, or aren't comfortable using correct terms.

For example, a guy might say "vagina" when he means the vulva. He may talk about "doing it," though it's not always clear what "it" is: Vaginal intercourse? Oral sex? "A lot of work initially is just getting them comfortable with those words," says Donaghue, host of Bad Sex, a reality TV series on Logo.

Taormino says if it's hard for your partner to say what she wants sexually, try asking specific instead of open-ended questions. "What do you like?" is an open-ended question that often doesn't get a useful answer.

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