6 Common Sex Mistakes Women Make

Medically Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on January 29, 2015
4 min read

Is your sex life as good as it could be? Are you sure? Experts say even satisfied, sexually confident women don’t always know when they’re making between-the-sheets blunders.

Here are six common mistakes, and the simple ways to remedy each one.

Mistake No. 1: You wait until you’re “in the mood.”

If you put off sex until your brain and body are primed for it, you probably won’t get frisky very often. That’s because many women don’t feel desire until they’re already into the act itself.

“Research shows that foreplay, and even just touching, prompts your body to send a message to your brain that activates sexual interest,” says Scott Haltzman, MD. He’s an associate clinical professor of medicine at Florida State University.

Even if you don’t feel like you’re ready down there, that doesn’t mean you aren’t turned on. “Even younger women may find that they’re not as lubricated as they’d like,” says Madeleine Castellanos, MD. If this is a problem for you, try using lube during foreplay, she says. Castellanos is a psychiatrist who specializes in sexual dysfunction.

Mistake No. 2: You put your partner’s pleasure first.

Sex is the time to be selfish. Putting all your energy into pleasing your partner doesn’t make you a better lover. It makes you a less fulfilled one, and that can be a downer for both of you.

“Biologically, women are hardwired to put others’ needs first,” Castellanos says. “But that instinct can put a damper on your sex life.”

The solution: Slow things down. “Women take longer than men to climax, and often even to get aroused. That’s OK,” she says. “Don’t feel guilty. Your pleasure is a turn-on to your partner.”

It’s equally important to be honest with yourself -- and your partner -- about what works for you. Don’t like a particular position? Speak up. Too tired to get it on at 10 p.m.? Schedule an a.m. sex session instead.

Mistake No. 3: You think he’s always up for sex.

If he doesn’t want to have sex, or he can’t get an erection, it doesn’t mean he isn’t into you or that he wants another woman.

“Stress, exhaustion, and depression can dull a man’s libido, the same way they can affect a woman’s sex drive,” Haltzman says.

Men have a “recovery period” after a climax, and that time usually gets longer as they get older.

Mistake No. 4: You let body image stand between you and good sex.

Want another good reason to love yourself as you are? It improves your love life. Research shows that women with a strong self-image have sex more often, feel more at ease when they’re naked with their partner, and even have more orgasms than those who don’t feel good about themselves.

The truth is, “the majority of men have a passionate attraction for their partners, and are eager to have sex with them,” Haltzman says. "They’re not worried about what they [women] are wearing, whether they’ve showered, or if they’ve put on weight.”

If you need a morale boost, don’t put yourself down and wait for your partner to cheer you up with a compliment. Instead, ask positive questions like, “Do you think you’d enjoy having sex with me tonight?” or, “What do you think the sexiest part of me is?”

Mistake No. 5: You don’t use your imagination.

Couples who have sex regularly are happier and more likely to stay together. To keep the spark going (and your bond strong) if you’ve been together for a long time, you need to “fantasize,” Castellanos says.

“Many women think it’s a betrayal to imagine a different person or scenario, but it’s not. Fantasies trigger desire, which allows you to have a fulfilling sexual encounter with your partner. It’s win-win.”

Mistake No. 6: You think self-love is only for singles.

Masturbation is a great way to get in touch with your own desires, and to find out what turns you on. It can ease problems with vaginal tightening and dryness before, during, and after menopause, too.

Don’t worry about “using up” all your sexual interest: “Masturbation actually increases desire in women,” Castellanos says. “It makes them more responsive to their partner during sexual activity, and can up the odds of achieving orgasm during intercourse. It’s really one of the best things women can do to improve their sex lives.”