Advice, Erotic Love, Human Nature, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Quality of Life, Relationships, Sex, Sexuality

How to be a Great Lover

“Sex: In America an obsession. In other parts of the world a fact.”  ― Marlene Dietrich

SUMMARY:  The importance of being a considerate lover.

(About a 5 minute read)

Oral sex was still controversial in my rural Midwestern town when I was growing up.  Near as I can recall now, about a third of my classmates thought it was obviously unacceptable, about a third thought fellatio was alright, but cunnilingus was not, and a third accepted both forms.   Almost no one considered it obligatory.

I was in the third that wholly accepted it, and that paid off after I made my way to university and became truly sexually active.  It certainly got me a lot of compliments.  Looking back now, I can see how about the only reason the compliments were glowing was because so many people refused to perform it on women.

Most of the articles I’ve read about how to be a great lover have tended to focus on technique as a path to glory.  Because of my experiences with oral sex, I can testify to the importance of technique.  But I still think it’s a bit over-emphasized in America.  Maybe it’s our culture — with its emphasis on “how-to” and technology — but it seems to me that we tend to exalt technique above everything else.

I believe that emphasis is misplaced.  There are things more important than technique, so far as I’m concerned. And yet, I don’t see the emphasis on technique waning anytime soon.  Especially with so many people learning their basic attitude towards sex from the internet.

Although I’ve been happily celibate for the past two decades, I’ve watched how the internet has changed American sexual practices — and even some attitudes — with great interest.  For instance, anal sex was once rare but apparently is now common.  “Facials” were also once rare.  Yet it seems the ancient tendency to spend just a few minutes in foreplay and just a few minutes in intercourse is still with us.

Perhaps most importantly, the notion that sex is mainly or all about technique is still with us.  The only qualification to that seems to be that nearly everyone prefers to be in love with their partners — or at least people say they do.

I’m all for being in love with your partner but I differ from most people by being of the opinion that being in love doesn’t, by itself, vastly improve the pleasures of sex.  It might make it more comfortable to indulge in them, it might provide a sense or feeling that they are meaningful, but being in love — so far as I am concerned — isn’t on my list of what makes sex mind-blowing.

I suspect the reason so many of us believe in being in love is because being in love can — and sometimes does — lead to being especially considerate of one’s partner, and to me, it is consideration that most frequently leads to mind blowing sex, rather than love.

That’s to say, my experience has been that a considerate lover is likely to be a great lover.

There’s an old saying sex is like pizza — there is no such thing as a bad pizza.  I do not personally believe that to be true.  Not only have many people — mostly women — told me they’ve had bad sex before, but I myself have had bad sex.  And I have even had bad sex with people who professed to at least be exceptionally fond of me, and once or twice people who professed to be in love with me.

But I have never had truly bad sex with a considerate lover.

So what is a considerate lover?  It seems to me that, besides the obvious qualification — namely that we be considerate — there are at least two other qualifications.  First that we have empathy for out lovers.  Here, I mean empathy in the sense of being sensitive to their feelings, including their feelings of pleasure.

If you are especially empathetic to the person you’re in bed with, you can get to the point that having sex with them is like composing a symphony in which their body is the instrument and the notes are the pleasures you create with it.

Beyond empathy/sensitivity lies being open-minded.  By which I not only mean being willing to try new things, but also especially being willing to try things that your partner enjoys even if you yourself are not familiar with them.

So, to me, the first and most important ingredient in seriously good sex is to be a considerate lover in an empathetic and open-minded way. All else is gravy.

17 thoughts on “How to be a Great Lover”

      1. You know what really puzzles me, Miriam? In a way, the “secret” to great love making is so simple. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or anything near to that to be a considerate lover — even an exceptionally considerate lover. So you might expect just about everyone was one, given the vast rewards. But no! There is considerable evidence that quite many of us are not considerate lovers. If I didn’t know how routine it is for humans to be oblivious to simple truths, I would be astounded.

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  1. This was a very interesting read. A lot of it seemed more like a given, though. But the more I read your posts, the more I realize a lot of people have a much different mindset than I do. It’s a little strange, haha. But your comments on empathy are what stuck out to me. People usually view empathy as feeling for others feelings in negative terms. You seemed to have mentioned it in a more positive light, and that is quite uncommon among most I’ve met.

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    1. I see empathy as just being able to understand other people’s feelings, and sympathy as being able to feel for them. Of the two, I prefer empathy.

      Yeah, you would think this stuff is all commonsense, wouldn’t you? Trust me, it’s not. I know plenty of people who are inconsiderate lovers — sometimes very inconsiderate lovers I hate saying this, but mostly they are young men in your age range and up. I don’t know why that is, but it’s very common.

      Young women have told me over and over again that their friends are poor lovers. Ironically, the young men do not seem to care. Most of them ask me how to get laid, not what to do when getting laid. Sadly, surveys of women in their 30s and 40s indicate that around half of them have lost interest in sex, although not in cuddling and other such things, largely it seems because of their disappointment with men.

      On the upside, there are young men who break the mold and are great lovers. Women have told me about some of them.

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      1. They sure do! You would not believe some of the things people tell me! In my opinion, if you learn to listen to people without judging them, folks will trust you with all sorts of things they wouldn’t even tell their best friends in some cases. Also it helps if you have a reputation for not saying who said what. I’ve had a rep like that since high school. I never name who told me what, unless I know for sure they wouldn’t mind my telling.

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  2. I’ve been working backwards doing catch up reading. And here it is again! The sex thing… I must say that I agree with you Paul on all points. People still find it hard to talk about sex and intimacy. as if it is wrong, or should not be talked about openly. So that means there is so much misunderstanding, ignorance, poor role modeling etc etc etc. What a shame.

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    1. Indeed, Raili. I grew up in a time and place where misinformation was rampant and it does not escape me that sex was very much a taboo subject back then — leaving people to become informed about it from all the wrong sources.

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  3. Being in love, is to mitigate the guilt of sex. That’s how I feel I think. I can not split the act from the emotion. They are too bound in one another enough so that when I would have sex with someone that I didn’t love, I became convinced I did because we were having sex.

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    1. Do you see sex as intrinsically guilt inducing? There are anthropologists who have noticed that sex is in one way or another taboo everywhere on earth, and that therefore they suspect a genetic basis for sexual guilt.

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