Friday, March 18, 2011

Heather Corinna: What Makes Someone Good in Bed?

What Makes Someone Good in Bed?

veganpop asks:
I'm confused as to how a girl can be "good" in bed in a heterosexual relationship? What does it mean to be good at sex?

Heather Corinna replies:
That's one of the best questions I've received in a long time. I wish more people would ask it!

But. Umm. I can't actually answer it.

I can't answer exactly what you're asking because human sexuality is one of the most diverse things there is, and that diversity includes how different everyone is in what they like and don't like and in what they experience or consider "good" and what they experience or consider as "bad." What one person means when they say someone is "good in bed" can be way different from what another person means. One person's awesome can be another person's awful. There is no universal "good in bed" for people of any gender or orientation, or for people, period. Some people certainly seem to think there is, or present that as real, but this really, truly is not universal.

But let me tell you why I'm glad you're asking: because nobody knows, but very few people question that phrase or ask what it means. Instead, people will just tend to stress out about it, and decide the answer is whatever any given source who pretends that this stuff is universal says it is, often trying a million different ways to be "good" even if they really aren't interested in those things, don't enjoy them, or their partners aren't interested in those things and don't enjoy them. Sometimes people are so focused on trying to be a person someone will call "good in bed" they wind up sabotaging what otherwise would have been good sexual experiences.

It's hard to really enjoy ourselves and each other sexually if and when we're hung up on the idea of proving ourselves in any way, being some kind of sexual expert or getting a gold star. While I think being a good partner for people is certainly laudable and important, I think framing ourselves or anyone else as "good in bed" or trying to achieve that as any sort of status we affix and carry around is a mistake. A phrase or idea like "good in bed" is so loaded, so external and so arbitrary that it's more likely to be a barrier to you or partners feeling your best about sexual experiences and yourselves as sexual people, rather than a help. The proverbial rubbish bin for poor or iffy terms or framing often used with sex is always overflowing, but my advice is that you cram this one in there.

Here's the good news: even though I don't know the answer when it comes to the framework you gave me and I suggest you ditch it, what I do know, and can fill you in on, are some basic things -- let's go for a top-ten list -- that tend to play a part in people mutually enjoying sex and sexuality together; that typically loom large in people feeling good about sex during and after. The even better news is that these things don't require asking anyone to be a contortionist, they don't usually cost any money, you won't need to memorize anything, they don't involve doing anything that doesn't feel right to you or pretending to be someone, something or somewhere you're not.

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