How to Know If You’re Good In Bed

body parts. hands, waist, hips

Let’s talk about being a great lover. 

Many people think that sex skills are all about physical technique: lick this, squeeze that, put finger here, etc. But while technique is important… it’s not everything. 

The truth is, good lovers have good relational skills. Even more than physical skills, it’s these abilities that make sex unforgettable.

For example: is it helpful to know where the clitoris or prostate is, and how to stimulate them? Of course! But here’s the secret to being a great lover: it has MUCH more to do with the way you treat yourself outside the bedroom. This impacts your relational skills in huge ways. 

If you want to be good in bed, there are 5 areas I encourage you to explore. 

Being “good in bed” means you’re sexually intelligent.

In my book Smart Sex, I talk a lot about sexual intelligence, or sex IQ for short. There are 5 components:

  1. Health
  2. Embodiment 
  3. Self-Knowledge
  4. Self-Acceptance
  5. Collaboration 

How are you doing in each one? Let’s find out.

1. Health: The Foundation Of Your Sex Life

To take care of someone else in bed, you have to take care of you first. 

If a person neglects their health outside the bedroom, it’s going to show up in the bedroom. “Health” is incredibly broad, but generally I think about:

Physical health: do you get your blood pumping regularly? Do you smoke? How’s your nutrition? None of this is a judgment, but all of these factors affect your blood flow, which is a key component in arousal, erection, and vulva sensitivity.

Mental health: do you experience anxiety or depression? Negative thought patterns? Again no judgment, especially because these are universal to one degree or another. But left unchecked, poor mental health blocks your ability to be present in bed. 

Hormonal health: All of us experience fluctuations in our hormones, due to age, lifestyle factors, etc. For example: when testosterone or estrogen dips, so does our ability to get turned on. If you’ve never looked into your hormones before, it can give you a ton of useful information for your sex life.

Health is baseline for showing up as a great lover. It also shows your partners that you care for yourself…which is sexy. 

Try: Adopting a movement practice (if you don’t have one already). Basic yes, but movement boosts all 3 of these health areas: it increases blood flow, releases mood-boosting endorphins, and increases your levels of free testosterone – a key hormone we all share for sexual arousal.

2. Embodiment: Experiencing Sex Through Your Body & Senses

Most of us live in our heads, guided by thoughts during our day-to-day. But truly excellent lovers know how to drop into their bodies during sex.

Of all the Sex IQ pillars, this is the one that’s hardest for people to grasp. And yet it makes a huge difference in the way lovers respond to you! When you approach sex in an embodied way, intrusive thoughts (“are they into this?” “how do I look?” “) go away. Instead, you’re more present and in the moment. Sex feels more powerful. 

Great sex is about feeling free. When you’re alive to all the sensations and pleasure you’re experiencing – lovers can tell. 

Try: Box breathing, a simple breathwork technique that boosts embodiment. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts. Repeat a few cycles until your mind has quieted. Practiced regularly, you’ll get in the habit of quieting your thoughts, and becoming more aware of your body.

3. Self-Knowledge: Knowing Your Turn Ons

A lot of people show up to bed expecting their partner to do all the work of turning them on. But great lovers do their own homework, and know what arouses them.

Whether it’s watching or listening to sexy media, indulging your sexual imagination, or masturbating enough to know what feels good to you – this is sexual self-knowledge. These are all ways you can figure out your turn ons. 

When you’ve got self-knowledge, your partner doesn’t have to read your mind. When you can clearly say things like, “I love having my nipples sucked,” it’s hot. 

Try: Writing down your turn ons for a week. Take note of the ones that show up again and again.

4. Self-Acceptance: Confidence In Your Body and Yourself

We all know confidence is attractive. But confidence doesn’t come from looking a certain way or having a certain status. I’m sure we can all think of people who have these things and are still insecure. 

Rather, confidence comes from self-acceptance around your entire being: your body, your genitals, your personality, all your unique traits. This is exciting to partners, because confident people put others at ease, make jokes, give genuine praise – in short, they’re easy and fun to be around. 

Self-acceptance is the precursor to confidence, and self-acceptance is an inside job. There are going to be times all of us feel lower than usual. But people aren’t born with self-acceptance, they cultivate it. It’s a deliberate effort you can start doing right now. 

Try: A mirror affirmation. I promise it works. It’s best if it’s short and simple, so you can repeat it every day in the mirror – even if you just say it to yourself. Example: “I’m capable of giving pleasure to myself and others.”

5. Collaboration: Playing Well With Others

Great lovers pay attention to their partner’s cues. They notice what their partner likes during sex – then they lean into it. They’re wonderful to have sex with, because they balance giving and receiving. These are the people who approach sex like it’s art: they make the whole experience memorable and amazing. This is what I mean by collaboration.

In bed, collaboration can take lots of different forms. It can be verbal communication, ability to read your partner’s body language, doing something kinky together – anything that involves the of you working together. 

Without realizing it, many people treat sex like it’s masturbation: stimulating their genitals to orgasm, with the help of another person’s body. It’s the opposite for collaborators. To them, sex is about so much more than orgasm. It’s a moment to truly connect, and help each other experience new levels of intimacy. 

Try: Listening to this episode about polarity. During sex you can collaborate in all kinds of ways, but I like polarity because it gives very clear directives for how a couple can collaborate erotically. 

I’d love to hear how you’re doing in these 5 areas! Did any of them surprise you? Have you known amazing lovers who have these qualities? Come find me on Instagram @sexwithemily and let’s talk.

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