In 2012, I was lucky enough to co-author Great in Bed, a sex guide with Dr. Debby Herbenick of the Kinsey Institute. One of the slug lines used in marketing the book was, “Why be good in bed when you can be great?” I had assumed that always striving to be a communicative, competent, compassionate and commensurate lay was a near-universal aspiration, but according to many of my female friends, many of the guys they’ve casually hooked up with have displayed a shocking degree of indifference to whether they got off or not.
“Frankly, I don’t think [male casual sex partners] even consider my satisfaction,” a female friend recently told me. “It makes me wonder: Why do I even bother trying to sate my needs if the end result is disappointment and the urge to kick the guy in the nuts?” Another friend told me that a partner’s lack of technical proficiency is not nearly as ruinous to her chances of getting off as unabashed selfishness. “Bad technique can be corrected,” she said. “Being an asshole tends to be a lifelong affliction.”
A 2012 study published in the American Sociological Review took a scientific look at how important giving their female partners an orgasm was to straight guys. It warmed the cockles of my heart to learn that many of the college-aged men surveyed in the study actually felt it was their responsibility to show their girlfriends a good time and were proud of the orgasms they elicited.
But sadly, that same drive to please was dramatically less prevalent among men who were hooking up casually with women. Only 11% of women were found to experience orgasm during their first time with a new male partner – hardly surprising when one respondent actually had the balls to tell interviewers that he “didn’t give a shit” about whether casual sex partners came away satisfied. The study’s authors reported that “while a few men reported being equally invested in their partners’ orgasms in both hookups and relationships, they were in the minority.”
Simply put, guys who are content to be piggish in the sack aren’t thinking right, and their nonchalance is going to come back to bite them in the ass. Even if you know that you may not see one another again, giving a woman a bone-shaking orgasm is not only hot and ego-boosting but also karmically sound. Do a bang-up job each and every time you get lucky, and you’ll kickstart a grassroots PR campaign that will pay off big. If you consider the four factors (below) proven to affect female orgasm, you may even get referrals.
A combination of all four elements—and the orgasms they underpin—is more commonly seen within longer-term relationships, but the modern gentleman doesn’t let that stop him from being mindful of them in the most fleeting of trysts.
1. Technical proficiency
Not knowing whether you’ll see the woman you’re going home with again is absolutely no reason to eschew everything you ought to know about female sexual response, or simply forget how a vulva works.
If you need a refresher, you could do a lot worse than checking out Dr. Lindsay Doe’s excellent and accessible video demonstration of female anatomy and how you can tend to it with its owner’s pleasure in mind. For a more comprehensive delve into why “fingerbanging” isn’t likely to get her, or you, anywhere, read She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide To Pleasuring a Woman by Dr. Ian Kerner.
You’ll quickly learn that having an working knowledge of female fun parts is a lot like having a decent grasp of grammar: It’s the difference between “you’re shit” and knowing your shit. At root, these and other excellent sources —like Great in Bed, for example—will tell you that although every individual responds to stimuli differently, front-loading sex play with a lot of kissing, explorative touch and unhurried, giving foreplay is the way to go.
No one’s suggesting that you have to profess your undying love for the girl you just met on Tinder, but showing her that you care about her having a rollicking good time in your company is a must. Even if you’re both up for a night of aggressive, animalistic sex, by letting her know that you’re genuinely thrilled and honored to be doing all kinds of nasty stuff with her, you will set the stage for a mutually satisfying evening. The more effectively you can communicate that you’re enjoying her company and care about her being comfortable, the greater the chances of her bringing her own exuberance to bear.
3. Partner-specific experience
Understandably, your knowledge of another person’s sexual turn-ons and turn-offs, how their body works, and the activities that makes them orgasm will become both broader and deeper over time. But that doesn’t mean that casual flings shouldn’t be informed by communication in medias res.
Much of that communication requires paying attention to non-verbal cues: Her breathing, her moans, the way she positions her body in relation to yours or moves her hips. In essence, she’s telling you what works for her. By responding to those cues, you’re opening up a dialogue that is strongly correlated with her ability to experience orgasm.
Of course, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get verbal instruction, if you can work some questions into your sex patter while keeping things fun. Whether it’s a one-time thing or the start of something big, there’s nothing to lose —and everything to gain—by gathering a little intel.
Perhaps the trickiest of the four areas that underpin a woman’s orgasm is equality: Letting her know that you firmly believe that she’s as entitled to come as you are. According to the study, during casual sex, female respondents fully expect that the guy will get off and they won’t. Authors noted that while men took for granted their entitlement to pleasure in hookups, women sometimes expressed uncertainty about whether it was acceptable to want their sexual desires met.
“I feel like when it’s just a hookup, I almost don’t have the right,” said one female study participant.
Next time you get lucky, use the opportunity to assuage your new friend of this notion by making it clear via your actions that she’s every bit as entitled to one of life’s greatest pleasures as you are.