You see a lot of articles about what men can do during sex to make it better for the woman, but there's a lot less information - and opinion - on the mistakes women make. So, to set the record straight, here's our list of ten things for women to avoid.
Expecting him to think like a woman
We've all seen loads of books with titles like "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" which highlight an unfortunate difference between the sexes. Men and women don't think the same way - and while we're not going to get into why this happens, it's important to remember that fact when you're in a relationship. In general, men are not as romantic as women, they don't see romance as a necessary prelude to sex, and they can divorce sex from their feelings in a way that perhaps most women can't. So there will be plenty of times when a man wants sex even if he isn't feeling romantic and connected to his partner.
For him, the physical pleasure of sex is a reward in itself. He doesn't need to be seduced into feeling desire (though he may appreciate it if you do seduce him!), at least most of the time, for his sex drive is a pretty constant part of his maleness. I think that's what women don't understand.
They know how elusive and emotional their own sex drive is, but they don't appreciate how different it is for a man. Think of it this way: men can enjoy sex with their partner whether they are feeling loving or not; in fact they often find their feelings of love for their partner when they have sex with her. By contrast, women often say they need to feel loving before they want sex - or at least before they are prepared to give themselves heart and soul to a man.
Not showing your sexual energy
Women who were brought up to be demure "good girls" (i.e. non-sexual) may find it difficult to express the essence of their feminine energy during sex. And a lot of women also have problems expressing their anger, an emotion which can add real spice to the sexual union between men and women. This lack of sexual energy might appear as a reluctance to initiate sex, a reluctance to be the active partner, a reluctance to make noises or thrust, or simply an overall tendency to wait for the man to lead and direct what happens during sex.
But believe me, ladies, your man will really like it when you express your passion - whether that means you getting on top for woman on top sex, moving in a way that will give you the greatest pleasure, kissing him passionately, or being assertive about what you want in bed.
Being too gentle when you touch his penis
Men like a firmer touch than women, especially when it comes to their penises. If you ever have the pleasure of watching him masturbate, you'll see how much pressure he uses on his penis - especially as he nears orgasm. If you're doing it for him, ask him to tell you what you're doing right and what he'd like done differently. He'll really appreciate your efforts to give him more pleasure.
Not experimenting with sex
The saying has it that men think about sex ten times an hour - or is it a hundred? Yes, of course that's an exaggeration, but it isn't much of one. While some women have a high sexual desire, it's true to say that women in general are much less sexy than men when they're not in the bedroom. Men fantasize all the time - about the things they see, what they'd like to do, how they'd like to do it, and so on. With such an active sexual imagination, it's not hard to understand why a bit of variation in the bedroom routine can keep a man sexually happy.
It doesn't have to be way out stuff like bondage, either. For example, try changing sex positions once in a while: take the initiative and get on top of him or let him enjoy rear entry for a change. Talk dirty to him if you've never tried that before; explore and play with new parts of his body, such as his anus and perineum, during foreplay - or even during the main event. Seduce him into a "quickie" by leaving a trail of clothes across the floor into the bedroom. Greet him at the door in sexy clothing. Phone him at work and tell him what you'd like to do to him later that day.....well, you get the idea - use your imagination!
Expecting him to read your mind
Yes, we know it's difficult to express your sexual desires directly. But men don't think like women. They don't read clues, they don't get hints. So stop communicating indirectly, and tell him what you want. And give him feedback when you get it! That way, he'll know exactly what he's supposed to be doing, how you feel about it, and whether to do it again. For example, if you like what he's doing during sex, let him know with your moans of pleasure.
I think one of the reasons women can be so critical of their man is that they've never learned the art of direct communication. Than means stating clearly and directly what you want, how you want it, and whether you got it - and how you feel about it afterwards. Men appreciate that style of talk - they know where they stand and it removes the uncertainty for them.
Criticism is an indirect way of saying that your needs are not being met - but if you read number 5 above, then maybe you've begun to understand that your man won't know what you want unless you tell him. If you're judging his love for you on the basis of his ability to anticipate and meet your needs without you saying what they are, well, I'm afraid you aren't likely to be very satisfied. And it won't be his fault.
Letting him take responsibility for your orgasm
A lot of us think that a man somehow has a responsibility to "give" a woman an orgasm during sex. After all, that's how a lot of us were brought up - that a man somehow has to look after "his" woman. And that idea extends to making sure she has an orgasm during sex.....but the truth is that women are responsible for their own orgasms. So while it might be nice for your man to help you get there, if you don't make it to orgasm through his efforts, you can always take matters into your own hands.
Controlling him by withdrawing sex
One of the most unhealthy things you can do in a relationship is to use sex as a weapon. This is basically a statement that you feel powerless, that you think withholding sex is the only way you can get what you want. Rather than trying to exert some influence over your man by denying him the pleasure of your body, try communicating directly what you want and don't want. (That might even extend to simply saying you don't feel emotionally close enough to your partner to want sex.)
Thinking he'll feel the same way about your body that you do
It just isn't so. Men don't attach the judgments to women's bodies that women do. So, for example, even if he thinks your butt really is a bit on the large side, it won't matter to him the way it matters to you. In fact, he probably quite likes it. And he certainly won't be put off making love, or want the lights off, because of it. While you waste time and emotional energy wondering if you're completely undesirable because of some aspect of your body, he'll never give it a second thought. It's women who judge their bodies, I think for the sake of comparison with other women, not men.
Not making up with sex after an argument
Well, yes, I know that a lot of couples do make up with sex when they've had an argument, but in fact many more don't. As I said above, most women think that they need to be feeling loving and emotionally close before they want sex. Yet I've met a lot of couples in my work as a sexual therapist who have found that taking the risk and jumping into bed can work really well as a way of getting close again.
Even if you don't feel sexy or loving when you start making love, after a while the simple act of being physically connected in bed can really change the way you feel about each other. The other way of settling an argument (that's talking, seeking understanding, and thrashing out how you feel) is fine: but once in a while try a more direct method of getting your feelings back on track - just go to bed together!