Reimagining Sexual Intercourse

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When most people think about "having sex" they think of sexual intercourse. It's strange because intercourse is neither the most common sexual activity (masturbation wins that award, hands down; or maybe up), nor is it a particularly good way of experiencing a wide range of sexual pleasures (and for some kinds of pleasure it's downright boring).

And yet sexual intercourse remains in most people's hearts and minds the feature attraction.

Everything before it is just "foreplay."

There are a lot of problems with the way we talk about intercourse, one of them being the idea that you should just know how to do it.  While sexual technique isn't everything, it is something, and it doesn't come naturally to many of us.

Whether you've been intercoursing for ages, or are trying to imagine it for the first time, here are some tips to get you started or jumpstart an old routine.

Get Turned On

You may think this goes without saying, but many people have less than pleasurable, and even painful sexual intercourse because they don’t get aroused enough before they start. Intercourse doesn’t provide a lot of physical stimulation if you have a vagina and clitoris. Enjoying it requires that you’re already part of the way there. Whether you call it foreplay or just fooling around, use your fingers, mouth, or sex toys, just make sure that before you start the intercourse all parties are turned on and preferably well lubricated.

Whoever is Getting It, Should Lead

The person being penetrated should lead the action, at least to start. They may not always want to be in control, but particularly the first few times you have sexual intercourse with a new partner and you’re the one doing the penetration, let your partner show you how they like it.

There will be plenty of opportunity for you to improvise, but consider yourself a student first, and a teacher later.

Put It in and Pause

Movies, particularly pornography, may lead you to believe that sexual intercourse is all about thrusting. And thrusting can be fun. But the crux of intercourse is the intimate physical connection, two bodies being put together in a way that most of us never are. So when you begin intercourse don’t penetrate your partner and immediately begin thrusting like mad. Pause a second to take in the feeling of connection and experience what it’s like to be, literally, inside someone else's skin.

Pace Yourself

Most people like the pace of intercourse to vary during sex play. While everyone’s different, it's generally a good idea to start slow and steady and build from there. The stereotype of heterosexual intercourse involves a man doing all the thrusting and a woman just lying back for the ride. This isn’t just unfair, it’s untenable in the long run (upper body strength gives out, hips get sore, etc.). Make a point to change the pace of penetration during intercourse and even change up who is responsible for most of the movement.

Experiment With Sex Positions

Changing your sex positions is an obvious way to add variety to sexual intercourse.

Different sex positions can offer different kinds of stimulation. Some positions are good for g-spot stimulation, others for prostate stimulation. A position can allow for deeper or more shallow penetration. For women, positions that result in more shallow penetration can be better for more aggressive thrusting as there’s a reduced chance of hitting the cervix, which can be painful.

Close Together or Far Apart

If you think sexual intercourse is only about long deep thrusts, think again. Depending on body sizes and tastes, some people prefer penetration that involves more grinding of bodies together than an in-out motion. For guys, thrusting during intercourse will produce the most intense physical stimulation, but deep penetration and pelvic grinding can be a completely different experience and one that drives some people wild.

Press the Right Buttons

While sexual intercourse is not very good for clitoral stimulation, it can be ideal for hitting some of your other internal pleasure points. For some women, vaginal intercourse can provide highly pleasurable g-spot stimulation. Anal intercourse can create prostate stimulation that many men find very pleasurable. Some women enjoy cervical stimulation from deep penetration (others will find this uncomfortable or even painful). There are no magic buttons that work for everyone, but by playing with depth and angle of penetration you can begin to explore other joys of penetration.

Get Your Whole Body Into It

No one said that sexual intercourse only involves a mash-up of genitals. Use different sexual positions to allow your hands, arms, elbows, mouth, feet, and head to be free to do other kinds of touching. Run your hands gently up and down your partners back, grab some fleshy part of them and hold on for dear life, or add a firm or gentle smack on the bum, all of these can create extra stimulation and increase the connection and intimacy of the moment.

Sex Toys for Added Stimulation

Vibrators are a great way to add stimulation to intercourse. Some vibrators are worn around the waist by women and provide clitoral stimulation during penetration. There are others that are worn on the hand, so you can touch any area and have instant vibration. Wand style vibrators, like the Hitachi Magic Wand, are great for couples and fit easily between two bodies. There are also vibrating rings that can be worn at the base of a dildo or penis during intercourse.

Lube is Your Friend

Many people think of lubricants in terms of need (as in, "I don’t need lube, I lubricate enough on my own"). I suggest instead you think of personal lubricants in terms of want. If you want to heighten your sensitivity and increase the pleasure, adding a personal lubricant is almost always a good idea. If what you like is dry penetration then you may not want lube. Otherwise, lubricant simply increases the slipperiness of penetration, it makes condoms feel better and reduces the chance of one breaking.

Lubricant is also essential for using sex toys during intercourse or for anal intercourse.

Break It Down and Mix It Up

Even if you love intercourse, a sexual diet of intercourse alone will get dull after a while, and if your sex life only consists of a few things you do before intercourse and then intercourse, it can be hard to keep creativity alive. Mix it up both by having sex without intercourse, but also by having other kinds of sex during intercourse. Switch from intercourse to oral sex or from intercourse to mutual masturbation, or something else entirely and then back again. Having sexual intercourse doesn’t have to be about finding the shortest distance between two points.