Sex Lessons Men Wish They'd Learned When They Were Younger

Man caressing woman's waist
Anthony Humphreys/Thrillist 

If we depended on movies and the tales in bars and locker rooms for our sex education, we'd believe sex is feverishly hot, abundant, endless... and mastered by every 24-year-old man. Surely, a surplus of youthful hormones, apps, and online dating profiles make sex easier than ever to get. Just swipe-text-meet and voila! But that doesn't mean it's all good -- or even decent.

Age and experience offer the difference between quality and quantity. Good sex, it turns out, is learned. Here are eight lessons men wish they'd known years earlier. But this information isn't wasted on the young -- remember, it's never too late to be amazing in bed.

If you approach sex like an IKEA desk assembly, you're doing it wrong

Great sex is more than knowing the rules! It's about understanding nuance -- and make no mistake, herein lies the difference between unforgettable sex... and sex she can't wait to forget. "I wish I would have known that what works on one woman may not work on another," says Mike, 40. "It's important to communicate with your partner. Ask her what she likes and dislikes, and share what turns you on and off. The goal is not just to finish, but for both of you to feel good, get off, and get a call back."

There's a technique to good oral sex

Here's something that might surprise you: most women we interviewed would rather date a man with a small penis and good oral skills than one with a huge (yes, HUGE) member who wasn't good with his tongue (or worse, never used it). "I have learned that licking her as you would an ice cream cone never fails," says Charles, 35.

She doesn't want to be "nailed"

When guys started using the word "bang" to describe having sex, we never imagined they would take it as an actual instruction. "I wish I was told that women like it when you take your time and take it slow in bed," says John, 33. "Porn movies are all about being hard and fast. This is something men have to learn in the trenches, much to these poor girls' dismay."

Man kissing woman's neck

Pay attention to her whole body

I once had a man kiss every vertebrae in my back from tailbone to neck. He followed it up by kissing the insides of my wrists. It was the best sex I've ever had, and we didn't have intercourse. This is something Paul, 27, learned just in time for a hot finale to his second decade. "Our body from head to toe has sensory zones and each person is unique," he said. "Feel the comfort and confidence to explore it all. Be creative and read your partner's reaction."

Lose the labels

Whether it's attaching what-does-it-mean anxiety to certain acts, shaming a woman for sleeping with you too soon, or thinking you don't have "game" if she doesn't, there are a lot of labels surrounding sex that can complicate an otherwise great night together. "I used to think doing certain things in bed were not masculine or that a woman was defined by how early she slept with me," says Chad, 35. "As a grown man, I realize that all of that was just a bunch of nonsense brought about by insecurity and overthinking."

It's better to wait for sex than push

Fact: when a woman wants to have sex, she'll give you clues. You don't need to ask for it, make aggressive jokes, or offer envelope-pushing commentary to test her boundaries. In fact, taking an in-your-face approach will likely work against you. "When I was younger, it was all about getting her to go home with me," says Marcus, 42. "Nowadays, it's more exciting to build things up and have her completely comfortable and happy to be there with me than to be doing it because she's drunk -- or worse, feels obligated."

Kissing is hot

Foreplay is more than fingers and tongues -- something James, 32, wishes he knew back in his 20s. "I wish I had taken more time to just make out with women," he says. "So often you want to get to the other stuff, you overlook how nice it is to just kiss someone."

Women like (good) sex

Thanks to a lot of misogynistic theories about frigid women and bad jokes about wives with headaches, a lot of men grew up hearing women just don't find sex appealing. "It was a great surprise to me that women like sex as much as men," Mike says. "Once I realized this, I never forgot it and it changed the way I approached sex. Suddenly, it became much more about having fun together and pleasing each other instead of feeling like I needed to convince her."

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Brenda Della Casa is Preston Bailey Designs' editor-in-chief and digital content strategist, as well as author of Cinderella Was a Liar. And now, she's more convinced than ever that sexually mature men beat young studs every. Single. Time. Check her out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @BrendaDellaCasa.