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Putting your orgasm solely in your partner’s hands

Putting your orgasm solely in your partner’s hands
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It’s good sex-tiquette to focus on pleasuring your partner, but when it comes to enjoying sex nobody knows your body better than you do. Don’t rely solely on your partner to help you orgasm – that causes unnecessary stress on your partner and sets you up for disappointment, says Erica Basso, a couples therapist in Santa Monica, California. Feel free to take matters into your own hands, literally or figuratively.

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Believing that sex is dirty or shameful

Believing that sex is dirty or shameful
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Too many people, especially women, grow up believing that sex is dirty and “good girls” don’t want sex – and those beliefs can really hurt you in the bedroom, Basso says. This simply isn’t true and if you need help resolving these feelings, a good therapist can help you work through them.

Skipping the condoms because you’re in a relationship

Skipping the condoms because you’re in a relationship
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It’s not just teenagers that “forget” to use a condom; plenty of adults don’t practice safe sex, says Kevin Darné, sex expert and author of My Cat Won’t Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany). But condoms are still the best way to avoid STDs and even if you’re in a long-term monogamous relationship, you should still think about birth control, he says, adding that too often people will skip contraception on the assumption that they’re sterile, whether that’s from age, prior infertility or some other reason.

Hiding your leather whip until they’ve moved in

Hiding your leather whip until they’ve moved in
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Keeping your kinks or other fringe desires a secret from your partner will only lead to hurt and misunderstanding, Darné says. “People often make the mistake of holding back on things they enjoy sexually. They don’t want to risk blowing it or turning off someone they barely know,” he says. “However, if that kink is something you expect to incorporate in all your sexual relationships, then do it early on.”

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Underestimating the importance of sex to your partner

Underestimating the importance of sex to your partner
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A mismatch of libidos can be a huge problem in a marriage. “Essentially the person with the high libido may feel as if they’re a victim of a bait and switch, or the romance and passion are dying,” Darné says. Similarly, their partner can feel as if all they are is a sex object to their partner. You’ve got to find a way to meet in the middle, where both people feel like their needs are being met because as the old adage goes: When sex is good it’s 10 percent of your relationship when it’s bad it’s 90 percent.

Avoiding talking about past sexual abuse

Avoiding talking about past sexual abuse

One in five women and one in ten men will be raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime, according to RAINN. And sexual abuse isn’t something that happens and is over; the repercussions can continue for years, especially when it comes to the survivor’s sex life. “If you don’t feel comfortable talking about this with a new partner, be extra aware of facial expressions, verbal cues and body language,” says Adriane Knorr, sexual assault expert, a doula and owner of The Beating Heart Doula. And if you’re with someone long-term this is definitely a discussion that needs to happen – outside the bedroom.

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Clamming up in the bedroom

Clamming up in the bedroom
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With all the emphasis on what not to say during sex (CliffsNotes version: Nothing about your mum, your exes, or your boss) it can be easy to forget the importance of talking, whispering and even shouting during sex. “Silent sex is quite unfulfilling, so make sure you’re saying lots of positive things to your partner,” says Douglas Weiss, PhD, psychologist author of 5 Sex Languages. “In addition, look into each other’s eyes during sex to further the communication.” This can make all the difference between feeling like you’re just having sex and feeling like you’re being made love to.

Taking a rejection of sex as a rejection of you

Taking a rejection of sex as a rejection of you
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When one person is in the mood and the other isn’t, it’s easy for the amorous partner to feel cruelly rejected. Yet it’s more likely their partner doesn’t mean “no, not you” but rather “no, not now but later,” says Erika Boissiere, a licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of The Relationship Institute of San Francisco. “Think of it like going to lunch. If your partner says they’re not hungry do you wail ‘You always say no’ when I ask you to lunch?” she says. “More likely you’d say ‘Do you want to go another time?’” Don’t jump to all-or-nothing thinking and try not to take it personally.

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Using the golden rule during sex

Using the golden rule during sex
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Do unto others what you’d like them to do to you sounds like a great idea when it comes to sex but that breaks down pretty quickly when you get to the details, says Ava Cadell, a sexologist and founder of Loveology University. “The biggest mistake people make is that they make love the way that they want, not the way their partner wants,” she says. “For example, a man might blow in a woman’s ear as part of foreplay because he wants her to do it to him, while she may hate having his breath on her ear.” Instead, use this golden sex rule: Ask what they like and be vocal about what you like.

Talking like you’re in a porno

Talking like you’re in a porno
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Porn has introduced some pretty interesting vocabulary into the bedroom, but just because the woman on the screen loves it (and she loves everything) doesn’t mean your real-life partner will enjoy it. “Don’t talk erotically and graphically without checking if your partner likes dirty talk,” Cadell says. It can be an instant turn-off to some people. Not sure what to say? “I tell my clients that there are two erotic words that never go wrong: ‘YES’ and your lover’s name!” she explains.

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