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Illustration: Bridget Meyne; Photo: Megan Barton-Hanson
Life

The Guide to Being Good in Bed, for Women

In her latest column, Megan Barton-Hanson talks about the orgasm gap, performance anxiety and why, if all else fails, you should just straddle.
March 25, 2021, 12:57pm

Welcome to Megan Barton-Hanson’s new VICE UK column, covering all things to do with sex, relationships and self-love during one of the strangest eras of the 21st century. Read the previous column here.

Women and femmes don’t need any help in the bedroom. We’re all great at sex. The end! 

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Just kidding… sort of. As I said last week while dishing out sex tips for straight men, when I was younger, sex felt much more performative. I would still enjoy myself, but I was also worried about whether I had rolls in a certain position, whether I was being too loud or too quiet, how my boobs looked when I was on my back – and that’s all stuff we shouldn’t care about. It really contributes to the orgasm gap

The first step towards having better sex – besides men getting their shit together – means unlearning a lot of what you’ve picked up from mainstream porn and the patriarchy, with all the boring power dynamics and screaming penetrative orgasms that entails. Do away with it and get used to fucking and sucking on your own terms.

TOUCH YOURSELF DURING SEX

This is the main piece of advice I’d give to younger girls. It sounds obvious now, but I remember the first couple of times I had sex, I was so rigid and worried that the guy would think I was weird if I started rubbing my clit – but at the end of the day you're both there to enjoy yourselves, and loads of people can’t cum from penetration alone. It’s your body, and if that's going to maximise your pleasure you should go for it. A good partner won’t judge you, and you’ll both have a better experience as a result.

IN FACT, JUST TOUCH YOURSELF ALL THE TIME – AND YOUR PARTNER AS WELL!

I'm trying to open up the conversation about masturbation, because at a young age I had so much shame about it, and I think for young girls especially it’s still often seen as this secretive, dirty act. I think we’d go into sex being so much more confident and aware of our bodies if the topic of masturbation wasn't so frowned upon. Once you have a better understanding of what you like, you can start bringing that with you into the bedroom and having better sex. Everyone wins! 

Mutual masturbation is great, too. I’m a savage these days, but if you don't feel comfortable telling your partner to do things differently, or if they’re not quite picking up on the hints, don’t give up – watch each other get off instead. That turns it into more of a bonding experience, and it’s a good technique to really let your guard down in front of someone, plus it’s a massive turn on. It’s also a handy way to pick up tips on what the other person likes, because everyone likes different pressures and speeds, and it’s very rare to get that right straight away.

DON’T LOOK TO MAINSTREAM PORN FOR SEX TIPS

You can suck someone off without taking it all the way into your lungs, do you know what I mean? If you’ve never done oral before and you Google “what do I do”, remember that sex acts in mainstream porn are often quite extreme. It can be intimidating to look for help and then see someone pure gagging, with their eyes streaming. That’s probably why so many women don’t even want to do it. To this day, I’ve got so many friends who are like “absolutely not”. You’re better off ditching the porn and just going with the flow. If you do need some tips though, here’s three:

  • – Spit always helps.
  • – Don’t neglect the balls!
  • – Get your hands involved. If someone’s got a huge dick that might be quite terrifying, but you don’t have to just use your mouth!

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In terms of eating someone out, the best advice I can give is what I told straight men last week: take your time. You can tell if someone’s into it by how much they’re moaning, how wet they are and stuff like that, so read their body language and don’t dive straight in. There’s no rush to get to the finish line.

TURN PERFORMANCE PRESSURE INTO A BIT OF FUN

Sometimes, with a new partner, you might find it quite uncomfortable to be giving them head while they watch, as if the spotlight is on you. If that makes you nervous, may I suggest: 69ing instead. That takes the focus away from you, because you’re pleasuring each other rather than it being just you on your knees wondering whether it’s good or bad. Plus, it makes things more intuitive, so if they’re going too fast on you, you can do it really slow to them to try to indicate to them that they need to slow down

If you’re not into giving head at all, that’s fine too. Some people really struggle with that and think there’s something wrong with them, but it’s perfectly normal. Some people don’t like getting head, either. Each to their own. Similarly, if using a strap-on doesn’t make you feel confident or sexy, then don’t feel pressured into taking on that role.

TRY INITIATING THINGS MORE OFTEN

In other life situations I'm not massively confident, but in the bedroom I'm doing the absolute most. I think years of bad sex have driven me to a place where, if the person’s not going to do it, I’m going to take matters into my own hands! If this sounds like you, or you’re feeling unsatisfied with your sex life, try initiating things yourself more often – especially with men. 

Some guys are just shy, even if they talk a big game or they’re really confident in front of their friends. If you know what you want, they’ll just shut up and listen most of the time. As soon as you start asserting yourself and saying, “Let’s do this position,” or, “You’re doing this,” they’re just like “OK!” Swapping the power dynamic around can really spice things up too. Even if they initiated things and are usually the more dominant one, it’s fit for you to take the lead.

DON’T FEEL PRESSURED INTO DOING ANYTHING 

When I was with my first ever boyfriend I’d wake up with his boner stabbing in my back. When my mouth is like the desert and I’ve got crust in my eye, I want to be left alone, personally. But when you're young you just really want to please your boyfriend. You worry about him cheating on you or getting sex elsewhere. If I could go back in time I'd definitely be more authoritative and say: at least let me shower and brush my teeth before I come back and bang. So don’t feel pressured to do anything. If your partner is there pressing their boner into your back, tell them to piss off.

DON’T BE ASHAMED OF YOUR SEX DRIVE

Men are hard work, you know. They can feel emasculated if you keep initiating sex or you want sex more than them, but you can be made to feel guilty for your sex drive in either direction. They can make you question whether you’re appetite for sex is normal, or not enough for them, and there’s nothing wrong with either. I’ve had partners in the past accuse me of using them for sex, but it’s not always about the person. You could be madly in love with someone but your sex drives just aren’t on the same level at that moment in time. I could be furious with someone but know deep down that we're in love and I can still bang them, whereas other people are a bit more in their head about it, and if you've had a row, that's it, they can’t.

I have a high sex drive and there is no shame in that. When it’s the other way around, men are usually more than happy to say when they want sex, so if a women’s got higher sex drive she shouldn't be ashamed of that.

IF ALL ELSE FAILS, STRADDLE THEM

I just lay it on so thick these days. If we're sitting there watching Netflix and we know we’re there to bang, but they’re really trying to long it out, I just pounce. I get it – maybe we’ve been sexting throughout the day, and it's nice to have that build up when you're in person, but I just get so impatient! My go-to is to just straddle them. If all else fails and they’re not taking the subtle hints, just straddle them and hope for the best!

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