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Cheat Sheet

Sex For Dummies

From Sex For Dummies, 3rd Edition by Ruth K. Westheimer [with Pierre A. Lehu]

Whether you consider yourself a Don Juan, a Lady Chatterly, or a sexual novice, everybody can get the most pleasure out of sex with a little more knowledge. You should know that foreplay is something you should take into consideration with each interaction you and your partner have, as well as how to keep things a little adventurous to prevent a humdrum sex life. And another key to good sexual functioning is to sweep away any sexual myths that have been hiding in the corners of your brain.

Use Foreplay to Set the Mood throughout the Day

Foreplay is probably one of the most misunderstood words in the sexual vocabulary. In fact, when some men hear the word foreplay, they still think of golf instead of sex. But slowly and surely, the male population is learning that foreplay is as important to good sex as using a 9-iron is to good golf.

In its simplest form, foreplay means the touching and caressing that goes on between two people just before intercourse. Foreplay helps both partners experience the physical manifestations of arousal necessary for sexual satisfaction.

Foreplay shouldn't take place just in the two or three minutes before you and your partner have intercourse. It should begin hours, if not days, before you plan to have sex. Here are just a few ways of how to work foreplay into the small moments of everyday life:

  • Sneak a suggestive note into her purse or his pocket before work, or put sexy sticky notes where they'll get the most attention.

  • Subtly show him that you're wearing your sexiest lingerie under your business suit.

  • Drop in at work with a picnic lunch complete with strawberries and whipped cream.

  • Send her a dozen roses, one at a time.

  • Text message love notes.

Use Variety to Improve Your Sex Life

Variety makes life more interesting. If you always go to the same restaurant, that repetition can get boring, and boredom doesn’t help keep those romantic fires burning. By trying a new place, you get to sample new foods and a new atmosphere. The experience will give you new things to talk about, even if the new restaurant isn’t as good as your regular haunt.

The need for variety also holds true in the bedroom. If you always make love exactly the same way, at the same time, and in the same place, the routine can become boring. A woman may actually come to dread the way a man always touches her in the exact same way. His touch doesn’t make her feel special or wanted; it makes her feel like an old shoe.

Here are some ways to spice up your sex life:

  • Take turns ordering a sex toy on the web.

  • Once a week make love in a room other than your bedroom.

  • Have sex for a month without once using the missionary position.

  • Make love blindfolded.

6 Dumb Things People Believe about Sex

Stereotypes and conventional wisdom are sometimes hard to ignore, especially when about sex. Movies and TV, our friends and peers, and a variety of other things give everyone some pretty unrealistic expectations about sex. Here are a few, and why they're not important.

If I haven't had sex by the time I'm 18, I'm a loser

When you're 85 years old and you look back at your life, the age at which you first had sex will be absolutely irrelevant. You won't care, and neither will anybody else. But for many younger people who are still virgins, the weight of this sexual status seems to grow heavier by the hour. Somehow, they feel that the fact that they've never had sex is written across their foreheads for all to see, and that everyone is laughing at them.

If you're in this category, please don't put any added pressure on yourself. If you feel sexually frustrated, you can masturbate. Be grateful that you can give yourself orgasms rather than resenting the fact that someone else isn't doing it for you.

Many people start having sex when they're very young, but because the situation isn't right, they never discover how to become great lovers and never have terrific sex lives. Rather than rushing into sex just because you reach a certain age, find out how to give your feelings time to grow and develop.

The more I score, the more pleasure I'll have

In some instances, the chemistry between two people is very strong and passing up such a moment is very hard. If you are very careful about protecting yourself and are fully aware of the risks involved, then a one-night stand may be something that you indulge in once, or maybe twice.

But some people make one-night stands a part of their lifestyles. They don't want a relationship but prefer a string of sexual partners. To them, sex is about quantity, not quality.

With HIV spreading and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) already rampant, you multiply the risks when you multiply your partners, and that’s asking for trouble. Safe sex between two people simply doesn’t exist — only safer sex. Although you may not catch an STD the first time you have a one-night stand, each time you have one, you increase the odds — in particular, because those people with whom you have these one-night stands are obviously also prone to risky behavior.

Apart from the risks, one-night stands just do not make for the best sex. What makes having sex with another person better than masturbating is the intimacy, the shared feelings, the romance attached to the moment. None of these circumstances exists during a one-night stand.

And then you have to deal with the next morning. If you want to see the other person again and they'd rather not, imagine how much worse the feeling of rejection will be than if they'd said no in the first place. And if you're the one doing the rejecting, well, how good could the one-night stand have been if you never want to repeat it?

Putting another notch on your bedpost isn't as satisfying as exchanging the full range of emotions that pass between two people who make love.

Having sex will make everything all right

Sex isn't a cure for a lousy relationship. That fact may seem obvious, but many people don't seem to know this. A woman may be in a relationship with someone who mistreats her, and instead of running for the hills, she agrees to go one step further and have sex with him. Why? She thinks that, because he seems to want sex so badly, he'll change into a pussycat after he's had his way with her.

This idea is a prime example of putting the cart before the horse. You have to work on the relationship — build it up and make it into something worth sharing together — before you add the final ingredient, which is sex.

Sex by itself can't make up for all the other inadequacies of a relationship, so before you have sex with someone, build the foundation first.

I can't become a better lover

If you ever read the life story of someone at the top of their field — a professional athlete, a famous actor, a great artist — you always find that those individuals worked very hard to get where they are. Sure, natural talent has something to do with how good you are, but seeking to improve your skills is just as important, because the more you train, the better you become.

This idea is just as true with sex. Everyone can become a better lover. Some of the most common difficulties that people experience can be easily alleviated if you work at it.

Every person wants and needs the same things from sex

You and your partner probably have some tastes in common, but certainly not in everything. And why should you?

Although you both enjoy orgasms, how many you need in a particular period may vary, as well as your likes and dislikes for the methods you use to achieve those orgasms.

If you accept that you're different, and if you agree to make compromises, then you shouldn't have any problems adapting to each other. You may have to learn how to satisfy your partner when you're not interested in having an orgasm. But learning that skill isn't that difficult, and doing so can help make your relationship a lot better.

However, having unrealistic expectations can get you into trouble. So don't expect your partner to think and act exactly the way you do. You'll be a lot happier for it.

I'm too old to have sex

Human beings find that many of their faculties grow weaker as they grow older, but none that so many people give up on as easily as sex.

If your eyesight gets weaker, do you go around squinting, or run to the eye doctor? If your hearing becomes impaired, do you go around saying "What?" all day long, or get a hearing aid? So if your sexual apparatus diminishes, why would you give up on it entirely?

That sexual functioning declines with age is a given, but that it disappears altogether is most definitely not. As you grow older, you go through certain stages, which are different for men and women. Men may need their partners to stimulate their penises or get a prescription for an erectile dysfunction drug. Women stop producing natural lubricants and have to apply the store-bought variety.

If wearing glasses doesn't interfere with your enjoyment of reading a book, then adapting to the necessities of age when it comes to sex shouldn't be a big deal either.

Keep having sex as long as you physically can, and sex will help keep your life worth living.

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