Guys flash back out loud to what you did to make his greatest-hits list.
Jenny and I had three dates, yet somehow I knew the fourth would be different. She’d invited me to a dinner party at her sister’s house in the country. It wasn’t a big deal, she told me, but I should plan on making a night of it. Then she uttered the magic words: “You should probably bring an overnight bag.” I was psyched.
The night that unfolded up in her sister’s A-shaped attic guest room was, well…suffice it to say that, by dawn, Jenny and I looked like a couple of happy kids who’d trampolined the feathers out of an old feather bed. In those few hours, I realized how compatible we really were. Clearly, her technique that first night — and every time we’ve made love for the last two years — impressed the hell out of me. (And, she tells me, vice versa.)
You may have heard that any sex is good sex to a guy. True. But some women stand out in our lust-distorted memories as having been especially, well, skilled. Don’t worry: We don’t lie back on the duvet and criticize your every hand motion and tongue flick. It’s just that having sex for the first time with a new partner can rock your world. It can also — when it’s not so good — make you want to curl up in the fetal position and watch bass fishing on cable all day.
But it’s not all about our gratification — it’s also about getting to know the woman we’ve been fantasizing about: Is she experienced? Is she too experienced? (And is there such a thing?) Is she adventuresome? Ticklish? Into being spanked with a pickle? And while every guy has his preferences in bed (I have a thing for pickles), there are loads of similarities about what floats a guy’s boat (or puts an iceberg in his pants) during that first liaison. So in case you’ve ever wondered what men think of your technique, I asked my male friends to spill on the subject.
Before I get to actual in-bed moves men say they love, a few words on attitude. For starters, men see right through insincerity. “The key to first-time sex for me is not what she does, it’s how she is: She needs to be genuinely excited about being with me,” says Dan Weber, a 28-year-old architect from Santa Monica, California. “You don’t want to be with someone who seems jaded, like she sees nothing in you that’s new and exciting.”
This is not a comment on your level of experience — few men want a wide-eyed virgin who has no clue what she’s doing. He wants to know you’re happy to be there with him, even if you’ve been with 70 or 80 men before him, because even the Dirk Digglers of the world have their moments of insecurity, or so I hear. “The second I drop my shorts,” says Joe Kent, a 32-year-old Philadelphia lawyer, “I need to see her eyes light up. I need to see the edges of her mouth curl with glee.” Adds Weber: “When she sees my manhood, I want her to think, Damn good!”
Some traditional guys prefer to be the initiators of sex, but most men I spoke to said it would excite them to no end if you just went for it. They also said that in general women were too passive in bed, especially on the first go-around. Now, your version of “going for it” could be anything from brushing up against him with your breasts to planting a big wet one right on his mouth. It’s all good. “I love it if a woman just takes control,” says Dave Rancid, a 22-year-old New York City punk rocker. “The first time I was with my girlfriend, not only did she practically rip off all my clothes, but she pushed me on the bed and got right on top of me.”
When going for the gold, however, a gingerly approach is appreciated. Guys don’t want to feel as though their most sensitive body region is being pounced upon. “When a woman reaches for your zipper,” says Carlos Sanchez, a 25-year-old salsa instructor from New York City, “she should do it slowly. It shows control, knowingness and a confident certainty that is definitely a turn-on.”
But when it comes right down to it, do we really want you to reach into the vault for the family jewels before you’ve even had a tour of the rest of the estate? “On the whole, we’re a pretty penis-centric bunch,” says Jeff Barron, 32, a bartender from Richmond, Virginia. “I have no problem if a woman touches me there right off. But if she’s going there, she should mean business — it can be sort of frustrating if she stops in for a visit and then leaves.” In other words, Jeff would like it if you held off on grabbing for the goods unless you’re ready for intercourse or the like.
We understand, of course, that you’re not going to be ready for the main event without a warm-up act, so exploring a man’s less obvious hot spots is invariably the way to go. But what are they? “I happen to get off on having my earlobe chewed,” says Robert Gonzalez, a 29-year-old Hollywood, California, screenwriter. “I’m not likely to say so on a first night, but if she tries it or whispers, ‘Do you like this?’ she’ll get a big, warm, happy yesss!” For Jimmy James, a 34-year-old engineer from Memphis, the special trick is “butt pinching,” which he says, “gets all my blood going.” For Woody Laverne, a 38-year-old folksinger from Montpelier, Vermont, it’s “fingernails softly running down my chest.” Some guys even have names for their favorite spots. For Dave Rancid, it’s his “Taint — that’s the area where it ‘taint’ your balls and it ‘taint’ your ass.” He, for one, likes his licked — which may be more than you really wanted to know about Dave, but, hey, you asked!
In fact, asking, “Do you like when I do this?” is the best thing you can do. In a first hookup, being skilled has less to do with physics and more to do with psychology — knowing that a guy will probably be too inhibited to say what he wants. “Some things are impossible to ask for in the beginning, so if a woman is intuitive and tries things, I’ll appreciate that,” explains Jeff. He admits he likes to have his butt cheeks touched, but, he says, “there’s no way I’m asking for that right away. I’m not sure a woman would find it erotic. But a lot of guys like it. So it helps if she’s curious, not afraid to cross boundaries.”
Okay, so you’ve touched, tickled, licked and nibbled your way everywhere, and it’s time to head south. Tread lightly. Please. The biggest complaint from guys about first-time sex is that they were manhandled. Without exception, we’ve all been through it. “Begin gently,” says Robert Gonzalez. “Believe me, if it’s too gentle, I’ll say ‘Harder’ or something equally creative.” Carlos recalls the horror of being clawed by a woman with talonlike nails. “We use euphemisms like ‘spanking the monkey’ and ‘choking the chicken,’ but we generally don’t like to be touched as roughly as that implies,” adds Aaron Kaufman, 30, a retailer from Chicago.
Once the main event’s under way, lying there like a slug is the only thing that signals poor technique in our minds. “I like a woman to put her hands on me and caress me,” says Jeff. “It’s great when she just runs her hands along my sides or through my chest hair. When it doesn’t happen, I feel like I’m just another guy on top of her.” Jimmy gets goose bumps when a woman runs her hands through his hair. Aaron wants his ass grabbed during sex, and Carlos appreciates hip action. “When a woman rises up to meet me, it shows she wants me.”
Finally, you need to know that the eyes are the most underrated body part. “I need a new partner to look at me during sex,” says Joe. “I want to make sure she’s with me.” Especially when you’re giving a guy oral sex, looking up at him to show that you’re still connected to him is riveting. “In fact, if she doesn’t look at me when she’s going down on me, I sometimes feel like I’m being serviced, which makes me self-conscious,” explains Aaron. “The sexiest thing a woman ever did to me was to look me in the eye and yell, ‘No way! No way!’ in disbelief as she was coming,” recalls Carlos. “It was incredible!” And since so many guys get off on the visual aspect of a woman’s body, “women on top is best,” says Roman Bukowski, a 30-year-old consultant from San Francisco. “That way, I get to look at her.” Adds Aaron, “All guys like doing it doggie-style, but you want to be looking at each other in the face the first few times at least.”
In short, technique is timing — a guy is thrilled if you’re skilled, but save your acrobatic act for when you know each other better. “Our first night was, uh, extreme,” says Aaron of Dani, a woman with whom he had an ill-fated affair last year. “It was our first date, and she initiated a fairly personal kinky sex act in her walk-in closet.” Aaron wouldn’t say exactly what happened, but he did say this: “If it starts off that wacky, it’s not always a good thing. Those are fun experiences to have, and they make for great stories to tell your friends. But if it’s going to be a good relationship, you want to get to know each other, build up trust.” A man needs to be emotionally ready for certain things. “If she goes for that immediately,” says Aaron, “it can be a little off-putting. Remember that if the relationship’s worth it, the more intense sexual activities can wait.”