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Hi!

I’m Dr. Lindsey Doe, a doctor of human sexuality and a clinical sexologist.

This is Sexplanations where I share my knowledge of sex with you. Today’s sponsor for your sex education is AdamandEve.com, a sex store where you can buy play things for great sex. [WHIP CRACKING, COUGH]. I was reading through one of my old human sexuality textbooks and came across a section called “What is great sex?” The textbook describes research from 2009 by Kleinplatz and colleagues of 64 people who self-reported having experienced “great sex.” This is a really small sample size so of course it didn’t include all sexual identities or forms of expression.

However it reached older participants and many sexual minorities, so this isn’t a list of hetero cis college students either. The researchers distilled the information they collected from interviews into eight components that constitute great sex. I’m going to share them and give a suggestion to actually put these broader ideas into action.

Great sex, major component number 1: being present and focused. I think this is something that makes life in general great but has become harder with the ability to be in a physical location, a mental head space, and online at the same time. If we’re going to have great sex -- limiting external stimuli might help.

You could put phones in another room or on do not disturb, turn off the TV, give the dog a bone, ask the roommates for privacy, and or see that the kids are occupied. Be where your hands are. This could be giving a massage, shampooing each other’s hair (head and pubes), or masturbating.

Great sex is the next first thing on the to do list. You’ll have time to do the dishes later. Focus.

Component 2: Connection. One of the oldest how to guides on great sex is called the Kama Sutra. Kama meaning desire and sutra, meaning a thread that binds or connects things.

Connection gets you to great sex and it could be as simple as having something in common: a mutual friend, a fandom, or a favorite beverage. It could also be a shared experience, like taking a class together or shopping for ingredients to make dinner with each other. The key is to form some sort of bond even if only for one romp.

Component 3: Intimacy. One of my mentors, Dr. Ava Cadell, describes intimacy very simply, in to me see.

When we show others who we are and see them for who they are, this is intimacy. Personally I access intimacy by talking about my fears. Not just that I am really uncomfortable around parasites, but deeper fears like my fear of doing harm, my fear of abandonment, my fear of being misunderstood.

I’m letting others see into me. Component number 4: Communication - verbal and nonverbal. In the early days of Sexplanations I did a video about how to get the sex you want featuring this tool: a want/will/won’t list.

It’s such a great way to get conversations started. You write down your ideal sex life in the want column, what you might not desire but you do consent to in your will column, and your hard limits, absolutely nots, don’t ask me agains in the won’t column. Then you talk about them, maybe even DO some of them.

Another fun suggestion for great sex communication is to follow the steps in this Sexplanations. Flirting video (linked in the description). Meet out in public, like you don’t know each other, flirt with non-verbals like eye contact and head tilts, then ask each other out.

It’s very hot! Component 5: Authenticity and transparency. Authenticity refers to how aligned one’s behaviors are with their beliefs.

So if your partner says they really like performing oral and they perform oral often with enthusiasm, that’s authentic. If you think great sex is part of a healthy sexual relationship, but you lie there like a starfish unengaged or dodge out on opportunities to be sexual at all, that’s less authentic. Transparency is about why.

Can you express why you value great sex in your mind but neglect it in your actions? Can you say, you’re feeling insecure about your body or things are moving faster than you want them to? It might not improve sex right away, but being authentic and transparent will give future sexual encounters a better chance of being great.

Component 6: Transcendence or bliss. If you’ve been around Sexplanations for a while, you know that sex does not have to include orgasm. Even great sex does not have to include orgasm.

It is possible to feel out of body and euphoric from being touched, understood, and or held. Here are two exercises: first, try to achieve transcendence and bliss by being sexual without genital contact. The other is to spend some time on your own practicing orgasm: stimulating yourself, moaning, and writhing.

Even if you don’t come, put in some time practicing. Component #7: Exploration or risk-taking. Revisit the want/will/won’t list and choose four things that you haven’t done together but you’re willing to try.

I’m not looking for you to take physical risks like contracting an STI or trying hardcore S&M. I’m thinking more about emotional exploration and risk-taking, like new positions where you might not feel confident, dirty talk during sex even if it feels awkward. I want you explore the first two columns of your Want/Will/Won’t List.

Lastly, on the great sex checklist: Vulnerability. If you’re raised in the U. S., chances are sex itself is a vulnerable experience.

Go a little deeper though. What about being fully naked in front of your partners for a minute or more, just there not, having sex yet, just letting them see you. If you really want to level-up you can do the same with your crotch.

With the lights on, invite your partners to examine your folds and curves and veins and layers and hair follicles. Not to go down on you but to appreciate you -- to have intimacy, bliss, and focused attention while they explore more of who you are and who they get to have GREAT sex with. I have my own list of what makes sex great which I’ll share in a future episode.

For now, do a little of your own research to determine how these improve your life and stay curious. And hey! If you want some fun toys, lube, condoms, all the playthings for having the great sex, check out AdamandEve.com.

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