Steal His Mojo!
Swipe a few moves from your man’s sexual arsenal to make your next romp more fun and satisfying—for you both.
He’s unapologetic about his gut
Although most guys occasionally stress about their appearance—including my husband—a negative body image is unlikely to interfere with their sexual desire or performance. The reason he can get naked and ignore his hairy back while you obsess about your cellulite is both deep and shallow: Evolutionarily, it served guys well to get in and get out, so to speak. “The purpose of sex was solely reproductive, so the quicker a man could do it, the better,” explains Sharon Moalem, Ph.D., author of How Sex Works (HarperCollins). “He didn’t have time to worry about his love handles.” Indeed, the drive to get the job done seems to drown out any self-conscious thoughts. “Once a guy knows he can please you, his insecurities virtually vanish,” says Louann Brizendine, M.D., author of The Male Brain (Broadway Books).
How to borrow from the boys By adopting men’s utilitarian attitude toward the act, we can become less self-conscious as well as more fulfilled. When your attention drifts to the dimples on your thighs, redirect your thoughts to how good doing it feels. “Close your eyes and concentrate on the sensations of his hands caressing your body or his breath on your neck,” Moalem suggests. Even more incentive to stop sucking in your stomach: “Holding in your belly impedes blood flow from the heart into the pelvis and genitals, which makes it more difficult to become aroused and have an orgasm,” explains Stella Resnick, Ph.D., author of The Pleasure Zone (Conari Press). You don’t have to stick your belly out like Joe does, but at least relax it.
He gets busy even when miffed
Joe and I had been engaged in battle (about window screens) for two days, and I wanted an apology. I was sure all my husband needed was the space to give me one. So when the kids were away, I expected to hear, “I’m sorry.” Instead, I heard, “Want to get naked?” “Um, not really,” I muttered with disgust. How could he want to make love when we were so mad? “Men can be furious and horny at the same time because of their ability to compartmentalize emotions,” explains Catherine Birndorf, M.D., SELF’s mental health expert and coauthor of The Nine Rooms of Happiness (Voice). Another contributing factor: While fighting tends to shut down libido in women, it can light a man’s sexual fire, according to Dr. Brizendine. Why? Sex and aggression run on testosterone, and men have 10 to 15 times more of the hormone than we do.
How to borrow from the boys Women simply aren’t wired to compartmentalize, but you can try embracing my husband’s outlook: You’re going to like your partner again someday; why deny yourself a shag because you don’t right now? “Men don’t see having sex as giving in,” says Les Parrott, Ph.D., coauthor of Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts (Zondervan). “It’s a way for him to show he still cares for you despite the fight.” Not only is sex a physical means to express your desire to resolve things, but it’s a chemical salve, too. Your body releases bonding hormones during the deed that can encourage you to reconcile, according to Moalem. Getting naked when you’re ticked isn’t always a wise idea for women, though. Dr. Birndorf advises evaluating fights on a case-by-case basis. “An argument about window screens can mask a larger issue, so gauge how deeply upset you are before having sex,” she says.
He expects an orgasm—every time!
For me, sex is a lot like shopping: When I hit the stores, I don’t know if I’ll score, but I’m happy when I do. Joe shops the way a hunter approaches a field of buffalo: He’s there to bring something home. Our respective approaches apply to sex, as well. While I hope to have an orgasm every time, Joe expects one. Because men are biologically built to climax faster and more easily than we are, they count on fireworks every time. Women’s checkered success rate—only a third always have an orgasm, Dr. Brizendine says—means we aren’t surprised when we don’t cross the finish line. Guys also tend to be more results-driven in the first place. “Sexual gratification plays heavily into male reward centers in the brain, so men are more motivated to seek an orgasm,” explains Ian Kerner, a sex therapist and the author of Passionista (HarperPaperbacks). Women are apt to be more process-oriented: “When aroused, women produce added oxytocin, which stokes a sense of intimacy,” Kerner says. “So there’s more emphasis on enjoying the journey instead of the destination.”
He drops everything for sex
Imagine this: You toss a come-hither look over your shoulder at your mate as you walk away, dropping clothes in your wake. “Sorry, honey,” he calls after your naked back. “I’d love to join you, but I really need to finish alphabetizing these DVDs!” Yeah, right. So why is it so hard for us to prioritize sex in the face of our to-do list? “The parts of the brain associated with stress need to deactivate in order for women to focus on sex,” Kerner says. Unfortunately, women often believe the only way to do that is to cross off every last task. And because we need to be warmed up more than men do, getting in the mood after a stressful day can be more of a challenge. “Foreplay for women is often the 24 hours leading up to sex,” Dr. Birndorf explains. “For men, it can be the few minutes before penetration.”
How to borrow from the boys Parrott suggests taking a two-week act-like-a-guy challenge. “For the next 14 days, see what happens when you drop everything to be intimate,” he suggests. For instance, leave that load of laundry in the washer until you get down and dirty, then dry and fold. Better yet, enlist your partner to help you finish those tasks. By the end of the 14 days, there’s a good chance most of those pesky chores will have gotten done, maybe even with a smile. To help sharpen your focus on sex—and not get distracted by that titillating wallpaper project or work report—take a cue from your very visual partner and fire up the mental movie projector. “Fantasizing relaxes the parts of a woman’s brain that process stress and anxiety, which can be fueled by to-do’s,” Kerner explains. Filling your head with sexy scenarios can help crowd out thoughts of boring chores.
He’s direct about what he wants
When a guy wants something—your time; your attention; you, naked, in bed—he generally comes out and asks for it. He’ll also make his sexual requests (“Do this to that body part!”) without hesitation. Women don’t always voice their desires as freely and easily. The source of our reticence seems to be overthinking. Often, we dance around our wishes out of an innate inclination to protect our partner’s ego. “Some women worry that asking for something implies that their partner is failing to deliver,” Moalem says. In other cases, unrealistic, romanticized notions of sex are to blame. “Women will say, ‘He should know what I like,'” says Gail Markle, who teaches sociology at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Men, on the other hand, don’t expect us to read their mind.
How to borrow from the boys If you want him to do something that will knock your socks off, you’re going to have to speak up—just like a guy. The trick: “Men don’t put their sexual requests in an emotional context,” Moalem explains. He doesn’t worry about hurting your feelings when he asks you to try a new position, so you shouldn’t stress about whether you’ll hurt his if you ask him to, say, take it slower. If you’re uneasy verbalizing your desire, write it down: Parrott instructs couples to keep separate journals filled with sexual fantasies, and regularly pass them back and forth. It’s a simple way of expressing your wishes if you tend to get embarrassed by pillow talk. Though men and women may have different approaches to sex, at the end of the day (or night), our ultimate goal is the same—satisfaction.