How to Be Good in Bed

Advice from Maura, with a little help from a new book. 

girl in bed with messy hair
(Image credit: Olivia Graham)

Today, folks, I want to talk about how to be good in bed — or how to have great sex.

So many people I know seem to worry that they're bad in bed, when really, nothing could be easier. Sure, a little practice and experience helps — but the main thing is to enjoy yourself. You wouldn't say, "I worry I don't know how to enjoy a good meal." Try to think the same way when it comes to sex: It's all about doing whatever feels really good. If you're enjoying it, chances are high your partner will be, too.

Most of the tips today (the ones I've marked with asterisks) come from a new book called Your Mother Was Right: All the Great Advice You Tried to Forget. The book is edited by Kate Reardon, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and also the founder of — a great site full of life advice and helpful tricks submitted by women all over the world and arranged neatly into categories like Hair, Beauty, Sex, and Relationships. Your Mother Was Right is based on the best insights — boiled down from 26,409 — that have been submitted recently to the site. The other tips come from ME.

All right now, without further ado:

1. Leave your hang-ups about your body at the door.*

Nothing's more of a turnoff to a guy who is ready and willing to have sex with you than your body-image problems. Do NOT talk about them. Why? For a lot of the same reasons that you shouldn't self-deprecate — it will draw his attention to things he probably didn't notice or care about before.

If you say to me, "But HOW can I not hate my body?" — well, you've got to work on it. Get into a regimen of doing regular exercise — and be serious about it; that will not only make your body actually look better, but it will also make you feel more competent and more like you're taking good care of yourself.

Also, just like it's not the size of the wand but the magic in it, it's not the shape of your bod so much as how you move it. Seriously. The guy is not thinking, "Oh, her stomach is kinda fat" or "Her thighs have a lot of cellulite on them." He's thinking, "Sex!"

If worse comes to worst, turn the lights down if you need to.

2. Be relaxed.*

This goes hand in hand with Tip #1. But don't be wasted. If you need to loosen up a little, sip some wine — but not more than a glass, or else you won't have enough stamina and focus to get the most bang out of your, um, bang?

3. Never talk about your past loves in bed.* (Not at first, anyway.)

Puh-lease don't do that ... until you're going steady. At that point, I think it's fine to talk about other lovers, in the context of discussing what do you and don't like in bed — and what you've done.

4. Ask him what he likes.

Don't be afraid. It could be as easy as him saying, "I'd like it if you'd kiss my neck when I start to climax." Just like that, you know the key to his heart. And if he says something like "I like to look at pictures of my cat while we're getting it on," well, then, you can ask yourself if you're really that into him.

5. Ask him if he's into sexy talk. If so, what kinds of words turn him on? What words turn him off?

I've known guys who think the word c*ck is just about the hottest thing ever, and think I'm ridiculous because I don't like saying it. (I feel like too much of a porn star when I do.) On other hand, I've known men who prefer their "dirty talk" to be fairly innocent; they like it when I say something like "I love it when you do that thing you do." And they're turned off by any mention of a c*ck.

I feel more comfortable with dudes who fall into the second camp — but if I'm having a nice relationship with someone in the first category, I can deal with his dirty-talk requests. Sort of. Though sometimes I can't get through them without cracking up.

6. Enjoy yourself.

Move your body in a way that will enhance your pleasure. Ask for things you like. Don't be afraid to make noises, particularly ones that sound like "Hell, yes! More, please!" If you're having fun, chances are pretty good he or she will be having fun, too.

What tips have I left out? Let me know, either in the comments or on my Facebook page.

And before I sign off, a few related posts you might be interested in:

Also, don't be surprised if I cite Your Mother a few more times in the next week or two. It's surprisingly useful.