A Male Virgin
Dear Patrick: What can you do to become a really good lover? Aside from having a lot of sex, I mean. I would like to start learning now so that when I do have sex there will be no complaints.
Good sex comes from the way that two human minds and bodies (not to mention hearts and spirits) interact. People enjoy a mind-staggering diversity of erotic practices and fantasies. I can give you some generic hints about learning the skills it takes to be a good lover, but excellent sex is never generic. You need to have an open mind and heart and good communication skills to figure out each partner's hot spots. But don't get too obsessed with anxiety about the future. This process—untangling the clues to attain the mystery of union—is the whole point of cruising and winning access to intimacy. It's fun, surprising, intensely pleasurable and sometimes heartbreaking. If you enjoy other forms of exploration and adventure, you are already predisposed to be GIB (Great In Bed).
The first thing I recommend to new sexophiles is to take a massage class. Take as many as you can afford! You get invaluable information in these classes about human anatomy, how muscles interact, and how to evaluate the needs of any given body just by touching the skin. Massage is a nonsexual but very pleasing and relaxing—even therapeutic—form of stimulation. If you can't take a class yet, you can always read books about massage and practice on your own arms, legs, etc.
Pay a reasonable amount of attention to how you look. Develop a daily routine that will guarantee good hygiene and maximum cuteness. Think about what you want other people to know about you, and how you can communicate that in your image. We usually see people before we can smell or touch them, so the first impressions of sighted people are based on visual data. So don't be stingy if you need a new haircut of a great outfit. Don't bankrupt yourself either, or get too fussy. If you have a friend who is stylish, get some honest feedback about your wardrobe and presentation-of-self. This can be hard the first few times you hear, “That doesn't work at all,” but honest criticism is worth its weight in gold as long as it is accompanied by constructive suggestions, i.e., “Try this instead.” Let this be a playful activity rather than a matter of ego.
It can be instructive to decide to “be” an entirely different person and work at creating a believable character who actually seems to be that person. Some people really enjoy using costumes and role-playing fantasies to get turned on, so think of this as learning how to do these types of foreplay.
Anything that helps you to learn how to communicate your own feelings, read other people, and get in touch with your senses can translate into better lovemaking. So you can learn how to dance, study a foreign language, take cooking classes, become a well-informed art viewer, listen to music, and at the same time get skills for erotic activity. This is also a good way to meet friends who will be there when sex is not available (or romance). You need hobbies you genuinely enjoy. The more interests you have, the more interesting you become to others. We all need self-care so we don't get too lonely or desperate, and hook up with someone who won't treat us well.
Stay away from major quantities of drugs and alcohol. While a little of some substances can lower inhibitions, there's an awfully fine line between being happily high and being a stoned mess. Take a similarly moderate approach to porn. It's a useful tool for masturbation and something of a guide to your own preferences, but it can also set the bar awfully high for potential partners and set you up to rely on instant gratification.
Figure out what your values are. Some of us are born to be in monogamous, long-term relationships and some of us will never be happy trying to make a commitment. Most of us fluctuate in between these extremes, and at different phases of our lives, we may have different parameters. But you can only live according to what you need or believe in the moment. So when it's time to look for a partner, go places where those kinds of people gather, whether that means singing in the church choir or going to Mardi Gras
Make your bedroom a comfortable sanctuary where it's easy to reach the things you need to have good sex – trick towels, lube, toys, etc. Know what the current definition of safe sex is and what precautions you should take to protect the health of all participants. Know how to use condoms, gloves, latex or plastic barriers for oral sex, etc. The best way to practice using these things is when you are by yourself. Masturbating with condoms can help to get used to them during intercourse. If you snap on a glove with a pout and a sour look, it's not nearly as much fun as donning one with a bit of a leer. Safe sex is not as spontaneous as barebacking, but it can be every bit as much fun if you are willing to take a little extra trouble.
I strongly suggest learning how to masturbate in more than one way. This can also require you to diversify your portfolio of fantasies. Pay attention to all of your body, not just your genitals. I'm not trying to get you to fantasize about any particular set of topics or touch yourself in specific ways. The point is to learn how to be flexible and assimilate new sensations. Slow down. Learn how to postpone orgasm. Or see how many times you can come in one day. Guys who jerk off quickly and in only one way often find that they have trouble with partners. They may come too quickly or be unable to enjoy the offer of a new form of satisfaction. But if your body is already used to variety, you have a better chance of being able to perform no matter what. Women who do not enjoy masturbation are often unable to have orgasms with partners. Being able to come more than one way means you can enjoy the tricks and talents of a variety of partners.
Finally, be aware that the responsibility for a great sexual encounter does not rest on your shoulders alone. Erotic rapport is a quirky and arbitrary thing. Sometimes you can meet a person you think ought to be just perfect, but for some reason, the sex is a bust. Other times, you can get madly attracted by a person or an experience that you never expected to enjoy. What a partner does or says can have as big an impact as your own abilities. A partner who is nonresponsive or unable to communicate their needs or desires is not evidence of a failure on your part. Some people are not really available even if they take all of their clothes off. You can only do your 50%. Bon chance!