Dr. Jenni wrote a book on tips and tricks in the bedroom!
Covid has made us stir-crazy, and made many of our sex lives feel stuck and transactional. To fix this, I just wrote a book!
It’s a short and fun read, available on Kindle. Published by Adam & Eve, this book covers all the tips and tricks you need to bolster your bedroom routine—or better yet, get out of a boring routine altogether and create your own unique sexual script.
Don’t feel like reading, but want to optimize your intimacy? Check out our 3-hour video course for couples instead.
Below is a sample chapter from the book, 50 Years of Great Sex: Expert Tips and Advice.
“Penetration for Pros”
Most of us learn that “Real Sex” is vaginal penetration or intercourse. When we lose our virginity, this is what the social script is referencing. While this social understanding of sex may be popular, in my professional opinion, it couldn’t be more incorrect.
When we define “sex” as just vaginal penetration, it leaves out countless couples who cannot engage in this activity because they don’t have a heterosexual, man/woman, able-bodied configuration. Or perhaps you are a hetero, able-bodied couple, but simply don’t find penetration to be the gold standard of sexual stimulation. Whoever you are, and whatever your relationship configuration, the current sexual script is, and always has been, all about “performing intercourse.” This narrative minimizes sex to just genital act, versus a whole body, pleasure-forward experience.
So, rather than define “Real Sex” as the act of penetration where genitals enter an orifice for the end result of orgasm, let’s try on a different definition.
I like to define “Real Sex” as any erotic activity that results in sensual or sexual pleasure. Real sex can include manual play, oral sex, anal sex, solo sex, tribadism, frotting, and yes, vaginal intercourse as well. Sometimes we have an orgasm; sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we have penetration; sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we are alone; sometimes we are with another. There is so much space and permission to explore the diversity of what turns us on when we change the definition of “Real Sex” to be inclusive and comprehensive.
Cheesecake of Pleasure
Changing the definition of “Real Sex” is a change in mindset. Therefore, I want to introduce you to my favorite sex therapy invention: The Cheesecake of Pleasure. Imagine having “sex” like you might eat cheesecake from the grocery store. Have you seen those cheesecake platters that have a diversity of flavors? Each flavor can symbolize a different sensual or sexual activity—from kissing or sexy showers to oral sex and anal sex. Flavors can include naked cuddling, light bondage, vaginal intercourse, and mutual masturbation with sex toys. Every couple’s cheesecake will be unique to them based on the activities to which they both agree.
However, my number one ground-rule is the same no matter the flavors you choose: The Goal is Pleasure. (I did not say the goal was vaginal intercourse or even orgasm.) The Goal is Pleasure. If you have vaginal intercourse as a flavor, then have a good time! If you have an orgasm because the flavor you choose is so delectable and pleasurable, then congratulations! But these are by-products of the goal. When we take the performance out of sex and make pleasure the goal instead, everything opens up, making “sex” liberating, inclusive, and exciting.
There is one more suggestion around this concept. Some flavors may generate a high dose of pleasure for one person in the relationship, while the other person may experience a medium or lower dose of pleasure. We don’t need to be experiencing the same amount of pleasure at the same time. We just need to agree that we like all flavors we mutually choose, and therefore, they get to go on the Cheesecake List.
Also, as a side note on virginity — rather than “lose our virginity” as if this treasured part of us must be inevitably and permanently “lost” to feel successful in the world, perhaps we could consider this an opportunity to “share our virginity!”
Communication is Lubrication
“Communication is lubrication” is a common cliché in the sex therapy arena, but that’s because the metaphor could not be more apt. Communication can ensure an exciting and safe experience. When we can express our needs and wants, as well as fears and boundaries, then sex isn’t carried out mysteriously. When things are a mystery, we make up a story in the absence of knowledge. Typically, the story is usually worse than the truth! “I think she liked the way I touched her.” “I think that was enough foreplay before I penetrated.” “I think he wants the lights off with sex.” And so it goes!
Talking in bed is easier when we practice talking about sex (and about all our fav cheesecake flavors) outside the bedroom. When that feels comfortable, bringing the conversation into the bedroom is the next step. Though so many young people are eager to have penetration (and “share virginity”), my professional advice is typically that if you can talk about sex in and out of the bedroom – your wants, needs, fears, and boundaries — then you are emotionally ready for penetration.
So, what does this discussion look like? Ideally there is enough safety to express whatever you need, openly and honestly.
“I need you to know that I really like to be tied up and spanked to get me turned on.”
“I want you to understand that I need to go slow with penetration because I have a history of pain with intercourse.”
“I’d like for us to both use condoms until we get tested for STIs.”
“I want to share my fantasy about threesomes with you. I don’t need to have one, but just sharing is exciting and turns me on.”
“I like to be kissed on my neck and have my earlobes nibbled.”
“Because of menopause, I need to use extra lube and have extra foreplay.”
“Because of cancer, I need to use extra lube and have extra foreplay.”
“Because I’m human, I need to use extra lube and have extra foreplay.”
Learning to map your partner’s body, and their non-verbal cues, will also score you big points in the bedroom (or wherever you play). Some people moan, groan, or even wince in pleasure. Others gyrate their hips or rock their pelvis in pleasure. Some people don’t have a lot of movement or sound and can always be given permission for that freedom of expression. If you are unsure or confused by the non-verbal cues you are receiving, just ask your lover, “How is this feeling?” and “Any changes you’d like me to make?” Just because we are mapping the body and learning non-verbal cues doesn’t mean we are meant to be mind-readers. Verbal communication to clear up any assumptions will ultimately cultivate the most clarity and success for your sex life—and general relationship.
Expert Tips on Vaginal Penetration
When it comes to vaginal penetration, the media makes it seem pretty straightforward. Genital A (typically a penis) inserts into Genital B (typically a vagina). Some thrusting occurs. The hips rock and roll. After a little bit of time, the friction of the two genitals manifests in an orgasmic climax!
Sorry folks, this is a gross simplification, on so many levels.
As we’ve learned from the “Cheesecake of Pleasure,” sex is not just penetration. It’s a whole category of sensual and sexual activities that generate pleasure for both partners.
When “sex” is just simplified to the dance of the genitals, we leave out the whole body and mind connection, aka the intimacy and/or eroticism.
When it comes to penetration, we need so much more behind the scenes to ensure an enjoyable time, for the long run. Yes, I said the long run. Penetration can be super easy for new couples who are lubricated with all the new relationship energy hormones, like dopamine and adrenaline. When the newness fades, we have to ensure we have enough real lubrication and extraordinary foreplay. We should also have some effective sex toys on hand to support a clitoral orgasm as 75% of women cannot have an orgasm from penetration alone.
Let’s not forget that as humans, some women might have pain during penetration at some point due to childbirth and/or a drier vaginal canal after menopause. Men might have an elusive erection where the penis decides not to be part of the party or decides to ejaculate more quickly than desired. We might encounter an illness or a huge life stressor, either of which leaves “the penetration narrative” dull and lifeless.
Penetration for Pros is about being flexible to abandon the narrative you see in the media and find a flow with your words and your body that works for you. You might look like the movies. But you might not! You might thrust deep and hard, or your partner may feel more comfortable with shallow and slow. You might change positions four times, or you might defer to your tried and true place because it feels the most intimate and offers the most sensation and pleasure.
If you are totally new to penetration or feel like the movements you’ve engaged in just don’t work, I want to introduce a new method I call Vulva Painting. Yes, penetration is about painting first. Imagine the vulva as a canvas, and the penis as a paintbrush. If you are a same-sex relationship, or a trans-relationship, the configuration changes just slightly. The canvas and paintbrush for penis-on-penis (also known as frotting), or vulva-on-vulva (also known as tribadism), can be interchangeably exchanged in this exercise. For intersex, trans, and/or gender-fluid genital configurations, partners can play around with canvas and paintbrush roles.
For the sake of explaining this exercise, I’ll use a penis-vulva configuration. After full-body foreplay (see Chapter 6 as a reminder), it’s time for a focus on the genitals. The penis can be flaccid or erect, but flaccid is actually softer for painting. Apply lube to the tip of the penis and begin softly painting the outer and inner lips of the vulva. The vulva should be aroused from foreplay, but if not, this exercise can most certainly include some clit painting too! Once the vulva canvas is super excited, and I mean aroused at a high level like 7 out of 10, then penetration can begin. I don’t recommend penetration before the vulva is at an aroused level of 7 because it can be internally uncomfortable and unprepared. A prepared and excited vulva makes for a more open and receiving vagina.
From here, penetrate one inch. Just. One. Inch. Check in. Is she begging for more or is she tense? You get to tease her while also making sure she wants the whole member. Then a second inch. Check in. A third inch. Until the vagina has capacity and excitement to take in the whole penis. Go slow at first. Remember those three Ss? Slow, soft, subtle. You can always go harder and faster as you build momentum. Rushing in and immediately thrusting fast is not going to accomplish the desired results for either partner. The penis may ejaculate too quickly that way, and the vagina may be overwhelmed.
Some partners may want to stay in the slow zone the whole time. Others may want to play with speed, depth, angles, and positions. Some partners stop and change activities because there is a loss of erection, or because there is pain with penetration, or to hold off on ejaculation. Think about that cheesecake again. You can go to the fridge and eat a different flavor, then come back to penetration if you want. No, this won’t look like the Hollywood or Netflix script of sex, but we aren’t measuring ourselves by that barometer anyway. It’s just a set-up for failure.
If you return to penetration after a slice of another cheesecake, you can apply the same modality above, or if both partners are strongly aroused, slide your penis fully inside the vagina with slightly more speed. Again, check in with your partner. Immediate speed and depth are not always the desired effect. You have plenty of time to build towards that. Unless, of course, this is a quickie. In which case, try Penetration for Pros with the best sex toy you have to ensure you get that vaginal arousal up to a level 7 or more!
To keep reading, buy your copy HERE!