Ask Andre –
I’m a straight guy in my thirties and I just started dating a woman who is a trauma survivor. Our sexual chemistry is off the charts, but recently she told me that the sex we have often feels rushed and vigorous and that she’d like more of a balance. I’m not sure how much of this has to do with her trauma or what, but what are your best tips for having slower sex?
I’ve always had sex this way without any complaints, but I want to make her happy.
When I hear "slower sex," my mind automatically translates it to "intentional sex." "Slow" often implies being conservative with your movement, but I think there's much more involved than just the physical pacing of the intimacy - and much more to be gained with increased intentionality than simply a less physically demanding experience.
My first suggestion would be to schedule your sex date in advance rather than jumping on an impulsive quickie. That way you can block off a lengthier period of time and ensure you – and your partner – won't feel rushed. Quickies are practically defined by their spontaneous, got-to-have-you-now nature; mentally, it can be difficult to ramp down from that. This is especially important for women, as it typically takes us much longer to achieve orgasm than men (think 20 minutes compared to 4 minutes). The benefits of allowing enough time to reach maximum arousal and lubrication can be profound for both parties!
Next, make sure you're talking about the sex you want to have in advance. There is a direct correlation between great communication and great sex. Our partners aren't mind readers, and if we take care to check in with them and discuss their preferences, dislikes, fantasies, expectations, and limitations - as well as our own - we are setting ourselves up for maximum success in the bedroom. For me, more information about my partner's body equals more opportunities for pleasure (which also tends to come with more orgasms).
Now, some practical ideas. First, make sure that you and your partner are connecting to your breath. You don't have to go full-blown tantra, but too many of us disconnect from our breath during sex. Monitoring the rhythm of your breath can be an excellent tool to stay present, connect deeply with your own body, and yes, slow down the sexual pacing.
If you still find your mind wandering, increase your focus and reestablish a connection with your partner by looking into their eyes.
Next, stretch out your foreplay and deprioritize orgasm, at least temporarily. Instead, focus on exploring each other's bodies and making each other feel good. You can do this by mutually agreeing to restrict access to each other's bodies for a set period of time, e.g. "We're going to fool around for twenty minutes without touching each other's genitals," or "We're going to play with each other's bodies for the next thirty minutes without trying to get each other off."
You can also experiment with sensory deprivation to heighten arousal (as well as the other remaining senses). Try experimenting with a single sensation and see how that sensation changes for your partner when you utilize a blindfold, a gag, noise-canceling headphones, etc.
Finally, be kind to yourself! We live in a fast-paced world rife with distractions, and we're apt to treat the sex we have in the same "get 'em done" fashion as we use to navigate the rest of our lives. It can be hard to unlearn this. If intentional sex proves initially difficult for you, don't beat yourself up. Remember: practice makes perfect!
If you have your own questions about sex, love, relationships, or any of the moving parts involved therein, drop Andre a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to use the subject line "Ask Andre," so we know where to direct your thoughtful questions.