Nerds get a bad rep for being anti-social and virgins. What if I told you that the opposite is true and that all those video game skills can make them total winners in the bedroom. Or, what if you are the nerd freaking out that you are worse at sex than Bowser is at keeping Princess Peach.`
Is sex like a video game? For me, as a self-proclaimed nerd, it sure makes it easier to think like that. There are different styles and combinations, but they all have one glorious goal. All your efforts, tactics, competition, it all comes down to that moment when the figurative “congratulations” flashes above your head.
Sex can be gratifying, like unlocking new maps or characters. However, it can also be nerve wracking, like trying to beat the timer with one life left. When you psych yourself up, you can achieve seemingly impossible moves, but if you psych yourself out, you falter, fall and eventually fail. And that sucks. When you falter, it is easy to get stuck in a rut and feel like you are just going through the motions.
You can’t think of sex as a video game stuck in solo-mode, sticking to one style because it’s always been what has worked. Sexual encounters rely on a basis of trust, mutual interest and communication. Think of the last time you had sex. Did you stick with what you knew? Did you play around a little? If you answered yes, you need to graduate to multi-player.
Just like in video games, there are some pretty standard types of players when it comes to sex:
- The Button-Masher of Super Smash Bros.
- The Repetition Champion of Wii Fit
- and The Smooth Rider of Mario Cart
Where do you fall? Each of these styles has a lesson to be learned about becoming the champion of the bedroom.
Communicate: The Button-Masher of Super Smash Bros.
This nerd, while proficient at smashing and general pownage, tends to be over-enthusiastic in the bedroom. There is groping, grabbing and un-targeted thrusting. When you button mash in sex, you take a solo approach and forget about the feedback you are receiving from your partner. There is a lack of communication that results in potentially rough, uncomfortable, and generally unreliable outcomes.
Let’s think 2 vs 2 in Smash: You have to be in sync with your partner and communicate (yes, often silently) where you are heading next. Sure, you could split up and each go after a member of the other team, but even then you have to assess strengths and weaknesses, talents and skills. There are calculated risks and assessments happening in a split second.
Think of the magic that could happen if you translated this synchronous method of communication and action into the bedroom? Knowing your partner’s desires, skills, expectations and strengths can lead to a much more robust sex life. It can be hard having that first conversation though. There are three steps that can make it a little easier.
First identify what you are already good at. Recognize your own skills and what you have gotten positive results with in the past. Get specific. Don’t just think “I’m good with my hands,” think “I’m great with my light touch” or “I am a pointer-finger ninja.” When you explore the skills you already have, you will feel more confident in your ability to please your partner and get yourself one step closer to that “Congratulations.”
Second, validate your skills. Either verbally or with extensive testing, ensure what you have identified as skills really are getting a positive response. Depending on your comfort level, this may be utilizing one skill from your toolbox a little more frequently and judging the resulting vocal and body language changes. However, if you are a little more fearful of changing up the routine, a simple question about what your partner’s favorite move is will do.
Third, ask what they need. This is potentially the most uncomfortable part of the process because it means your partner will need to verbalize their thoughts on one of the most taboo subjects in our culture. Asking safe questions such as, “What’s something I could do a little differently in bed to make you feel great?” can get you close, but if you are prepared for the answer you can always go for the “What’s a fantasy you’ve always had?” Just remember to keep calm and be non-judgmental about the answer you get. Also, try to hide some of that excitement if it’s on the other end of the spectrum.
Be Spontaneous: The Repetition Champion of Wii Fit
When you find a trick that works, it can be oh so tempting to stick to the same routine over and over. You may also feel as though you perform better because you have been practicing the same thing over and over again. There is comfort in repetition, constantly feeling as though you are on your a-game and know precisely what to do. Sure, your squats in Wii Fit may improve, but if that is all you perfect, are you ever going to be truly “fit”?
Although you hopefully have flexibility on your side, repetition can become boring for individuals on both sides of the equation. Not only can your partner lose interest, but you can burn out from the constant, mind-numbing rhythm. Don’t try to apply the scientific principle of repetition to sex. Rather, seek to replicate positive results utilizing new techniques.
Another pitfall of the repetition champion is their propensity for distraction. In your mind-numbing trance of repetition are you truly focused on your partner? Repetition is the friend of productivity. You can automate your workflow and thought process in order to free up your mind to focus on other, more important tasks. If you employ repetition too heavily in the bedroom, you risk treating it as a menial task rather than an exciting adventure.
To alleviate a tendency towards the repetitive, see point three in communication above. If you are willing to communicate with your partner about their needs and desires, you will have a full repertoire of “moves” to pull from. Packing your backpack full of tools such as moves, positions, phrases and “accessories” can make it much easier and more comfortable to incorporate these things slowly into your current routine. Before you know it,your old repetitive motions will be the last thing on your mind.
Explore Touch: The Smooth Rider of Mario Cart
I bet you know the guy who rocks it out in Mario Cart. The guy who knows all the right moves, gracefully drifts, accelerates and decelerates perfectly in tune with the track. This smooth rider is quick on his feet and willing to explore the sensitive mechanics of the motion stick. He senses the track knows how to be gentle or go all in.
Touch can be a scary thing in sex. As noted above, communication and spontaneity are important, but first you must be willing to explore the way a simple touch can impact you and your partner’s experiences. Once you are comfortable exploring the sensations, it will open doors to new conversations and tools in that backpack.
An excellent way to improve your ability to explore touch, while gaining some knowledge in the process, is the feedback exercise. First, have your partner lie in a comfortable position with their eyes closed. Starting with neutral areas, such as arms, face, etc explore different types of touch while your partner rates the sensation on a scale of 1-5 (5 being totally hot!).
For example, running your finger down their arm might be a 1 but stroking their cheek might be a 3. Slowly progress to more naughty zones and see how the same touch you used at the beginning might now rate a 4 or 5, simply because their experience has changed. This also gives you the opportunity to explore your partner’s body and begin to understand their sensitive zones in a way you may not have done before.
Be Open to Constant Improvement: The DLC of Sex
Like any good video game, sex has downloadable content. As time passes, and you become bored of your current technique, feel free to explore new interesting ones. Take into considerations our lessons on spontaneity and communication above and recognize that sex is not a static process, it is ever evolving and constantly being updated not only with your own experiences, but your partner’s as well.