In The One Real Way to Get Better at Sex, the principal investigator at the Sexual Psychophysiology and Affective Neuroscience Lab at UCLA says there is no such thing as someone who is “good at sex.” Sex is not a skill set you can pack up and travel with, moving from partner to partner.
According to Prause, how “good” you are at sex depends completely on your partner. Do they like what you like? How can you know?
Human beings share the desire to have an orgasm, but we have an infinitely varied number of ways of getting there. And not all orgasms are created equal. It’s extremely unlikely for two strangers to happen to push all the right buttons for one another. Rather, casual sex is often effectively a form of masturbation with someone else present.
“We find that women have orgasms more often in relationships than in hookups. Regression analyses reveal that specific sexual practices, experience with a particular partner, and commitment all predict women’s orgasm and sexual enjoyment.”
The authors of the study also found that both men and women question women’s entitlement to orgasm in casual sex, but accept it in the context of relationships. Still, familiarity plays a large role in either case:
Drawing from online surveys completed by over 6,000 young women at 21 U.S.universities and 85 in-depth interviews at Indiana University and Stanford University, the authors found that rates of orgasm and enjoyment increased “dramatically” between the first hookup and subsequent encounters, which suggests, according to lead author and University of Michigan sociologist Elizabeth A. Armstrong, that “partner-specific learning plays a role even in the absence of long-term commitment.”
This physical familiarity can only occur through honest and open communication – and that is likewise dependent on intimacy. True physical intimacy cannot exist without emotional intimacy. Sure, you can copulate, but why get your coffee from a vending machine when much better stuff is available in the same neighborhood?
“The participants answered questions about how frequently they engaged in several types of sexual activity in the past year with either a romantic partner, a friend, a casual acquaintance or someone they had just met, or a “friend with benefits.”
The subjects having relationship sex were far happier than those having hookups.
“Frequent sexual activity with a romantic partner was associated with positive romantic cognitions, including less avoidant and anxious relational styles, greater romantic life satisfaction, and romantic appeal.
Frequent sexual activity with various nonromantic partners was often associated with more negative romantic cognitions, including avoidant styles, lower romantic life satisfaction, and lower romantic appeal.”
Professor Wyndol Furman, lead author of the study, sums up the findings by saying that “Not all sexual activity is equal. Rather, the nature of the relationship is important.”
“Young adults may feel more positive about their love lives “when sexual activity occurs in tandem with the companionship and intimacy that a romantic relationship offers,” the researchers wrote.”
(Despite the fact that the findings held for both young men and women, women reported more sex with a romantic partner, while men reported having more sex with an acquaintance.)
The research is very clear. People in committed relationships have better sex and feel much better about their sex/love lives. Yes, you can get a jolt of caffeine at any old vending machine, but why settle for that when your charming neighborhood coffee shop will do a pour over or cold brew just how you like it?