Use these 10 things about relationships and sex with men to boost your love life

Some time ago I was asked to contribute to an article on “ten things every woman should know.” In it, I suppose, were important items of household fix-its like where to turn off your building’s circuit breaker and general worldly knowledge like how to read a stock report.  Since neither of those are my areas of expertise, herein are 10 things I think every woman should know about sex and relationships gleaned from more than 35 years in this field hearing people’s thoughts and feelings on these topics.

1. Many men (and woman) are totally oblivious to a woman’s signals of social or sexual interest.  No response from the object of your attentions does not necessarily mean no interest.  Sometimes nothing short of lifting your skirt and calling “Yoo hoo!” will get your message across. Don’t give up so easily if your subtle cues are ignored.

2. If you use a diaphragm for birth control you can also use it to hold back the flow for an hour or two during your menstrual period for less messy sex.

3. There is no way to tell if it’s love or merely infatuation until some time has passed. These determinations can only be made in retrospect.

4. Variously induced orgasms may feel subjectively different or may have differing value to you personally, but there is nothing intrinsically more “mature” or in any way necessarily “better” about an orgasm obtained through penis in vagina intercourse as opposed to orgasms obtained through any other method.  As Gertrude Stein didn’t say, but might have, “An orgasm is an orgasm is an orgasm.”

5. If you have sex with men and you are the one to “prepare the site” by putting the condom on your partner you will receive much less flak from him about wearing one.

6. The primary quality most men mention about women they consider to be great sex partners is enthusiasm – toward them and for whatever sexual act the two of you are engaging in. If you can’t muster any enthusiasm (or fake it well) you might well think twice about engaging in it at all, whatever “it” is.

7. Everybody – the beautiful, the not-so-beautiful, the no longer beautiful, and the beautiful only in their Mama’s eyes – has fears about the acceptability of her/his body. If you remember that your partner undoubtedly shares these insecurities and focus less on yours and instead on alleviating his or hers, you both will have a much better time.

8. Men who love to perform oral sex and who neither expect nor require reciprocation really do exist.

9. When and whether a man has an erection is not necessarily a barometer of his attraction to you.  Many other factors enter into it. You are likely to be seriously misled if you see his erections as indications of his attraction to the exclusion of all other indications.

10. It is unrealistic and counterproductive to demand commitment.  It is far more effective to request certain specific behaviors that to you demonstrate what you want in a committed relationship, such as a daily phone call or text, the use of safer sex methods, or an agreement of sexual exclusivity.  Leave the C-word out of your discussions since it often smacks of incarceration.

So this is my list of professionally and personally gleaned nuggets from the relationship mines.  If you are a woman, what hard-won insight do you want to share with your sisters?  What do you wish someone had told you?  If you’re a man, what piece of knowledge would make your life easier if the women in your life were privy to it?

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© Copyright 2015 Isadora Alman, M.F.T., All rights Reserved.
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Isadora Alman, M.F.T., is a California licensed marriage and relationship therapist, a Board-certified sexologist, author and lecturer. Her syndicated sex and relationship column "Ask Isadora" ran in alternative weekly papers worldwide for 25+ years. Web surfers can find her columns on her online free interactive Sexuality Forum (link is external). She is the author of two collections of Q & A's from columns: Let's Talk Sex and Ask Isadora, as well as Sex Information, May I Help You?, a peek behind the scenes of a sex help phone line which still flourishes in San Francisco today. Doing It: Real People Having Really Good Sex is a collection of helpful hints and titillating tidbits culled from column readers and Forum web site users. Her novel Bluebirds of Impossible Paradises: A Sexual Odyssey of the 70's is out in paperback on She has also contributed chapters to several books including Herotica (Down There Press), Dick For A Day (Villard NY), The Moment Of Truth (Seal Press) and Single Woman Of A Certain Age (Inner Ocean Publishing, Inc.) Isadora has been a talk show host and frequent TV and radio talk show guest, and a lecturer and workshop leader on a variety of communications topics. She conducts her private psychotherapy practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.