Have you ever wanted your partner to touch you differently? Perhaps with a lighter or firmer hand, but they just didn’t “get” it? Maybe you responded by caressing him or her with the kind of touch you’d like, in hopes that they would get the message. But they usually don’t.
Now think about it…most likely, he or she is touching you in the way they prefer to be touched. It might even be an unconscious mini-demonstration. And now you’re in a self-defeating feedback loop.
Here’s the problem: Having grown up with “The Golden Rule” (Do unto others as you would have then do unto you), most of us naturally think that we should touch our partner in the way that we would like to be touched. And we innocently try to communicate how we want to be touched by touching our partner that way.
Why following “The Golden Rule” doesn’t work in bed
Treating others the way we want to be treated doesn’t always transfer to the bedroom, even with the best of intentions — and there’s a physiological gender difference that explains this.
Historically, men have been the hunters, protectors, and warriors. Often this meant going into harsh conditions and exposing themselves to the elements on extended hunting expeditions or to stalk the enemy.
Without modern protective gear, men had to endure extreme weather conditions, insects, skin abrasions, bumps, bruises, and more severe injuries. So nature toughened the male epidermis and underlying tissue, making it less sensitive to pain, thus less sensitive to sensation in general.
Women on the other hand, while certainly having to endure hardships, traditionally were likely to spend more of their time sheltered from the elements raising the children, tending the fire and maintaining the home front. So their bodies retained greater sensitivity through years of evolution.
How to touch your partner erotically
This is why, when it’s time to get naked with your partner, you will generally find that men want and need much deeper and firmer touch to experience pleasure than women do.
If you’re touching a man, when in doubt, press harder. Men often say women rarely touch them as firmly as they’d like. What to a woman may feel like a sensuous caress, a man may perceive as ticklish or annoying.
Actually, for most guys, more is more. The amount of hands-on pressure he would love might make a woman say “Ouch.” But try massaging his back with your full body weight over your hands while kneeling beside him or sitting on this butt.
On the other hand, when a man caresses or massages a woman with the deeper pressure he may prefer, she is likely to unconsciously contract and resist, because it’s actually too firm for her more delicate tissues. And if you’re a man, realize that your fingers are much stronger than hers, so your grip can actually cause discomfort — not great for the trajectory you want to be on.
Women will generally enjoy long, slow, soft caresses, at least before they are fully relaxed or aroused. When massaging a woman, try beginning lightly and gradually go deeper as her skin and muscles relax.
This applies to genital touch too
The penis shaft is usually quite responsive to an encompassing full-hand hold. A man will often love it when a woman very firmly grips his erect penis — firmer than she might imagine could be pleasurable. Whereas applying that kind of pressure to her clit could send her through the roof — and not in a good way. It could actually be quite painful.
There are times when pressure feels good to a woman. You can firmly hold or press a palm over her entire pubic area, which can help her relax and feel safe. And at some point, she may enjoy firm pressure into the area between her labia and where her legs connect to her torso. This stimulates the legs of her clitoris deep inside.
But when is comes to the rest of her body, and especially her breasts, nipples, labia, or clitoris, it’s usually best to begin with extra gentle touch and gradually work up to firmer touch as she becomes aroused and responsive to it. And remember to enliven other parts of her body with touch, including kisses, before you move to the “hot spots.”
Of course, it’s good to change things up to keep sex exciting and your bodies from getting bored. For example, a man may love a combo, where she firmly holds the shaft of his penis while lightly caressing or licking the tip or caressing his inner thighs with a feather touch. To help her get aroused, a woman may enjoy it if you briskly pat or slap her pubic area a few times. Remember to start gently and increase the intensity if she likes it — it brings blood to the surface.
Remember people vary enormously within their own gender, and the same person will respond differently with increasing levels of arousal and on different occasions. So you need to pay attention to non-verbal feedback as to what your lover is enjoying and wants in the moment.
As always, elicit feedback, but don’t expect your partner to always tell you verbally. Pay attention to the non-verbal cues he or she gives, for example, through sound, trembling, relaxation or signs of arousal.
The most important lesson here is don’t rely on the type of touch you prefer as a gauge of what your partner may find pleasurable — especially if he or she is of the opposite gender.