Dear Rhonda,

How do you satisfy your man’s needs if he is ‘experienced’ and you are a virgin? I need help. I want to satisfy him so he will be happy. I like to tease him but he is getting impatient. I love him and I know he loves me but it has been 6 months. Help I am in need of answers! Thank you.

— nj banks

Dear njb,

Wow, your letter has made me a little bit ranty, so hold on here we go.

Virginity is a construct

Firstly, ‘virginity’, being a ‘virgin’ is a construct, a label we assign to whether or not a person has engaged in a particular activity. It does not make someone more or less able to satisfy a partner.

Sex is more than coitus

Alarm bells go off whenever I hear people placing so much emphasis on ‘sex’ (a very limited definition of what constitutes sex) as the be-all and end-all for couples. PIV/A (Penis-in-Vagina/Anus) intercourse is just another sexual activity, like hugging, kissing, cunnilingus, fellatio, even spanking. It is part of your sexual repertoire, one of many activities and experiences you and your partner can enjoy.

Placing race-to-the-end coitus on a pedestal and restricting your definition of sex to it creates so many problems for couples that I do not have room to go into here. I will say I strongly encourage you to start thinking more broadly about what constitutes sex, and what sex means to you and your partner (more on this below).

Sex is a process, something you learn, practice, and keep learning

Having ‘sex’ is like riding a bicycle, driving a car, or dancing a tango. It is something you have to learn, practice, and keep on learning. This process does not occur in isolation. What you learn with one partner might be different from what you learn with another, so being a ‘virgin’ does not automatically make you less able to satisfy your partner. In one sense, you have an advantage; you do not have to unlearn things you learnt with previous lovers that might not work in your current relationship.

Proceed at a comfortable pace

Whatever activities you and your partner engage in, you engage in together, at a mutually agreed upon pace. Out of basic courtesy and consideration, this should be a pace comfortable for the less experienced partner. If your partner does not respect that, then your partner does not respect you. Do you want to be with someone who does not respect you?

Are you trying to make him happy or trying to make him like you?

Doing things for the sake of another person’s happiness is very noble. Doing something so someone will like you is not noble, it is manipulative and comes from a place of insecurity, which is no foundation for a solid relationship. If you feel pressured because you are worried about ‘losing him’, then you need to work on building yourself up until you know you are perfectly okay without him. Consider this: if he only likes you because of what you do for him, he does not really like you. He likes what you do for him, which someone else can do just as easily.

On the other hand, if you want to make your partner happy because it feels good to make him happy, because it brings you together and all those warm and fuzzy reasons we choose to do nice things for people, this is wonderful. Just make sure it is balanced. What about your happiness and your satisfaction; does he want to satisfy you and your needs? Do not play into the patriarchal bullshit that women are supposed to serve and please men without men serving and pleasing us return.

Okay, rant over.

Back to your original question: here are some tips for how I believe someone can be a better lover and more able to satisfy a partner, whatever their experience level.

Know your body

How can your partner begin to know what works for you if you don’t know yourself? What do you like? What don’t you like? It will help your partner immensely if you know your way around your body. Don’t be afraid to show your partner what you like, and even touch and stimulate yourself during play. There are no rules that say you cannot incorporate masturbation into partnered sex. He may even enjoy seeing you pleasure yourself.

Be open to new experiences

Sex is not just about doing what you know. It is about exploration, about discovery and learning together, so be open to new experiences and prepared to try new things. What you like on your own might be different from what you like with a partner, and may differ from partner to partner, so be flexible and adaptable.

I have one caveat for this piece of advice and that is within reason and at your own pace, which brings me to my next point.

Know your boundaries

Everybody has limits for what they are comfortable doing, and these evolve over time and may be situation (and partner) dependent. Keep checking in with yourself and with your partner. Where you are at right now? Is anything off limits? Do not be afraid to say not yet, not now, not ever. If your partner does not respect your boundaries, or if something off limits for you is something essential for them, (and vice versa) then you are not sexually compatible. Isn’t it better to find that out now than after years of miserable marriage?

Give and take

Having considered your boundaries, keep in mind being a good lover is about giving and receiving pleasure. Sometimes your partner will want things that do not particularly interest you. Sometimes you will want things that do not particularly interest your lover. Maintaining a healthy sexual relationship involves give and take, within your boundaries. Sometimes you can do things for him, and other times he can do things just for you. If he is not willing to give and take, while respecting your boundaries, he is not a good lover.

Take your time

Sex is not a race. You have a lifetime ahead of you. If your partner has waited six months, he can wait some more. If he seriously cannot wait some more, see the previous points; you are not sexually compatible, he is not a good lover, and he does not respect you. Show him the door.

Know what ‘sex’ means to you and your partner

As I mentioned in my introductory rant, sex is so much more than race-to-the-end coitus. As well as the breadth of activities it can encompass, sex also means different things to different people and at different times. Sex can be about pleasure, stress release, closeness and intimacy, comfort, sharing, giving, taking, expressing emotion, having fun, and so much more. It can even be about being angry, violent, animalistic, ritualist, or primal lust. For some, sex is how they connect, give and receive affection, or show desire. It props up our egos and makes us feel wanted.

Somewhere in there is the intersection of what sex means to you and your partner, the needs it fulfils for each of you. Being a good lover is about being a good relationship partner (yes, even in a casual relationship or hook-up), and that means helping to fulfil one another’s needs. If your boyfriend ‘needs’ PIV intercourse, it is worth asking what sex means to him, what it represents, and if you are not ready for intercourse, is there another way you might meet the same need?


Are you a mind reader? I am guessing not. Nor is your partner. Neither can know what the other likes or is prepared to experience, what your boundaries and time frames are, or what sex means, unless you use your words. Let your partner know and ask in return. Then keep the conversations going, because these factors can all change from situation to situation and person to person.

Have fun!

Most importantly, have fun. Relax, be curious about each new experience, take your time discovering, and share a laugh as you take pleasure in the ride. Sex is actually kind of ridiculous at times, and definitely something enjoyable.

Sorry to bombard you with a very long answer to a very short question, but I hope you take some of this away with you and let me know how you go.

If any readers have some advice to add, feel free to comment.

Best wishes,

Rhonda x

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