Who Gives?

By Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus

When you think about your philanthropic endeavors, do bedroom activities come to mind? Many people assume that the more they give, the better lover they are, but the equation is more complicated than that. Here are several suggestions of Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind when giving in the bedroom.


DO affirm your partner in every way you can. Compliment her, tell him what you find attractive or express your appreciation for his or her skills. Genuine gratitude is a powerful way to reduce sexual insecurities, creating greater trust, confidence and connection.

DO be open to creative ways of giving, allowing more time for foreplay and playfulness. The 2011 erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey sparked a greater curiosity in bondage and power play. You might not want to go down that path, but given the book’s popularity, many people are clearly looking for different sexual experiences and new forms of excitement.

DO ask questions and be open to feedback. Every partner-and every private part of every partner-is different. I once met a young man in a bar who claimed he knew how to make all women orgasm, and then demonstrated with his tongue and fingers. Don’t be an ass like him. And speaking of Don’ts...


DON’T assume your partner wants really long intercourse. Some guys may think that good sex is long sex. However, many women tend to get sore (and bored) with continuous pounding, so ask for her preference or pay close attention to her subtle clues of enjoyment.

DON’T try to derive all of your satisfaction from pleasing your partner, only to lose touch with your own physical sensations. I have seen women who know how to please and perform, but are uncomfortable with enjoying their own bodies. I’ve seen men who are so into giving pleasure that they lose touch with their own physical arousal and erections. Balance is key.

DON’T let your ego interfere with giving pleasure. Do you want your partner to orgasm for their satisfaction, or because you need it for your gratification? Your ego puts pressure on your lover’s enjoyment, and this distraction can inhibit orgasm. So check your ego at the bedroom door.

Even the best-intentioned giving can be undermined if it doesn’t match your partner’s needs. Sexual philanthropy is about affirmation, creativity, clear communication and balance. Strong sexual partnerships are created when both partners enjoy giving pleasure to the other, in whatever form that may take.