The last time I had sex, it was with a guy I’d met on Bumble. We'd been dating for about a month and a half, and on this night it was raining, so we decided to stay in, watch TV, and order pizza. We eventually ended up having sex on his couch.
Afterwards, he rolled over, panting and sweaty, and asked me the one post-coital question that always makes me see red:
“Did you come?”
When I was younger, I was totally OK with this question. In fact, I thought it was kind of sweet. As women, we’re taught to prioritise men’s pleasure, often at the expense of our own. So I initially interpreted it as an indication that maybe my partner saw that my pleasure was important, too.
But eventually, I grew up and realised what a total cop-out this question is. Guys, take it from me: women don’t want you to ask them if they had an orgasm after you have sex. Because when you do that, you’re implicitly telling them that their pleasure is, quite literally, an afterthought for you. And there's nothing less sexy than that.
Now, before you get defensive, let me say this: I know you mean well. You probably want to get your partner off. If you didn't, you likely wouldn’t even ask her whether she had an orgasm in the first place. So just posing the question is a step in the right direction. The issue is that in my experience, most guys don't seem all that interested in the follow-through. Maybe I’ve been dating the wrong kind of guys, but few of my partners have been interested in polishing me off once the big O has left the building.
The problem is that there's a huge disparity between how often women have orgasms during sex, and how often men have orgasms during sex. According to a 2017 study, only 65% of heterosexual women regularly have orgasms during sex, compared to 95% of straight men. (There's even a term for this: "the orgasm gap.") That's in part because the majority of women require clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm, which plain old PIV intercourse just doesn't provide. So guys have to go the extra mile to polish their partners off.
"Swallow your pride and ask your partner: 'What can I do to get you off?'"
The irony of this is that women think about getting you off all. The damn. Time. Giving a guy an orgasm feels awesome. It's like winning a gold medal. But instead of just assuming we know what will feel good for you, we make a point to figure out what you like. We check in. You know when your partner asks you, “Does that feel good?” We're not just asking that because we heard a woman in a porno say it once. We actually want to know what feels good for you. We actually care about getting you off.
Deep in my heart, I know most of you guys feel the same way. But when you roll over and ask, "Hey, did you finish?" you're not communicating that at all. Instead, the message you're communicating is: “I know that you should be enjoying yourself during sex, but I didn’t care enough in the moment to make sure you were.” It's kind of like asking your mom if she needs help carrying the groceries, right after she's just walked in, sweaty and out of breath, and placed the last bag on the counter.
That said, you can turn this ship around and help us achieve the orgasms of our dreams. The first step is to swallow your pride and ask your partner: “What can I do to get you off?” This shouldn't be a clinical or weird conversation. You don’t need to have a Fifty Shades-style exchange, complete with checklists and signatures and lawyers. Keep it light, casual, and above all else, sexy. You might be so turned on by the end of it that it serves as a sort of foreplay in itself.
Make a mental checklist of what she says she likes and doesn't like, and I promise you that sex will be better for both of you.
So in the future, if you've just had an orgasm and you're not sure if your partner has, please don't ask her if she finished. Instead, ask her how you can help her get there. You'll likely have some fun discovering the answer together.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health US