What a woman looks for in a partner changes as she ages, says Helen Fisher, PhD, a US-based professor of anthropology and relationship expert. So, if you want a decent shot at success, you’d have to recognise what she values at this stage of her life – and know what to expect if you plan to stay with her. These changes extend into the bedroom, too. A Men’s Health exclusive survey of nearly 1,400 women found that sexual tastes shift with the passing years. Whether the woman you’re married to or dating is in her 20s, 30s or 40s, here’s your guide to hitting her hot spots.
A Woman in Her 20s:
Eager to please
With youth comes beauty, ambition and energy, but also inexperience (and its annoying sister, insecurity). Our survey revealed that trying to label women in this decade of discovery is about as easy as predicting what get-up Lady Gaga will wear to her next awards show.
Observe Her Subtle Hints
In our survey, women in their 20s are fairly new at sex and eager to please. “Women this age tend to be trying every move in the book,” says sexologist Debby Herbenick, PhD. During sex, even a little light – like a candle – is better than total darkness, and not just because you can take in more of her lithe form. “It allows you to see how she’s reacting to what’s going on,” Herbenick explains. You’ll be better able to gauge her pleasure (or pain). Our survey backs this up. In response to the question, “What makes a man good in bed?” Amy, 20, says: “If he can pick up on subtle hints, changes in body movement or sounds, he’s amazing. The more he makes it about me, the more I can make it about him.”
Variety Works Best
And when we asked for best-sex-ever stories, Jen, 22, said: “He kept telling me how sexy I was.” So, pay attention, and speak up about your desires so she’ll feel comfortable speaking up about hers. She’s bound to like variety: Research has shown that the more acts you engage in during a sexual experience (manual, oral and vaginal), the more likely she’ll have an orgasm. So stretch out foreplay and mix it up. And keep in mind that in our survey, a plurality (45 per cent) of the women in their 20s said the ideal time for penile vaginal sex was 15 minutes or less.
A Woman in Her 30s:
More interested in being happy
Obsessions with socialising and fitting in are on the wane. Women in their 30s are more interested in being happy. She may have a lot on her plate – career, friends, a home – but she’s independent and ready to indulge her desires. Our survey revealed a sexual awakening: Women at this stage have learnt to enjoy themselves.
She Has More Sex
There’s another upside to all that buzz-killing, biological clock talk: Women in their 30s are having a lot of sex. And they want more – tonight! US researchers surveyed 827 women between the ages of 18 and 65 about their sexual thoughts, fantasies and behaviours: As expected, those with declining fertility (from 27 to 45) acted in ways that increased their odds of having babies (not necessarily consciously). These women thought more about sex, had more frequent sexual fantasies and more instances of sexual intercourse, and were more likely to want to have sex with someone they’d known only a short time.
However, Fisher believes that the reproduction-expediting explanation might be too simplistic: “It could be that women in their 30s simply know their bodies better than women in their 20s. They’ve figured out what they like, and they’ve figured out how to tell men what they like.” Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is: Listen to her!
More Open To Bedroom Toys
Among the age groups we surveyed, we found that women in their 30s are most open to using toys in bed. For instance, 14 per cent indicated that they’d used a vibrator during their last sexual experience with a man, and 42 per cent said they wouldn’t mind using restraints the last time they had sex. Not sure if she’s open to the idea? “Baby steps,” says Gloria Brame, author of Come Hither: A Commonsense Guide to Kinky Sex. “First, pin your girl’s wrists over her head while you fool around, and judge her reaction. If it makes her hot, chances are you’re with the kind of girl who’d be interested in being restrained.” Then casually ask her about it at another time (not while you’re naked).
Another tip our survey fairly shouted: Be more vocal. When we asked women what they wanted to hear in bed, women in their 30s said they wanted to hear how good it feels. “I like any sound – I like to know he’s into it as much as I am,” says Shannon, 31.
A Woman in Her 40s:
Bold and knows what she wants
These women know what they want, and they’re not afraid to ask for it. Maybe it’s because they’ve done the marriage-and-kids thing, or maybe they’re just successful, self-assured and feel no pressure to settle down. Our survey revealed that a woman in her 40s might be demanding, but that has its upside: More adventure between the sheets.
She's More Open To Sex
Women in their 40s love sex. In our survey, this was the age group most open to considering sex on a first date (more than half). They were also the most likely to have had an orgasm during their most recent sexual encounter (86 per cent). “A woman in her 40s is, for the most part, relieved of the worry of having babies, so she’s more relaxed about sex and have it more often,” Fisher says.
Willing To Experiment More
When we asked them how their attitudes had changed in the past 10 years, this was the refrain: “I want sex more often!” Said Kim, 42: “I’ve become bolder in expressing what I want and in suggesting new things for us to try.” That’s your cue! Women of all ages in our survey said they want more oral sex performed on them. Some of their tips: “Use your fingers as well as your tongue,” advises Rose, 41. Lena, 40, wants a delicate touch. “Nibble my thighs and be gentle on the clitoris.” Doris, 41, adds: “Clearly enjoy what you’re doing. Being hesitant is a turn-off.”