Must #2 for Great Sex: Get What You Need


Last week, I introduced my “Must #1 for Great Sex.” In this 2nd “must”, you might be thinking that I’m referring to orgasm – and for those of you who really want an orgasm, that may be it. However, I’m talking about “needs” more broadly, encouraging you to get what you need in order to feel comfortable and good about having sex with a particular person at a particular time. This is not license to be ultra picky and demanding; rather, it’s an invitation to you to consider what you really need (not “want” – but need) in order to feel good. After all, in order to have pleasurable, yummy sex, one often needs to feel relaxed and comfortable with their sex partner and the situation.

As such, consider:

Do you need to talk about whether you’ve both been tested for sexually transmissible infections? Yes? Then ask! Talk! Even better – go get tested together.

Do you need to feel as though you’re well-protected from pregnancy? Talk to each other about your plan for preventing pregnancy. Will he use a condom and you use the pill? Will you use the patch and he do the ol’ heave-ho pull out? If you have questions about birth control methods and whether you’re using yours correctly, talk to your healthcare provider. If you’re not confident in his ability to pull out in time (not exactly a reliable method of birth control in the first place, as many guys cannot control their ejaculatory timing that precisely), then insist on using another method (like condoms and some type of hormonal birth control). Men, the same thing goes if you’re not confident in the way that your partner takes her birth control pills – if you’re feeling unsure that those pills are taken every day, use a second method (such as condoms) and/or talk together about how you can work together to address this need.

Do you need to feel loved? Then wait until you’re certain this is a loving, caring relationship. Do you need to be engaged or married? Then wait for it! YOU make the rules when it comes to your body and your relationship and, together with your partner, you can figure out how to get what you both need to feel good about your relationship and your sex life.

Check back next week for MUST #3.

[Originally published in my weekly column on]

[Photo by Bill D'Agostino via his Flickr photostream.]

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at