So maybe you've never had any complaints, but... how can you really tell if you rate high on the sex-skills scale '- or if you still have some tricks to learn? Well, there are some essential signs that back up your bedroom abilities '- and they're not as obvious as you might think. Put your between-the-sheets talents to the test.
1. You've Got the Right Attitude
In the 1970s, famous sexologists Masters and Johnson discovered that sexual pleasure involves the brain as much as the body. They proclaimed sex as "psychophysiological," which basically means that if you've got the right attitude, the physical rewards will be substantial. So what is required to reach the holy grail of sexual satisfaction? There are three main traits: knowledge (a solid understanding of how your body and your partner's body work), experience (practice makes perfect) and an open mind (the ability to let go of inhibitions, not judge and not worry about what you look like). And of those three, maintaining an open mind is the most crucial.
2. You'll Try Everything (Within Reason) Once
The best lovers know that judging your partner for his offbeat suggestions is a bad idea. He wants you to dress up as a vampire and talk dirty in a Dracula-style dialect while simultaneously sucking his left big toe? So what! As long as no one is being hurt physically or emotionally and it doesn't become a necessity (at which point it could be considered a fetish), I say anything goes. If you've had lovers say "I've always wanted to try so-and-so, but I've never felt comfortable enough to suggest it with anyone else before," you definitely rank high on the Great Lovers list.
3. You Play Games
Sex is supposed to be fun '- and games aren't just for children. The more playful you are in bed, the higher you'll be rated. If you've taken turns as each other's sex slave or tried role-playing your fantasies (he's a shy virgin while you play Mrs. Robinson, he's a door-to-door salesman while you're the sex-starved housewife, etc.), then you're the girl your ex-lovers will never forget. Bonus points if you've used blindfolds, tied him up, introduced sex toys or acted out a scene in a film that turns you on. If this isn't you, learn from your sexy sisters: Loosen up a little, laugh a lot, drop the inhibitions and let your imagination run wild.
4. You Make the First Move as Often as Possible
One of the most common male complaints is "She never initiates sex," so girls who do get big gold stars. If you always wait for your partner to instigate sex, you're seriously missing out. Initiating sex when you don't usually do so can unzip even the most sluggish of libidos. Your partner will be caught pleasantly off-guard, and you'll get a buzz from taking the power position.
5. You Keep Your Genitals Fit
A six-pack might be sexy, but far more impressive are tight PC muscles. Regular Kegel exercises (repetitively squeezing the muscle you use to cut off the flow of urine) makes virtually any sex position heaven for him '- and for you! After all, the tighter your vagina, the more sensation you'll feel as well.
6. Your Foreplay Lasts Twice as Long as Intercourse
It's not just women who love foreplay '- men love it, too! If you've stopped thinking of intercourse as "sex" and foreplay as the stuff you do before intercourse, pat yourself on the back. You've recognized that intercourse doesn't have to be the main course '- and that your session doesn't have to end when that part of it is over. Hands and tongues are far more dextrous than an erect penis and are just as useful for producing pleasure.
7. You Know That If He's Not Erect, It's Probably Not Your Fault
Your fingers inch toward his groin, ready to wrap around a firm, pulsating, excited penis '- except that, hmm, it seems to have gone to sleep. How do you react? Well, nearly all men experience an episode of impotence by the age of 40, so if you're sexually active, it could happen with you. The girl who barely bats an eyelid and doesn't take it personally is the girl he'll want to marry. Overindulgence in alcohol or drugs, anxiety about measuring up to your standards (or your previous boyfriend's) and just plain exhaustion can all leave him limp. It doesn't mean he thinks your bum is too big or that he's got his eye on someone else. A clever girl won't dwell on it and will ask him to use his hands and tongue to bring her to orgasm '- because shifting the focus from him to you takes the pressure off (and usually solves the problem).
8. You Put In the Effort
A good lover accepts that just as our bodies and faces age over time, needing more work to keep them looking good, so do our sex and love lives. We all tend toward the presumption that good sex magically "just happens," but that's not even close to the case. Being a good lover means doing whatever it takes to stay interested in each other.
9. You Laugh Off Any Embarrassments
Sex is smelly, noisy, sweaty and unflattering. And if you've never done anything in bed that's caused you the slightest bit of embarrassment, you win the award for World's Most Boring Lover. The World's Best Lover has had semen in her hair, broken wind at the worst possible moment, looked down at her body and thought "Good grief! I really should have joined a gym" and fallen on her face with her knickers around her ankles. If your reaction to any of these things is "Who cares! The sex was worth it!" you've got the right idea. You're having sex, after all, not performing live on telly.
10. You Say No Without Feeling Guilty
A great lover knows it's okay to not have '- or even want '- sex all the time. Forget the movies; everyone's libido waxes and wanes based on hormones, stress levels, children and health. Most partners would prefer you said no rather than begrudgingly perform on demand. And the unpredictability of occasionally saying no could actually make your sex life more exciting, because the minute sex becomes automatic, you lose the thrill of it. How to say "Thanks, but no thanks" without offending? Don't say no, say when. Instead of "Not tonight," try "Let's wait until the weekend so we don't have to rush and can really enjoy it."
11. You Own a Vibrator and Use It Regularly
Men often feel threatened by vibrators, but the truth is, women who own one have higher libidos and generally want more sex '- and I can't imagine they'd argue with that! The more orgasms you have, the more your body craves orgasms, and there's no quicker way to achieve them than with a vibrator. A clever girl won't demote her toys to the back of a drawer when her lover is around, but rather she'll put on a performance for him '- and even use them on him. With the vibrator set on a low speed, some men love the feeling of it being against their testicles or perineum during intercourse. And oral sex feels so much better for him if you hold it against the side of your mouth while you go to work.
12. You Speak Up
Lying back and thinking, "Soon he'll hit the spot, I know he will" is not only naively optimistic, it's wasting perfectly good sex time. You could both have had two orgasms by the time he's figured it out! Mouths aren't just for kissing and oral sex; they're for telling each other what turns you on and what doesn't. Just keep your suggestions positive. And if you're feeling especially brave, ask him to open up first. Would he like more or less pressure when you're touching his penis? Which technique feels best? He'll be flattered you're interested in learning what excites him '- and more inclined to ask you where he can improve.
13. You've Abandoned the Bed and Had Sex Outside
On the beach, in the car, on the balcony when the neighbors are out (or in)... Changing location adds spice and appeals to the exhibitionist in all of us. Semipublic sex is up there in the top five fantasies for men, the top 10 for women. A girl who'll take a (calculated) risk is valued much higher by her lovers than one who refuses to be unconventional when it comes to lusty locales.
14. You Realized Ages Ago That Faking It Is Pointless
Women fake orgasms because we can '- men rarely notice '- to get sex over with and to avoid hurting his feelings. Some sex therapists even say that if you have real orgasms with your partner 90 percent of the time, it's acceptable (though not recommended) to fake 10 percent. But if you've both moved beyond idealistic performance-based sex (one orgasm for each of you, every single time), not reaching orgasm every single time is not a big deal. It's called real life '- we're not machines. And anyway, giving is just as pleasurable as receiving.
15. Your Ex-Lovers Admit You Were Great in Bed
It's the acid test: If you're friends with your exes, at some point the conversation always turns to "How was I? You can be honest now." While we might still sugarcoat things to make swallowing a bitter pill sweeter, if an ex raves about your past performance between the sheets, it's a good bet he's telling the truth. If more than three exes have spoken highly of you sexually, award yourself Super Sexpert status. And if you're constantly praised for one signature sex move, even better. Knowing you have a guaranteed, trademarked moan-maker works wonders for sexual self-esteem, doesn't it?