We asked 3,289 women how happy they are with their sex lives. Then we took notes from the ones with the biggest smiles.
She Wants More
Although our survey shows that satisfied women have sex several times a week, two out of five are still left craving more. “Women have a broad definition of sex, so this doesn’t necessarily mean they want more intercourse,” says Scott Haltzman, M.D., author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men. “A woman might just want to feel more sexual in general, so let her know you’re thinking about her throughout the day, and tinge it with sexuality.” One way is to text her about dinner plans and ask her to wear her hot red blouse.
Listen in: “He’s afraid of seeming too eager, but I have just as large a sex drive as he does.” —Marissa, 19
She Knows She’s Hot
Satisfied women don’t suffer from low self-esteem—four in five think their partners find them extremely sexy. Want a confident girlfriend? Never criticize other women’s bodies. “She’ll worry about how you feel about hers,” says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., sexual-health educator at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute. “She won’t feel comfortable showing you her body if she’s worried you’ll think she’s fat, ugly, or full of cellulite.”
Listen in: “When I hear him compliment me in bed, it sends me over the top.” —Jane, 28
She’ll Speak Up
Satisfied women know what they want, and 87 percent will express it. “A woman comfortable asking for what she wants is going to be orgasmic more of the time,” says Lonnie Barbach, Ph.D., author of For Each Other: Sharing Sexual Intimacy. Encourage her openness by increasing sex talk in nonsexual situations. But be sure to look out for nonverbal cues, too. “Some people do to their partners what they would like done to themselves,” Barbach says. If she keeps touching you gently, for example, do that unto her.
Listen in: “I tell him everything. That’s why we have great sex!” —Kathleen, 32
Pleasure’s the Goal
Sounds crazy, but it’s true: Orgasm isn’t essential to a woman’s sexual satisfaction. Three out of four women say the pleasure from sex makes orgasm less necessary. So relax—your laid-back approach can put her more at ease, making her more likely to climax. “The more you try to focus on orgasm, the more you scare it away,” says Barbach. Instead, attend to her without that Big-O-or-Big-Zero attitude.
Listen in: “I don’t love sex for the orgasms, I love it because it brings us closer together.” —Sara, 22
Passion Trumps Size
The cliché is true: It is how you use it. Only 7 percent of sexually satisfied women say penis size is critical to their pleasure. The other 93 percent say they can be satisfied in other ways. “Passion is what keeps women coming back for more,” says Yvonne K. Fulbright, Ph.D., the author of Touch Me There! Our survey participants agreed: They were 10 times as likely to rank both passion and generosity as more important than penis size.
Listen in: “Our sexual chemistry and his passion are what make the sex incredible!” —Louise, 22