Julie Nguyen is a relationship coach, Enneagram educator, and former matchmaker based in New York. She has a degree in Communication and Public Relations from Purdue University.
January 5, 2022 — 12:04 PM
When you’re vibing with someone and feeling that delicious IRL tension, sex is usually the go-to move to satisfy that urge. But if an orgasm is always seen as the best way to relieve that pent-up desire, you’re missing out on all of the other exciting ways you can sensually push the limits with that special someone.
Contrary to (gendered) popular belief, it’s not true that men are always down and ready for sex. While foreplay is often seen as a crucial element for women to fully enjoy intimacy, that sort of thoughtful seduction is rarely applied to men and how their partners can also make them feel special, sexy, and wanted. No matter the genders involved, turning each other on is essential to prime intimacy with the emotional readiness needed to access deeper, feverish states of desire.
So, here is our deep dive on how to turn on a guy and titillate their senses–mind, body, and soul:
1. Don’t assume!
Consent is always important, meaning it’s important to make sure a guy is game to get turned on and to proceed any further. Sex educator and pleasure coach Violet tells mbg your body can have a genital response called arousal nonconcordance. Meaning: “A person can have a physiological reaction–an erection, wetness, etc., and not be in the mood mentally to have sex. Think about seeing [something delicious], but you just ate a three-course meal, so you are not hungry at all.”
Because of that, you shouldn’t rely on a person’s body cues alone as permission to push things further. “It is always important to verbally check in with your partner, whether it be a casual hookup or someone you’ve been with for five-plus years. Remember that physical stimulation does not necessarily equal mental stimulation, so check in with him and make sure he is relaxed and enjoying what is happening too,” she says.
2. Approach him with unbridled enthusiasm.
Due to social constructions around masculinity, men are typically saddled with the expectation of initiating, pursuing, and escalating the relationship physically. To subvert those pressures, take it upon yourself to show how much you crave him by making the moves and showering him with flirty attention. Be forward in letting him know he’s the object of your desire.
3. Confidence is key.
Beat the bloat & feel and look your best.*
Clinical sexologist and sex coach Elaine Turner points out that confidence can help you lower your inhibitions in sex, which increases body positivity and trust. It’s the ultimate aphrodisiac–and a huge turn-on for guys and most people.
“Feel confident by being unapologetically yourself at all times. Confidence isn’t a personality trait. It’s a series of intentional and repetitive behaviors. Often, you’re worried about if your orgasm is coming, if your boobs are perky, or what your O-face looks like,” she says. “Put your full attention on the sensations you’re experiencing every step of the way.”
(Here’s more on how to build confidence.)
4. Stimulate him visually.
You can’t underestimate visual stimulation and the experience of literally drinking someone in with your eyes. “Get creative and use this to your advantage. You can try wearing lingerie, spending time on top, or letting him watch you play with yourself,” Turner says.
5. Make use of sexting.
Create wanton anticipation with the help of some sexy texting. “Send flirty text messages all day to get him in the mood or send a little naughty picture during the day to get him worked up when he comes home,” Violet says. “[It’ll] have him thinking about you all day and allow his mind to run wild and create a stronger desire for the next time you see each other.”
(Here’s our full guide to sexting, FYI!)
6. Kiss them all over, targeting their erogenous zones.
“Good kissing doesn’t stop at the lips itself! Start waking up their body with slow kisses and pressing your lips onto their neck, making your way to their collarbones,” sex coach Jaylene Cherie suggests. Not only does it feel good by releasing a cocktail of happy chemicals, but it also evokes feelings of euphoria and affection. A great kiss can be positively divine and make you dizzy with eroticism if you channel your desire into it.
Turner recommends pleasure mapping, which is an exercise that teaches you where your erogenous zones are, the body parts with heightened sensitivity, like the back of your neck, inner thighs, and earlobes. “Once you find those areas, try various ways to stimulate them with kissing, licking, nibbling, stroking, etc. Offer to blindfold or restrain your partner for more intense sensations!”
7. Create sexy rituals.
Look out for little moments to build up excitement. Turner says creating sexy rituals can serve as a discreet way to turn him on: “Humans are inherently ritualistic. We ascribe meaning to patterns and things whether we’re aware of it or not. You can use a specific playlist, wear a particular perfume, or light a special candle when you want to get down. His mind will attach those triggers to pleasure!”
8. Lean into mystery.
Esther Perel famously once said that love enjoys knowing everything about you, but desire needs mystery. “Our lives have become a matter of public record. We are compelled to post every meal we eat, every date we go on, and everything we do on social media,” Turner says. “Refraining from sharing every moment of your day with those around you creates an air of mystery. Surprise and intrigue can be some of the most compelling turn-ons.” Plus, it has the extra benefit of getting you to live in the moment and refocus on what matters.
9. Check your problems at the door.
“Picture yourself getting amazing head, and then you remember a project you have due tomorrow or that you have clothes in the dryer. For some people, these external factors aren’t a big deal, but for others, it can take them out of the moment and make sex really hard to concentrate on,” Violet advises. To avoid those intrusive thoughts from popping up, she recommends taking care of all of those external stressors before intimacy to avoid dissociating during sex.
Helpful reminder that if your S.O. is going through a stressful period, it’ll be hard to think about pleasure if they’re barely meeting their basic needs. To keep your sex life vibrant, she advises being conscious of both of your health levels by staying hydrated, eating well, and sleeping enough.
10. Keep things novel.
“We all have different novelty-seeking traits, and some people need more novelty in order to be aroused. Buy new outfits, try different positions, add new sensations–heat, ice, food, feathers, chain, wax; whatever you want,” Violet says. “Allow each sexual adventure to feel like a novel experience, when you have the energy to, of course.”
When trying out new sex positions, approach it with a sense of humor. It’s OK to laugh if it doesn’t work out! What’s important is going into it with willingness and a nonjudgmental attitude.
11. Break the mundane with spontaneity.
If you’ve fallen into a routine with sex, reenergize the passion by departing from your usual sex habits and being unexpected. It could be as simple as initiating sex in the morning instead of the usual late-night romp, going to a sex club together, or masturbating with the lights on to fold thrill back into the mix.
“Spontaneity is a great way to keep the spark alive in your sex life. Plan on lying on the bed naked for him to ravish you when he comes home,” Violet suggests as an example. Of course, don’t forget consent here: “Make sure he would be willing to receive these surprises by gauging his mood before arriving.”
12. Speak his love language.
Sometimes it’s not about what you do in the bedroom as much as it is about what you’ve done to show your affection outside of it. Violet notes the brain is the biggest sex organ, and mental arousal is key to intimacy.
“This one is so important! Depending on the love language of your partner, or what arouses them, play on that. Whether it’s cooking a meal or showing them a new position that you’ve learned, these behaviors show that you’ve put effort into having sex, and that can make a person feel desired and ready to give,” she says.
Turner breaks down the different love languages and how you can appeal to it with a turn-on.
Gifts: Pick up something sexy at your local adult shop that you know he’ll enjoy.
Physical touch: Offer him a blindfolded massage so he can relax and savor the moment.
Acts of service: Make sure the boudoir is clean and you have all your supplies ready for action.
Quality time: Put your cellphones away, and make your time together unforgettable.
13. Read and watch porn together.
Porn is usually seen as a solo act, so doing it together can become a sexual adventure. Reading, watching, or listening to porn together functions as a catalyst to learn to introduce curiosity and tease out secret kinks he may only indulge in when he’s alone. “It allows you to explore eroticism together and move through getting turned on with each other,” Violet says.
But the fun shouldn’t stop there. Once you’re both done showing what you like, talk about the fantasies openly afterward to amplify the arousal or role-play it out and get each other off.
14. Exercise together.
If you’re wanting to boost up your sexual prowess, getting some exercise in is a great way to literally increase blood flow to all parts of your body and get your hormones going. “Move around, go to the gym, go for a run or do [exercise] activity together to get your heart rate moving, then keep that energy as you get undressed,” Violet adds.
15. Make it a game.
Sex educator and coach Kait Scalisi recommends gameplay as a fun way to lighten things up. Sex doesn’t always have to be so intentional with candlelight and low lighting; it can also be a source of pure delight and lightness too.
“My sex coaching clients love sexy truth-or-dare sticks as a fun and easy way to get to know each other better, explore fun new sexy activities, and feel more connected and confident,” she says. Another benefit is it removes all of the potential awkwardness out of presenting a new fetish and position that may feel strange or taboo to say out loud otherwise.
(Here are some of our fave sex games for couples.)
16. Relax together.
“When we’re stressed, it’s harder to access things like creativity, playfulness, and connection. Taking some time at the end of the day, or just before sex, to reconnect will help you experience more pleasure in the bedroom and beyond,” Scalisi suggests. By taking it one step further through engaging their body and mind, it works as emotional foreplay since sexual desire is about more than just being horny.
“Try tossing a ball back and forth, breathing together, or hugging for an extended period,” she says. Doing breathwork together is also a great way to loosen up and connect.
17. Use your words.
“Dirty talking has the potential to be more than just hypersexual phrases that exist only during the act of sex for the purpose of reaching orgasm,” sexual health educator Amy LaPaix shares. Harnessing the power of suggestive language prepares the body for sexual touch by getting your partner excited at the very thought of what might transpire and what they could expect.
“We want to stay in the present moment but need an anchor–dirty talking is your key to staying present. Saying ‘choke me’ or ‘kiss me’ helps incorporate your entire body into the act, with no room for your mind to wander. Done right, your raunchy words can linger in someone’s mind and inspire more lusty acts in the future,” she says. With practice, it’ll soon begin to feel intuitive and natural.
LaPaix shares a list of some examples you can say:
It’s attractive seeing you work; I can’t wait to have you later.
You’re so hot to me.
Your pleasure is important to me.
I want all of you right now.
I’m lucky you’re mine.
Your [body part] is sexy.
Don’t stop what you’re doing, that feels incredible.
I’m not wearing any underwear.
That sex position is my favorite because of how close we get to each other.
Pull my hair.
Can you tell me how you like to be kissed?
What if I bite your lips? Would you like that?
Get on your knees now; I want you looking up at me.
Say my name and tell me you want me.
Tell me what to do; I’ll do whatever you ask me to.
I love when you do that to me.
You’re turning me on right now.
How slow or fast do you want me to go?
Can you go harder?
You taste so good.
Come for me.
Give me more, I’m about to come.
I want to orgasm at the same time you do.
I want you to beg for it.
Play with my clit/cock.
I’ve been waiting to fuck you.
I’m desperate to have you inside of me.
I think about you constantly.
To get more comfortable verbalizing your desires out loud, Turner suggests practicing dirty talk alone around how you like to be touched. “Solo sex is the best erotic educator you’ll ever find. You’ll know what you want, where, when, and how. Remember, men aren’t mind-readers.”
However, LaPaix notes dirty talk might not be a turn-on for some since preferences are so broad and individual to each person. Above all, it’s important to look for consensuality to ensure joyful reciprocation. “It is imperative that you know if the other person finds dirty talk distracting and/or revolting before using it. The key is to be in tune with your partner’s needs.”
18. Use body language.
If you’re still feeling shy about talking dirty, LaPaix recommends a few subtle things you can try to still heat up the conversation. For example, if you’re waiting in line for tickets at a concert with your crush, you can lightly press your body against theirs and whisper something in a husky tone so that your partner can slightly feel your breath on their neck like, “Which song are you most excited to hear?”
19. Leave a sexy note.
If some of the more direct options above feel too risqu?, you can start small by writing them a letter with your fantasies or making a sex playlist filled with songs that get you in the mood.
20. Make a point to check in regularly.
Scalisi recommends a dedicated safe space to talk about what’s working, what’s not working, and what you want more and less of in your sex life. Talking doesn’t have to be so serious, though. It’s just a time to approach each other with honesty and share your preferences openly.
“It gives you a chance to share your desires without as much awkwardness or pressure. Plus, they allow you to address issues as they arise,” Scalisi notes.
21. Make him feel important.
“Everyone wants to feel loved, cherished, and important. [People] move through life secretly wanting others to pay attention to us and treat us like we are the most interesting person in the world,” Turner says. “By doing that for your partner, they’ll feel like you understand and care about them. In turn, they may reflect that same attention to you.”
How to turn on a guy in bed:
1. Focused eye contact.
Locking eyes with him during sex can be thrilling and surprisingly vulnerable. To practice this, try holding their gaze a few seconds longer than you normally would. As you become more comfortable gazing at him, add in more time to intensify the lovemaking. By maintaining a visual on each other, it’ll help you feel more connected to each other and keep you in the zone together.
“I challenge you to push past your shyness and give your lover a good look in the eyes, while you get a good look of soaking up their face as they get in the mood,” Cherie says.
2. Moaning to express eagerness.
Besides verbal affirmations, moaning is a foolproof way to let your partner know that you’re very into what he’s doing to you. When being loud in sex, though, it’s a slippery slope to faking it with over-exaggerated sounds and coming across as performative. It’ll confuse your partner about what really turns you on and inhibit their performance. Tell them exactly what you like with authentic moans of pleasure while they’re doing it to you.
3. Oral everywhere.
By using your mouth, you can make things extra racy before, during, and after sex. The pace of sex factors into the intensity of sensation. You can take their finger and slowly start sucking on it to foreshadow what’s to come.
“If your masculine partner has a penis, you can most definitely have some fun with it before it even touches your lips. Balls can be an important addition in helping make him come,” Cherie says. “Be sure to stroke the skin of them or massage them gently to add extra sensation.”
4. Straddle slowly.
Touch, massage, and movement are powerful ways to express the unsaid. “Take your time to get on top of them–you are his in that moment! Do it slowly, as this will help them see your body move closer and take in the slow sensation of touch as your bodies move closer together,” Cherie says. By taking the opportunity to utilize physicality and mirror his body language, it’ll signal that you want to be there, which is an immense turn-on.
Once again, Cherie emphasizes the importance of slowing down. It’s easy to quickly take off your clothes to get to the good parts, but savoring the subtle energy shift as you both move into your sensuality will ramp up the excitement.
“If you are wanting to channel some submissive energy into your play, you can slowly [take off] their clothes by pulling his zipper with your teeth,” she says. “Extra tip: Wear a shirt that either unties or buttons. The ‘take off’ is much more sexy than wrestling with getting your shirt over your head.”
6. Move like honey.
“Instead of trying to quickly get to the penetrative part of sex or reach orgasm, just take some time to slow down and learn what feels good on the body,” Violet says. Tantrically take your time with gentle stroking, long embraces, and slow kissing to sync up emotionally and amp up your responses with each other. “Explore different sensations, different speeds, different pressures, and use this time as exploratory foreplay,” Violet says.
She points out this is super sexy because men are generally not socialized to see the value in slowing down when receiving pleasure and learning about someone’s body. In the mad rush for penetration, though, you risk missing out on all of the feelings (excitement, nervousness, pure rapture) that spring up during those in-between moments.
7. Play with power dynamics.
Incorporating power dynamics (i.e., domination and submission) into sex is a fun way to switch up the roles and discover new sides you may not typically express in sex. “Relinquish control to him, or control him for a change. This can incorporate an entirely new level of connection and exploration,” Violet says.
The bottom line.
Sex is about more than just straightforward P-in-V penetration and the naked form–though, that’s hot, too. Just wanting to show how much you want him and being enthusiastic with sex will solidify the connection and bring boundless pleasure into the bedroom. Have fun!
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