Most of us are looking for ways to improve our sex lives. We tend to look towards new gadgets, new techniques, new costumes, special lubes…

We can get so caught up in bigger-and-better that we neglect the basics. Not only are there ways you can please your partner without any special “equipment”, but if you put a lot into your normal routines, you can forget that sometimes, simple is better. I know some of us might feel like fingers are “just the beginning”, and that can be true. But have you ever had an orgasm that denied the use of oral?

For a long time, I thought I couldn’t have an orgasm unless there was some tongue involved. And then, I met the partner who bothered to try. It’s in your best interest to be the partner who tries. We’ll let you in on the secrets.

1. Start with a massage.

Most women are pretty responsive to a good sensual massage. Splurge on a nice body oil or lotion (but keep in mind that it probably can’t be used as lube). My favorite massage oil smells like lavender and almonds, and has the added bonus of being safe to use as a facial moisturizer. Your experience may vary, so make sure to do your research to ensure you’re getting a scent that both you and your partner enjoy. If you aren’t able to reach an agreement, opt for a scent-free baby oil – it’s gentle on the skin and glides on silky smooth.

Unfortunately, giving a massage itself isn’t quite as easy as it might seem, so it will take some practice to get things just right. The use of oils or lotions means that you’ll need to put a little more pressure to actually relieve the muscle tension, otherwise you’re literally just rubbing oil into her, and while that can be relaxing for some, it doesn’t count as a massage.

However, too much pressure and you can get strained, which will also affect the quality of the massage – because it’ll be much shorter. It might take some practice to get your methods just right, but trust me – your girlfriend will thank you when you get the hang of it.

2. Focus on teasing.

Too often, we find ourselves tempted to jump right into “the good stuff” – without realizing that what you do before can make the good stuff either better or worse. Rarely is a woman fully aroused just by the thought of getting some action, so you’ll need to tempt and tease her body before you give in. Prolonging this teasing makes the “actual work” portion of the sex much more effective, since your partner will be significantly more aroused, and probably a lot wetter, too.

Don’t just tease her vagina, though. It’s important to make a full-body connection if you want a powerful response. Let your fingers graze the back of her neck, and the sides of her stomach, and even the backs of her legs. These are highly sensitive areas that are easy to overlook, since they don’t seem like they would turn her on. But, particularly if you’ve started with a sensual massage, these areas are highly erogenous zones that can make a huge difference in the long run.

Make sure you’re talking to your partner, to see what she likes and doesn’t like. Realistically, you should be getting pleasure from giving her pleasure, not from doing specific things you like doing. If you want her to be satisfied, you’re going to actually need to know what she wants, otherwise your efforts are just a shot in the dark.

3. Don’t forget the nipples, too!

I’ve known women who said that they didn’t like nipple play… Just to find out that they only liked certain types of nipple play. It’s actually built into our internal systems that nipple stimulation will feel good. It’s just a matter of figuring out what your partner responds best to, and working on that, instead of other techniques that just don’t work for her.

Many women respond well to their nipples being slightly grazed, and the nipples will react by becoming hard. Personally, though, that just makes my nipples itchy, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Some women like gentle tugging or pinching. Some women even like hard tugging and pinching. You can even try “rolling” the nipples between your fingers, using gentle circular motions with your thumb and index finger.

When you’re playing with your partner’s nipples, make sure you’re not neglecting the rest of the breast, too. Generally, women with smaller breasts will notice that their entire breast area is more sensitive, since all boobs have the same number of nerves in them. This sounds disappointing for those with larger breasts, but rest assured – most of these nerves are in the nipples, so as long as you’re giving them the attention they need, you should be just fine.

4. Drag out the anticipation.

I know, I know – I already mentioned teasing. But I’m mentioning it again, because it really is that important. Now, though, you’ll be focusing on the “good parts”. Well, next to the good parts. The inner thighs, the outer folds of the vagina, and even the lower stomach (between the pubic mound and the belly button) are all directly connected to the clitoris, and you can indirectly stimulate her by gently rubbing these areas.

Try to hold off on touching her clitoris or her vaginal opening for as long as possible – your goal is to make her beg for it (and trust me, if you’re doing it right, she will.) Instead, get close to these areas, maybe brush against them with the back of your hand or your knuckles, and continue prolonging things.

Some women like the feeling of having their inner labia gently pulled on, but you should definitely make sure you check with her first, as this is uncomfortable for others. You can also run your finger along the inner edges of the labia, trying not to touch the clitoris (but it’s really not a problem if you do touch it). At this point, you should be able to feel her quite wet – and that’s a good sign that it’s almost time to give her what she wants. (But not yet!)

5. Try something new with her clit.

Unfortunately, many of us are pretty lazy in bed. I actually had someone tell me once that she wouldn’t date anyone who doesn’t like receiving from a strap-on, because it’s less work for her. To me, this is incredibly selfish. Most of us find that one thing that works for us, and that’s “our thing” – we don’t bother trying any variations. This is not good, and even if your partner doesn’t say it, she’s probably bored of “your thing” by now, and somewhere deep inside, you probably already know this.

If you’re used to rubbing up and down, try using circles instead. If you normally do circles, try “stroking” the hooded part of the clitoris with your fingers. Try rubbing side to side with your fingers in a V motion. Try using two fingers to rub her clit instead of one – this gives you the ability to change the direction you’re rubbing with one finger, and have the other one still doing “the usual”. Even a change of position can make the difference – if you typically place yourself between her legs, or at her side, try reaching from behind – it’s an entirely different feeling.

Of course, this particular step can take a while to master, especially since you’ll be (basically) re-learning something that seems so simple. But comfort is the enemy of progress, and if you really want her to reach peak levels of sexual satisfaction, you’re probably going to need to make yourself just a little bit uncomfortable sometimes. Isn’t her happiness worth trying something new and awkward?

6. If she’s into penetration, don’t give it to her yet.

Yes, I’m actually going to tell you not to give your partner what she wants right now. But this is all part of the super-tease master plan, and the more time you spend now, the less time you’ll spend throwing your arm out to reach that G-Spot. Trust me on this one. Do not penetrate your partner the first time she asks you to. You want her to do more than ask… You want her to beg for it.

Instead, use your finger to gently circle the entrance to her vagina. You’ll want to feel how wet she is, and perhaps dip just inside every now and then – but not enough to give her what she really wants. If you’d like, you can go back and forth between the vaginal opening and the clitoris, taking just a little bit of her natural lubrication with you as you go, and waiting for her to ask again.

It might seem mean to prolong the anticipation for this long, but that’s just because our society has been conditioned to prefer instant gratification. But psychologically, people prefer things they have to wait for. And, of course, you’re not going to leave her hanging – you’ll give her what she wants in just a little while.

7. Once she’s begging, penetrate her nice and slow.

I’m really bad about wanting it hard, so I’ll try to resist begging for it until I’m ready to hurry up and finish. But that’s not what leads to the best orgasms. Sure, you can have rough and hard – but you need to start nice and slow first, otherwise it’s simply not going to be as satisfying. Slide your fingers in gently, and try to do more “wiggling” than thrusting.

In order to have a G-spot orgasm, you’re going to want a little bit of rotating pressure. This is why those rotating vibrators are so popular – it feels a lot better. Try to make a “scooping” motion with your fingers, and even try “kicking” with them. (Gently, of course.) These two often-overlooked techniques provide a great deal of sensation, but “kicking” will require two fingers. (If your partner is still newer to being penetrated, two fingers might be a bit much, unless you’ve done a lot of teasing beforehand – the vagina is designed to expand to fit a baby through it, so as long as things are properly lubricated, you shouldn’t have trouble slowly introducing a second finger.)

Take your time, and wait until she can’t handle another second of teasing. She might be trying to push your face down at this point, but if you really want to give her a great orgasm with your fingers, you’re going to have to resist taking the “easy way out”.

8. Give her everything you’ve got.

Once she really can’t handle it anymore, it’s time to get to work and give her everything she asks for. Literally everything. If she wants a finger in her bum, put a finger in her bum (but make sure you’re being gentle back there – that’s sensitive tissue that doesn’t expand in the same ways the vagina does). If she wants you to thrust hard enough to cause her physical pain, do it – she wouldn’t ask for it specifically unless she actually wanted it.

If you’ve done the previous steps right, your partner will be telling you exactly what she wants. It might be difficult to get the words out, but the goals are no secret. Pay attention to her body language, do the things you already know she likes, and don’t forget the other parts of her body, too. Just because the foreplay is done doesn’t mean you can focus on one part of her body only. Reach a hand up and grab her breast, rub her nipples between your fingers, or grip her hips.

Make sure you’re really paying attention, though. Not everyone is into the same things, and just because something works for one woman doesn’t always mean that they’ll work for every woman. You should hopefully have an understanding with your partner so that she feels comfortable communicating with you during sex – because, believe it or not, that’s really the most important part.