There are Rules for Good Sex

Men love rules. It’s understandable, they grew up with them: Rules of the playground, rules in sports, rules of the Guy Code, rules for clubs. As men get older, they follow rules for roommates, friendships, dating, business, and yes, even sex. How many times did James Bond say “I make it a rule to …..”?  Wow! Rules are cool! Rules help us look decisive, confident, assured and totally put together.

We rely on rules. In fact, life is a lot easier if you follow rules; you rarely have to make a decision on your feet. Guess work is eliminated. Life’s major pitfalls can be avoided if you have a rulebook. If a guy follows rules, he can feel he’s doing it right – whatever ‘it’ is.

So, when it comes to sex, it makes sense that there should be rules. After all, sex is complicated, awkward, rife with pitfalls, and if a guy wants to be successful in sex, he needs every bit of help he can get. Rules seem like a great solution. If he follows the rules of good sex, it is guaranteed to be good and he can feel like a stud!

The problem with rules is that, while they can make sex seem safer and more predictable, they eventually lead to frustration, stress and boredom. Sex rules lock you in to a set pattern of behavior, response, arousal, activity and climax. All partners involved follow the game plan and, unless the rules are radically changed, the game dos not change much.

I talked to one couple who had been together only three years and they were embarrassed to admit that sex had become boring. The man was very frustrated.  “I tried to do all the things I’d heard about to keep her happy and satisfied,” he said. “I know I was doing it all right. What more does she want?”

What they had missed was that sex is just play. And when play is governed by too many rules, it gets really tiring. I use the analogy of the sandbox. Sex is a lot like playing in a sandbox. When you were put in the sandbox, no one told you how to play. You just played. No one told you that you had to make roads, or castles, or holes,  in a specific sequence or place; you just did whatever your imagination told you to try. However, as I think about it, I suppose there were a few rules:  Don’t throw sand and don’t hurt each other. I think those are good rules for sex too.

Sex is two people playing with each other’s body and making it up as they go. They need lots of communication, lots of laughter, and lots and lots of imagination. They can do anything they want: Either partner can initiate sex, they can have sex wherever and whenever they want, they can be naked or clothed, they can change roles, they can climax or not, they can have intercourse or not, they can use toys, they can role-play, sex can be short or long, the list is endless. There simply are no rules except what they make up for that moment.

Life and sex can be much scarier without rules, but an awful lot more fun. Sex is a journey; a unique experience created by two people in the moment. There are no rules to what sex looks like. Ignore every sex rule you’ve ever heard – even the well intentioned rules from sexperts! But on second thought, you might want to keep the two rules from the sandbox: Don’t throw sand; don’t hurt each other.

Paul Nelson

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Paul is an AASECT certified sexuality educator and a clinical medical assistant.  He is president of the Erectile Dysfunction Foundation, and founder of, the largest online community for men’s sexual dysfunctions and maintains a private practice at  He works in New York City with Dr. Michael Werner ( as a patient/sexuality educator.  Paul is an instructor at the Institute for Sexuality Education and Enlightenment. He is an advocate for men’s reproductive health and has appeared on ABC News with Diane Sawyer, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, the BBC, and the New York Times. Paul is a member of the AUA, ISSM, AASECT, and SMSNA.
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