Sex Etiquette 101: A field guide for lovers

This entry is part 5 of 15 in the series: Mind Your Manners with Nathalie Findlay

Try as I might, I haven’t found a way to create a portmanteau from the words ‘sex’ and ‘etiquette’.

It would have been so neat to have one, in the same way, ‘netiquette’ or ‘sexting’ exist. 

While I work on that, please focus your mind entirely upon sex, as that is today’s theme. Believe it or not, etiquette can enhance your next ‘rapport’.  The key to great sex is compatibility … and what is the best way to ensure that you are compatible?  By being sensitive to your partner’s needs.  That, by the way, is the foundation of etiquette so take that to your next business meeting too.  Just leave out the naked bits. If you think of etiquette as a social lubricant, please consider that it has never been truer than in the bedroom. Nor the sitting room, nor in the shower, behind the chesterfield nor in the potting shed for that matter. Is there a more important time to remember someone’s name? Here are a few rules to having polite sex, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be naughty, dirty, raunchy or hot …provided it’s consensual.

12 Rules for Polite Sex:

Consent. It would be remiss if I didn’t list ‘consent’ as the first of the rules of sexyquette (no, still not working for me!). I am led to believe that this is now legally binding in the U.S.A. While it will solve a huge array of potential problems, I think we can all agree that it simply isn’t sexy to ask someone to have sex, outright. But laughter, it is said, is the best aphrodisiac, so let’s go with that. If you can’t laugh when the person next to you has no clothes on, when can you laugh?

Knock Knock
Who’s There?
Will you have sex with?
Will you have sex with who?
Me?


Health. Another important question to address is health.  While you are asking (begging) for sex, why not throw in a list of diseases that you don’t want to catch.  You could say: “I’ve always thought Chlamydia and Gonorrhea would be beautiful names for a girl.” If your partner agrees, then perhaps she’s never heard of them. Then, at least you know she’s not currently receiving medical treatment for them.  Still, this might be a good time to discuss contraception. (And if your choice of a girl’s name is indeed Chlamydia, I do invite you to consider the issue of contraception very seriously indeed.)

Spending the night. If you are not in a committed relationship, try, at the very least, to address whether to spend the night prior to engaging in the festivities of the evening.  State your intention clearly.  Leaving it up in the air will just cause ambiguity and confusion. That’s when bunnies get boiled.

Lighting. Dimming triumphs over lightness every time. It’s not fair to put the lights on if your partner is not terribly keen on exposure. Imagination is sometimes better than the truth.  If that fails, bear in mind that studies have shown that a woman’s libido peaks at 3:30 pm so you might have a go then as it’s still light at that hour. (Oh, was I intimating that the woman was the one who wanted the blackout?  How very presumptuous of me.)

Good guys finish last.  Nuff said there.

The noise factor. A little noise is okay, you know, to make sure the other person knows you’re not dead, but wall shattering is not on.  Respect your neighbors: you’ll be passing them in the stairwell eventually. You don’t want them to know exactly how long the whole thing lasted.

Foreplay. One wouldn’t sign a contract without discussing the matter first, sometimes for a long time.  Think of foreplay as a long and pleasant meeting, but without the coffee and donuts.  Or with, if that is your thing.

Personal Hygiene. I wouldn’t wish to blemish the pages of this magazine by discussing personal hygiene.  But getting dirty implies that you didn’t start out that way.

Paris Hilton.  If there is but one single thing we can learn from Mlle. Hilton, and I think my accounts are accurate, it is that recording devices and relationships don’t mix. No matter how much damage the headboard has done to your brain, DO NOT EVER sext, videotape, photograph, Skype or Facetime anything to do with nudity, sex or anything I daren’t even think of, unless you are in a respectful, committed and legally binding relationship.  And even then.  Electronic means of communication are deeply flawed but not as much as some people’s sense of propriety after a nasty breakup. Besides, what would you prefer, a love letter written in the style of Anaïs Nin or a photo of someone’s privates with the cat looking on from on top of the computer screen in the background?  Seriously, why do people even think this appealing? I digress. Poor cat.

Energy. You’ve had a long day at the office: you’re tired and have just enough zing for a little rumpy-pumpy…  But not much more. May I suggest you put off initiating a session until you can be certain you will not fall asleep during nor immediately afterward.  Bad form.

Remember pleases and thank-yous. You’d thank your partner for a waltz, why not a horizontal mambo? It would not do you any harm to throw a compliment their way either. “You’re beautiful” will work a treat regardless of gender.

Never kiss and tell. The only reason people pretend to care that you were lucky enough to find someone is so that they can tell other people. On the gossip game-board of life, this scores a three 1/2-star rating out of 5.  So, assume it’ll be all over town by noon and that your mother will probably end up finding out. Remember that, before you start to brag. Mothers are seldom impressed by such news.

Oh, and while it’s more a question of taste than etiquette per se, the socks really should come off first. There now. Equipped with these tips, and whatever other equipment you happen to bring to the table, you should find that you get more from your next Cinq à Sept from now on.  Enjoy and be safe. It’s a wild world out there.

Originally Published on August 8, 2014




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Nathalie Findlay

After completing a degree in Fine Arts and another in Interior Architecture, Nathalie began modelling in New York, Hamburg, Munich and Paris where she eventually decided to base herself. Always on the lookout for opportunities to grow, she combined her modelling career with other areas of interest, working for the Canadian Embassy, Christian Liaigre, A Small World and Sotheby's. She has also enjoyed appearing regularly as a presenter and speaker for television and media events and as a pit-lane reporter on Eurosport. Exposed both personally and professionally to the intricacies of etiquette and protocol, Nathalie now focuses on applying her extensive knowledge-base practically, addressing matters of refinement, image and manners for individual and corporate clients with Lifestyling, a consultancy she created in 2007. Nathalie lives in the French countryside with her husband, their baby and two Korthals.

4 thoughts on “Sex Etiquette 101: A field guide for lovers

  1. Julie AndersonJulie Anderson Reply

    Nathalie,
    It amazes me that you can write about etiquette in such an eloquent and funny way no matter what the topic! This post in particular shows off your talent as a writer. Good advice to boot!

    1. NathalieNathalie Reply

      Thank you Julie! Well you know what they say about etiquette consultants in the bedroom!

      (actually, I think they probably don’t say very much)

  2. Sam van Loon Reply

    Okay, let’s get something straight here, guys (and by guys I mean males):
    sex ain’t about orgasms. There’s nothing shameful about finishing first; however, if you do, make sure she’s satisfied. If she isn’t, and feels she needs to get off to be satisfied, then GET HER THE HELL OFF.

    1. Nathalie FindlayNathalie Findlay Reply

      Indeed! That being said, some women may be slightly inhibited about going into overtime since they assume their partner would prefer to be asleep post-coitus. Consequently, they speed things up and or give up and label him a poor lover. [NB: Who knew that all my gossiping with girlfriends would be of use one day, keep it coming I have loads of material!!]

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