empathy in sex
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Sex with empathy: better for both

The better you understand how your partner feels, the better your sex life. If you’re good at empathising – grasping what your partner is feeling during sex – it won’t just boost your partner’s pleasure, but also your own, a recent US study found.

Both men and women need to understand how their partner feels to boost their own sexual satisfaction, the researchers say. Empathetic people have more regular orgasms and get more enjoyment both from giving and receiving oral sex.

Empathy may increase motivation to give sexual and other kinds of pleasure to the partner, say the researchers. A person who understands how his or her partner feels can enjoy the other's pleasure as well, they reasoned.


Being able to empathise was important for sexual pleasure for both men and women. But for women another characteristic is also important. A woman’s autonomy – her strength to follow her personal convictions – and her self-esteem also contribute to her pleasure levels.

This might be because of the social norms related to sexuality, say the scientists. Studies show that women feel more awkward about letting their partners know what they want in bed. And they have more trouble than men in actually knowing what they want in the first place.

Oral sex

The researchers also found that men and women differ in their level of sexual enjoyment. Nine out of ten young men say they achieve orgasm most or all of the time, compared to 5 out of 10 young women. What’s more, compared to the women, the men not only enjoyed receiving oral sex more, but also giving it.


The orgasm results came as no surprise to the researchers. But they found it interesting that young men were more likely than young women to say they enjoyed giving oral sex to their partners. This breaks the stereotype that males are more concerned with their own sexual pleasure.

The amount of pleasure people get from sex has nothing to do with their age, race, ethnicity, wealth or social status, the researchers found.

Reference: Study Links Empathy, Self-Esteem, and Autonomy with Increased Sexual Enjoyment

*To protect the identity, names have been changed and the person/s in the picture is/are models.

What do you think about more during lovemaking - pleasing your partner, or pleasing yourself? Comment below or share with Love Matters (LM) on our Facebook page. If you have a specific question, please ask LM experts on our discussion forum.

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