When it comes to your significant other, there are many things relationship experts say you should never try to change about them. Their baggage, how they interact in social scenarios, their sense of humor, and career obsession are just a few personality quirks that are entirely out of your hands.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t dream a little, right?
The reason so many experts try to temper our expectations of what we can and can’t change is that, more often than not, there are a few tweaks many of us would like to make given the chance.
To better understand which elements of their partners Americans wouldn’t mind taking to the drawing board, we asked over 1,000 people to weigh in on the physical appearances and sexual habits of their significant others. From the contours of their breasts or the shape of their penis to their sexual routines, we found out what most people wanted to change about their boyfriends, girlfriends, or spouses. Keep scrolling to see what we uncovered.
What Men and Women Want
When it came to what’s happening closer to the skin, people had opinions on how they’d like to see the most intimate areas of their partners ideally changed. These preferences represent the body shapes men and women were most attracted to – not necessarily something they’d physically alter in their current relationship.
There are multiple shapes and sizes women’s breasts can take, and, as those surveyed revealed, there’s no single consensus on what is perfect. Still, there was a popular opinion, and it might suggest bigger boobs are more appealing. One in 4 people preferred a woman whose breasts were fuller on the top, and nearly 1 in 5 would rather their boobs be fuller on the bottom.
While men tend to favor a woman’s chest over any other part of her body, even scientists can’t quite nail down what the allure of boobs are for the people who find them so enticing. While 12 percent of people were attracted to wide boobs, we also found a preference for close boobs, pointy boobs, and big areolas.
While there are fewer types a penis can take on, people were more united in picking a favorite compared to the reaction we got toward breasts. Of the four penis types, 40 percent picked “the bender” as their phallus of choice. Referring to an upward curvature of the member during arousal, the bender was at the top of most wish lists. Just over 1 in 3 preferred “the curve” instead, which is similar in shape but without as significant of an upward tilt.
Experts say you should never make your partner feel uncomfortable in the bedroom. Asking a person to do something that’s only pleasurable or enjoyable to one person can be a red flag, indicating a selfish or even sexually abusive relationship. Still, when it comes to making love, communication is crucial to success. Avoiding uncomfortable conversations about what you do or don’t like may seem easier than approaching awkward, unknown territory, but it can also mean settling for substandard sex too.
Of the more than 1,000 people surveyed, only 19 percent of women and 7 percent of men said they were fully satisfied with their partners in the bedroom. With a vast majority of men and women largely seeing room for improvement in their sex lives, they agreed on the one thing they wanted more of: foreplay. Stimulating on multiple levels, foreplay doesn’t just lead to better orgasms – it can help create a stronger emotional bond too. Whether it’s dirty talk, light touching, or kissing, you won’t know what works best in your relationship unless you talk about it.
Men also wanted more anal sex, group sex, and oral sex, while women were more interested in new positions, using toys, and more sex in general. Trying new moves in the bedroom can feel embarrassing at first, but getting the hang of these unique angles and positions won’t just keep things exciting – it could also lead to better orgasms for both partners.
Quantity Over Quality?
How much sex a relationship needs to feel satisfying can vary from couple to couple or even person to person, but one thing is clear: Partners need to understand how much intimacy their significant other is looking for to avoid undue sexual frustration.
As our survey found, men and women operate on different wavelengths when it comes to their ideal sexual frequency. While women preferred engaging in anal sex rarely and oral sex sometimes, men wanted more. On average, people had sex three times a week, including oral sex twice a week and anal sex roughly once a month. That might not be enough for men, though, who admitted to preferring anal sex occasionally and oral sex frequently.
According to one study, there may be an opportunity for a compromise that satisfies both partners. Unplugging from electronics like the TV or phone in the bedroom can help make the sex you do have feel more gratifying without being rushed or disengaging. And if certain sexual acts aren’t exactly up your alley, communicating about what you do like may help you find a balance that pleases both parties.
Falling Off the Wagon
Regardless of how much you care for each other, sexual intimacy typically changes over time as life gets in the way and partners’ sex drives fluctuate. It’s more common to find regular, passionate intercourse at the beginning of a relationship, while dry spells tend to occur as relationships start to mature. Regardless of the frequency, sex can be a powerful indicator of happiness and a source of strife if left unattended for long periods.
According to men and women polled, both oral and anal sex steadily decreased over time. While couples might be performing or receiving oral sex frequently in the first decade of their relationship, the passion for this uniquely stimulating experience declined to an occasional or rare occurrence over the length of their relationship. Anal sex, which requires heightened levels of communication to be safe and pleasurable for both partners, also fell for couples as their relationship carried on.
This diluting of passion may be less about love and more about biological functions of the body and miscommunication. Trying new things in the bedroom can help keep sex interesting for both partners, in addition to a “use it or lose it” mentality. The longer couples go without addressing their sexual dissatisfaction, the more likely those rifts will grow, creating both physical and emotional discomfort.
The Heart of the Issue
Physical intimacy can say a lot about how happy couples are together and how satisfied they feel in their relationship. While men and women agreed on certain aspects they’d change about their partners or sex lives, they also disagreed on certain sexual preferences. Men typically preferred having sex more often than women and participating in certain sexual activities women weren’t as interested in. In contrast, women were more interested in experimenting with new sexual positions and toys. In either case, proper communication is key to avoiding unnecessary emotional conflict.
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We surveyed 1,008 people using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Approximately 45% identified as male, and 55% identified as female. Participants ranged in age between 18 and 89, with a mean of 36 and a standard deviation of 10.44.
No statistical testing was performed, so the claims listed above are based on means alone. As such, this content is purely exploratory, and future research should approach this topic more rigorously. Additionally, this survey was conducted using results based on self-reported data.
Fair Use Statement
Are there things in the bedroom you’d like to see more of too? Feel free to share the results of this study for any noncommercial use. Just ensure a link back to this page, so our contributors get credit for their work.