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How To Tell If Your Partner's Actually Enjoying Sex

Pay attention to non-verbal clues as well.
PHOTO: istockphoto

Making sure all partners involved in sex are enjoying it, is just like, the rules of sex. But how do you know if your partner's actually digging what you're doing? Counselor and sex therapist Denise Knowles explains there are some subtle clues that someone's finding the experience pleasurable.

But Denise wants to make it clear, none of these signs guarantee a person's enjoying sex. As she explains below, the only (and best!) way of knowing is to ask. Make sure you listen, and pick up on any signs they may not mean it.

They pull you close to them.

"If somebody is pulling you towards them, or pulling themselves towards you, that's a clue they're having fun," Denise explains. "They're likely to be saying, 'Give me more. I'm enjoying it.'" But, bear in mind, they could also be trying to switch angles or positions so the sex is more pleasurable for them...

Their facial expressions are exaggerated.

Denise says, "People make all sorts of facial expressions when they're experiencing a lot of pleasure. Some people even look as though they're in pain. Everyone is unique and if you know your partner well, you'll probably recognize the facial expressions they pull when they're enjoying themselves." If you don't know the person so well, it's not going to be as obvious, though.

They flirt with you.

"If they're flirting with you, touching you, and kissing you when you're not having sex, this is a sign they're happy with your sex life," says Denise. She also explains them being touchy-feely with you outside of the bedroom is a sign they're happy with your relationship as a whole, too.

She adds, "Some people are very private though, so don't read into it too much if they're not kissing you in public."

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They making pleasurable noises.

Remember, everyone makes different noises when they're having sex. "Some people will sigh, giggle, grunt, and scream," Denise explains. "However, others will have sex in utter silence, but are having the time of their lives."

She says you must be aware that just because someone's very vocal in bed, it doesn't necessarily mean they're enjoying it. "Equally, if they're quiet, it doesn't mean they're not. Silence isn't necessarily a condemnation of satisfaction. It really comes down to knowing your partnerand that can take time."

You sense it.

"If something doesn't feel right in our gut, we may struggle to get our words out or have tension in our shoulders," she explains. "We need to pay attention to these non-verbal clues in ourselves and others. If something doesn't feel right, pay attention to it. Don't ever do anything sexually that you aren't comfortable with. Consent is vital. Even if somebody says 'yes,' if they don't seem sure, don't do it. Be honest with yourself as well as your partner. A reluctant 'yes' can turn into a resentful 'yes.'"

You hang out afterwards.

Denise explains, "If you're both happy to lie there afterwards and have a chat and a cuddle, then that’s an indication that they’re satisfied." On the flip side, if somebody gets up and leaves it could be that they didn’t enjoy it, "but equally, maybe they don't want to overstay their welcome," Denise adds. Maybe they've just got somewhere to be.

They make eye-contact.

Eye-contact during sex can be taken as a good sign that someone trusts you, and is enjoying the experience, she says. "On the other hand, some positions don't allow you to look into each other's eyes. Also, if your partner lacks confidence they may struggle to look you in the eyeand this doesn’t necessarily mean they aren't enjoying it."

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They orgasm.

If a man ejaculates, you might think this suggests they're satisfied. "However, men can 'dry orgasm' too, and sex can also be enjoyable even if you don't orgasm at all," Denise says.

It's super important not to see orgasm as the end goal of sex, and that any experience that doesn't end in climax as lesser or un-pleasurable. "It’s often not so obvious if [a woman] has orgasmed. The best way of knowing is to ask," she adds.

It's worth noting an orgasm is a physical bodily reaction and this is something many survivors experience during rape and sexual assault. Therefore, orgasms shouldn't always be used as a barometer for pleasure.

They tell you!

While there are obvs some subtle cues and clues that someone's enjoying sex, Denise reiterates the only way to know for sure is to "talk to each other openly and honestly." We get it, many people find this awkward and difficult. "If this is you, ask yourself why you don’t like to talk about sex. Are you embarrassed? If so, why?" she asks.

"To raise the issue, you could say to someone, 'I've noticed that we have a brilliant relationship where we talk about anything and everything, but we never seem to talk about our sexual relationship. I wonder what that's all about?'" Say how happy you are with your sex life, if that's the case. If there are things you'd like to change you could still try and start with a positive.

"Ask if there’s anything different that they'd like to try. Tell them if there's anything you aren’t so keen on anymore, that you liked before. If you're still finding sex a tricky subject to talk about, you may want to consider sex therapy, particularly if you aren't feeling satisfied with your sex life and this is an area that's important to you. Sex therapists are very comfortable talking about sex and this can help to make things feel less awkward."

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Be sure to check in with them.

During sex, you can also check in to see if your partner is enjoying it. "Give them sensory feedback if you've just been having sex and you've really enjoyed it," Denise explains. For example, "That felt amazing, you were really attentive, and I loved it when you were looking into my eyes."

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.