It's a common scenario: you're hooking up with someone for the first time or maybe the third, and the sex is *fine*—but it's not ~great~. You like this person, but aren't sure if the chemistry (or their sexual skill) merits giving them another shot. While fireworks may not be exploding over your bed as an orchestra swells, there are a few telltale signs that if you stick with it, sex with them is about to get a hell of a lot more fun. Here's what to watch for:
1. They take their time on foreplay instead of rushing to the main event.
Someone who doesn't power through (or completely skip) all of the wonderful things you two can do in bed besides vaginal sex—making out, oral, fingering—is onto something. An orgasm for you, for example: research shows that the "golden trio" of "genital stimulation, deep kissing, and oral sex" is exponentially more likely to make you orgasm than a penis thrusting in and out of your vagina. No surprise there. Even if your hookup doesn't know exactly how to touch you during foreplay (yet), their willingness to explore and spend time turning you on is a very good sign for the future.
2. During sex, they ask questions.
Specifically things like, "How does this feel?" and "What can I do to make you feel good?" If they're checking in with you during the act and requesting feedback, you have good reason to believe they're invested in your pleasure and not just getting their own rocks off. Hookups often follow such a predictable script that partners can get away with going through the motions and not really talking at all. If you found someone who won't skate by on the hookup script, they'll likely be open to more in-depth conversations about your preferences and desires when your clothes *on*, too.
3. They use your feedback in real time.
"Touch me a little to the left," you say, and—lo and behold!—they actually touch you a little to the left. Even if they're not totally nailing your instructions every time, they're listening to you and really trying. A good student makes a good sex partner if they get the opportunity to study up.
4. They do something you said you liked the last time you hooked up.
Congratulations, you're not sleeping with a goldfish but rather a human being with functioning longterm memory! If one night you describe exactly how you like to be kissed and then three nights later your partner kisses you that way unprompted, you know they're paying attention not only in the moment but over time—which bodes very well for an eventually explosive sex life.
5. They don't take feedback as criticism.
If your partner acts hurt or offended when you offer suggestions in bed, that's a serious red flag. When their ego is all tied up in their "performance," they're not thinking of sex as a shared adventure but as a way to show off their skills. Which is way less fun for everyone. Bad responses to you speaking up in bed: "I can never get it right" (ugh, throw your pity party somewhere else); "No one else has complained about the way I do this" (what does that have to do with me?); Have you always had trouble orgasming?" (excuse me?!?). Good responses: "It's so sexy when you tell me what you want"; "I love f*cking love turning you on."
6. They're not intimidated by sex toys.
If you've brought up the idea of trying sex toys with your partner and they've been receptive, or if they've brought up the idea themselves, it's an indication that they won't be shy about trying new things with you. Some people see a partner's interest in sex toys as a hint that they're underperforming in bed, but that so doesn't have to be the case: accessories can make a sexual dynamic more fun and rewarding no matter how good it is to start. And if your new partner is open to some wall-charged fun, imagine what other fantasies you two will share as you get to know each other.
7. They wouldn't dream of getting oral without offering it in return.
Or, better yet, they ask if they can go down on you before you've even gone down on them. So, fine, once they get down there maybe it's not the BEST ORAL of your ENTIRE LIFE—but their enthusiasm suggests their willingness to practice until it is. Score.
8. They ask you before trying something new instead of just going for it.
It might not seem like a big deal if your partner speaks up before switching positions or touching you in a new way. But if they're regularly seeking your (enthusiastic) go-ahead, you know that not only is consent important to them, it's already baked into their approach to sex. Sex for them is about more than getting permission. It's about making sure you're both having a great time.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.