Sleep with them. End of article. Only joking, this post is about how to tell if someone is “good” in bed as a fun way of exploring the question: what we can tell about others from their posture and movement. As a business trainer a large part of what I do is about helping people coordinate better with others, and what is in this blog also applies to non-sexual contexts where two people meet, but just for fun this blog is a bit saucy. Please take all of this with a pinch of salt and avoid seeing any general trends as absolute truths.
I am a specialist in embodiment – how who we are is reflected in how we hold ourselves and how we move. We express our history as a bodily set of dispositions that we call our personality – “we move though space like we move through life” as Joseph Heller said. Or to use Martha Graham’s word: “body doesn’t lie”. This is more than just situational body language but body being; also the body in this sense refers to the subjective experience of having a body and how this is reflected not in gross physical aspects such as size or weight.
I learnt a lot of my embodied work through martial arts while travelling the world for a period of around seven years. I touched thousands of bodies from many cultures though aikido while studying embodiment with various teachers. Often not being able to speak much of the language of the people I was training with in (in Ethiopia, Palestine or Cyprus for example) and was forced to learn about people though how they moved and held themselves. As many of the places I was in were quite dangerous I was also motivated by this to work out who was who and who wasn’t safe. More directly related to this article, and without incriminating myself to much, I was also a young and relatively attractive man fond of women and single for an extended period. Brazil and the USA were particularly fun…you get the picture and don’t need the details and nor does my girlfriend…so let’s just say this article is based on research with a reasonably sized cross-cultural sample.
On Dance and Finding a Mate
The basic premise of this article is not new how people move vertically is how they move horizontally. Examining posture and movement to see what someone’s like in bed actually has ancient animal roots. Like many species, human’s show off and feel each other out through courtship-dances. Sometimes the men dance for the women (e.g. the Masai) and sometimes the other way around (e.g. most belly dancing). These dances are all about showing virility though good health. If some can move well they can probably make love well. Physical health is shown clearly though athleticism and this is still attractive to most people worldwide.
The other kind of courtship dance is partner-dance, which as one female friend of mine from tango said, is a form of “try before you buy”. Here you can get a feel for what someone is really like and if you’re compatible at a more fundamental level than through just talking. It is not so much athleticism skill that matters here – beyond knowing the basic steps – but in the felt-sense of the “fit”. Usually this is an unconscious process but we feel if there is “chemistry” or not. More consciously you could simply ask, “are they pushy or a pushover?” “do they like to lead or follow?” “do they prefer to listen or express?” “are they more linear or more circular?”. Of course, one size does not fit all and just as there are many valid ways to move there are many ways to “good” in bed so don’t take that part of the article’s title too seriously. What is important is does someone create polarity with your own way of being (and making love). When it comes to sex, sameness is boring – in personality types but not developmental level (e.g values) at least. Dylan Newcombe and David Deida both speak eloquently about the importance of yin and yang, which is one way of looking at it. This is why many couples are quite different and nboth love this and are driven nuts by it. I see this in the gay community in Brighton as well with straight couples so this is not genderd – in “butch and fem” lesbian couples for example.
What else can we see from posture? I use a postural model developed as an extension of the work of Dr Richard Strozzi Heckler and Rudolf Laban called 6 directions. In this model we can see if someone is “grounded” or “upright/uptight” (down and up) confident or more contained (in “width”) more rushed or more considered (front and back). Most people find a balanced, upright and confidently “wide” posture more attractive although media has distorted what I believe are healthy natural tendencies in this regard. Check out this video for more information.
We can use various models of posture and movement to guess what someone might be like in bed. For example we could ask how the four elements are embodied in them and do these match or create polarity with your own. As an example as a yang “fire person” I have been drawn to more “water” partners who both turn me on and drive me crazy with their “go with the flow” style and yin relational ways. One could also ask which of the basic factors that make a bodymind work/make love well are present – I call these the five pillars. These are not simply a matter of polarity and preference like but are about better or worse. When people are relaxed and energised for example they will be more likely be enjoyable sexual partners than half-dead tense people! These embodied factors are more important than fitness in the more limited sense to many – I know I would rather have a sensitive, responsive and “alive” girlfriend for example than one who just has a flat stomach!
If you want to know what someone is like in bed there are some body-parts that are more revealing than others…and not the obvious ones necessarily! The mouth (which is made of the same type of tissue as the genitals) expresses a person’s sexuality clearly – is it tightly pursed an dry, or soft wet and alive? You get the idea…It is, in her/his kiss as they say! The hips are another important one, and these are empathised in many dances for a reason. Are the hips relaxed, vibrant and alive? Then you’re in for a good time 9 times out of 10. You may also want to see if someone breathes more habitually with their chest (more passionate) or with their belly (more controlled). The hands are interesting too, and these are linked somatically to the heart in a number of ways. How do they meet, hold and release? Holding hands still value 🙂
A complicating factor in all of this is that what we repress and deny sometimes comes our sexually. Like the stereotype of the quiet librarian who lets her hair down and goes wild at night, or the powerful businessman who likes to be dressed as a baby, some people balance their personalities sexually. I have found this is only about 1 in 10 people, and mostly those on the extremes of personality who are clearly repressing part of themselves and it is usually hinted it in any event.
Attractiveness and Embodiment
Unlike most other animals people have a neo-cortex that leads them to “get lost in their thoughts”. We can be “embodied” – aware of ourselves as a bodies – or disembodied – floating head’s just using our frames as brain taxis. The difference is both subtle and obvious and I – in no way biased – believe is a major factor in attractiveness. If someone is not in their own body, how will they feel and connect to yours. See this recent and very popular introductory article on the subject.
We can guess a lot about people from their bodies and this includes what they may be like in bed. For some nonsexual examples see the video below. I would also caution against sweeping generalisations and thinking with too much certainty that something is the case before finding out for sure! I have found clear general patterns over the years – which now being happily coupled I don’t mind revealing 🙂 – and also been surprised many times, people are complicated and as well as dispositional embodied factors, situational and cultural ones needs to be taken into account. In any event it’s not a theoretical conversation, if you’re single and not hurting anyone, go find out and report back in the comments! Enjoy.