Want better sex? Give it time.

New research finds that getting to know your partner leads to better sex.

How many movie plots revolve around hot college hookups? A lot, that’s how many. Enter, science. A group of researchers at the University of Michigan, New York University, and Stanford University asked over 13,000 heterosexual undergraduate women at 21 U.S. colleges about their sex lives—including how good their last sexual experience was. Their study found that movies may be overselling the hotness of random hookups—at least when it comes to college women.

The researchers wanted to understand what makes it more or less likely that heterosexual women will have an orgasm and enjoy sex in general. They asked women about their most recent hookup and about their most recent relationship that lasted at least six months. “Hooking up” was self-defined, and women included just kissing, using hands on each other, oral sex, and good old-fashioned intercourse.

Getting to know you…

The study found that on average, women in relationships were more likely to enjoy their last sex “very much” (83%) compared to women who hooked up (59%). They were also more likely to have an orgasm (74% v. 42%). But things got better for women when they hooked up with the same person more than once. It appears that learning about a partner’s body is an important part of what happens in repeated hookups and in relationships—and that it leads to more pleasure.

Techniques and variety were also important for orgasm and enjoyment. The researchers asked about oral sex, genital touching, and anal sex, and found a connection between each of these additional activities and women’s likelihood of enjoyment and orgasm. More variety was more common in relationships than in hookups, which could be part of the reason why relationship sex tended to be more enjoyable.

The ultimate scenario for women to orgasm according to the study? Women in relationships who were on the receiving end of oral sex, stimulated their own clitoris, and had intercourse had a 92% chance of an orgasm (almost the same likelihood as their male partners).

Two take-aways.

According to the researchers, the most important take-away was that “the odds of reporting enjoyment were approximately five to six times higher in relationships and hookups if women had an orgasm. These large effects should put to rest doubt about whether women care about orgasm.” (Did we mention that this is science? Can’t argue with it.)

The most important take-away according to us: If good sex is important to you, find somebody who wants to take the time to learn the ropes—hookup or otherwise.

PS—Using condoms didn’t change women’s likelihood of orgasm or enjoyment! But we knew that, right?

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