Let-downs come in many forms: from realising that your new to-die-for shoes rub like hell after, oooh, seven minutes, to the discovery that Mark Owen and Ronan Keating cheated on their wives. (That's right—still not over it.) But nothing is quite as disappointing as finding out your new sexy man is a massive flop in the bedroom. So we quizzed some top experts and dipped into the latest research to help you spot the signs that he's a winner between the sheets...
Clue 1: He knows his way around a guitar
From Keith Richards (back in the day, obviously) through to Pete Wentz, there's something about a man with a guitar slung over his shoulder that just oozes hotness. And the good news is that their rep totally stands up.
Guitarists have a multitasking knack of doing one thing with one hand while doing something completely different with the other, which is pretty useful when it comes to sex. And according to Yvonne K Fulbright, author of Sultry Sex Talk To Seduce Any Lover, and man with artistic leanings—whether he's into music or art—is likely to be a better lover. "Look for geeks," she advises. "You'll often find more sensual qualities in people who indulge in so- called 'nerdier' activities. It might not be seen as macho, but they have a more erotic outlook on life." Anyone for a poetry reading?
Clue 2: He's not a salad dodger
Watching your man eat is a tried and tested way of figuring out how he'll treat your body should he get the chance. There are some pretty obvious clues—if he wolfs down his food in seconds, he's clearly a fan of instant gratification. But it's what he eats that gives you real insight. Vegetarians love to boast that a meat-free diet makes men better in bed, and it's true that veggie men are less likely to have high cholesterol or obesity, but if he has too-restricted a diet, it could totally end up damaging his performance.
"It's important that he gets a regular fix of iron and vitamin C, and that he's having certain fruits and vegetables," says Yvonne. If he eats plenty of celery, that's a good thing—it contains androsterone, a hormone released in men's sweat that's thought to be a turn-on for women (men can even buy sprays of this stuff to attract women) and could boost his sex drive too.
Clue 3: He's got a BIG one (salary, that is)
A study of 1,534 women recently found that an increase in their partner's income had a "highly positive" effect on their orgasm hit rate. Okay, we're not saying that money can buy you orgasms, but being in bed with a man who's not panicking about his credit-card bill certainly helps.
"Although you hear a lot about women being turned on by passionate, unstable situations, most need to feel secure to orgasm regularly, which means financial security helps," says Ian Kerner, sex therapist and author of She Comes First. "What's more, when someone is passionate and into what he's doing, he's a happier person— whereas if a guy is out of work or really unhappy in his job, he's often not as interested in sex. So personal success and fulfilment definitely play a role in male desire and performance."
Clue 4: He doesn't have a six-pack, but he does exercise
"May sound obvious, but if you want someone who's got stamina in bed, it helps if he's physically fit," says Yvonne. "And there's the added draw of him having a good body. But there's something unsexy about guys who are too into their bodies." Scientific theory backs this up—Nobel prize-winning geneticist James Watson says there's evidence that overweight people are better in bed. Why? Larger people can have a higher level of a hormone called MSH, which ups sexual desire and also causes you to produce more endorphins, the 'happy hormone'. MSH is also boosted by sunlight, so if he's out of shape and just back from his holiday, you're luck's in.
Clue 5: Anyone seen Russel Brand?
Studies show that extroverts have a much more hedonistic attitude to sex as they're more willing to try new things. Even better, there is evidence to suggest that they spend longer on foreplay too. This doesn't mean you have to go for the Russell Brand of the group every time, but if he's confident in himself; it boosts your confidence too.
Researchers have also found that friendly folk are way more comfortable with sex, and more sexually satisfied than shyer guys. "When you're out with him, try paying attention to his body language," recommends Yvonne. "It should be open: so he's not crossing his arms or legs, and he's holding your gaze (but not in a psycho way). Also, look out for little nervous movements—these can be a good thing. For example, if he's touching his neck, he could be touching where he hopes to be kissed later—a very sensual gesture."
Clue 6: It's in his texting
Being wanted is the most powerful aphrodisiac of all, so sending you flirty text messages is a great way for him to begin the foreplay even before your first date. "If he's open to sending racy texts, this also indicates he's open- minded about what you get up to in bed, he's willing to experiment and eager to learn," says Ian.
Sex expert Pertra Boynton says these early interactions can give you vital clues: "If he's communicating with you openly and honestly at this stage, the easier it will be when you come to sleeping together." If the texts he sends are too racy and make you feel uncomfortable, that's a pretty good indication that you're not so compatible after all. Delete!
Clue 7: Erm…he's a nice bloke
"I've spoken to so many women who say that 'bad boys' are sexier and that they need excitement in their lives," says Petra. "But the key to really good sex is the ability to express yourself; to say, 'That feels great, do it again'. The more open, considerate and gentle a man is when you date him, the more likely he is to be like that in bed too, which will make you feel more comfortable telling him your own desires." Ian agrees, "He should be able to make you laugh, and make you feel at ease. If you have that trust and security—whether it be in a long-term relationship or just on a hot date—that's when the good orgasms start rolling in."