Who doesn’t want to be exceptional in bed? To have not just good sex, but to have great sex that completely satisfies your partner and yourself before, during, and after? Not all sex is good sex. The quality of intercourse varies with a number of factors, from mood to energy level to location. But striving to be better in bed is a noble pursuit. And a healthy sex life carries an impressive list of benefits for all parties involved — from heart health and a stronger immune system to longer, better sleep. The better the sex, the more plentiful these benefits.
The singular focus on the physical act of sex is probably the biggest mistake made in bed. Emotional connection can’t be an afterthought. Communication and connection are key. This might mean dirty talk, if you’re so inclined, but it definitely means being open and vulnerable about your desires and taking a keen interest in your partner.
A quick aside: Some of these sex tips — particularly the physical ones — may only apply to penetrative sex between cisgender men and women. However, even those have an emotional component that gets beyond the physical to the relationship between two people. In other words, while some of these tips might outline a specific sex act, the communication to get there is universal to any intimate relationship.
If you’re to take anything away from these sex tips, let it be this: The best sex is about physical technique as well as emotional. Think about orgasms, but don’t always focus on orgasms. Go ahead and work on that special “move” you’ve developed and try new sex positions. But also focus on having fun, sharing, and being emotionally present with your partner.
1. Use Your Mouth
No, not like that (trust us, we’ll get to that soon). We’re talking about using your words. Communication is key to any satisfying sexual encounter.
Be open with your partner about what you desire and prefer in bed. Either talk about it beforehand or use body language to guide your partner to what feels best. Of course, ask about what they like, too. Remember, you can’t deliver them a good time if you don’t know what they’re craving to begin with.
2. Now Really, Use Your Mouth
Or your hands. Or maybe your torso. Hell, you can even put your feet to work if that’s what gets your partner going. The point we’re trying to make is it’s important to diversify the sexual experience. Standard penetrative sex isn’t known for delivering sexual satisfaction to all parties. Research has confirmed that women typically require a variety of sexual stimulation to reach orgasm, like oral sex. So make sure to play around.
3. Take Your Time Down There
Don’t rush the experience. Tend to other parts of your partner’s body while you’re going down on them. Tease your partner as you’re warming them up. Instead of zeroing in on the clitoris and going to town, get the entire area wet. After some build-up, be firmer, gradually increasing speed and paying attention to signs of whether there’s too much stimulation or if your partner wants more.
4. Be Present
“Presence,” says Steffo Shambo, founder of Tantric Academy of Sacred Sexuality, “is one of the sexiest things you can ever bring to the bedroom.” Be intentional about focusing on your partner, giving them your undivided attention, and be as in the moment as possible. “Presence is when you are completely there with your whole body, mind, and soul. Not distracted in thoughts or restless in your body,” he says. “When presence is done right, it can seem like time stands still and hours of lovemaking have gone by in a blink of an eye.”
5. Don’t Underestimate Her Pleasure Points
A study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, which surveyed 1,055 straight women aged 18-94 about their sexual experiences, found that only 18 percent can orgasm from intercourse alone. Nearly 37 percent said clitoral stimulation was necessary for orgasm during intercourse. And 36 percent indicated that, while stimulation was not needed, their orgasms feel better if it does happen during intercourse.
So what does this mean? Well, our bodies are amazing vehicles for orgasm. Many women gravitate towards clitoral stimulation as a means of achieving it. Some prefer internal stimulation, more targeted towards the G-spot. There are also women who enjoy cervical stimulation, which can be delivered through deep penetration. Others prefer to access their pleasure points through anal penetration. The point is, there are a lot of different ways to make a person cum. Talk to your partner about their particular preferences, and act accordingly.
6. Move Sex Out of the Bedroom
Start small. Get it on in the living room. Or even head into the shower together. Small shakeups in the routine can have a huge impact on your attitude towards sex.
7. Plan a Sex Vacation
Surveys suggest that people tend to have more sex when on vacation than when they are at home. You don’t have to travel across the world to spark the sexual energy, though. Book a room in the next town over, get someone to take care of the kids for a weekend, and spend some dedicated time exploring your sexuality together. Make it a regular occurrence, once a quarter, or even once a month if you have the means. Alternate who’s in charge of planning the weekend’s activities.
8. Put Sex on the Schedule
Spontaneous midday sex is fun but not super realistic as we get older and introduce kids into the mix. Sure, the idea of scheduling sex doesn’t sound super hot, but it can help keep things on track. Life is stressful. People get busy. And too often, sex is one of the first things to get bumped to the back burner, despite how important it is to have a consistent, healthy sex life. Putting sex on the calendar can help reposition it back on top. Besides, knowing what’s waiting for you later on gives you something fun to look forward to throughout the day.
9. Make Out More
“Kissing relieves stress by creating a sense of connectedness, which releases endorphins, the chemicals that counteract stress and depression,” writes sex, love, and relationship expert Laura Berman, Ph.D. Of course, that’s not the only function kissing provides. Locking lips is probably the world’s most popular form of foreplay out there.
Make a pact to kiss for 10 seconds straight every day. Once a kiss crosses the six-second mark, oxytocin is released in the brain, as is dopamine, cortisol, and a host of other hormones that get the blood pumping and the heart rate elevated. On top of the physical pleasure it produces, longer kisses can create a deep connection with your partner.
10. Hang Out With Your Partner Naked
Sure, getting naked often operates as a prerequisite for sex. But skin-to-skin contact can also release oxytocin, a hormone associated with empathy, generosity, and orgasm. Nudity is also often linked to body confidence. One study found that spending more time naked can help increase body image, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. Naturally, the more comfortable we are with ourselves, the more comfortable we will be with a partner. And that feat, small as it may seem, will land you at a lot more successful sexual encounters.
11. Work on Your Breathing
Yoga enthusiasts will recognize the concept of pranayama, a formal process of controlling breath. It largely revolves around deep breathing, through the nostrils. The practice is thought to improve attention, increase energy, and decrease stress. Of course, it can also help you have better sex. “Deeper breathing can help us achieve deeper, stronger, and longer-lasting orgasms,” says pleasure-based sex educator Kait Scalisi. Deep breaths help engage the pelvic floor, the same group of muscles that contract during orgasm, she says. Breathing through the nose can also increase the production of nitric oxide, a molecule that helps blood flow, including to an erection.
12. Don’t Fall Into a Routine
Maybe you’re a creature of habit. Maybe you found a move you really like. Maybe there’s a sex position you typically gravitate toward. It’s good to celebrate the stuff you like. But try not to make that the only thing you do during sex. People crave novelty, especially in the context of a long-term relationship. Don’t let sex become monotonous. Make an effort to mix things up.
13. Develop a Signature Move
You don’t have to try something new every time you have sex. Having a sexual calling card can work in your advantage. But you have to follow a few rules. It’s important to tailor your special style to whomever it is you’ll be practicing it with. It’s probably also a good idea to center your signature on pleasure, in place of performance. Theatrics can serve a purpose in the bedroom, but they don’t always encourage the most organic approach to sexual enjoyment. If you can make a move with those points in mind, you might just be able to pump out a special something for you and your partner to enjoy time and time again.
14. Embrace the Quickie
If you really want to make sure you’re getting a good share of sex, you might think about embracing the quickie. It allows you to enjoy sex and get on with your day in a timely fashion. You can always save the cuddly stuff for later. Think about employing the most convenient positions possible. Standing doggie is always a great option for folks on the go.
15. Take It to the Shower
The shower is the ideal place for the quickie in that it’s enclosed, quieter than the bedroom, and allows you to scrub up during and afterward. But if you want to have shower sex, it’s important to be comfortable on your feet. Standing doggie style is one of the best positions for shower sex.
16. Do It First Thing in the Morning
Morning sex is not just for morning people. And it’s especially beneficial to busy parents who may not otherwise have the time or energy to be amorous later on. Besides, you’re in bed already. And during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, people experience increased blood flow to their genitals, which can make you wake up extra aroused.
17. Build Your Confidence
Find comfort within your own body. Maybe that means spending more time in the nude. Maybe it means stepping up your selfie game. At the end of the day, confidence is contagious, and sexy. The more you learn to appreciate yourself, the more likely your partner is to follow suit.
18. Do Sexy Research Together
Bringing new ideas into the bedroom can be intimidating. Do yourself a favor and invite your partner to join you on that quest. Watch some porn together. Read some erotica. Talk about what’s out there and discuss what seems appealing to you both. In that way, you and your partner can both avoid the fallout from any awkward rejection.
19. Set the Scene
Light candles. Play soft music. Do whatever is necessary to create a romantic space for you and your partner. It might sound cliché — and, sure, it is a little — but who cares? Just as a heavy metal playlist and purple light filters might hint at a different kind of sex, soft music and dim lights will set the scene for a more intimate evening, allowing you both to relax and lean into the moment.
20. Make Eye Contact
Look into your partner’s eyes more often when you’re having sex. Don’t just make eye contact, but try “eye gazing.” This, per Shambo, is the more intentional act of softly staring into each other’s eyes. He suggests practicing eye gazing for five minutes. “Studies have now shown that when couples eye-gaze for five minutes or longer, the feeling of being in love overcomes their bodies,” he says.
21. Try a More Intimate Position
Spoon position. Missionary position. The lotus position. There are many positions that promote intimacy because of how the bodies are intertwined or eye contact is prioritized. Katie Lasson, a clinical sexologist and sex, intimacy, and relationship advisor, recommends a position called oasis. It works like this: The man sits on the floor, slightly leaning forward. His legs are slightly bent at the knees and driven wide apart. The woman spreads her legs on both sides of his buttocks. With her arms, she hugs his neck and upper part of his back. Her body leans backward, but the man holds the female partner with his hands behind her back and makes the movements with her body while she rides him. The secret, she says, is the combination of deep penetration and the cradling embrace of partners, which will exponentially increase the romance.
22. Occasionally, Try Getting Off Before Sex
If you’re worried about orgasming too soon during sex, try getting off beforehand. After ejaculation, men experience a refractory period, a span of time whereby the body can recover and replenish after orgasm. This obviously won’t be the way to go for men who struggle to finish during bed, but chances are, having a go at it alone will help some people last a bit longer than usual with their partner.
23. Hold Hands
The simple act of hand-holding during an intense sexual experience can heighten the arousal and closeness, says Suzannah Weiss, a sex and love coach. Hold your partner’s hands when you’re kissing their body all over. Hold your partner’s hands if you’re in the spoon position, or they’re on top. “If you’re on top, you can pin your partner’s hands down above their head,” offers Weiss. “Doing so gives them a feeling of closeness and comfort, while also being a little bit dominant and kinky.”
24. Talk About The Good Old Days
Sometimes couples fall out of sync sexually. “There are so, so, so many things that have an impact on our level of desire, and it’s not always as easy to pinpoint as some may think,” says mental health counselor Erin Parisi. “Many relationships have people who do not have the same level of sexual desire.”
A good way to re-sync: Try talking about what sex was like before, when things changed, and what was going on around that time. “Ask your partner if they’re happy with how things are. If they could change something, what would it be?” These conversations can bring back formative memories (“Remember that time we did it at Shoney’s!?”) and help you get back on the same page.
25. Remember, the Best Foreplay Begins Outside the Bedroom
Sex does not begin and end in the bedroom. Do your best to keep sexual communication up throughout the day, especially if you have plans to get it on after work.
“Foreplay begins the moment we wake up in the morning,” says Jackie Golob, a sex and relationship therapist at the Centre for Sexual Wellness. “We have to communicate our needs in ways that help us compromise, as couples, to please each other, make each other feel safe, and encourage us.”
So send out a sexy text around lunch. Forward over a suggestive meme. Let your partner know you’re thinking about them in that way, even when you’re apart. Flirtation is important to maintain within a relationship. It’s a fun way to punctuate the day. Hold on to that energy, when at home and when not.
26. Get a Long-Distance Vibrator
Of course, there’s another way to entertain that kind of long-distance loving for those who aren’t exactly good with words. Smart vibrators are now a thing, and they can help you stimulate your partner from afar. Seriously. You can sync up most devices to a smartphone. Grab the code, ask your partner to get ready, and have fun controlling their buzz from far away.
27. Don’t Forget About Lube
No conversation concerning sexual accessories would be complete without mentioning lube. Now, vaginas can self-lubricate, but oftentimes it’s not enough. Lubes are designed to reduce friction during sex, which can otherwise cause some discomfort. If you’re using toys, stick to water-based lube. If you’re not bringing toys into the mix, you’re free to expand your selection to include silicone-based products.
28. Entertain Different Kinds of Orgasms
This sex tip is oft-overlooked by men. Guys tend to gravitate towards penile orgasms, though it is important to point out that other pleasure centers exist, and are located inside their bodies. The prostate is known to produce such intense orgasms it’s been dubbed “the male G-spot.” It can be accessed internally, through the anus, or externally, via the perineum. The more open-minded you are, the more pleasure you could enjoy.
29. Go for the A-spot
Your partner deserves different types of orgasms too, and it doesn’t just come down to vaginal vs. clitoral. One of the least explored pleasure zones is the A-Spot. Located beyond the G-spot and just above the cervix is the anterior fornix, or the “A-Spot,” a lesser known, albeit powerful, pleasure point. When stimulated, the A-spot can provide sexual gratification and increased lubrication. Because the A-Spot is located further back in the vaginal canal, it requires deep penetration to access.
30. Explore Other Erogenous Zones
When it comes to getting better at sex, we tend to focus on the genitals. But the reality is that we have a multitude of erogenous zones on our bodies, and not all are located below the belt. Some folks find having the nape of their necks caressed extremely erotic. Others like having their armpits touched. Some people say nipple stimulation alone can drive them straight to orgasm. Remember, it’s important to take the time to explore all our potential pleasure centers.
31. Talk Dirty
Talking dirty during sex can feel like a daunting task. After all, it sounds pretty ridiculous at first. But the reality is that dirty talk can elevate the sexual experience. It allows you to communicate what you like and what you want to do to your partner in an exciting way. It also helps keep you in the moment. You might feel anxious about it when you start, but once you feel more comfortable with it, the added vulnerability will also make you feel closer with your partner. If you don’t know where to start, take some advice from Dan Savage and “describe what you’re going to do, describe what you are doing, and describe what you just did.”
32. Try Out Some Toys for Her
A good majority of women require clitoral stimulation in order to reach orgasm. And some like that stimulation to be strong. Like, machine-level strong. Think about picking up a small sex toy like a vibrator, one that doesn’t take up too much real estate. Try busting it out next time you’re having sex. It will give you something new to focus on and it will give her the intensity typically required to achieve orgasm during penetration.
33. Try Out Some Toys for You
Contrary to popular belief, sex toys aren’t just for women. There are tons of strokers, massagers, rings, and other accessories designed for men. The market has also expanded to include toys designed for couples to use together during sex. Shop around and see what you like. You don’t have to use it every time you get it on, but it’s always nice to have something on hand, in case you’re in the mood to mix things up.
34. Use a Strap-On
“There is something remarkably liberating about wearing a harness,” says sex coach and author Charlie Glickman. “When you are having intercourse with a penis, you’re always tracking yourself. You’re always concerned about staying aroused long enough to stay hard. You worry about orgasming too soon.” With an attachment, you don’t have to think about any of that. You can focus on pleasing your partner and getting turned on by their pleasure.
35. Don’t Forget About Sexual Hygiene
Yeah, sex is supposed to be a little messy, but there are limits to how gross you should get. If you and your partner are both fluid-bonded and monogamous, then you don’t necessarily need to worry about condoms and STIs, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Make sure to wash your hands before and after getting busy. The last thing you want to do is introduce any bacteria to your partner’s intimate areas. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to have a clean penis, either.
36. Adopt Another Identity
There’s nothing wrong with good sex, no matter the variety. For some, “vanilla” play is most enjoyable. But others might crave something a little more involved. Role play has proven to be an incredibly popular way to live out sexual fantasies.
Who hasn’t fantasized about being someone else at some point, especially in the bedroom? But some may hesitate before diving in, and that’s understandable. Dressing up and relying on scripted speech comes paired with the possibility of feeling foolish. So start slow and let the confidence build. Think about entertaining your role play fantasy via text before making it an in-person activity. Consider what turns you both on most, and how you can best accessorize that desire. And remember, it’s OK to break character. You’re not auditioning for the actor’s studio. This is about pleasure, not performance.
37. Try Spanking
According to the Kinsey Institute, roughly 30% of people enjoy some light spanking during sex. Some suspect the attraction is rooted in the physical sensation it delivers. The butt is a meaty and protected region of the body. Plus, its proximity to the spine means there are a lot of nerve endings around, making it even more sensitive to any kind of contact. Some find the exchange of power and control deeply erotic. Plus, practically speaking, it’s a fairly easy activity to bring into the bedroom. Sure, there are some varsity-level props out there to assist with the act, but rookies don’t necessarily need to invest to get things going. An open hand can go a long way.
38. Get Tied Up
Twenty-five percent of those who responded to the Skyn Condoms 2019 Sex & Intimacy Survey admitted to having used handcuffs during sex at least once before. This would fall under the category of “restraint play,” which is defined as when someone is made partially or completely immobile by way of restraints during sex. This can be accomplished with the aid of a few different kinds of props. Handcuffs, of course, are one option. But so are rope, leashes, hogties, door cuffs, posture collars, and spreaders. The only way to gauge what’s best for you and your partner is to talk about it. Do some research. Read some erotica. Watch some porn. And head into a sex store and see what calls out to you.
39. Try Solo Play Together
We know; it’s hard to keep your hands to yourself when naked in bed with someone else. But masturbating side by side with a partner can be a lot of fun. “Mutual masturbation” can help educate you on all your partner’s hidden idiosyncrasies as they relate to sex, and vice versa. Keep an eye out for what gets them going, and keep it in mind for the next time you guys go at it.
40. Consider a Threesome
More Americans have had a threesome at some point than you might think (1 in 7, research has found). Even more — 1 in 5 — least finds the idea appealing. If you and your partner happen to fall into this seemingly expanding demographic of individuals, you might think about inviting more folks into your ménage. Of course, it’s probably best not to dive in too deep, too fast. Think about setting up a joint profile with your partner on an online dating app. Think about what photos you want to use, how you want to describe yourselves, and how to articulate exactly what you’re looking for. Scroll around. Fantasize about your finds. After all, planning is part of the fun.
41. Do Your Kegels
Men can exercise their pelvic floor muscles, too. If you aren’t sure where to locate them, try cutting off urination in the middle of your stream. The muscles responsible for this action are connected to the pelvic floor. The stronger the muscles, the better control you’ll have over your erection, orgasm, and ejaculation.
42. Sometimes, Forget About Orgasm Altogether
It’s important to remember that sex is not a race towards orgasm. Positioning it that way takes away from the intimacy and intensity the experience can provide. Besides, putting too much pressure on orgasm alone can mess with your head. It takes you out of the moment and away from your partner, and that’s a perfect recipe for unsatisfactory sex. Try not to focus on the destination and just enjoy the ride.
43. Try Edging
Orgasms feel good. Like, really good. This helps explain why we spend so much time chasing them. But delaying that gratification can really pay off in the end. Edging refers to a form of orgasm control whereby an individual decreases stimulation as they begin to approach orgasm. This allows you to enjoy a longer sex session with your partner and a stronger orgasm once you allow yourself that release.
44. Have Mindful Sex
“Mindfulness” refers to the ancient Buddhist practice of becoming fully present in both body and mind. And a growing pool of sexologists say it’s time to bring it into the bedroom. “If you’re too stuck in your head, you’re not going to enjoy the experience. You’re not going to be paying attention to the pleasurable sensations sex can deliver,” says sexuality psychologist Laurie Mintz. She suggests trying to apply mindfulness to everyday activities before bringing it into sex. “You can even practice while brushing your teeth. Instead of just mindlessly brushing, try focusing on the feeling of the toothbrush in your mouth, of the bristles against your teeth; think about the way the toothpaste tastes. Every moment can be a mindful one.”
45. Use Sex And Intimacy Apps
Sex and dating apps have come a long way since OkCupid, offering plenty of resources for couples who want to get closer on a few different levels. Lover, for instance, takes more of a scientific approach to sex with self-guided courses designed by real doctors. Others, like Desire, offer a regularly updated series of truth-or-dare-style questions that couples can use to infuse fun into their relationship.
“Apps can be great,” says sex therapist Kate Balestrieri, “especially for people who have trouble making time for sex and need a little extra accountability — or have trouble coming up with ideas for ways to switch things up.”
46. Make a Sex Playlist
Researchers at McGill University have found that listening to music makes us feel good. More specifically, they found that music helps inspire the release of dopamine, also known as the “feel-good chemical,” in our brains. Couple that experience with sex, and you get double the dose.
And hey, music might help enhance your performance as well. Studies show that listening to certain kinds of music can help increase signs of arousal, including heart rate, breathing rate, and skin conductance. A separate survey suggests that listening to music during sex can help improve rhythm and overall sexual experience. So play some tunes. It can help keep the action up and stress down.
47. Consider Maybe, Possibly Making a Sex Tape
Watching other people have sex has become somewhat of an American pastime. On average, PornHub receives around 92 million visitors to the site per day. But why spend your time watching porn when you can be making it instead? For couples interested, it functions as a fun activity and a nice little ego boost. Keep your options open and discuss what might be fun. That’s the joy of sex with a long-term partner. Of course, before you go ahead with any plan, you’re going to need your partner’s explicit and enthusiastic consent.
48. See a Sex Therapist
Even couples who think that they have things wired in the bedroom can learn a thing or two from sex therapy. Because when did learning new tricks ever hurt? “It’s always good to learn new things and to learn how to keep it exciting,” says Stacy Friedman, a clinical sexologist and certified sex coach. Sex therapy is very similar to other forms of counseling: You sit down with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or marriage or sex counselor to work through everything from intimacy issues to sexual dysfunction. “It’s not always just about fixing something that’s broken,” she says. “It’s about keeping it from breaking.”
49. Hire a Professional Dominatrix
Think of this as a more adventurous form of sex therapy. “Heterosexual couples tend to have one idea of what sex is and why it needs to be a certain way. BDSM allows you to explore things that fall outside of…penis-in-vagina sex. There are other intimate things to do. I do consultations with people who want me to talk them through different dynamics and role-plays,” says professional BDSM consultant and lifestyle dominatrix Mistress Justine Cross. “Other times, I introduce couples to some new moves. I teach them how to tie each other up, or how to hit someone without hurting them. I’m there to spice things up for them.” And hands-on learning can be part of the fun.
50. Make a Sexual Resolution
Like any other part of our lives, from health to finances, our sex lives don’t thrive without regular investment. And yet, sex lives seldom get the type of thoughtful reflection, goal-setting, creativity, and active nurturing that we afford to these other parts of our lives. Sexual resolutions aim to fix that.
A sexual resolution is a commitment to put time and focus into your sex life with your partner. It might mean trying out a new routine, experimenting with a new type of sexual play, or developing a new mindset around this part of your relationship. Together, decide what one thing you want to focus on this year, whether it’s trying something new in bed once a month or learning about the science of sex together.
51. Don’t Forget About Aftercare
It’s important to remember that sex doesn’t end after an orgasm. Embracing your partner after is also part of the process. A nice cuddle helps communicate intimacy and affection, and those are two very important things to prioritize in any relationship.
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