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8 ways to improve your sex life

By Maya Khamala

Contrary to what Hollywood would still have us believe, great sex doesn’t happen magically. Whether you're in a committed relationship or are simply 'seeing where it goes' with a given lover, the sparks don’t simply sustain themselves over time. Oftentimes, you gotta put your back into it.

Having a better sex life, at its root, means making an effort in multiple areas of life, from sexual health, to body confidence, to intimate communication. The bonus, of course, is a better life all-around—not just in the proverbial bedroom.

If this all sounds hunky dory to you but you don't know where to start, consider the following 8 ways to help improve your sex life.

1. Schedule date nights

It’s not cheesy. The fact is, life is busy as hell. And sometimes, even when you live with your love (or especially when you do), you gotta schedule quality time to keep things vital. Spontaneity and activities outside of the usual routine are at the heart of an exciting intimate relationship. Resolve yourself to a weekly date night in which you and your love eat a meal, play a game of pool, try a new pastime, or simply explore the streets aimlessly. You might just be surprised to (re)learn how often date night can magically lead to good lovin’.

2. Explore uncharted territory

If you’ve been wishing something would shift between the sheets, it may be time to try new things. If you’ve got unfulfilled (but unspoken) fantasies looming large—find a way to share them out loud. Candles, massage oil, bubble bath. Then there’s new positions, or role-plays you’ve never tried, or even places you’ve never touched! Maybe it’s time to masturbate in front of each other. Or—buy some good books on sex to read together. Extend your openness to new things to other parts of your life as well: cook a new dish with your S/O, go dancing for the first time, or visit a new area of your city. New is usually arousing, so go with goddess.

3. Introduce sex toys 

Adding a vibrator to your arsenal can be a go-to, a back-up, or a fun and different way of reaching climax—one that doesn’t rely entirely on your partner's hands, mouth, or cock. Just saying. Sex is a many splendored thing. Not to mention, men too, can reach new heights of pleasure with the help of toys. Besides, there is no such thing as too many paths to orgasm, people.

4. Make foreplay the destination (sometimes)

Whether you’re monogamously coupled, or simply testing the waters, foreplay is integral, baby. I’m not saying quickies don’t have their merit here and there, but research shows that while both men and women desire about 20 minutes of foreplay, most people only get half that. Not to mention, getting hot and heavy pre-penetration (if, indeed, penetration is on the menu) can help men last longer (if your partner’s a man) and keep you very aroused. Laurence A. Levine, M.D., professor at Rush University Medical Center suggests trying to withhold from penetration, particularly until the woman is nearing climax from foreplay alone. What this ultimately comes down to is letting go somewhat of the linear attachment many of us have to orgasm being the main goal. Orgasms are the bomb, I know, but sometimes rushing toward one means shedding pleasure along the way. Don’t shed pleasure. 

5. Show affection and appreciation (more)

Be generous with kisses, hugs, and loving touch, and see what effect it has. Showing affection in any number of ways can make your partner in crime feel appreciated and valued...and wanted, of course. Maybe leave a little love note (it can be loving and dirty if you want), or do the extra dishes, just to express your appreciation. Acts of kindness work to deepen intimacy—it’s true. Oh, and if PDAs are in your bag of tricks, maybe go there more often. Holding hands, kissing, hugging, and laughing in public can be really fun, and sexy, and make both of you feel like a hot commodity (in a good way).

6. Be healthy

Fact: overall health has an effect on sexual health. If you’re regularly ‘too tired for sex,’ you may need to do something to boost your energy. This could mean getting more regular exercise (not to be confused with obsessing over your body’s imperfections), eating a healthier diet, and getting enough sleep every night (8 hours—not 4). These few seemingly basic things can make all the difference when it comes to sex drive. Also—since many STIs are asymptomatic, for everyone’s sake, get tested regularly if you have more than one partner or if you’re in a relationship and but haven’t been tested in recent memory. Last but not least, as alluded to under ‘exercise,’ being healthy also means loving your body as is (not easy, I know it), ‘cause self-confidence is the ultimate aphrodisiac, and at best it’s contagious.

7. Communicate, communicate, communicate 

Learn to understand what you want (huge deal) and learn to communicate it (huger deal). Whether you’re with someone new and needing to discuss the importance of condoms, or are at the point where your likes and dislikes are up for discussion, don’t shy away. The more honest, straight-forward, and positive you can be, the better sex you’ll have. Sometimes even the most loving and trusting and open among us experience shyness when it comes to communicating about sex. The answer? Push through it. Communicate about what feels incredible, about what hurts, about what you can’t feel at all, and about what makes you cum, as well as what pushes all your partner’s buttons too. Your sex life will thank you profusely.

8. Turn off the damn TV

Better yet, incinerate it. Ok, maybe that seems rash—but at the very least, opt not to have a TV in the bedroom. Unless you’re a special sort with a will of steel, it can be too much of a distraction—an effortless way to nod off without meaningful contact with the human next to you. Resist this. Nothing kills sexual intimacy quite like TV. Why not make your own movies instead (wink, wink)?

Bottom line: You and your partner(s) deserve a satisfying sex life (a glamorous one, even). When you make this a priority area, you may just be surprised how hot ’n bothered things can shape up to be. 

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