Written by Writer’s Corps member Alyce Hayes
All too often we run into magazine articles and advertisements that attempt to teach us how to “Drive Your Partner Wild!” in the bedroom, or claim to know our partner’s “Biggest Secret Turn-Ons.” While some of the advice given can be informative, there is also a pervasive message telling us that frequent sexual activity equates to lasting relationships. But we know that isn’t true. Sex…good sex is as varied as the people on the planet. Every sexual connection is different and wholly dependent upon the people sharing themselves with each other. Whether you have one partner or multiple partners, the major key to having a happy sex life is honest communication with all parties involved. Let’s approach this like consenting and communicative adults, shall we?
Here are Five Ways to Enhance Your Sex Life:
1. Forget What You “Think” You Know
When it comes to sex frequency or how the act should look in the bedroom there is no “normal.” No statistic or licensed therapist that can truly give you a flawless formula for a great sex life. Some people engage in sexual activity three times a week. Others may only get down once a week. Every couple has their own pace, and it’s up to the two of you to figure out what makes you comfortable. Discussing your own views and expectations of healthy frequency makes for a great exercise in communication. Also, keep in mind that the desire for sex ebbs and flows between partners over time thanks to a multitude of outside factors such as work, bills, hormones, family issues and illness. So, before you go any further, throw out societal expectations of what your sex life should be.
2. Express Your Needs And Desires
If you can talk about poop (and don’t lie, I know you do), you can talk about sex. So often, the idea of sparking up a genuine conversation about sex gets glossed over. Again, we’re taught through media to surprise our partner(s) with dirty talk or a new technique, which may or may not always end well. And while this method can spark a conversation about your wants and needs, a more direct way to avoid some of those uncomfortable moments is to ask questions. Take the time to talk to your partner(s) about preferences and sexual fantasies and be willing to share your own. Don’t expect to agree on everything, and keep an open mind. This will not change things overnight, but once a safe space has been created for talking about sexual exploration, it can flourish into more discussions, and eventually action.
Once you’ve gotten over the hurdle of starting the conversation and have discussed ways to step up your current sexy-time routine, do some research together! For the bookworms, this may be exploring the works of Anais Nin, the famed diarist, and erotica author. You could also get a translated copy of the widely read “Kama Sutra” for a historical look into the concept of desire and to find some inspiration for new positions. There is even the oldie-but-goodie, “The Joy of Sex” by Alex Comfort for those who want a fully comprehensive guide to pleasure. If there is a local lingerie or sex toy shop in your area, take a trip there and explore the aisles. If you’re not too nervous, ask the sales associate some questions and let them guide you around the store. You can also find online communities that cater to very specific activities you’re interested in, or more general shops that can ship whatever you want right to your door.
4. Forget the End Goal
Most people see orgasms as an exclamation point — the “ultimate goal” of sexual encounters. But if you’re really approaching your sex life with the sole focus of getting off, then you may likely be missing out on quality intimacy. The orgasm is not the only marker of good sex. Much like life, we should enjoy the “journey” rather than the destination. So next time—rather than hunting tirelessly for the sweet spot —focus on enjoying the body. Build trust through touch. Study the erogenous zones, and explore sensitive areas on the skin. During foreplay try covering up one of the senses or restrict limb movement and pay close attention to how it makes you feel. You want this to be an enjoyable experience for the both of you so pay attention to your partner’s non-verbal cues and body language. Rid yourselves of the pressure to get each other to climax, and enjoy the process of discovering new ways to engage in foreplay. You’ll be surprised by the findings.
5. Most Importantly Have Fun!
For Pete’s sake, if you’re not having fun in all of this, then you’re doing it wrong. Remember that you’re human and will make mistakes. Some of the things you try will not be as great as you had imagined (consider the sticky after-effects of using whipped cream or chocolate syrup), but you will learn to be even more comfortable with each other. One of you may cough, sneeze or pass gas at a really inopportune moment, and you have to be willing to laugh through it. Sex can be seen as a very special and sacred way for people to share themselves, but it is also meant to be enjoyed and explored together. So get your hands (and minds) dirty; get down with your bad selves.
Enhancing your sex life isn’t just about finding new toys or interesting positions, but about finding new ways to connect and relate on a more intimate level. There shouldn’t be any expectations except that couples respect each other’s boundaries and practice safe sex. Ultimately, learning to communicate your desires can bring you closer in every aspect of your relationship. Even if it goes no farther than having open conversations about sex, it is still a great improvement in your ability to be more genuine with the ones you care about. It would be a disservice to yourselves to isolate the benefits of great communication to just the bedroom.
Want more dating advice (that isn’t sketchy and is totally chill)? We’ve got you covered. Learn more about healthy relationships and why we should all #LoveBetter.