Great sex is something that everyone should experience, but not everyone knows how to achieve. Whether it’s not enough sex or not-good-enough sex, figuring out how to cope with these sensitive issues can be a difficult thing to do alone. If you’re in need of a little creative sexual problem solving, sex therapists are here with their best tips so you can enjoy a better sex life.
Let your partner know you want them
This might seem like a no-brainer, but sex therapist Megan Fleming, Ph.D. says it’s important to make sure your partner knows you want them outside the bedroom, too. She recommends sending a clear signal with a little note, or even simply giving them a kiss that lasts longer than usual.
Foreplay all day
On that note, have foreplay throughout the day! Sex therapist Vanessa Marin is especially enthusiastic about this one. "Foreplay shouldn't be limited to three minutes before you start having intercourse. Keep the fires burning and the anticipation levels high by seducing each other all day long,” she says. Want to know the best ways to build sexual tension throughout the day? “Send teasing text messages about what you're going to do to each other later. Give your partner a little grope as he's cooking dinner. Leave the door open while you shower.”
Don’t take your partner’s mood personally
Nothing can put a damper on your sex life like a partner who isn’t in the mood. But Jane Greer, Ph.D. says that in order to keep a healthy relationship, it’s important that you and your partner allow each other to be separate sexual entities. Remember that you’re two different people, so neither of you are always going to want the same thing at the same time. "Rather than taking your partner's level of desire and mood for sex personally (e.g. if they say no or are unresponsive to your initiating), stay in touch with your own desire and continue to put it out there," she says. "Leave them the space to have separate moods and energy." When you think of it in that perspective, there’s no need to be frustrated. Plus, you can always take care of business yourself.
You're watching the wrong stuff
According to Ian Kerner, Ph.D, if you and your partner watch porn to get in the mood, you may need to upgrade. "Really, when [people] think of porn, they think of the sites that are all free. That's like going to Pizza Hut versus really having a homemade Italian pizza created by an artisan," Kerner says. "There's a big gulf because most of the porn people see that's out there for free versus porn created ethically for women or for couples that can really offer a chance to explore fantasies and experience taboos together."
Remember that sex isn’t perfect
And it shouldn’t be! "We have a tendency to believe that good partners magically get it right," says sex educator Logan Levkoff, Ph.D. "That good sex isn't at all awkward and people magically know what to do with your body." Newsflash: that’s not how it works. Sex is a learning experience, and it’s definitely not always glamorous. Keeping it fun, playful and most importantly real can bring you and your partner closer together. "You may not remember the strongest orgasm you've ever had, but you'll remember the time you fell off the bed because you were so into it that you didn't realize you were on the edge," says Levkoff.
Never be afraid to take charge
Dying to try something new in bed? Sex therapist and author Brandy Engler, Ph.D. says go for it. "What I often see is women being embarrassed. 'What if he doesn't think it's sexy? What if it doesn't work?' The fear inhibits them to the point where they're muted," she says. While this is a totally understandable thing to worry about, there’s no reason to sacrifice your fantasies (and possibly the best sex of your life) just because you might be a little shy. Engler suggests using sex positive affirmations to give you the confidence you need to take the plunge. "Like, 'I have a right to be seen' and 'I am sexual,'" she says. Chances are, your partner will be happy to please you and you’ll end up more satisfied than ever.
Mix it up
Clinical psychologist Ursula Ofman, Ph.D. says that “As couples get to know each other, they all seem to develop a sexual sequence that they engage in most of the time. Mostly it is a reduced repertoire and includes surefire stimulations that ‘will do the trick.’” Even if your routine gets the job done, it can still become dull over time. Greenburg believes that a great way to improve your sex life is to turn the clock (and your mindset) back to your first rendezvous with your partner. “Thinking back on the early part of any relationship, there usually was a bit of experimentation, pushing of the proverbial envelope, risk-taking. It was fueled by the excitement they had for each other, but it also did generate excitement in return."
Better love life = better sex life
Clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Jason Greenburg, Ph.D. says that the two go hand in hand. "When I work with couples, I find myself reminding them often that the more you're connected emotionally, the easier it is to connect sexually. Couples often lose sight of the importance of feeling connected outside the bedroom and how that can affect their sex life." If you find yourself feeling disconnected from your partner on an intimate level, the best fix might be a long conversation at a quiet dinner or simply some time together on the couch.
Talk it out
Communicating with your partner is important, but according to psychotherapist Rachel Sussman, so is talking about sex with your friends. She says that if you find yourself struggling to work out whatever issue is getting in the way of the sex life you crave, talking to a good friend about it might just do the trick. Opening up a dialogue about how much sex you're having, how much you wish you were having or how satisfied you are with your sex life is actually therapeutic for both of you!
Your guy may be a breast or butt man, but their number one turn on might surprise you. The thing that really gets guys going the most isn't a body part, says Sussman. It's confidence. "If you feel good about how you look, if you like to make love with the lights on, that's an aphrodisiac for everyone," she says. The more confident you are, the more you love your body, and the more you love your body, the sexier you feel. Need a little confidence jumpstart? Try treating yourself to some fancy new lingerie - the self-esteem boost combined with your sex appeal will make you absolutely irresistible to your partner.