No matter your age, gender identity, or sexuality, everyone can use a little help in the bedroom from time to time. This month, we spoke with certified sex therapist and HealthyWomen's Women's Health Advisory Board member Emily Jamea, Ph.D. to get some of the best tips from her to spice things up and keep your sex life exciting.
1. Learn your body
Don't expect your partner to be a mind reader. Experimenting with your own pleasure is key to learning about yourself. Then take what you learn from masturbation and pass it on to your partner. Your partner will be better at pleasing you if you can tell him what you like.
2. Identify your turnoffs
"A lot of people don't realize that one of the most important things you can do is remove the breakers," Jamea said. What this means is that instead of trying to find and add things that turn you on, it's easier to remove things that turn you off. For example, if a messy house will stress you out, you'll be more engaged and eager to participate if the house is clean, rather than if you've come home with rose petals on your bed [in a messy house]. Making small changes by cutting out the things you don't like can greatly improve your sex life.
3. Learn to communicate your desires and needs to your partner
Communication is an essential component to fulfilling sex. "There are no bad lovers, only bad communicators," according to Jamea's colleague Logan Levkoff. Communicate your likes and dislikes during intimacy, and definitely don't be afraid to tell your partner when something feels right or wrong.
Exercise releases endorphins and hormones, and also helps you get in tune with your body. Particularly during the aging process, exercise can help increase desire, especially among women.
5. Maintain a strong emotional intimacy
The emotional climate of your relationship can have a big impact on your sex life. If the climate of the relationship is toxic or negative in any way, that will dramatically affect how you feel sexually.
6. Avoid the same old things in your life in general.
According to a study conducted by Jamea, people who are curious and open to new experiences generally tend to report higher levels of sexual satisfaction. Be open to new ideas and don't be afraid to try new things with your partner.
7. Practice mindful living
People who are in touch with their senses on a daily basis, practicing mindful living, also report higher levels of sexual satisfaction and self-esteem. Mindful living can be as simple as feeling the warmth of the sun on your face when you walk or paying attention to the taste of food. These are not drastic changes to your routine, but they will keep your mind and body in tune with your senses, which are an essential part of intimacy.
8. Think outside of bed
Fantasizing during sex or making fantasies come true can add some real interest to your sex life. Many people walk away from the fantasy or feel guilty for not being as present with their partner as they think they should be. However, there is nothing wrong with letting your mind wander. Fantasy is unique to humans and one of the tools you can use to make your sex life more exciting.
9. Be open to change
Many people have a very limited view of what sex should be like, but after the honeymoon phase, it's important to evolve our sex life with our sexual needs and limitations. As we get older, we are not as capable of doing things as we used to. However, this does not mean that you should stop having sex. Instead, try to find new ways to enjoy it. Experiment with ideas, products, or even positions that you may not have had in your repertoire before.
10. Set aside time for intimacy
It may seem boring or rigid to schedule time for intimacy. However, when couples have different and busy schedules, sex can take a backseat. While spontaneous sex is considered the gold standard, scheduled sex can become an event. And then it becomes a priority, rather than an afterthought.
Everyone has different sexual preferences. So no matter who you're doing what with, follow these 10 sex tips, and enjoy!