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6 Ways You Can Have Sex Without Having Sex

Let’s talk about sex, shall we? Specifically, let’s talk about our definitions of “sex.” For most heterosexual people, “sex” means “penis in vagina.” Everything else — oral, anal, making out, whatever — is considered supplemental to “real” sex. And while penis-in-vagina sex is fun, it can also get kind of boring. I mean, it’s pretty clear what has to happen and when, right? Most of us have the mechanics down at this point, and all too many of us have fallen into a routine. Which is why I’m here to advocate for giving sex without intercourse a shot.

Now, you might be thinking something along the lines of, “What’s the point of that?” And I say, banish that thought from your head! Popular culture has us all brainwashed into believing not only that penis-in-vagina is the only “real” sex, but also that it’s the best sex. But there are all kinds of ways to have sex and be sexual that are just as fulfilling as intercourse.

And when you take into consideration the fact that so many people with vaginas have trouble orgasming, and that most of us require a lot of foreplay and stimulation in order to really get into any kind of sex, then I’d argue that non-intercourse sex could actually be way more fulfilling than p-in-v. Take that, tired old cultural belief!

Not only is having sex without intercourse fun, but you’ll also find that you learn a sh*t-ton of new things, both about yourself and your partner. For example, once you’re not so focused on putting your genitals together, you’ll discover new erotic zones on both of your bodies. Like, did you have any idea that a finger brushing the back of your partner’s knee could do that before? Didn’t think so.

Now that I have you convinced that having sex without “having sex” is not only worth it but is actually going to blow your mind, here are six ways you can do it without “doing it.”

1. Make Out Like Teenagers

Daniel Edwards/

Remember when you were a teenager and you could make out for hours without ever “going to third base?” Remember how hot that was? There’s just something about the build up of making out without orgasm (or with a delayed orgasm) that’s just unbeatable.

You can totally recapture some of that sexy energy as an adult by committing to just making out. Start with a “no below the waist” rule, and hold out for as long as you can. The longer you resist, the hotter it will be when you both give in.

“People sometimes forget how hot making out can be, especially if they’ve been in a relationship for a while,” sex coach Myisha Battle tells Bustle. “As a sex coach, I have clients who skip this part completely because they have grown so accustomed to moving straight to other kinds of sexual stimulation. When I suggest that they should work this back into their routine, I often hear that both parties actually miss making out — they just thought the other wasn’t into it anymore! Restricting sexual activity to kissing can be a fun way to pretend that you’re still in that new relationship phase where you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen.”

Battle says the best way to go about it is to be intentional AF. “Prolong the make out sesh for longer than feels normal. Extend the kissing to other parts of the face, neck and shoulders but stop there. The anticipation build-up can be incredibly fun to play with!”

2. Get Great At Hand Jobs

Andrew Zaeh/Bustle

The hand job is seriously underrated. I know that when I was first having sex, oral often came before hand jobs, which means it took way longer than it should have to get good at them. Also, when I say “hand job,” I mean it for both penises and vaginas. This is one of those great sex acts that’s inclusive of all genders!

If your partner has a penis, get some lube or spit worked up and get stroking! Circumcised penises can be a little more difficult to do right, as they don’t make their own lube, so be extra generous with them. If your partner has a vagina, focus on their clitoris and on giving the old come-hither motion for G-spot stimulation.

Regardless of your partner’s anatomy, it can also help to ask them to show you how they masturbate so you can understand what works for them — and what doesn’t. Also, be sure to pay attention to their face and body language for clues on how you’re doing. Finally, if you’re the one getting the hand job instead of giving it, don’t be scared to give directions! You are the focus of the show here, and it’s up to both of you to make sure that the hand job is the best it can be.

3. Go All-In For Oral

Andrew Zaeh/Bustle

A lot of the instructions for hand jobs apply to oral, as the best oral is really a hand job plus. By which I mean: Your hands can (and probably should, depending on your partner) absolutely still be involved.

If your partner has a penis, you can hold the base of the shaft with your hand and stroke up and down in time with your mouth, which can move on the head and upper shaft. Don’t be shy to really get a lot of spit between your hand and the shaft, because that will make for a great lubricant.

You can also remove your hand to play with your partner’s testicles or, if the position you’re in allows it, use your other hand to give them some attention. If you’re focusing primarily on the head and shaft of the penis, experiment with different pressures when you’re sucking and with flicking your tongue around the head and frenulum, which is the little divot on the underside of the head. Everyone is different, but as you get to know your partner, you’ll get to know what they like.

If your partner has a vulva and vagina, you’re also going to need to do some experimenting! Start by asking what they like or, if they’re not comfortable talking about it, apply a flicking motion to their clitoral hood. As things heat up, it can feel nice for some people if you put two fingers inside their vagina and bend them back toward your face

On the flip side, receiving oral gives you each the chance to be the star of the show, something that can get lost when you’re having intercourse. Don’t be afraid to give instructions — and don’t be offended when your partner instructs you.

4. Set A Kiss Goal

Andrew Zaeh/Bustle

Setting a kiss goal is similar to the making out like teenagers suggestion, but instead of general making out, we’re talking only about kissing here.

Maybe it’s something like “I’m going to kiss you 200 times” or, “I’m going to kiss every inch of your body.” The goal it self is kind of arbitrary, because the point is really to build up tension and explore each other’s bodies. Once that goal is set, go for it! Kiss ‘em all over! You might find you’re giggling at first, but the sexual tension will almost inevitably build as you keep going.

In addition to the build-up of sexual tension, setting a kiss goal can be a fun, light way to explore a dominant/submission dynamic. You can order your partner (or they can order you) to stay absolutely still, not touch their genitals, not touch you… You get the idea. It’s a sweet, fun way to play with that power exchange, without getting into pain, bondage, or some of the other elements that are more commonly associated with dom/sub situations. (If those elements feel good for you and your partner, go for it — just make sure to have a strong conversation about boundaries set first.)

5. Bring Toys Into Play

Andrew Zaeh/Bustle

Oh, the possibilities! Bringing toys into the bedroom is a great way to explore each other’s bodies and turn-ons without penis-in-vagina sex. And while you might just think “dildos” or “vibrators” when you hear the word “sex toys,” there are so many more options out there these days.

For example, there are toys that help prevent pain during penetration, sex toys that can be worn as jewelry, amazing lubes, a smart vibrator that lets you track your orgasms with a graph, a range of butt plugs, and innovative vibrators that look nothing like that Rabbit you bought in college. All that to say: You got options, kid. Don’t let any preconceived notions about sex toys get in the way of your sexual pleasure and exploration.

Regardless of your anatomy, make sure the toys you’re buying are made from body-safe materials. And because there are no government regulations on what sex toys are made of a good way to do that is to shop at stores that you trust. I recommend Unbound for toys in general and Dame for cool (and cool-looking) vibrators. But definitely do your own research and go with companies that match with your own personal vibe. (Pun intended.)

6. Tease!

Andrew Zaeh/Bustle

One way to really tease your partner and work up some sexual tension is by picking a body part and commit to focusing only on that, for a set amount of time. Figure out how to stimulate that body part in as many different ways as you can. You’ll be amazed at how turned on you (or your partner) can get from a place that you never thought of as erotic before.

Ultimately, the thing that makes any of these options awesome is the tease factor. When you rush right to intercourse, you leave out the one thing that makes sex extra fun: buildup! All of these awesome ways to play will without a doubt result in serious buildup of sexual tension, which you can choose to release however you see fit — intercourse or no intercourse.

So what are you waiting for? Ditch that old intercourse-only sex routine and start playing!

This post was originally published on October 22, 2015. It was updated on August 20, 2019.

Exploring your sexuality is key to a happy, healthy sex life. It means continually seeking out knowledge of your unique preferences and desires. Equally important, it means gaining knowledge on what experiences or characteristics you don’t want your sex life to include. That self-understanding helps you generate better sexual experiences alone and with a partner.

This exploration shouldn’t be dependent on anyone else, but that can be easier said than done. Sometimes we give partners more freedom to explore our bodies than offer ourselves.

I know it took me years of being sexually active before I ventured into the unknown and tried fingering myself. Sometimes we find it’s faster or more pleasurable if we let a partner take the reins. Sometimes we are satisfied enough with the status quo that we aren’t motivated to seek out the new.

Whatever the situation, it’s easy to not be as proactive with self-exploring as we could be.

But it’s important to explore your sexuality, and to do so apart from a partner. While exploring with a partner is great, it shouldn’t be your only method. You need the space to discover what you enjoy (and don’t enjoy) without any outside influences.

Plus, you may not always have a partner to experiment with.

Whether you are single or in a relationship, it’s important to set aside time for yourself to explore your sexuality. Below are some ways to experiment and find out more about your sexuality. Let the exploring begin!

Journaling

Something powerful happens when we journal. We get into a writing groove and all of a sudden thoughts and feelings we didn’t know we had surface into plain sight. It may feel awkward to simply sit and ponder your sex life and journaling can offer a more approachable way to gain insight.

Head on over to Target and pick up a fun, new journal that’ll be dedicated to your sex life. You can write about anything, but a good place to start is thinking about your three best and worst sexual encounters.

Try to pinpoint what made them that way and see if there are any patterns. This can give you clarity on what you want moving forward. Use this journal to unpack your thoughts on sexual encounters, your desires, anything related to sex that’ll give you more insight into yourself.

Learn From Others

No need to reinvent the wheel, right? There is an unending supply of knowledge out there waiting for you to tap into.

Podcast

If you have a long commute, check out sex-themed podcasts. You may discover new things you want to try in bed. Or you can listen to ones that unpack the complex power dynamics and societal pressures put on women in regards to sex, which can help give you strategies to lead an empowered sex life.

Books

If you enjoy reading, see what your local library or bookstore has to offer. You’d be surprised at how many types of books exist out there.

There are ones offering techniques (such as the Kama Sutra), ones discussing the psychology of female desire (such as Come As You Are) or ones designed to turn you on (such as erotica).

Classes and Workshops

If you want hands-on learning, try out a class or workshop. These can be centered on any topic from setting healthy boundaries to an introduction into the BDSM world. Places to look would be local sex shops and online communities (such as meet up groups that are sex-positive).

Girls Night

If you feel comfortable talking about sex with your friends (and I hope you do), host a get-together. Share self-love strategies, discuss the challenges of navigating today’s complex sexual landscape, whatever you feel like talking about.

Sex Club

Depending on how big your city is, heading over to a sex club might be an option. There is a huge range of options out there so you can find one that’s your speed.

Some are a low-key bar where most people are clothed and playing sexy games (and a few people happen to be having sex in a corner). Others are more of a club vibe where there are plenty of dedicated play rooms.

Quality ones should check everyone’s ID’s against a sex offender database, require a commitment to respecting consent and boundaries, and employ bouncers walking around ready to oust anyone who makes someone else uncomfortable.

The benefit of a sex club is you can be in a sexy atmosphere and observe all body types, races, sexual orientations and so on intermingling.

Maybe you find you get turned on by that group sex encounter over there and you later spend some time contemplating having a three way. Maybe you are intrigued by the clothed female, naked male encounter over there and decide it’s something you want to try. A sex club should offer a safe, fun place for you to observe different sexual encounters in action.

Make it your next ladies night out so you can all explore together!

Tantra Yoga

Tantra yoga can be done alone or with a partner, but the focus is on connecting with yourself. It can help you feel more in tune with your sexuality, your desires and your body. It’s a great addition to your self-care routine. There are different meditations and poses you can do depending on your style and yoga skill level.

Porn

Assuming you stick with sites that are consensual and respectful of women, porn can be a great way to open up your world. Dip your toes in the water for alternative sexual expressions (such as female dominating male, light bondage, role play, etc) and see what resonates with you.

You may uncover things you want to try (alone or with a partner). I recommend Lady Cheeky Smut for Smarties Tumblr and For the Girls as two female-focused sites.

A Sexy Hobby

Harness your sexuality in a physically active way! Take a pole dancing class, learn to strip tease, learn to belly dance and so on. It can help you feel more in touch with yourself and more in tune with your body. Plus, it’s fun to strut your stuff for yourself!

Self-Love

Of course no sexual exploration list would be complete without mentioning masturbating! Play around with yourself and see what you respond to. Try teasing yourself. Vary the type and intensity of touch. Use a vibrator, feather, beaded necklace, ice, the tub faucet head… The list goes on and on. Focus on variety and see what you like and don’t. Remember to record it in your sex journal!

Taking the time to explore your sexuality on your own will help you gain more understanding about what you do and don’t like, which makes it easier to communicate that to a partner and easier to give it to yourself. It’ll make a great impact to your solo and partnered sex life!

I can’t stop having sex!

Sex is a natural and important part of life. It’s supposed to be fun and positive. But if you’re having too much of a good thing, it can feel like it’s taking over your life!

Is it normal to have this much sex?

Sex is very personal. Your “normal” might be different from someone else’s. The average adult has sex about once a week, but it’s fine to have more—or less—as long as it works for you.

There are certain times where you might have a lot more sex than usual. If your sex drive suddenly goes through the roof, it can catch you off guard. But there are lots of things that affect your sex drive:

  • Lifestyle changes: Eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep can all increase your sex drive.
  • Age: Your sex drive can go up and down over your lifespan.
  • Medications or recreational drugs: Many drugs—legal and illegal—can affect your sex drive. If you recently started or stopped taking something, or changed your dosage, it might be the culprit.
  • Your relationship status: It’s common to have lots of sex when you start a new relationship. Or, maybe you just left a relationship where the sex wasn’t great, and now you’re making up for lost time.
  • Mental health: Stress can kill your sex drive… or it can make you want to have sex all the time as a coping mechanism. Some mental illnesses have a unique effect on your sex drive. For example, people with bipolar disorder often have more sex than usual during a manic episode. If you think mental illness might be involved, take one of our mental health screens.

There’s also a lot of variation in who people have sex with. It’s normal to have sex outside of a relationship, and to experiment with your sexuality.

Different cultures and religions have their own beliefs about what’s acceptable or moral. If your sexual behavior doesn’t line up with those expectations, you might feel guilty and think you have a problem. In those situations, you need to ask yourself what needs to change: your sexual behavior, or your beliefs about sex? Either one is fine, but don’t let other people control how you feel about your sexuality.

When does too much sex become a mental health issue?

It’s not about how much sex you’re having, or who you’re having it with—it’s about how it’s affecting your life.

  • Is sex taking up so much of your time that it’s hard for you to complete your responsibilities?
  • Is your sexual activity out of line with your values?
  • Are you having unsafe sex?

If the answer to any of these is “yes,” it might be time to think about cutting back on the amount of sex you’re having. If you’ve already tried cutting back and you can’t, there’s a possibility you could be addicted to sex. Take a look at the definition of behavioral addictions and see if it describes your sex life.

Whether you’re addicted to sex, or you just feel uncomfortable with your sex life in some way, it’s helpful to find someone you can talk to about it. Your family doctor, a local sexual health clinic, or a therapist who specializes in sexuality are great places to start.

Sex is everywhere — if we’re not watching actual sex scenes on TV or in the movies, we’re watching celebrities parade down red carpets practically naked. It’s not just porn that sets unrealistic expectations for what’s sexy anymore, and it can be hard to feel like you measure up when it comes time to get naked IRL.

But if you want to keep sex fresh in a long-term relationship or you want to feel more confident in the bedroom, there are plenty of things you can do without going OTT. Just give these tricks a try.

1. The Card Trick

People should not have sex without talking about it — lovingly, salaciously, practically, fearlessly — and often. How else can we know how to thrill each other? Couples don’t ask for what they want because they’re afraid they won’t get it. If you don’t ask, however, you are sure not to get it. The spoken word can be foreplay, intimate and hot. Be brave. Dr. Ava Cadell suggests this sex game. Plan to make a night of it:

First, set the mood for a romantic evening with your partner. Then write all your sex fantasies on three-by-five-inch cards. All of them, no matter how bestial, or politically taboo.

Then, read your cards together and, as you do, divide them into three piles: fantasies you want to turn into reality (e.g., sex in an airplane lavatory); fantasies you want to keep that way (e.g., sex with your man and another woman); and fantasies that do nothing for one of the partners (e.g., sex with Big Bird).

Finally, discard the pile of fantasies that turn a partner off. Keep the other two piles. Have one partner choose a card from one of them, and then do whatever’s written on it. If he chooses this time, you get to choose next time. If the chosen fantasy is one you both want to keep a fantasy, you don’t have to actually do it — just make love as you talk about it. Example: He picks the fantasy where he makes love to you and another woman (most men’s number one choice). Start to make love while both of you describe, in exquisite carnal detail, who’s doing what to whom and how.

2. The Not-Your-Average-Missionary Trick

Q: When is the missionary position not the missionary position?

A: When you stroke your man’s perineum. This small stretch of flesh between the anus and the testicles is an exalted but often neglected place. When it is caressed or gently prodded during sex, men fuse with the eighth dimension. Don’t assume that the great favor of your vagina is enough. Gild the lily.

3. The Whole-New-Ball-Game Trick

A man’s testicles, says Dr. Cadell, are the complement to our ovaries: a mystical place, the epicenter of new life. But unlike ovaries, testicles can be touched — and, boy, should they be touched. The sensations they produce are beyond the sum of their parts (forgive the pun): profound. Pinch, tug, suck on his testicles. Linger. Dawdle. Don’t make this an afterthought. This is a destination in itself.

4. The Place-You-Don’t-Want-to-Go-But-Should Trick

It’s the anus. Not yours, his. Penetrating a man’s anus stimulates his prostate — the male G-spot. Do not underestimate the power of this tip-off. The results are titanic.

Start by lightly circling the outside of his anus with your fingers or tongue. Try a small, thin vibrator. If your man wants you to proceed with penetration, you can lubricate the vibrator, or use a lubricated, covered finger. Buy latex finger cots at the drugstore. They’ll prevent internal skin tears and, frankly, make the whole transaction easier for you. I promise you that his slack-jawed, pinwheel-eyed, puppy-like gratitude will abate any reluctance on your part.

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5. The Taste-‘N’-Smell-O-Rama Trick

Smell and taste can be vivid sexual lures, especially the way you smell and taste. Does he really like your signature perfume? Might he prefer something trashier? Spicier? Experiment.

Try bathing with a new scented oil. Walk out in a towel, then ask him to smell you and nibble and share what he thinks. Show him where. Unless you’ve bathed in skunk oil, his sharing will involve few words.

Play with flavored lubricants. There are dozens to choose from, like chocolate pudding flavor, strawberry, tangerine. Even if you don’t really need lubricants for intercourse, they’re wholesomely lewd, and they increase sensation.

Some men don’t want flavored or scented anything. They crave the smell and taste of an aroused woman, unadorned. If you have such a man, here’s a marvelous move: Find a private moment in a public place. Tell him you can’t wait to get home ’cause you’re wet just thinking about him. Maintain eye contact as you (discreetly! sensuously!) snake your hand inside your clothes to your vagina. Touch yourself. Draw your hand out and put your fingers in his mouth. Say sweetly, “See?”

6. The Ridiculously Simple Apparel Trick

No woman alive needs to be told that sight is every man’s number one stimulus when it comes to sex. This is often the bane of our existence (as when his head swivels in a restaurant like NASA radar). But the power of sight can work for you.

Forget acrylic nails, or those “darling” accessories, or that new workout gear — men couldn’t care less. Take that cash and invest in lingerie. It can be demure; it can be enticingly sleazy. “Lingerie” — way above “please” or “thank you” — is the magic word.

Slinky, lacy black things are classics. Start there.

7. The Getting-to-Know-Yourself Trick

Practice makes perfect. And perfecting your orgasms alone will give you the confidence to relax—deux. The first thing you have to do is banish the notion that you must have an orgasm through intercourse. Not a lot of women do, and some who say they do are lying. Most women, however, can climax with masturbation, and it’s a great way to learn what really works for you.

Get loose with yourself. Make the time. Wear something hot. Try different kinds of vibrators. Try different positions: on your back, in a chair, kneeling in front of a mirror. Touch yourself in different ways — for instance, play with your labia only until the verge of orgasm, and only then touch your clitoris directly. Build sensations slowly; keep yourself near the verge for as long as you can. Discover what works best for you, and explain it to your partner. He can’t read your mind.

8. The Magic-Touch Trick

Masturbate in front of your man. Masturbate him while he watches. Don’t be shy. Describe what you’re doing as you do it.

9. The G-Spot Orgasm Trick

The good news: You definitely have a G-spot. The bad news: Finding it is like playing pin the tail on the donkey.

The G-spot is, anatomically speaking, your urethral sponge — a sprig of knowledge that’s wildly unerotic. It’s our version of the male prostate, best stimulated through the vagina’s front wall with your fingers, or with a flexing, antenna-like vibrator designed for this quest.

To find your G-spot, get yourself nicely aroused; then, inserting one or two fingers, palm up, press slowly around your vagina’s front wall, about two inches up. It varies from girl to girl. Before hell freezes over you will hit a dime-size, slightly ridged spot that provokes an urge to urinate. Engrave that location on your brain, then go and do so. When you return, find it again. This time ignore the got-to-go feeling; you’ll know it’s false. If you keep stimulating, that sensation will bloom into pleasure. Once you’ve aced this, demonstrate it for your partner.

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10. The Condom Trick

There are times when you just need a condom, no matter how smugly exclusive you are: You have a yeast infection, he has a weird red spot, you’re in Hawaii without your pills. But produce one and you see the face of a petulant toddler veneered on the man you love.

Try saying this: “But, baby, I need to practice putting them on with my mouth.” Men love this. Let him know it’s an old hookers’ trick. Here’s how it goes: Hold the condom so the rolled edge is facing you. Place it between your lips and teeth that way. Stick your tongue in the middle so tongue-in-condom pokes out just a bit. Put tongue-in-condom on the head of the penis (if you want to train for this before the actual event, practice on a banana). Cover your teeth with your lips and ease your mouth over his penis until the condom is unrolled. Make sure you leave some space at the top for semen. And don’t conduct this like a relay race. A little finesse, if you please!

Genius, huh? You’re welcome.

11. The Volume Trick

Do make noise during sex. Dr. Cadell says enthusiasm is the number one turn-on for men.

12. The Porn Trick

They say to keep electronics out of the bedroom (and you should) to keep intimacy alive, but porn is the exception. One quick search to his favorite fantasy will have him ooooohhhing and ahhhhing before you even touch him. Don’t think this trick is just for your partner, though —porn will get the juices flowing for you, too, and could open your mind to new sexual possibilities. “Hearing arousal is often in it of itself arousing, and certainly the visual of seeing people receiving pleasure is, too,” explains sex and relationships expert Megan Fleming, Ph.D. Dim the lights, press play, and let the soothing sounds of others getting off help you get off.

13. The Get-Out-of-the-House Trick

It’s one thing to take your sex life out of the bedroom; it’s a whole new ball game to move your sex life out of the house completely. Maybe it’s an evening in the park after the wine is drunk and the cheese has been eaten when the park is clearing out and your picnic blanket is the perfect cover for some discretion… Or maybe it’s in a parked car in a deserted parking lot? “For some people, the risk of being seen is a huge turn-on,” says Fleming. “The idea you could get caught is a little taboo and increases the arousal.” Granted, don’t be stupid. Please don’t bone in broad daylight on the beach with hundreds around.

14. The Tie Trick

“Our biggest sex organ is our mind but our biggest organ is our skin,” says Fleming. Grabbing a blindfold or wrapping a tie around his eyes can heighten his senses for some pretty explosives results. Take the lead by grabbing a few ice cubes and experiment with temperature play on your man’s body from head to toe. Light a massage candle and leave your guy alone naked and blindfolded while the aromatherapy relaxes his mind but his body aches to feel your touch. The possibilities are endless.

15. The Toy Trick

The fact is that most women orgasm from clitoral stimulation — so why not bring in a vibrator? Try something small and hands-free that you can use on your clitoris. Yes, your partner will love seeing you writhe in ecstasy, but just as importantly, you’ll feel good. You can also bring in a vibrator for your partner to use on you, one you can use together, or maybe a toy you’d like to use on him.

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16. The Game Trick

Make sex and foreplay a game by breaking out some dice to determine exactly what you’ll be doing, or try one of these X-rated activities. It’ll add an element of surprise and change things up.

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13 Things All Long-Term Couples Should Do In Bed

If you’ve been with your partner for many moons, there’s a not-so-low chance that spicing things up in the bedroom is something you’re ready to do. But if you feel as though you’ve done all the new things in bed that you can, a little refresher course might be in order. What sorts of things should all long-term couples try during sex? And is it weird to feel as though you’ve dried up on the idea front?

In a word, no. “People often tell me they run out of ideas when it’s time to try something new in the bedroom,” sex and relationship counselor Julie Jeske tells Bustle. This makes sense — there are only so many times that you can roll out something new to do in bed — a new toy, a new sex position, a new role play scenario — and it can be super easy to let yourself become too comfortable.

Couples can struggle with how often to have sex, and what to do when they’re in bed together. “They sometimes make love to express love, and it can be tender or sweet, and sometimes they are just going through the motions, because they feel like they ‘should’ be having sex,” she says. There’s nothing wrong with that — Jeske warns against falling into dry spells, and encourages clients to have sex regularly — but it’s also worth exploring how to make sex a little more erotic. A dry spell isn’t the end of the world, but trying new things in bed will make you want to have more sex, which will in turn enhance your sex life with your long-term partner. If you feel like you’ve run out of things to do in bed, it’s time to get creative.

Here are 13 ways to how to keep your sex life hot in an LTR.

1. Play With Power

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Who is usually in control in bed? If you don’t want to change that up, who usually seduces, and who is usually seduced? Who chases, and who submits (with consent, of course)? It’s worth exploring what this dynamic already looks like as you brainstorm new things to do in bed.

“Does one person typically ‘drive’ during your sexual encounter?” asks Jeske. “Take turns being in control or initiating.” If that’s enough for now, stop there — but you and your partner can also “play with power by exploring being a little more submissive or more dominant,” she says. “There is a huge continuum for sex and power.” If you’ve never experimented with submission or dominance, you could take this opportunity.

“Most couples like some level of dominance and submission in their sexual encounters, from using a blindfold or some silk scarves, to tying each other up, to spanking or playing with power in a more verbal or psychological way, all the way up to a master/slave relationship.” Even if you don’t think that dynamic is for you, thinking about the ways power is already used in your sex life can help you and your partner learn how to play with it: if one of you always take charge, it can be an interesting challenge have them hang back, and empower the other partner to take a more active role. But go slow: “Know your boundaries and explore power together,” she says.

2. Seduce Your Partner

Speaking of seduction, if it has become a thing of the past in your relationship, one new thing to do in bed is to bring it back.

“As people become more comfortable and sex becomes more routine, couples often just hop into bed and start going through their sexual motions,” says Jeske. Don’t forgo that lost art forever: “Seduce your partner,” she says. There are plenty of ways to do so without making too much of a fuss, though fusses are good sometimes.

A few on Jeske’s list? “Undress each other. Make out in the kitchen. Leave a trail of clothes from the front door to the living room. Text your partner throughout the day telling him or her what you are doing to do after work, then deliver on those promises.” Properly seducing your partner is all about incorporating an element of surprise, she says. And as always, communicate. “If you aren’t sure how your partner wants to be seduced, ask,” she says.

3. Pay Attention To Your Senses

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Do you ever find yourself worrying or thinking about something totally non–sex-related during sex? While making a mental grocery list or going over that awkward work conversation while you’re getting intimate is beyond common, it can take you away from the moment — and diminish what’s great about having sex in the first place.

“Tuning into your senses will help you connect to what feels good and also help you stay present during sex,” says Jeske. “So often people are in their heads rather than their bodies.” Instead of being in the moment, they’re in some far-off place, which short-circuits connection and can mess with things like intimacy or orgasms. Oftentimes, people can zone out, “thinking about things they don’t want to happen (losing erections, climaxing too quickly or not at all),” she says, or worrying “about things outside of sex (getting work done, messes in the house, stress).” Instead, incorporate the present moment. “Asking yourself what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel during sex will help you be there with your lover,” she says. “It will help you focus on what feels good.”

Your sense of smell is a good place to start, since “smell can be highly erotic,” she says. “What is your partner’s smell?” Notice it, and focus on it. “You can even bring extra sensuality into the sexual experience by using things that smell, taste or feel good,” she adds. Her shortlist? “Light candles, play music, notice your partner’s breath or heartbeat. Have a sensual picnic where you explore different textures and tastes together. Or take a sensual bath as part of your foreplay.”

If this sounds awfully like mindfulness meditation, well, you’d be right — mindfulness is just the practice of bringing your mind to the present. And just as mindfulness in meditation can reduce anxiety, one 2019 study of almost 200 people found that people who described themselves as mindful were “more satisfied with their sex lives” — and this held especially true for women. While it may sound simple, once you are in the habit of “noticing your senses, titillating your senses will heighten your sexual experience,” Jeske says.

4. Two Words: Seduction Bowl

This is exactly what it sounds like: Get a bowl, and write down all the things you want to try sexually, Jeske says. Have your partner do the same. “You can include specific things, like positions, or games, or kinds of sex,” she says. “Or you can write down fantasies. Or you can include things like, ‘The person who pulls this card initiates.’ Or, ‘The person who pulls this card gives the other person oral sex.'” This can make for an interesting night — and also allows for desires to come to light. Sometimes people “share that when their partner seductively whispers in their ear, ‘What do you want me to do to you?’ they have no idea what they want or how to ask for it,” Jeske says. “Making a seduction bowl with your partner will help.”

5. Be Selfish

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Sex isn’t all about you, just like it’s not all about your partner, but it’s fully acceptable to let it be all about you sometimes. “In order to get fully aroused and to climax, you need to focus on your pleasure a bit,” says Jeske. “It’s OK to know what you want, ask for what you want, and make sure you are taken care of. Not only OK, it’s sexy.” Ask for what you want, and ask your partner to just focus on you from time to time. Then you can return the favor.

If you’re not sure what else you want during sex, that’s where being mindful comes in. Notice what sensations or touches feel particularly good to you — then, ask your partner to dedicate 20 full minutes to recreating that sensation towards you. And if you find yourself thinking about something you did in bed that you liked a lot the next day, put it in the seduction bowl!

6. Be Kinky

“I work with so many lovely couples who adore each other, and respect each other, and are so polite with each other,” Jeske says. “They feel close and content, and they also have a hard time finding the erotic in their sex.” In other words, they respect each other so much that they feel uncomfortable with letting things veer too far from vanilla in bed — and then get bored.

“It’s OK to be super loving and tender, and then also find a way to objectify each other a bit in the bedroom,” she says. “Don’t get me wrong: Tender, sweet love-making is divine.” But it’s worth exploring, she says: “Is there a way for you to have that, and also be erotic? Can you have raunchy sex too? Can you have dirty sex with the same person you parent with? Can you honor the dichotomies in your relationship and roles?” Having vanilla sex is totally valid, if that’s what you’re into — but it’s important to be intentional about why you’re doing it. (No pun intended, of course.)

7. Do It On The Regs

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“Sex is like exercise,” Jeske says. “If you stop doing it, it’s really hard to start again.” So try not to let yourself hit a dry spell — keep things going, even if it’s a quickie here and there during an especially busy time.

“If you haven’t had sex in a while, it’s easy to put it off until you are sure it’s going to be good,” Jeske says. “I have clients who haven’t have sex for months or years, because they are pretty sure it’s not going to be great, and they have been waiting so long, they want it to be great.”

While it makes sense that people want to be having great sex, the truth is that setting up those pressures and expectations can make it harder to have good sex. If you’re in a dry spell, now is the time to just rip the bandaid off, even if the first time in a while is mediocre. “The nice thing about having sex regularly is that if it’s isn’t great, then you know you will be having it again soon, and it’s not ask big of a let down,” she says. It really is like exercise, she adds: “Regularity also builds stamina.”

8. Make A Sex Tool Box

In addition to having lube and condoms near your bed, amp things up by creating a tool box to use during sex, says Jeske. “Your tool box may include a vibrator or other toys, restraints, erotica, porn, costumes, different personas or roles you have played, fantasies, edible lotion and more.” Adding to the contents of the box is something you can do with your partner (think, again, the seduction bowl). “These might not be things you are using every time you have sex, but you know they are there if you want to play,” she says.

9. Let Sex Evolve

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“If you are in a relationship for the long haul, then you are going to go through changes together,” says Jeske. Remain flexible, and try to let go of expectations. “If you keep expecting your sex to look the same as it did when you were 25, you will be disappointed,” she says. “And if you get frustrated when things don’t work the same as they always did, you may shut down and stop having sex.” Instead, accepting what is and being open about what is to come will help.

“Our bodies change as we age,” Jeske says. “Women experience changes with pregnancy, birth and menopause. Men can experience changes in their erections. Illness and injury can also affect things.” But just because things are changing, it doesn’t mean your sex life is over. “There are so many ways you can adapt your sex as your body changes,” she says. “You can try different positions, and create new pathways to pleasure. It can be a really fun process if you let yourself be curious.”

10. Be Vulnerable

Though vulnerability might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of hot sex, think again, Jeske says. “Being vulnerable sometimes doesn’t sound sexy, but that softness can take your sex to a new level.” By taking things “deeper” this way, you let “yourself be seen,” she says. “It can include eye contact, asking for what you truly want, being honest about what does or doesn’t feel good, not hiding your body or your pleasure,” says Jeske.

If you trust your partner, letting them see you at your most vulnerable is something worth trying. And vulnerability can come in unexpected ways. “Sometimes vulnerability includes tears with your orgasm (they are both a form of release),” says Jeske. “Using your voice and making sound may be vulnerable for some people. Vulnerability is not going through the motions — it is being present and authentic.”

11. Don’t Be An Expert

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

When you allow yourself to not know it all in bed, you give yourself permission to to experiment, says Jeske. As non-experts, “we will let ourselves make mistakes, and we will educate ourselves,” she says. “When people feel like they have to do it right, they stop taking risks. They stop playing. They stop being curious.”

This can lead to a rut for an LTR. “Long-term couples too often create a sexual routine that was based on something that once worked and then becomes boring or predictable,” Jeske says. “Because it ‘works,’ and people often get off, they sometimes fear veering from that routine.” Instead, she says, take risks.

12. Wear Your Birthday Suit To Bed

Forget pajamas. “Removing your clothes removes one more barrier to sex,” Jeske says. “Not only will you notice your partner’s body if you snuggle up together during the night, you will be more comfortable with your own body too.”

What’s more, an informal survey of over 1,000 people conducted by the company Mattress Advisor found that 65% of millennials responded that they slept in the nude, and people who reported that they slept naked had sex twice as much as people who slept clothed — eight times a month versus four. Not too shabby for literally doing nothing.

If this inspires the two of you and leads to something more, great; if not, you’re still super snuggly.

13. Touch Yourself

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

To keep things golden in bed, it’s not just about sex with your partner. “Touching yourself for pleasure will keep you connected to what feels good for your body,” says Jeske. “You will engage with your pleasure, get more comfortable with your body, and also connect to your arousal. All of those things will also benefit your partnered sex.” And you can always talk about this with your partner to bring a new level of intimacy into play.

Studies Referenced

Experts

Sex and relationship counselor Julie Jeske, MS, LPC

20 New Things to Try in Bed at Least Once with Your Lover

matt says:

Best sex I ever had was just this last Friday. I make a habit of seeing escorts on a pretty regular basis. I have seen a grand total of 13 escorts, some I had an absolutely awful experience with. On Friday though, I had the best time that I had ever had. I have recently discovered that I like getting either tied up or handcuffed, and blindfolded. The new girl at the escort agency that I used was more than happy to oblige. Part of what made it the best was that we just kind of “clicked”. You know the feeling if you’ve had multiple partners, where you start seeing a new partner and you’re on the same wavelength right from the get go. I understand that I paid for her time and us having sex was just kind of expected, but I actually liked her. Maybe that’s why I liked her so much, perfect height, hair colour, eye colour, all in all she was to me a 9/10, and definitely the best lay of my life. At one point I was slapping her ass while going at it in doggy, and she just kept saying harder. I was leaving big red handmarks on her ass by the end of it all. Everytime I slapped her ass harder I crept closer and closer to the point of no return. Never had a girl that was that “into it” (even if she wasn’t into it, it was god damn convincing then).

6 Ways To Make Sex More Interesting When You’re In A Longterm Relationship

We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist based in San Francisco, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions remain anonymous. Now, onto this week’s topic: How to spice things up in the bedroom and make sex more interesting when you’re in a longterm relationship.

Q: I’ve been with my partner for a couple of years. We love each other very much, but it’s hard for sex not to feel boring now that we’ve had it so many times. What are some simple ways we could make sex feel new and exciting again? I don’t need fireworks every single time, but I do want us to break out of our rut.

A: Thanks for the question! I first want to point out that it’s completely normal for sex to start to feel routine or predictable in a longterm relationship. We’re creatures of habit, and we fall into patterns incredibly easily.

Most people seem to want to shake things up in the bedroom, but have a hard time knowing where to start. Even trying to come up with new things to do can feel intimidating. Fortunately, I’m here to show you that bringing your bedroom back to life doesn’t have to be nearly as difficult as you might think!

1. Make Small Changes

If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this entire article, it’s that small changes can produce big results! So many people think that “spicing things up” means doing something as intense as donning full-body bondage gear or participating in an orgy. Not the case! Here are a few super small, simple ideas that can be a lot of fun:

  • Have sex at a different time of day than you usually do.
  • Get down in a new room or on a new surface, like on the stairs, in your kitchen, or on top of the washing machine.
  • Use pillows beneath your butt to create new angles in your favorite sex positions.
  • Try having sex for different lengths of time, like going for quickies or spending an entire afternoon being intimate.

Try: Liberator Jaz Sex Positioning Pillow, $49.99, Amazon

2. Play With Your Senses

One great way to brainstorm changes to make is by thinking about your five senses. Sight is one of the senses that offers the most possibilities. Try making eye contact while you’re being intimate. Or try having sex with the lights on, with the lights off, or with candlelight only. You can also watch porn before having sex or during the deed.

To play with your hearing, listen to music, or try talking dirty to each other. For your sense of smell, light a nice musky candle to set the mood. Invite your tastebuds to the party by really paying attention to what different parts of your partner’s body taste like, or by spending time kissing each other slowly and deeply.

Try: Archipelago Botanical Signature Candle, $26, Amazon

To engage your sense of touch, try teasing each other with unique textures, like silk ties, fuzzy scarves, or soft feathers. Or try caressing your partner’s body in two different ways, and asking them to pick their favorite. You can also try cutting off your senses, like using a blindfold or trying not to touch each other with your hands.

Try: Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Core Micro Tie, $25, Amazon

Try: Siam Circus Fetish Feather Toy, $10, Amazon

Try: eKingstore Blindfold Band, $6.70, Amazon

3. Ban Certain Things

One of my favorite ways to bring passion back into the bedroom is to prohibit your old stand-by activities for a short period of time. Do you and your partner rely on missionary position too often? Make a “rule” that you can’t have sex in missionary for a month. Or you can do something like only allow yourselves to orgasm during mutual masturbation. If you’re really disciplined, try not letting yourselves do anything other than kiss for an entire week. It doesn’t matter that it’s just an arbitrary rule; it will still feel super sexy to know that certain things are “forbidden”!

4. Experiment With Your ‘Maybes’

Lots of people get stuck in a trap of thinking they should only suggest activities that they already know they will like. Asking to try something new in the bedroom can feel vulnerable, so a lot of people try to play it safe by relying on the old standbys, by or not making any suggestions at all.

The problem is that it’s hard to know if you like something unless you’ve tried it! I like to encourage my clients to explore the things that sound even remotely interesting. For example, you may have felt slightly curious about 69-ing or being dominated, but been too nervous to suggest it since you weren’t sure if you’d like it. Give it a shot! Even if it doesn’t end up being your favorite activity, you’ll have had a novel experience with your partner, and you’ll have more knowledge about what you actually do like.

Check Out: Hot Sex: Over 200 Things You Can Try Tonight!, $15, Amazon

5. Bring In A Special Guest

No, I’m not necessarily talking about other people. (That’s a whole other article.) I’m talking about props.

There are so many great sex toys on the market these days. You can get a toy designed for solo use, and put on a little bit of a show for each other. Or you can research options for couples sex toys that you could use together. You can also buy things like lube, sex furniture, restraint systems, or even a sex swing. It never hurts to have some backup when it comes to mixing things up.

Sportsheets Under the Bed Restraint System, $22.35, Amazon

360 Degrees Spinning Sex Swing, $78, Amazon

6. Turn It Into A Game

One of the best ways to liven up your sex life is by being playful with your partner. There are plenty of fun ways to turn sex into a game. Make bets on silly trivia questions or board games, and let the prize be a sensual massage. Wrestle with each other naked. Keep your clothes or lingerie on and find creative ways to work around them. Role play the characters from the show you just binge-watched on Netflix. Take turns teasing each other, and see who can hold out the longest.

God luck, and have fun exploring!

Boldly on YouTube

Want more of Bustle’s Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

Images: Rowena Waack/Flickr; Giphy; LELO

  • Take an orange wedge and slick the juice onto your lips so they’re wet and enticing. Then give your guy a sweet, citrusy smooch.
  • Want to drop a hot hint of what you’re dying to do in bed? Buy a copy of The Joy of Sex and stick Post-its on the pages that describe positions and sex tips you’d like to try. Then leave it where he’ll find it.
  • Get a set of ridiculously long press-on fingernails and delicately run them over his chest during lovemaking. They’ll make you look like a minx, and the teasing-tickling sensation will awaken his wild side.
  • After nooky one night, write down the things he did that wowed you the most. Then write “Dear ,” at the top of the note and slip it into his pocket so the next day he can be reminded of how much he rocked your world.
  • Switch sex positions from him on top to you on top (or vice versa) without interrupting the action. How? Wrap your legs around his waist, throw your arms around his shoulders and roll over in unison. This way you can stay intimately connected for a superclose sexual experience.
  • Hit a totally new erogenous zone: his “N-spot,” the crease between a man’s chin and Adam’s apple. Kissing, licking and nibbling this extra-sensitive spot will activate the nerve endings in his genitals, says Olivia St. Claire, author of 302 Advanced Techniques for Driving a Man Wild in Bed.
  • Before you join your guy between the sheets, cover every inch of your body in moisturizer. This soothing self-massage will give your libido a jump-start, so you’re craving his caresses by the time you’re in bed.
  • Go bowling, play poker, do whatever you normally do for fun, but tell him you want to make it interesting with a sexy wager: Whoever loses has to .
  • When you’re on top of him during the act, raise your knees, plant your feet on the bed and move up and down rather than back and forth. Not only will this take-charge pose make him think you’re a sex goddess, but he’ll get an incredible view of the action down below.
  • Trim your bikini line just a little bit more than usual. Trust us, he’ll notice.
  • Next time you’re making love in the missionary position, raise your knees as high as you can for a deeper, more intimate penetration.
  • Invest in a push-up bra of daring proportions. On your next date night, wear it with a crystal necklace that plunges into the crevasse of your cleavage.
  • Buy a few kinds of flavored body lotion (try the Motion Lotion Sampler Pack, goodvibes.com) and rub them on different parts of your body. Then play Guess That Flavor: Is it banana? Wild cherry? Triggering his taste buds will turn sex into even more of a multisensory experience.
  • Stimulate his sacrum (the cute little triangle below the small of his back, right where his buttocks start). A featherlike stroke here will activate the nerve endings up his spine and elsewhere, says Lisa Sussman, author of Over 100 Truly Astonishing Sex Tips.
  • When you’re cuddling on the couch watching TV, casually unclasp your bra and pull it out your sleeve, like Jennifer Beals did in Flashdance. Just don’t be surprised if his hands start wandering!
  • Ever wanted to surprise your guy by wearing a garter belt with stockings — and nothing else — but cringed at exposing so much skin? Check out the new garter skirts from the Such-a-Flirt collection by Victoria’s Secret (victoriassecret.com). They offer more coverage than your typical garter, so you’ll feel sexy rather than self-conscious.
  • When you begin to make love, start with short, shallow thrusts before you let him go deep. This will hit the most sensitive spots on you (the opening of the vagina) and him (the head of the penis), says Gloria Brame, Ph.D., author of Come Hither: A Commonsense Guide to Kinky Sex.
  • Soak in a warm bubble bath when you know your hubby’s on his way home. Greet him with a soapy, slick foot wave and invite him in!
  • During intercourse, switch to oral sex and then back every once in a while. Alternating sensations will make both even more exhilarating, says St. Claire.
  • Have your husband close his eyes while you feed him treats, such as mango slices or a decadent spoonful of Nutella, la 9 1/2 Weeks. This will get him to focus on sensations he normally takes for granted — and probably get him hungering to indulge in other ways.
  • During foreplay, pick a part of his body that’s your favorite and praise it to the skies. Start with “You’ve got the most beautiful shoulders/chest/butt I’ve ever seen,” then expand by adding how it makes you feel — safe, weak-kneed or just plain turned on. This will increase his confidence, which is the key to crazy-hot sex, says Catherine Cardinal, Ph.D., author of The Ten Commandments of Relationships.
  • When he’s still awake but thinks you’re asleep, pretend you’re having an erotic dream, adding your own sound effects and movements that’ll catch his eye and get his gears turning. Then “wake up” and attack your man with gusto. If he asks, tell him that of course he was the star of your slumber story.
  • Try this sweet seduction move: Take his hand and press your lips firmly into the palm, flicking your tongue over the area. This spot is a pressure point for his libido, says Michelle Kluck, a reflexologist and owner of Basic Knead (basicknead.com).
  • Shower before bed, then hand him a thick, plushy bath towel and ask him to dry you off. Inviting him to put his hands all over your wet, just-washed body will get him thinking anything but clean thoughts.
  • String twinkly Christmas lights around the ceiling of your bedroom, then get hot ‘n’ heavy under your own private starry sky.
  • Play a sexy version of Hangman by choosing words or phrases of things you want to try in bed, from “massage” to “blindfold.” Trying to figure out each other’s desires will make both of you all too willing to make those mystery words a reality.
  • Drive him crazy by kissing around, but not on, your husband’s privates: Starting right below the navel, slowly make your way over to his thigh, and then the other thigh, slowly spiraling inward. The nerve endings you ignore will become 10 times more sensitive in anticipation, says Brame.
  • Light some sparks in your backyard one night by walking around in the rain — sans umbrella. Your rain-kissed look will definitely make his head turn and give him a hankering to get you out of those wet clothes.
  • Take an eyeliner pencil and write “Kiss me” or “Caress me” on your stomach, breast or other body part, adding arrows to tell him where to go (and what to do) next, suggests Brame. Not only will he be sweetly surprised when you disrobe, but you’ll get exactly what you want, where you want it!
  • Want to flash him an erotic eyeful the next time you’re wearing a short skirt? Drop your car keys and then pick them up by bending waaaay over.
  • Pick up a juicy tome, like My Secret Garden, by Nancy Friday, and read each other the good parts to fill your minds with sensual thoughts.
  • Buy a va-va-voom bra-and-panty set. Show it to him — on the hanger. Then when you’re out one night, tell him you’re wearing it…right now.
  • Kiss him with your eyes open, savoring the sight of your smooch.
  • Play the Alphabet Game, spelling out sexually suggestive words on his back with your finger and then having him guess what you wrote. This will tune his body in to the subtlest sensations and make him crave more caresses.
  • Wear jewelry where you normally wouldn’t — a belly chain, a toe ring, an upper-arm cuff. Once these shiny objects have captured his attention, use your creativity to keep it.
  • While dressing for work one morning, give him a reverse striptease: Put on a sultry CD and, standing well within his ogling range, get dressed slooowly, swaying your hips. You may not get very far before he pounces.
  • During your next makeout session leave your bra on, pulling your breasts out of each cup. This will allow access but keep them looking gorgeously full.
  • Create your own customized sexy CD by burning one on your computer. Need some suggestions of songs that’ll pump up the passion? The slow, sultry tunes of Lucinda Williams and Lisa Marie Presley should do the trick.
  • Stage your own American Idol: Tell your guy he’s judge Simon Cowell and sing him a sassy song. After your performance, tell him you’ll do anything to stay on the show.
  • Give him a hug that’ll heat things up: Press your index and middle fingers into the base of his neck, just to the left of his spine. This pressure point will send signals straight to his nether region.
  • Hate wearing sexy-but-uncomfortable underwear? Buy the new boy-short styles, like Donna Karan Intimates’ Body Spa Boy Leg (donnakaran.com). They’re roomy but give a flirty flash of butt cheek that’ll make your husband think you put them on just for him.
  • Give him a morning peep show by installing a translucent shower curtain to show him a tantalizingly blurry image of you. It’ll keep sex on his mind all day.
  • Take a boudoir photo of yourself, wrapped in nothing but a white sheet, with a Polaroid and leave the snapshot in your husband’s sock drawer.
  • Wear a new perfume for your next close encounter; then afterward spray it on something he takes to work. The scent will awaken his memories and make him hot for you all over again.
  • Test your balancing skills by making love in a hammock late at night, when the neighbors won’t be able to see.
  • Breathe deeply as you climax. “Women tend to hold their breath as their excitement mounts,” says Sussman. “But by breathing deeply, you’ll bring oxygen-rich blood to all parts of your body, making your skin more sensitive to his every touch.”
  • Give your bedroom a bordello-esque glow by draping a red scarf over the bedside lamp. The rosy light will make your skin look extra-touchable.
  • Instead of racing toward your peaks during sex, pick a period of time (longer than usual) that you’re going to take to get there. Forcing yourselves to teeter on the brink until, say, 9:20pm will make your finale much more explosive.
  • Leave a soft light on tonight and keep your eyes open during lovemaking. Seeing your bodies entwined will create some enticing eye candy.
  • Make up a new name for sex: chasing the rainbow, grabbing some paradise, whatever means something to just the two of you. That way you can bring up this steamy topic in public — and share a secret that’ll strengthen your bond.
  • When getting undressed one evening, take off everything but your high heels. Casually walk around as if you just haven’t bothered to kick them off yet.
  • The next time you get it on, keep your underwear on as long as possible to get him really hot and bothered.
  • Treat his tie like a leash and lead him to bed. He’ll love being your pet.

If your bedroom action could use a boost, you’re not alone. A whopping 59 percent of men and women say they want to make their sex lives more playful and fun, according to a new survey released today by International Communications Research and sponsored by We-Vibe.

But if most people are craving more excitement in bed, why are we still having run-of-the-mill sex? Many couples are afraid to switch up a sexual script that’s working—meaning, both partners are already getting off—says relationship expert Wendy Walsh, Ph.D., author of The 30-Day Love Detox. “People learn to play each other’s instruments, and then they go to the same two spots,” she says. “But you become accustomed to that and you can become numb emotionally and physically. Then things just don’t work as well as they did before.”

Take your sex life from meh to amazing with these tips from the experts:

Stop Faking It Immediately
You probably wouldn’t say you had a blast on your date if it was actually a bore, so why lie in the bedroom? If you want more exciting sex, don’t pretend to like something that doesn’t actually excite you. “You should never fake an orgasm,” says Walsh. “That thing he was doing wrong—he’s now going to keep doing it.” Instead, let him know when something feels amazing, either by speaking up or engaging in some pretty obvious body language. That way there’s no confusion about what you really like in bed. (Also worth nothing: Great sex can exist without an orgasm.)

Ignore Your Instincts
That stereotype that men are the only ones who crave something new in bed is so false. In fact, research shows women are even more likely to want sexual novelty, says Walsh. Satisfy the urge by doing something totally outside your sexual script, like making a sex bucket list, getting busy in every room but your bedroom, having sex before work in the morning, or even heading to a hotel for a distraction-free hookup.

Play Up the Fantasy
So how do you bring up the fact that you want to try a new position or light bondage? “Put the thing you’d like to do into the context of a sexy fantasy or dream that involves your partner,” says sex therapist Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First. For instance, you can tell him you had a crazy-hot dream about shower sex last night or that you can’t get this Fifty Shades-style fantasy out of your head. He’ll definitely get the hint.

Match Your Position to Your Mood
Just like your dates range from romantic to passionate, your hookups should, too. Depending on the mood you’re in, get creative with your sex style, says Kerner. Craving emotional intimacy and eye contact? Go with Missionary. Feel like ripping each other’s clothes off the second you get home? Opt for Upstanding Citizen against a wall. Ready to take control? Hop on top for Reverse Cowgirl. You get the idea.

Put It in Your iCal
We know, scheduling sex—ugh. But even just giving yourself a mental heads-up can put you in a sexy mindset all day long. Whether it’s wearing hot new lingerie all day, getting a wax, or texting your partner something you’re dying to do later, these little rituals can act as extended foreplay, says Walsh.

Dress the Part
Use pop-up Halloween stores to your advantage, and pick up a few sultry accessories or even a full outfit, says Kerner. Putting on a totally different persona (whether it’s with a blonde wig and thigh highs or a sexy nurse’s outfit) will give you both a chance to play out a fantasy with lowered inhibitions.

Take Turns
Make foreplay more fun by turning it into a giver-and-receiver game, says Kerner. Decide how much time to spend on each person, and take turns doing whatever you or your partner wants. Then switch. Bonus: Pleasing your partner can turn you on even more.

Just Go For It
When in doubt, take the reins. “If you’re a woman wanting more novelty, it’s great to be a little bold and assertive,” says Kerner. Just slow down and kiss your partner before changing positions so it doesn’t seem like you’re dissing their moves.

“Honestly, it’s such a relief now to be beyond all that preciousness – ‘Is my tummy hanging out?’, ‘Is my backside too large?’ At one point my lover said to me, ‘Look, neither of us is 25 any more – let’s just enjoy ourselves!’ Somehow he gave me permission to enjoy sex the way it should have been for all those years when I was judging myself – and my partner – quite unnecessarily.”

“These days I mainly enjoy lazy sex. The athletic stuff was fun when I was younger, but there’s just no need for all that now (was there ever?). Just lying comfortably and touching, holding, stroking – that’s what does it for me.”

“I married when I was a virgin nearly 50 years ago. I’ve been attracted to other men, but they’ve been married. So I’ve only ever had sex with one man my entire life. I’m sad about that.”

“I rarely talk to my friends about their sex lives, but I get the impression that most folk my age – mid-60s – do it rather rarely. But I could be wrong; we don’t discuss it. I do know that one of my husband’s friends recently said to him, ‘I haven’t had sex in two years.’ He is ‘happily married’.”

70s, 80s and beyond

From the discussions I’ve had with people in their 70s and 80s, it is clear that sexuality ranks pretty high on their list of priorities. Some may want more of it; others are actively looking for a partner. Many long for information about sexuality at their particular age, including how to navigate bodily issues that can make sexuality more challenging in later years.

“The movies are all about romance between young people. There seems to be little recognition that older people could be having the same feelings – let alone acting on them. But my friends and I – mainly single at this point – are interested in similar things, only we keep quiet about it because we don’t want to shock our kids.”

“There’s one gentleman here in our senior residence who’s quite a wolf. He chases all the ladies and doesn’t want to take no for an answer. Some of the ladies flirt back, but I wouldn’t want to be thought cheap.”

“I still appreciate beautiful young women, and I don’t care if I come into the category of ‘dirty old man’. I still have those thoughts. Of course, I don’t approach them – that would be asking for trouble. But looking’s free, isn’t it?”

“We’ve changed the way we do things. Once upon a time we used to have sex standing up, on the floor, on the kitchen table; now it’s a soft surface and the easiest way possible. Frankly, I wouldn’t say it’s any less enjoyable – just less likely to cause rug burn!”

“I don’t have many surviving friends who are also gay. I had a whole network – they were my world – and they all disappeared. I’m lucky my roommate survived it all. He’s very interested in having sex, but his chances are diminished, too. When gay men are over 45 or 50, their problem is similar to many single women – they become invisible

“The funny thing is, I don’t really notice my wife’s ageing signs – wrinkles and so on. I know she’s got them, but when you’re with someone for years and years, you kind of see them as they always were. She’s still very appealing to me.”

“The details of my fantasy sex life are quite similar to what they were many years ago. In my mental pictures, I haven’t aged.”

• This is an edited extract from Sex Life: How Our Sexual Experiences Define Who We Are, by Dr Pamela Stephenson Connolly, to be published by Vermillion on 2 June at £20. To order a copy for £16, with free UK p&p, visit the Guardian Bookshop.

Tips to Improve Your Sex Life

A Harvard Health article

How to Enjoy More Fulfilling Sex

Whether the problem is big or small, there are many things you can do to get your sex life back on track. Your sexual well-being goes hand in hand with your overall mental, physical, and emotional health. Communicating with your partner, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, availing yourself of some of the many excellent self-help materials on the market, and just having fun can help you weather tough times.

Enjoying a satisfying sex life

Sex. The word can evoke a kaleidoscope of emotions. From love, excitement, and tenderness to longing, anxiety, and disappointment—the reactions are as varied as sexual experiences themselves. What’s more, many people will encounter all these emotions and many others in the course of a sex life spanning several decades.

But what is sex, really?

On one level, sex is just another hormone-driven bodily function designed to perpetuate the species. Of course, that narrow view underestimates the complexity of the human sexual response. In addition to the biochemical forces at work, your experiences and expectations help shape your sexuality. Your understanding of yourself as a sexual being, your thoughts about what constitutes a satisfying sexual connection, and your relationship with your partner are key factors in your ability to develop and maintain a fulfilling sex life.

Talking to your partner

Many couples find it difficult to talk about sex even under the best of circumstances. When sexual problems occur, feelings of hurt, shame, guilt, and resentment can halt conversation altogether. Because good communication is a cornerstone of a healthy relationship, establishing a dialogue is the first step not only to a better sex life, but also to a closer emotional bond. Here are some tips for tackling this sensitive subject.

Find the right time to talk. There are two types of sexual conversations: the ones you have in the bedroom and the ones you have elsewhere. It’s perfectly appropriate to tell your partner what feels good in the middle of lovemaking, but it’s best to wait until you’re in a more neutral setting to discuss larger issues, such as mismatched sexual desire or orgasm troubles.

Avoid criticizing. Couch suggestions in positive terms, such as, “I really love it when you touch my hair lightly that way,” rather than focusing on the negatives. Approach a sexual issue as a problem to be solved together rather than an exercise in assigning blame.

Confide in your partner about changes in your body. If hot flashes are keeping you up at night or menopause has made your vagina dry, talk to your partner about these things. It’s much better that he know what’s really going on rather than interpret these physical changes as lack of interest. Likewise, if you’re a man and you no longer get an erection just from the thought of sex, show your partner how to stimulate you rather than let her believe she isn’t attractive enough to arouse you anymore.

Be honest. You may think you’re protecting your partner’s feelings by faking an orgasm, but in reality you’re starting down a slippery slope. As challenging as it is to talk about any sexual problem, the difficulty level skyrockets once the issue is buried under years of lies, hurt, and resentment.

Don’t equate love with sexual performance

Create an atmosphere of caring and tenderness; touch and kiss often. Don’t blame yourself or your partner for your sexual difficulties. Focus instead on maintaining emotional and physical intimacy in your relationship. For older couples, another potentially sensitive subject that’s worth discussing is what will happen after one partner dies. In couples who enjoy a healthy sex life, the surviving partner will likely want to seek out a new partner. Expressing your openness to that possibility while you are both still alive will likely relieve guilt and make the process less difficult for the surviving partner later.

Using self-help strategies

Treating sexual problems is easier now than ever before. Revolutionary medications and professional sex therapists are there if you need them. But you may be able to resolve minor sexual issues by making a few adjustments in your lovemaking style. Here are some things you can try at home.

Educate yourself. Plenty of good self-help materials are available for every type of sexual issue. Browse the Internet or your local bookstore, pick out a few resources that apply to you, and use them to help you and your partner become better informed about the problem. If talking directly is too difficult, you and your partner can underline passages that you particularly like and show them to each other.

Privacy concerns and Internet use

The Internet is a valuable source of all types of information, including books and other products (such as sex toys) that can enhance your sex life. Although it may be obvious, never use your workplace computer to do such searches, to avoid potential embarrassment with your employer, who is likely able to track your search history. People who feel uneasy even about using their home computers and credit cards to order sex-related information or products online might be able to find a nearby store (especially in major cities) and pay with cash.

Give yourself time. As you age, your sexual responses slow down. You and your partner can improve your chances of success by finding a quiet, comfortable, interruption-free setting for sex. Also, understand that the physical changes in your body mean that you’ll need more time to get aroused and reach orgasm. When you think about it, spending more time having sex isn’t a bad thing; working these physical necessities into your lovemaking routine can open up doors to a new kind of sexual experience.

Use lubrication. Often, the vaginal dryness that begins in perimenopause can be easily corrected with lubricating liquids and gels. Use these freely to avoid painful sex—a problem that can snowball into flagging libido and growing relationship tensions. When lubricants no longer work, discuss other options with your doctor.

Maintain physical affection. Even if you’re tired, tense, or upset about the problem, engaging in kissing and cuddling is essential for maintaining an emotional and physical bond.

Practice touching. The sensate focus techniques that sex therapists use can help you re-establish physical intimacy without feeling pressured. Many self-help books and educational videos offer variations on these exercises. You may also want to ask your partner to touch you in a manner that he or she would like to be touched. This will give you a better sense of how much pressure, from gentle to firm, you should use.

Try different positions. Developing a repertoire of different sexual positions not only adds interest to lovemaking, but can also help overcome problems. For example, the increased stimulation to the G-spot that occurs when a man enters his partner from behind can help the woman reach orgasm.

The G-spot

The G-spot, or Grafenberg spot, named after the gynecologist who first identified it, is a mound of super-sensitive spongelike tissue located within the roof of the vagina, just inside the entrance. Proper stimulation of the G-spot can produce intense orgasms. Because of its difficult-to-reach location and the fact that it is most successfully stimulated manually, the G-spot is not routinely activated for most women during vaginal intercourse. While this has led some skeptics to doubt its existence, research has demonstrated that a different sort of tissue does exist in this location.

You must be sexually aroused to be able to locate your G-spot. To find it, try rubbing your finger in a beckoning motion along the roof of your vagina while you’re in a squatting or sitting position, or have your partner massage the upper surface of your vagina until you notice a particularly sensitive area. Some women tend to be more sensitive and can find the spot easily, but for others it’s difficult.

If you can’t easily locate it, you shouldn’t worry. During intercourse, many women feel that the G-spot can be most easily stimulated when the man enters from behind. For couples dealing with erection problems, play involving the G-spot can be a positive addition to lovemaking.

Oral stimulation of the clitoris combined with manual stimulation of the G-spot can give a woman a highly intense orgasm.

Write down your fantasies. This exercise can help you explore possible activities you think might be a turn-on for you or your partner. Try thinking of an experience or a movie that aroused you and then share your memory with your partner. This is especially helpful for people with low desire.

Do Kegel exercises. Both men and women can improve their sexual fitness by exercising their pelvic floor muscles. To do these exercises, tighten the muscle you would use if you were trying to stop urine in midstream. Hold the contraction for two or three seconds, then release. Repeat 10 times. Try to do five sets a day. These exercises can be done anywhere—while driving, sitting at your desk, or standing in a checkout line. At home, women may use vaginal weights to add muscle resistance. Talk to your doctor or a sex therapist about where to get these and how to use them.

Try to relax. Do something soothing together before having sex, such as playing a game or going out for a nice dinner. Or try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or yoga.

Use a vibrator. This device can help a woman learn about her own sexual response and allow her to show her partner what she likes.

Don’t give up. If none of your efforts seem to work, don’t give up hope. Your doctor can often determine the cause of your sexual problem and may be able to identify effective treatments. He or she can also put you in touch with a sex therapist who can help you explore issues that may be standing in the way of a fulfilling sex life.

Maintaining good health

Your sexual well-being goes hand in hand with your overall mental, physical, and emotional health. Therefore, the same healthy habits you rely on to keep your body in shape can also shape up your sex life.

Exercise, exercise, exercise

Physical activity is first and foremost among the healthy behaviors that can improve your sexual functioning. Because physical arousal depends greatly on good blood flow, aerobic exercise (which strengthens your heart and blood vessels) is crucial. And exercise offers a wealth of other health benefits, from staving off heart disease, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer to improving your mood and helping you get a better night’s sleep. Also, don’t forget to include strength training.

Don’t smoke. Smoking contributes to peripheral vascular disease, which affects blood flow to the penis, clitoris, and vaginal tissues. In addition, women who smoke tend to go through menopause two years earlier than their nonsmoking counterparts. If you need help quitting, try nicotine gum or patches or ask your doctor about the drugs bupropion (Zyban) or varenicline (Chantix).

Use alcohol in moderation. Some men with erectile dysfunction find that having one drink can help them relax, but heavy use of alcohol can make matters worse. Alcohol can inhibit sexual reflexes by dulling the central nervous system. Drinking large amounts over a long period can damage the liver, leading to an increase in estrogen production in men. In women, alcohol can trigger hot flashes and disrupt sleep, compounding problems already present in menopause.

Eat right. Overindulgence in fatty foods leads to high blood cholesterol and obesity—both major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In addition, being overweight can promote lethargy and a poor body image. Increased libido is often an added benefit of losing those extra pounds.

Use it or lose it. When estrogen drops at menopause, the vaginal walls lose some of their elasticity. You can slow this process or even reverse it through sexual activity. If intercourse isn’t an option, masturbation is just as effective, although for women, this is most effective if you use a vibrator or dildo (an object resembling a penis) to help stretch the vagina. For men, long periods without an erection can deprive the penis of a portion of the oxygen-rich blood it needs to maintain good sexual functioning. As a result, something akin to scar tissue develops in muscle cells, which interferes with the ability of the penis to expand when blood flow is increased.

Putting the fun back into sex

Even in the best relationship, sex can become ho-hum after a number of years. With a little bit of imagination, you can rekindle the spark.

Be adventurous. Maybe you’ve never had sex on the living room floor or in a secluded spot in the woods; now might be the time to try it. Or try exploring erotic books and films. Even just the feeling of naughtiness you get from renting an X-rated movie might make you feel frisky.

Be sensual. Create an environment for lovemaking that appeals to all five of your senses. Concentrate on the feel of silk against your skin, the beat of a jazz tune, the perfumed scent of flowers around the room, the soft focus of candlelight, and the taste of ripe, juicy fruit. Use this heightened sensual awareness when making love to your partner.

Be playful. Leave love notes in your partner’s pocket for him or her to find later. Take a bubble bath together—the warm cozy feeling you have when you get out of the tub can be a great lead-in to sex. Tickle. Laugh.

Be creative. Expand your sexual repertoire and vary your scripts. For example, if you’re used to making love on Saturday night, choose Sunday morning instead. Experiment with new positions and activities. Try sex toys and sexy lingerie if you never have before.

Be romantic

Read poetry to each other under a tree on a hillside. Surprise each other with flowers when it isn’t a special occasion. Plan a day when all you do is lie in bed, talk, and be intimate. The most important tool you have at your disposal is your attitude about sexuality. Armed with good information and a positive outlook, you should be able to maintain a healthy sex life for many years to come.

Adapted with permission from Sexuality in Midlife and Beyond, a special health report published by Harvard Health Publishing.

Gender, sex and sexuality are all pretty complicated ideas – and definitely not as black and white as some people might think. The most important thing to realise is that you’re not defined by your sexuality or gender. You’re you, and that’s awesome.

To help us understand how these concepts are different from each other, and where they might overlap, Trans Student Educational Resources, an organisation in the US, has developed a handy graphic called ‘The Gender Unicorn’.

View a text version of this infographic.

The Gender Unicorn

The Gender Unicorn is designed to help us understand gender, sex and attraction (sometimes referred to as ‘sexuality’). You can see that some of the concepts have arrows next to them, and others just have dots. This is because some concepts are on a spectrum or range, while others are more fixed.

If you were to fill out this graphic, you would put an ‘X’ as far along the arrow as you feel is accurate for you, or an ‘X’ in the circle you identify with. Filling it out might help you get a better sense of how you feel about these parts of yourself.

Gender identity

On the image, you can see that gender identity has the rainbow symbol next to it, and that the unicorn is thinking about the symbol. This is because gender identity is inside us; it’s how we feel about our own gender.

We may have been taught that male and female are the only gender identities. This is the ‘binary’ view of gender. But actually, there are many different understandings of gender. If you don’t identify exclusively with being a male or a female, and instead feel like you fit somewhere between the two, you might identify with being ‘non-binary’. Many cultures have broader ideas around gender than just ‘male’ or ‘female’, and have done so for a very long time. Check out the two-spirit people in Native America, bakla in the Philippines and fa’afafine in Samoa.

How much do you feel like a man, a woman, or something else? This is your gender identity. This is a spectrum, because you could feel a little like a man, a lot like a woman, and maybe also a bit like something else. Or you could feel like none of these. That would make you agender, meaning that you don’t feel any of these gender identities fit you. That’s okay, too!

Gender expression

You can see that the green dots that symbolise ‘gender expression’ are outside the unicorn (i.e. not in its thoughts). This is because your gender expression is what’s visible about your gender to other people. How much do other people read you as masculine, feminine, a bit of both, something else, or perhaps nothing at all? This could depend on how you dress, walk, talk or act, or on your body shape. Some of your gender expression – like your haircut, clothing or makeup – could change from day to day.

Sex assigned at birth

When you were born, the doctor or midwife assigned you a sex based on your body’s physical characteristics. This is a fixed category that may be different from how your gender self-identity develops as you grow. Does your birth certificate say you’re male, female, or intersex or other? Most people are assigned ‘male’ or ‘female’ when they’re born, based on their external genitalia. Some people might be classified as ‘intersex’ (or something else) when their sex characteristics, chromosomes or hormones are a bit ambiguous and don’t fit neatly into what we designate as ‘male’ or ‘female’.

Physical and emotional attraction

Near where the unicorn’s heart would be are the orange and red hearts for physical and emotional attraction. These two have a lot of overlap, and generally represent parts of your sexuality or sexual orientation.

Physical attraction refers to the characteristics of a person that might make you physically or sexually attracted to them. Physical attraction can come from a variety of factors, including someone’s gender identity, gender expression, or the sex they were assigned at birth.

Emotional attraction relates to the characteristics of a person that might make you emotionally or romantically attracted to them. This can also come from a variety of factors, including gender identity, gender expression, or the sex they were assigned at birth.

Both physical and emotional attraction can also come from a lot of other places, like someone’s personality or even the things you have in common.

Some people might be attracted to the same gender as them (gay people and lesbians), and others might be attracted to people of the opposite gender to themselves (straight people).

Attraction is presented as a spectrum because some people (like bisexual or pansexual people) are attracted to multiple genders, and could be attracted to different genders in different ways, or to one gender more than another.

Many people find that these labels don’t fully explain their attractions. Some of these people might call themselves ‘queer’. Thinking of attraction as a spectrum allows us to fully explore our attractions without boxing them into a category that might not feel quite right.

Some people don’t feel any kind of physical attraction to other people, and that’s called being asexual. Similarly, aromantic describes those who don’t feel emotional attraction to people.

How do all these concepts overlap?

While the sex you were assigned at birth is a fixed category, your gender identity and gender expression could be a much more fluid combination of masculine/feminine and other genders. Some people, known as cisgender people, have a gender identity that matches the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender people have a gender identity that is different from the sex they were assigned at birth.

Hopefully, the Gender Unicorn helps to make things a little less confusing. Just remember: no matter what your gender identity is, or who you’re attracted to, you are enough, exactly as you are. You don’t have to fit a neat label. You can just be you.

This article was produced thanks to support from Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN.

Most of us swear we’ll do our part to avoid the dreaded bed death—and we mean it. But often it seems like everything else in our lives is working counter to that. Our jobs keep us busy or stressed (or both), our toddlers are exceptionally good at cockblocking, and sometimes it really is more important to catch up on what’s happening in Westeros than worry about reclaiming the throne in the bedroom.

If you’re looking to make sex a little more fun (or just a little more regular!) here are 9 tips for turning up the heat:

1. Go ahead and break out that calendar.
I know, I know, there’s almost nothing as unsexy as scheduling sex. Except for one thing: not having it. So even if blocking off Sunday night feels like it’s relegating your hook up to the same status as your laundry, sometimes it’s exactly what you need to reconnect. And after a month of being more intentional about intimacy, it’s amazing to see how much more often those spontaneous quickies seem to be happen.

2. Go away.
This doesn’t mean on a lavish resort vacation or to a pricey restaurant (though if that fits your budget, more power to you). But do go somewhere, because a change in scenery is a great way to get in the mood. Trade the in-laws landscaping for an overnight with your preschooler and check in to a local B&B, or hire a babysitter for three hours and skip the movie. Just remember to stay smart about where you do the deed, because you never know when a maniac state attorney with a vendetta against having any fun might make an example out of you.
3. Tweak your style.
Eva Mendes is super fab, but her advice about the perils of wearing sweatpants is total b.s. I’ve had sweats or yoga pants tugged hungrily off my body enough times to be very certain that someone can find you sexually attractive no matter how many days it’s been since you’ve showered (an envelope I am ALWAYS pushing). That being said, I am inclined to seek out sex with my husband if I’m dressed up for the evening. (Hey — hair and makeup is a time/labor investment, and if I’ve already gone through the trouble, I’d really like to maximize that effort in every way possible.) So whether it’s slipping out of or even into something a little more comfortable, change it up every now and again to help keep things fresh.

4. Tweak your, ahem, other style.
No need to jump the shark, but boning up (gotcha!) on a few new techniques can help reawaken things too. I’m not shy about touching myself in front of my husband, but the first time I did this while also giving him some, ah, attention, I wasn’t expecting to hear him whisper in breathy surprise that it was so hot to watch.

5. Do you.
While you’re scheduling sex, go ahead and block off some you-time. Whether it’s building in the minutes for an evening run, locking the bathroom door for a half hour to soak in the tub in peace, or putting time toward a passion project, self-care is an important part of feeling relaxed, sexy, and in the right head space for being turned on.

6. Do something together.
Intimacy begets intimacy, so schedule time together outside of the bedroom too. Bonus points if you can create an opportunity to view each other in a different light. Start a new routine like a post-dinner walk at sundown, take on a joint project like a backyard garden, or find a social event—like a lecture series or a club sport—to start doing together.

7. Do something separately too.
File this one under self-care: pursue a new hobby or event on your own. Autonomy is important—it takes the pressure off each partner and gives us a chance to miss and be missed. When my husband texts that he’s going to play ball with friends after work, I find myself almost immediately fantasizing about joining him in the shower once he gets home.

8. Talk about it.
Every session doesn’t have to end with SportsCenter-level analysis, otherwise we’d rightly boycott pillow talk forever. But cuddling while we catch our breath during that post-O glow is a perfect time to share our biggest turn-ons, suggest a new fantasy, or talk about what really got us going. Plus, sometimes all that talk might put you right back in the mood.

9. Forget about the end result, at least for awhile.
If it’s been longer between romps than both my husband and I would prefer (like, sometimes weeks! How does that even happen?!), the pressure to make sure we both get off is the one thing that can make sex feel most like a chore. Climaxing has (fortunately, I realize) never been super difficult for me, but that doesn’t mean navigating to that point can’t feel draining for each of us if that’s all we’re focusing on. When we’re giving ourselves over to feeling good and enjoying the present moment is also when we’re the most in sync—and the most likely to get there together.

3 Tips to Make Married Sex Fun Again

Keeping positive, sensual and exciting vibes flowing in my marriage and sex life is super important to me. (Duh. If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know that!) My sex life is truly the ‘playground’ where I go to cultivate connectedness and creativity with myself and my husband – it’s a key element to maintaining a happy, healthy, satisfied life.
But while freshness and flow often comes naturally in my relationship, sometimes it’s hard to maintain our mojo in the sex department. We’re just like everyone else in that area! A fight lingers and its effects trickle into the bedroom, a kid gets sick and our regular “sex schedule” gets off track, or we fall prey to the feeling that we’ve “tried it all” and bedroom boredom starts to creep in. No matter what the reason, all marriages – mine, included – fall into a sex rut from time to time. I know you feel me here…
Now, there’s no question, maintaining a hot sex life over the course of a monogamous, long-term marriage takes WORK — but you and I both know that it can be worth every ounce of effort. I want to stay married for the rest of my life, and happily so. And I know that a lifelong partnership depends on continually reinventing our connection, reinvigorating our mojo, and playing our way out of the ruts we all naturally fall into. We must commit and recommit ourselves to that process time and time again!

When you notice your relationship and sex life are feeling bogged down in boredom and stuck in the “tired parenting” zone, where obligatory once-a-week sex turns into once-a-month sex, I want you to be the leader and step it up. You can be the sensual force that takes action and leads your relationship back to a more tuned-in and turned-on place.

So, in today’s blog I share three tips for breaking out of a rut and making married sex fun again. Use these tools when you find yourself in a ‘blah’ run or dry spell with your partner to proactively move yourselves into a more connected, turned on, playful state of relationship. (Because, let’s not forget…Sex is fun!!)
Tip No 1: Acknowledge you’re in a rut.
The first step is to acknowledge the issue. Saying it out loud does wonders to clear the air and immediately makes space for change. Let your partner know you’re feeling the funk between you and that you want to want to work on it together. More than likely, he’ll feel relieved that you’re taking the lead.

Tell him you want to treat your sensual connection as if it’s a full-time job. Because, hey – it IS a full time job for the rest of your life if you want to stay happily married!
So, check in. Say, “Hey babe, our sex life feels like it’s in a rut and I want us to find our sexy connection again. Wanna talk about it?”
Then, be inquisitive and ask your partner questions – what’s going on in his life that you may not have noticed? What’s weighing heavily on his mind that might be affecting his sex drive? Is he stressed out at work? Trying to fend off a midlife crisis? Or, perhaps you’ve recently turned down several advances, so he’s stopped trying because he feels like he’s bugging you. So many things can create distractions and momentary ruts in a marriage, so be curious and don’t judge or react impulsively to what you hear. Just start to unlock the rut with genuine curiosity about your partner and some healthy conversation.

When you take the initiative to confront what’s happening and gently get to the bottom of what’s going on, you’ll easily see the rut for what it is — a brief blip, often devoid of deep meaning, and an opportunity for you to recommit, recharge, and jump back in the sack.

Tip No. 2: Start having more sex.
Sometimes, the sex gets boring and the dry spells grow longer… and then poof, you realize you’re only making love once every 3-4 weeks. It may even feel as if the passion has dried up and you’re unsure how to get started again. Perhaps you even begin to panic, thinking ‘OMG, I’m too young to have no sex life! This is the end! How are we going to stay married for another 50 years like this?!’

DON’T PANIC! It’s just a moment. The quick fix to jumpstart yourselves out of the rut is to just start having more sex — even if it’s more bad sex.

That’s right, a commitment to boost the frequency is going to move you into a new place. Try making out again. Move slowly and feel everything. Soften your heart, and make some space to rekindle the connection with the man you love. Then, soften up some more and lean in to the experience of sex without expectation.

After you get started, just be curious to see where it takes you. Have decent sex on a Monday. Then have better sex on a Wednesday. Then, have boring sex on a Friday. Then, epic sex on a Sunday.

When you’re finding your way out of the rut, it’s important to take the pressure off having intense, passionate sex every time. That’s just not realistic, and it’ll set you up to feel disappointed.

What you want to do is focus on finding a renewed frequency that’ll help you two find the FUN again. It’s the frequency that’ll make space for a variety of sexual “energies” to arise between you — one day heated, the next time tender, a few days later dirty and raw, then loving and spiritual. Catch my drift? Having all those ‘flavors’ together is FUN, and it helps you remember just how fun and connective sex can be. (If you’re only having sex once a week, there’s not enough opportunity to do that.)

So don’t make it harder than it has to be. There’s no need to go off the deep end or panic. Your sex life can pick up again just as easily as it dropped off. Just get back in motion, mama.

Tip No. 3: Try Something New
If you don’t feel you can use frequency to break out of your sex rut, instead focus on using variety to break up the stale vibe between you two.

Here are some examples…
If you usually lay in bed waiting for your spouse to make a move, switch it up and make a move on him first, before he can get to you.

If you usually find yourself reaching orgasm in a certain position every time, try experimenting with a different position and commit to finding your way to the Big O in a new way, even if it takes longer.

If you usually head to bed in a lacy chemise for sex? Try being naked instead. If you usually head to bed naked for sex, try throwing on a chemise!

The change doesn’t have to be wild or profound; even a subtle tweak to the routine can be enough to resuscitate your sexlife. And, by all means, if you think it’s time to be more adventurous, head down that path together. So try on a little something different, shake things up a bit, and take a fresh, imaginative look at all of the sensual possibilities there are to explore.

I hope these tips help you to play your way out of the next ho-hum run or dry spell in your sex life. Remember, your marriage will fall into a rut again and again over the course of a lifetime — especially when you’re juggling parenthood and all of the pressures that come along with it.

It’s important to recognize that ruts are perfectly normal, understand them for what they are, and continuously work to pull yourself out. Use this simple advice to reboot, refresh, and recharge your mojo and you’ll be feeling satisfied again in no time.

Feel free to leave comments below and let me know how these tools worked for you!

Now go have some sex, mama!

Every couple of months or so, the beau or I realize that sex has gotten a bit…routine (boring even). Sometimes one of us comes right out and says it. Other times, we introduce a new idea a la, “Hey want to try x?” And that’s the reality of long term relationships: balancing the intimacy of routine sex with finding ways to make sex fun again.

Maybe this sounds familiar to you. Sex looks the same, you’re bored, or you have a secret fantasy that you’re afraid to share.

If that’s you then I have two pieces of good news:

  1. You’re totally not alone
  2. There are so many awesome ways —from totally vanilla to a little kinkier — to have more fun in the bedroom!

10 Ways to Make Sex Fun (Again)

These tips are from Megan Andelloux‘s class Sex on Fire: How to Play in Bed.

  1. Remember that sex ebbs and flows like anything else. If you’re in the ‘ebb’ stage, try something outside your comfort zone. This will add both anxiety and excitement and help recapture the “thrill” you’re looking for.
  2. Take the time to learn how your body works. This helps decrease shame and nervousness during sex, in turn letting you enjoy it more. Get specific tips for learning your body and what brings you pleasure in my e-guide, Six Tips to Having the Orgasm You Desire. Grab your copy here.
  3. Grab a full-length mirror and watch yourself masturbate. This takes away the, “OMG what do I look like when I’m on top?!” nerves and helps you feel more comfortable (but hopefully not too comfortable) getting vulnerable with your sweetie.
  4. Fantasize while you masturbate. Otherwise its just self-soothing behavior. Which, obviously, is totally ok if that’s what you’re going for….
  5. Give analingus a shot. Rimming is apparently the most popular form of anal play. Bonus tip: anal orgasms are totally possible thanks to a fun little part of your body called the pudendal nerve. .
  6. Add toys! Not sure how to bring up the topic with your partner? Try talking to them in the car so you both can get distracted by the scenery. Broach the topic by linking it to a news story, book, or even this blog post. “Hey babe – did you know they did x in the book? I was thinking it might be fun to try. What do you think?”
  7. Try for a G-spot orgasm. A flat-headed toy like the Je Joue Uma is best because it can access all different types of G-spots. Yes- you read that right. There actually are three types of G-spots. The types are based on how the tissue is laid out.
  8. Make your We-Vibe work for you. Wear it while going down on your partner or during girl on top (cowgirl) position. Or any of these 11(!) ways.
  9. Make safe(r) sexy really fricking sexy by using silicone lube and an internal/female condom. Both help to enhance sensation while providing the best protection from both STIs and unintended pregnancy. This silicone lube is my favorite.
  10. If you struggle to orgasm, and masturbating and fantasizing haven’t helped, stick something up your butt! Just please make sure it’s something that’s meant to go up your butt. This is where that pudendal nerve comes in again. This amazing nerve carries sensation from your vulva (or penis), the skin around your booty and perineum (aka the t’aint), and some pelvic muscles. Its basically a powerhouse of feel-good sensations and orgasm potential.

Love these tips and looking for more and personalized ways to make your sex life fun again? See what we can do together.

How to make it feel like ur having sex?

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