No matter how long you’ve been boo’d up — a few weeks, several months, a couple years and some change — puttin’ it down right is always #goals.
But if you’re just starting out, you may feel a little anxious about how to satisfy your partner (and how to help them satisfy you). And, if you’ve been together for a while already, you may be worried things have gotten a little too routine.
To help you fan the metaphorical flames of a fire sex life, we’ve rounded up a go-to list of sex tips sure to spark the mood during any relationship stage.
1. Add a dash of Salt-N-Pepa
Yes, exactly as in the old-school rap group. “Let’s talk about sex, baby” is a must — whether it’s sex for the first time with a new partner or a periodic check-in with your longtime love.
“The most important thing any couple can do is take inventory of where they are in the present as it pertains to their sexual desires, needs and boundaries. Having regular conversations about expectations for sexual interaction, what’s needed to feel ready for sex and the forms of intimacy that help deepen connection are critical to maintaining a healthy and vibrant sex life,” says Tyomi Morgan, a certified sexologist and pleasure coach. “When couples make sexual pleasure a priority and check in often, falling into a routine is less likely.”
2. Switch Things Up
“When sex is practiced in the same way repeatedly, boredom sets in. When boredom strikes, irritation begins to rise, and disconnection ensues,” says Morgan. “Trying new things regularly evokes the spirit of spontaneity, which allows a flexing of the erotic imagination. The more eroticism is engaged, the easier it becomes for couples to play, explore, and expand sexually.”
The most obvious way to switch things up is to try some new positions à la Kama Sutra. (And according to Morgan, there are over 365 ways for bodies to be combined in intimate positions!) But, if that’s not your vibe, you can also test drive other things like sex toy play and/or an exploration of kink.
3. Remember the Foreplay
The key word here is “play.” It’s meant to be a thrilling appetizer — that should never be rushed through — prior to the main (inter)course. It can include things like kissing (and not just on the lips), heavy petting, watching an adult film together, oral sex, and sexting, among other things, and it helps get your mind and body aroused and ready for penetration. But, foreplay doesn’t have to lead to penetrative sex — “outercourse,” as it’s called, can be an entire sexually satisfying experience in itself.
4. Curate a Sexy Playlist
Often, sex is focused on heightening our senses of touch, sight, and smell (whew, what a dash of the right cologne or perfume will do!), but don’t sleep on your sense of hearing when it comes to those intimate moments. It’s a little like dirty talk set to a beat, and when you press play, you’ll be turning on much more than just the music.
5. Attend a Sex Convention
“Going to sex conventions like Exxxotica can help educate couples about the plethora of options that are available to them as far as sex toys and sexual assistance are concerned,” says Morgan. At these types of events, you can learn about different sexual lifestyles (think: swinging and fetishes), check out burlesque and male strip shows, meet porn stars, get the latest on sexual health, and learn even more tips and tricks to try out in the bedroom.
6. Take a Sex Break
We know, it sounds totally antithetical to the entire point of this article, but stay with us. For some couples, pressing pause on P in V (or other penetrative) action could be the reset they need. In a recent Instagram post, feminist sex and dating coach Myisha Battle reveals she sometimes recommends this to partners who stress about how much — or how little — sex they’re having. “The relief that my clients feel is sometimes astounding, as they shift their focus away from physical intimacy to reconnecting with each other and doing things individually that make each of them happy,” she says.
7. Get Some Expert Help
Tried all of the above and it still feels like you and your partner are out of synch? You may need some assistance from a sex therapist to help rebuild your connection. “A good sex therapist can help you build confidence in your sexual skills and develop new techniques, but also help you recognize that sex is about so much more than ‘performance,’” writes Dr. Joe Kort in this article for Psychology Today. “Sex therapy can help you learn tips for managing anxiety in the moment and staying mentally present during sex, which are just as important as sexual technique.”