We’ve all seen the lists of top resolutions: vows to lose weight, save money, exercise more. But what about your sex life? Sexual desire and pleasure don’t just improve on their own. You need to put time and effort into having a great sex life, just as you might put time and effort into having a great party or planning a weekend getaway.
With that in mind—and from a decade of observation of couples in my sex therapy practice in Newport Beach—here are my top 10 tips for a better sex life:
- Schedule sex. I realize that doesn’t sound romantic, but consider that if you plan to see a concert with your partner, it doesn’t make the event any less exciting. If you have trouble fitting sex into your life, put it into the calendar.
- Flirt. This is a way to build anticipation so that when you have sex on the scheduled day and time, it comes from a place of connection and fun. Say naughty things, leave a sexy sweet note by the breakfast plate, or compliment your partner’s best features or qualities to keep the pilot lit.
- Make out. This seems to be a lost art. Many people get right to having sex early in relationships. Why not have a kissing session that leads to a long, satisfying hug and a good night’s sleep? You will leave your partner wanting more, and that can be a good thing!
- Mix it up. I am always amazed at how many people really do have sex in the same way, in the same place, every single time. Resolve to have sex in another room of the house, to try a new position, or to switch up the usual order you do things in. You don’t have to get crazy, just don’t make your sex life like a perpetual rerun.
- Communicate. If there’s something about your sex life that hasn’t been working for you, speak up. If your partner is telling you something about your sex life, listen. Believe your partner if he or she says they are bored. If you are the one who is bored, say something. You can’t expect things to get better on their own. Plus, no one can read your mind!
- Understand your own body. It’s okay to explore your own body so that you can tell your partner what you like best. It’s okay to give yourself pleasure so that you know how your body works.
- Use lube. Too many people use the amount of lubrication a woman has as an indicator that they find their partner attractive. That doesn’t work. Why? Because all kinds of things, from hormonal change, to stress, to medications can make lubrication iffy. So grab that tube or bottle and use it to make sex more comfortable.
- Rest. Do you find yourself stating, “I’m just too tired for sex!” Then get some rest. Your body cannot renew its energy without a minimum of 6 hours of consolidated sleep every night—and 7 or 8 hours of sleep are better.
- Eat properly. See number 8, above. A diet of junk food will sap your health. Choose to eat fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean protein whenever possible and see your sexual energy rebound.
10. Exercise. The research proves that it’s true: People who are fit have fewer problems with sex. Currently the suggestion is to get a minimum of a 30 minute walk daily. You don’t have to be a Greek god or goddess, you just have to have pep and stamina to stay sexually healthy.
Look over the list and choose one or two things to work on that you believe will bring the biggest change. Select a target date, say a month or two, to check in and see how you are doing. If you are doing okay but think you need more improvement to make sex better, either stick with what you are doing and do more of it, or add in another suggestion. Find the combination of things that will make sex better for you in the new year!