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