Totally doable (wink, wink).
A few weeks back, we told you about six things you can’t change about your sex life, and we encouraged an attitude of serenity and acceptance. But luckily there are plenty of things that you can change about your sex life, too!
Here are fifteen to get you started…
1. Your sexual IQ.
Bodies don’t come with instruction manuals, but that’s no excuse for not knowing how your parts work. The better you know your body — and your partner’s — the better you’ll understand your sexual responses, i.e. what does it for each of you. Start with the anatomy chapter of SEX: How to Do Everything by yours truly and then get tinkering.
2. How slippery things get.
It’s not always the case that the more turned on a woman is, the wetter she’ll be. Myriad factors affect a woman’s natural lubrication, including age, time of the month, medications, hydration… So rest assured, it’s not “cheating” to use a high quality water-based or silicone-based lubricant to help slick things up.
Just avoid using lubes that are made of oil or contain glycerin, as these can lead to infection which can affect the way a woman smells and tastes down there (see #3 below).
3. The way you smell and taste down there.
The vagina’s pH balance can sometimes get knocked askew, and the three main causes are douching, sperm, and over-washing with regular soap. Help the vagina by eating lots of yogurt and using a natural, barely scented, hypoallergenic soap with a low pH value to help restore the balance.
The jury is still out on whether foods can make a difference (for both women and men), though there is strong anecdotal evidence that citrus fruits (especially pineapple), strawberries and cinnamon are good influences while asparagus, garlic, coffee, booze, and vitamins are bad. Fruit salad, anyone?
If you notice a persistent bad odor, see your doctor, as this could indicate a vaginal infection.
4. How sexy safer sex is.
Don’t think of condoms as unfortunate necessities, think of them as hot sex accessories! Spend a few more cents and invest in some high-quality condoms that fit him right, are thinner, and have interesting textures for her — yes, she should pick them out. Take some of that lube you’re using for her and put a drop inside the condom for him.
Instead of taking a break from the action while he puts the condom on, make it part of the action: she straddle his thighs, slowly and carefully unwraps the condom, and then puts it on him with lots of teasing strokes. Hey, you have to use hands to get it on, so you might as well make the most of it!
5. How often you want it.
Your libido is like a muscle — the more you use it, the stronger it will be. A study conducted by the Berman Center for sexual health in Chicago found that women who use sex toys regularly experience higher levels of sexual desire. So, ladies: Keep your favorite vibe in your nightstand drawer and make sure you’re working out with it regularly to avoid having a flabby sex drive.
6. How your body looks and feels.
Speaking of flab: hitting the Stairmaster and cutting out the junk food won’t necessarily turn you into Gisele/Magic Mike (sigh), but it will definitely help you feel better about your body, which will help you feel better about getting naked, which will help your sex life.
7. How sexy you feel.
Stimulating all of your senses can heighten your sexual response. Think, chocolate for your sense of taste, soft sexy music for your sense of hearing, orange blossom incense for your sense of smell, silk for your sense of touch, and doing it in front of a mirror for your sense of sight.
You could also try lingerie, erotica, and sensual body lotion after a bath — there’s something so decadent about running lotion over your entire body. After that, it’d be a waste not to sleep naked!
8. How focused you are.
Here’s how to focus your mind on sex, so you don’t end up thinking about the argument your had with your boss instead (and this goes especially for the ladies, who are more prone to a lack of focus): Make your bedroom a sacred space for sex — that means no laptop, no TV, and no piles of dirty laundry or work files.
If you find your mind wandering, force yourself to watch the action and focus on how each thing feels. You could even describe out loud — in your best sexy voice — the sensations you’re feeling, to help keep you present. We’re guessing your partner would appreciate not only the dirty talk, but the feedback, too!
9. The likelihood of her having an orgasm during sex.
Don’t be one of those women who settles for mediocre sex, and don’t accept this for your partner, either. Increase the amount of time you spend teasing each other; let her have an orgasm on her own first to make sure her naughty bits are fully aroused; use intercourse positions and techniques that work for her (for example, slow and steady with lots of body contact); use a vibrating love ring during intercourse; forget intercourse all together and use your hands or mouth — that still counts as sex!
Basically, don’t just lie idly by and accept that she won’t have an O — take control of the situation!
10. The amount of romance in your relationship.
Recent studies have shown that (1) kissing boosts the bonding chemical oxytocin in guys; (2) using pet names can increase your relationship satisfaction; and (3) doing new and novel activities together as a couple can make you feel like you’re falling in love all over again. So ask your Schmoopie to go skydiving and give them a big, sloppy kiss when you land!
11. Who you sleep with…in your head.
Psychotherapist Brett Kahr conducted the largest ever study of sexual fantasy for his book, Who’s Been Sleeping in Your Head? and found that 26% of women use fantasies in order to become more stimulated during sex with their partners — and not much turns a guy on more than knowing his partner is turned on.
In addition, the “intra-marital affair,” as Kahr calls it, is incredibly common: according to his book, 90 percent of all adults will think about someone else during sex with their partners at some point. So if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!
12. How high-tech your love life is.
Don’t be a luddite — technology is your friend in the bedroom. Get a head-start on foreplay by sending each other sexy texts from the office; indulge your inner exhibitionist and voyeur by making your own private porno; get naughty ideas by browsing sex toy sites like GoodVibes.com together; get a wireless headset for your cellphone so that phone sex doesn’t give you a neck cramp.
13. When you first have sex with a new partner.
If you really like someone, why rush into sex on the first night? Don’t wait just because we said so — researchers at University College London agree with us. They found that the longer you wait to consummate a relationship, the more likely that relationship is to last. The study also showed that men who can put the brakes on are more reliable than those who can’t.
So, ladies: think of the delayed gratification as a handy litmus test for whether or not he’s relationship material.
14. The habit you and your long-term partner have fallen into.
Sexual ruts are addictive because comfort feels good. But tapping into your XXX-rated imagination — trust us, it’s there — can feel even better. Do it in the living room instead of the bedroom; ask your partner to dress up like your favorite rock star; or act out the refrigerator scene from 9 1/2 Weeks.
15. The temperature in the room.
Turn up the heat — and not just because it’s nicer getting naked when you’re not worried about goose bumps. Believe it or not, research actually shows that a warmer room can make your orgasm stronger!
This article was originally published at Em & Lo. Reprinted with permission from the author.