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Whether you’re single or dating, have been in a relationship for five minutes, five years, or five decades, you’ve probably got some fairly ingrained go-to patterns for sex and intimacy—tried and tested ways of connecting that you feel comfortable with or that you know you and your partner enjoy.
When you want to have better sex, where do you start? What do you change?
Some of these ideas might seem a little counterintuitive, but, trust me, they can revolutionize your experience of sex and intimacy:
1. Stop Having “Sex”
A piece of homework I give to a lot of the couples who come to me for sex coaching sessions is “Do not have sex for at least one week.” Some of them look at me as if to say, “What? That’s our current situation—we’re stuck and we’re not having sex, and we want to change that. Are you mad, Libby?!”
This highlights one of the (I think) biggest myths about intimacy: that sex equals penetration with the result or goal of ejaculation and peak orgasm. So, if you only have this one-track approach to sex, of course it’s going to feel like you’re failing if that doesn’t happen on a regular basis.
This first tip is about exploring intimacy without the standard goalposts, letting go of the habits, assumptions, and patterns. Put the brakes on and explore without the need to achieve an outcome. What can also happen here is that, when you take away the pressure of having to have sex, you can explore with more freedom and playfulness.
So, this might look like an evening of just kissing—nothing else allowed. Remember when you were a teenager and you’d snog and make out for what seemed like hours? Explore that place; make love to each other with your kisses, clothes on, and nothing more allowed. This can get so hot and steamy, or really vulnerable and tender.
On day two, it might evolve into touch focused on one area of the body (specifically non-genital touch). You might notice that your sexual energy builds; denial and limits can be such a turn-on! The challenge is to not cave in, to not just go for the instant gratification.
The key factor here is to explore something simple every day, without the pressure or habit of that “cock in pussy” goal. You’ll find you have to get a bit creative, and you have to use some self-control but also some self-motivation to try something new.
2. Stop Having Peak Orgasms
Remember the 2002 film “40 Days and 40 Nights,” where Josh Hartnett’s character chooses to abstain from any sexual contact for the duration of Lent? He ends up discovering a whole new experience of sex, relationship, and life.
Contrary to the plot of that film, though, I’m going to encourage you to stay connected to your sexual energy (although abstaining for the first three to five days can be helpful in keeping you out of the “danger zone”).
Get as down and dirty as you want. Just don’t ejaculate or orgasm on your clitoris. Simple.
Rewiring your approach to pleasure in this way is incredibly powerful. For men in particular, this can be an absolute game changer. Retaining sexual energy in this way gives you more vitality, more discipline, and more presence with your partner. It can also have hugely positive effects on erectile dysfunction issues and premature ejaculation issues.
For women, when we stop squeezing and contracting into the thin corridor of pleasure that is clitoral orgasm, there can be amazing experiences of tension release in the pelvis, vaginal walls, and cervix, opening up a whole new world of orgasmic sensation in the body.
This tantric practice also creates a massively important shift in how we have sex. Instead of sex being something that we do to “get something” (i.e., an orgasm), it becomes an act where our shared intention is to surrender and open each other to the divine. Rather than sex being essentially two people using each other to masturbate to a finish line, we open up the potential to discover each other in radical new ways.
3. Have Better Solo Sex
Regardless of whether you’re in a relationship or not, changing the way you masturbate can change your (sex) life. If you are comfortable experimenting, playing, and challenging habits in your relationship to your own body and sexual pleasure, then it becomes much easier to apply the same approach to sex with a partner.
Take time each week for some solo sex. Take some space and privacy and give yourself a massage, take a bath, play with a new toy, focus on exploring different sensations in one area of your body, practice experimenting with how you breathe, what sounds and noises you can do to enhance your experience of sensation, what moving your body or taking different positions can do for your orgasmic pleasure.
If you’ve never tried it before, I’d highly recommend a shared masturbation session with a willing partner. This can be intensely vulnerable, intimate, edgy, and arousing. You might learn a thing or two about the way your partner likes to be touched by witnessing him/her during masturbation, and vice versa. The intention is not necessarily to “perform” for the other, but to be present with your own pleasure in the presence of another. To honor and acknowledge each other as sexual beings, free from shame or judgment.
These are just three simple options to start playing and experimenting with. Choose to focus on one, or try them all.
Better sex starts today.