Medically reviewed by Jill Johnson, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 7/10/2021
Some people will say that any sex is good sex, but if you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you know that from time to time, it’s important to spice things up and try new things.
Sex isn’t everything in a relationship, but keeping sex exciting, fun and enjoyable for you and your partner means putting in the work, and not doing the same thing day in and day out.
Whether things in your bedroom are on their way to good, or on their way to great, there are a few simple tricks you can employ to take things to the next level.
The good news is that none of our tricks require acrobatics. In fact, some of them don’t require any athleticism at all. It’s all fairly straightforward stuff.
There’s nothing wrong with having a “routine” sex life, and it’s important to start this discussion from that base.
If both partners are enjoying the same thing or things every time, then maybe your intimate relationship doesn’t need additional spicing up.
But sometimes, our sexual partnerships may need a bit of spring cleaning or sprucing up for a few reasons.
A common reason for trying new things is that the excitement (and frequency) about the status quo declines.
If you’re having less frequent or less enjoyable sex, it’s normal to wonder if things could be better. But the numbers suggest that a “normal” sex life isn’t as great as we think.
One study found that 15.2 percent of men aged 18 to 89 self reported that they had not had sex in the past year, and more than eight percent of men in the same study had not had sex in five or more years.
That percentage didn’t change based on whether or not a man was in a relationship or single.
Another study showed that about 16 percent of relationships in the U.S. could be considered sexless.
This is important to know because, chances are, if you’re having sex at all, you’re statistically in the middle of the population. Not too shabby, eh?
Less frequent and less exciting sex is a complicated topic to try and quantify, but there are some common trends among people who reported not enjoying intimacy with a partner.
Men tended to present bad communication, a sense of entitlement, self doubt and a false conflation of love and sex as the primary issues.
It’s common to feel that a lack of sex means your partner doesn’t love you, or that a lack of good sex is a judgement on you or your skills.
For women, bad sex was associated with anxiety, feelings of abnormality or inadequacy and a sense of obligation.
Resentment and anxiety can build over feeling obligated to perform, particularly when you’re self-conscious about your body or the experience.
In all cases, these issues represent themes of sexual inadequacy, unnecessary pressure on sexual performance, and avoidant tendencies toward addressing the problem.
Whether this describes you or not, the foundational pillar of communication is something we could all put more energy into.
That involves communicating, but also making space for your partner to communicate their needs and concerns.
Doing that will enable both of you to take things to the next level (and employ the following tricks for spicing things up).
So what do you do to make things better?
Part of the solution is accepting that this may not be a problem you can fix with one conversation.
“Confronting” your partner with communication isn’t likely to achieve much more than additional conflict, and neither of you is going to get much satisfaction from a high-tension fight.
The good news is that, armed with this new communication tool, you have most of what you need to begin supportively and lovingly discussing these concerns with a partner.
Getting back to business means it’s time to show that you care by putting new effort into your encounters, and there are several ways you can do that.
If you’re looking for ways to spice things up, it may be time for an advanced class for fun. Your first assignment? A group project.
Exploring sex together through reading and videos can help you and your partner find new things to try and become more comfortable sharing with one another judgement free.
Hitting the books before hitting the sheets is a great way to become better informed as well, which can go a long way in foundation building for the things you want to try down the road.
Speaking of construction projects, building stamina is a great way to increase pleasure and enjoyment in the bedroom.
Lifting some weights might be great for a few positions, but there’s one exercise that’s great for every position: kegels.
For both men and women, kegels are arguably the best exercise to help you improve control, endurance and other traits that can make for better sex.
A kegel is an exercise in which you clench the muscle you would normally use to stop urinating — the goal is to clench them for two or three seconds, for 10 reps, several times a day.
New positions are a great way to spice things up, but you don’t have to be a contortionist to find enjoyable angles. It might be as simple as changing who is on top.
Different positions can stimulate different erogenous zones for both partners, and you can unlock deeper forms of pleasure by focusing more attention on erogenous zones like the G-spot and prostate.
Not everything may feel great to you or your partner. The key is to keep trying new stuff until you find some things that work for both of you.
Toys, toys, toys are your friends. Forget whatever toxic stigma is associated with finding pleasure sans accessories, because using toys to up your game is the way to go.
Modern technological toys (like this penis vibrator) can enhance pleasure for both you and your partner during intercourse.
Communicating fantasies is harder than it should be, even though ultimately it’s the key to our desires.
You know that telling your partner about the roleplay in your head might get them in the mood, but what’s stopping you is the fear of rejection that might also result.
We all know that feeling.
Luckily there are ways to build trust and open dialogues about these things without just popping the question.
Start with some recreational viewing: a movie scene, a clip from PornHub or some erotica might set the stage for you to bring it up — or for them to get the message without you having to.
Speaking of setting the stage, it’s important to make sure that, if you’re expecting your partner to be judgement free and supportive of your vulnerability, you’re offering them the same safe space.
Your partner is an individual, and like you, they have fantasies, needs and days when they’re just not in the mood.
Not being in “the mood” can be a result of bigger issues, like anxiety or depression — it can also happen more as you age.
Understand also that, even if there’s nothing wrong, sometimes your partner may just not be in the moment, as a result of distractions or performance anxiety, which is why it’s sometimes a good idea to find a quiet and comfortable place to be intimate.
Remember: your partner is more than a sexual being. They’re not a machine.
Things happen, fellas. Problems like premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction can wreak havoc on your sex life, your confidence, and the relationships you care so much about. And they’re not going away unless you address them.
Luckily, help is available to those who seek it.
These medications, known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, have been around for decades, and in addition to lifestyle changes they’re the safe and effective way to get your member back in action.
Addressing these problems may force you to talk about some uncomfortable things with a healthcare professional, but remember that you’re not just getting treated for your own problem — you’re getting treated for the happiness of both you and your partner.
It makes sense to bring things full circle back to communication, because it’s inherent for success in all of the other items on this list.
Communication is deeply linked to sexual satisfaction, according to plenty of research.
And likewise, research has shown that bad communication results in less satisfaction (and fewer orgasms).
Communication is also powerfully important for each partner’s comfort, particularly if painful sex disorders are a part of your partner’s life or your own.
In these cases, communication is important in foreplay, ensuring adequate lubrication, and checking on the comfort of your partner during penetration.
Hopefully some of these tips and suggestions will help you elevate your game for your partner’s benefit and your own. But before you head off to try them out, we have a few parting thoughts.
First, it’s important to remember that sex isn’t about checking new things off a list. Sex is about intimacy, connection, and shared pleasure.
While a nice new battery-powered device might give you some of that, novelty items aren’t a substitute for the real thing.
Good sex isn’t about novelty, ether. It’s about how you and your partner feel together — before, during and after.
Feeling good may mean different things for both of you, and that’s okay. But what will benefit you and your partner equally is you, loving and taking care of your own body and your own self.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your sex life, the intimacy issues you may be having might have a root in physical or emotional issues that you need to face.
Talking to someone about performance anxiety, premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction is hard. It’s difficult to be that vulnerable, particularly with a healthcare professional.
If you’re struggling with taking that first step, though, consider your partner. Perhaps the risk you need to take — the new thing you need to try — is expressing that vulnerability and taking care of yourself.
Chances are you’ll receive a double benefit: you’ll learn how to deal with any problems you may be having, and you’ll also demonstrate to your partner that they’re worth the effort.
What a turn-on that would be.
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