Having good sex – and having it regularly – is less about studying every position in the kama sutra and more about remembering the basics. When you’re overwhelmed by the pressures of life outside the bedroom, it’s easy to forget some of the simple things you can do to keep things exciting between the sheets (and wherever else you might be getting your kicks).
Be Physically Prepared
This doesn’t mean you need to be ripped like a champion triathlete to satisfy your partner. In fact, it has nothing to do with aesthetics. The truth is, sex can be a pretty intense physical activity, and you need the energy, control, and endurance to perform.
Be Mentally Prepared
Nothing derails your sex life like stress and anxiety. In much the same way that you need to take care of your body, you need to take care of your mind, too. Confidence is key to enjoying yourself—and to pleasuring your partner. Your sex life thrives when your mind and body are clicking on all cylinders.
Figure Out What You Want
This one might be obvious—but search a little deeper and ask yourself: what do I really want in bed? We’re told to want a lot of things – by pop culture, by society, by other people – but unless you set your own expectations for what constitutes good sex, you’re never going to find it. The best part is, with a consenting partner, there’s really no wrong answer to this question.
Figure Out How You Want It
Knowing our bodies, and knowing what they respond to, is something we learn pretty early on as we begin exploring our sexuality. But bodies change—and so do the things that turn them on. Having a healthy sex life requires a healthy curiosity about what gets you going—and a willingness to experiment to figure it out.
Openness and honesty are the lynchpins of great sex. You might be planning a romantic rendezvous with a longtime partner, or you might find yourself in an intimate situation with someone new—either way, candor will take you to the next level and keep you safe by establishing limits.
Communication isn’t just words—your partner responds to all sorts of nonverbal clues, from the shivers and shudders of your body to the flush and firmness of your erogenous zones, to the sound and pace of your breathing. And so should you. Pay close attention to the directions your partner may not even know they’re giving you. Just remember the wise words of Sting and The Police: “every breath you take, I’ll be watching you.”
Set the Scene
“Where” matters just as much as “what” and “how”—whether you’re setting the mood with lighting and props or adding a little variety to your sex life by exploring different locations, finding a space that enhances (and doesn’t detract) from your pleasure is key.
Get Your Timing Down
Face it—the mood isn’t always right (as much as you sometimes might want it to be). Understanding your own rhythms – from your hormones to the circadian clock that regulates your sleep (which, studies have shown, can affect your libido) – can help you make good sex consistent.
The term “safe sex” has long been associated with contraception and protection, but the notion of safety in your sex life should expand far beyond that. Feeling anxious or uncertain is a totally natural part of being intimate—but feeling in danger isn’t. So make sure that your partner knows they can trust you, and that their consent is your highest priority.
Much of the time, especially when you’re single, sex comes at you fast: you’re in the middle of it before you know it. To make sure that good sex is a regular part of your life (and not just something that happens when you have time to get everything in order) live by the code of the Boy Scouts and always be prepared. Daily life isn’t perfect, but that doesn’t mean your sex life can’t be.