There are those who would have you believe that the secret to a great sex life lies in expensive, complicated contraptions and accessories. Sure, a sex swing or a gold-plated anal plug (yes, they exist) might put some spice in the bedroom. But let’s be honest: They’re just objects, and while they might play a role in helping you find sexual fulfillment, there's a whole lot more to it than that. Like many things in life, the things that are essential to great sex come free of charge. Things like openness, complicity and self-love can never be boxed and bought, but that doesn't mean they're easy to come by. Here are 10 simple, free sex-enhancing tips I've learned. Do you have more? Send them our way!
Remember that first kiss with someone you really, really wanted in your bed? How electrifying it felt, how it made your body melt? Locking lips is more than a simple sign of sexual interest. According to research by psychologists and neuroscientists, kissing can transmit chemical and genetic information about the compatibility of partners, as well as increase oxytocin, the bonding hormone. The lesson: make out often and make out a lot! (Read more about the importance of locking lips in Why Kissing Counts.)
Love Your Body
If you hate your body, it isn't going to perform for you, no matter what kind of moves your lover has. That's why those who love their bodies have more dates, more pleasurable sex and longer-lasting relationships, experts say. Learning to love your body, its miraculous existence and all the amazing sensations and pleasures it provides can radically affect how good sex feels. It isn't easy, but it's a lot better than the alternative. (Get more food for thought about body image and sex in Worried About Weight? How to Have Spectacular Sex Anyway.)
Take a Walk
Aside from the obvious sexual benefits of exercise, taking a walk with your partner reconnects you to your body, your spirit and each other. There is something magical about walking on a forest trail that our urban lives often allow us to forget. Plus, a long walk will give you time to discuss issues and concerns more openly and therefore feel more connected and loving. And when two people are open and connected to each other, the sex gets better almost instantly.
Say "I Love You"...and Mean It
Expressions of love come in different forms, but saying it out loud takes courage, especially the first time. But no matter whether it’s the first or the thousandth time, a heartfelt and honest "I love you" will always matter to your partner. It shows that you are willing to open up and be vulnerable around him or her. Do you have to be in love to have great sex? Maybe not, but openness and vulnerability are serious catalysts for an amazing sex life.
Ask For What You Want
Ladies, it’s time we have a talk about pornography and Hollywood movies: They’re not like real life. OK. So you probably knew that ... at least sort of, but what you may not know is that it's OK to speak up and tell your partner what you want him to do to you. A guy who cares about you will care about your satisfaction and pleasure, but everyone needs a reminder. Ask. You have the right to be satisfied too. Of course, this also applies to guys. Women aren't mind-readers either!
Your sexual satisfaction isn't in your partner's hands, it's in yours. Learning how to pleasure yourself is the first step to teaching someone else how to pleasure you. And regular masturbation is a sign of a good sex appetite, among other health and relationship benefits. It’s easier to love and appreciate your body when you know it well!
Unless there’s a secret experiment somewhere that has unlocked humankind's telepathic abilities, nobody is a mind reader. That leaves us all to figure things out the good old fashioned way: By asking questions. This applies to sex too. Whether you ask a question to your partner or to a sex expert, you’ll be sure to learn something new. And when it comes to sex, who wants to be left in the dark?
Laughter is the best...sexual aid. According to a 2001 study, partners who laugh together are able to establish or restore a "positive emotional climate," a sense of connection and pleasure in each other's company. And, of course, pleasure in each other's company can lead to pleasure in bed.
Accept Sex as a Healthy, Normal Thing
There are many social forces that would have you believe that sexuality is a shameful, unclean part of human life. But nothing is further from the biological and psychological truth. It's really a natural, healthy, pleasurable part of human life. Sex is part instinct, part biological imperative and part psychological release mechanism. Who hasn’t been cranky or physically tense when their sex life isn’t as active as they wish? If you accept sex as a natural and healthy part of your life, you’ll enjoy it - and maybe life - a lot more.
Better sex is simple, but that doesn't make it easy. In many cases, it takes time, work and perhaps even a little self analysis. Once you've put in the hard work, go ahead and reward yourself with a toy or two (or that gold butt plug, if that's your thing). It can't hurt. Just don't expect to get true sexual fulfillment as part of your order.