Hot, spicy, and a little messy: If that more accurately describes the pizza you ordered in on Saturday night than your sex life, it could be time for an intimacy overhaul. And no, we’re not talking expensive lingerie or cliché sexy texts. These 8 quick-and-dirty tips are simple enough to implement now, but still wonderfully effective.
1. Breathe deeply.
Anyone who’s caught herself thinking about her inbox or the laundry left overnight in the washer knows that great sex often depends on your frame of mind—and that’s before it even begins. “To get into the right headspace, breathe into your whole body,” says sex coach Patti Britton, PhD. “Notice shallow breathing in your upper chest region and then breathe consciously, moving the breath into your lower body. Now, think about something sexy that has turned you on in the past: a great time in bed, the way you felt on a first date. Focus your attention on that and imagine it happening again in the moment.” Poof: suddenly you’re in the mood.
2. Go silent.
Take a flashlight to bed. Stay with us—it’s for you to direct him once the lights are off. Keep conversation to a bare minimum and use the light to guide your partner to the area of your body that you’d like to explore, before moving the trail along. Relying on something other than your voices will heighten all of your other senses.
3. Read to each other.
No, we’re not talking about the newspaper. Get into bed (wine, and clothes optional) and take turns reading a paragraph each out of an erotic book…until you have to put it down. We love Sweet Confessions: Erotic Fantasies for Couples or the classic Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. Turning to books will take the pressure off you and your man to initiate sex—and will probably give you some brand new ideas to try (including some new sex positions).
4. Start flirting again.
Remember those early butterflies? Inject the same energy back into your longterm relationship by indulging in a little shameless flirting. “Compliments are the appetizers to good sex—and they don’t have to be on appearance. Just showing that you’ve appreciated something small is a powerful way to create a sexy environment,” says Shannon Chavez, PhD, a sex and relationships therapist. “Try using a new tone, too—a soft, sultry voice or a whisper in the ear. Finally, flirting is fun when it’s least expected. Surprise your partner with suggestive notes that you hide in his dresser, on the mirror, or in a coat pocket that he’ll find later that day.”
5. Pull a bait-and-switch.
Take control of the remote tonight and insist on watching a new documentary together (perhaps you’ve heard there’s a fascinating one about the migratory flight of seabirds on Netflix?). Instead, turn on an erotic film and try to keep a straight face as you watch his reaction.
6. Work out (downstairs).
Consider kegel exercises gym time for your sex life, say Patricia Johnson and Mark Michaels, co-authors of Partners in Passion. “Focusing on and exercising the muscles of your pelvic floor will connect you with the source of your sexual power.” Here’s how: First, identify your pubococcygeus (PC) muscles by stopping the flow of urine mid-stream. Later, bring your attention to your pelvic floor. Inhale, imagining that your inhalation begins deep inside your pelvis. Take five or six deep breaths, then squeeze your PC muscles and release them. Try doing three sets of 10 pulses three times a day—you can do them sitting at traffic lights or while washing dishes—and increase the numbers gradually. “Then try them during sex,” advises Johnson and Michaels. “It can be a delightful way to add new sensations to the same old positions.”
7. Get competitive.
A little healthy competition can do wonders for your sex drive because it makes you see your partner in a new (and often animalistic) light. Challenge him to a game of cards, basketball, or even a board game and mix him a cocktail while you’re at it. The key to making this X-rated? Up the stakes: Whoever wins gets whatever he or she wants in the bedroom when the game is done.
8. Find a new erogenous zone.
Once you learn what works, having sex can feel like you’re on autopilot. Instead, pay a quick visit to a now-neglected area, say Johnson and Michaels. For example, “the nape of the neck holds a lot of erotic power. Touching there is relaxing and soothing, intimate and sensual.” And don’t forget the coccyx. Yes, the coccyx. “That’s where a grouping of nerves that serve the genitals and lower pelvis are located, and they play a part in orgasmic response. Tuck a finger into the very top of the cleft between the buttocks, and apply gentle pressure. Or try gentle tapping and caressing during sex—this will send vibrations and nerve impulses into the genital region and through your partner’s body.”