Sexual Health: 12 Tips for Better Sex

Every orgasm releases a flood of the hormone oxytocin, which improves your mood.

Why a Good Sex Life Is Healthy

Sex isn't just fun. It's good for you too. Every orgasm releases a flood of the hormone oxytocin, which improves your mood. Regular rolls in the hay could improve your heart health, reduce stress and depression, improve your self-esteem, and help you sleep better. Snuggling together underneath the sheets also makes you feel closer to your partner and enhances your sense of intimacy.

Couples who talk to each other about their wants and desires have better sex and a healthier relationship, research finds.

Communicate With Your Partner

Couples who talk to each other about their wants and desires have better sex and a healthier relationship, research finds. Tell your partner what you like and don't like. Share your most intimate fantasies and desires. If you're too bashful to say those private thoughts out loud, write them down in a story or a journal entry for your partner to read.

Spice up your sex life by stretching your boundaries as a couple.

Try Something Different

Spice up your sex life by stretching your boundaries as a couple. Play around with foreplay. Touch each other in new ways. Try out different sex positions to see which ones feel best. Dress up in costumes and play as characters (nurse-doctor, cowboys). Move from the bed to the floor, the bathroom, or the kitchen counter. Watch a dirty movie together. Bring sex toys like a vibrator, anal beads, or feathers into the mix.

No matter how much you might want to have sex, your busy schedule can get in the way.

Schedule Time for Intimacy

No matter how much you might want to have sex, your busy schedule can get in the way. So pencil sexy time into your calendar, just like you would other important dates. Then you'll be less likely to skip it. Setting a date gives you time to prepare and something to look forward to. Book sex as often as is realistic -- whether it's once a week or every other day. Choose times when you know you won't be tired or distracted.

Working out boosts stamina in bed and puts you in the mood.

Exercise

Working out boosts stamina in bed and puts you in the mood. Exercise also creates a more toned body, which improves self-esteem and makes you feel sexier. It's not clear how much exercise you need to improve your sex life. Start with the standard recommendations -- 150 minutes of aerobic activity and two days of strength training a week.

Those extra minutes that you spend touching and kissing each other help get you aroused and make sex more pleasurable.

Take Your Time

No matter how busy you are, sex is one part of your day that you shouldn't rush. Don't skimp on the foreplay. Those extra minutes that you spend touching and kissing each other help get you aroused and make sex more pleasurable. When you slow down, you also get more time to spend with your partner. That's good for your relationship overall.

Hormonal changes around the time of menopause can cause vaginal dryness that makes for painful sex.

Use Lubrication

Women's bodies naturally make their own lubricant, but sometimes it's in short supply. Hormonal changes around the time of menopause can cause vaginal dryness that makes for painful sex. A water-based lubricant is safest to use with condoms. But, silicone-based lubes are less irritating for anal sex.

Not every romantic encounter has to end in sex.

Be Affectionate

Not every romantic encounter has to end in sex. You and your partner can find pleasure in many other ways. Take a bath together or give each other a sensual massage. Have a hot make-out session on the couch. Bring each other to orgasm through masturbation. Teach each other how you like to be touched. Or just cuddle.

After a tough day, do something calming together to relax you.

Relax

Sex is a potent stress reliever, but it's hard to get in the mood when you're all keyed up. After a tough day, do something calming together to relax you. Listen to soft music. Practice relaxation exercises such as deep breathing or meditation. Research shows that mindfulness meditation helps women get more in tune with their bodies during sex.

Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support your bladder.

Do Kegels

Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support your bladder. They also relax the vagina to make sex more comfortable, improve blood flow down there, and make it easier to reach orgasm. To do these simple exercises, just tighten and relax the muscles you use to hold in pee. And they're not just for women. Men who practice Kegel exercises have better erections and more intense orgasms.

Sometimes all you need to rev up your sex life is a change of scenery.

Plan an Overnight Getaway

Sometimes all you need to rev up your sex life is a change of scenery. Take a trip together. You don't have to go far, but certain settings -- like the ocean or mountains -- are ideal for rekindling romance. Turn off your cell phones and focus on each other. For an extra spark, pretend that you've just started dating -- or that you're strangers who've met up for a forbidden tryst.

Sometimes the solution to better sex is in your medicine chest.

See Your Doctor

Sometimes the solution to better sex is in your medicine chest. Some drugs, such as antidepressants and blood pressure medicines, can reduce your desire. The problem could also be a medical condition like heart disease, vaginal dryness, multiple sclerosis, or depression. Schedule a check-up to find out whether a health issue might be affecting your sex life. Be honest with your doctor about the problem, so you can find the right answer.

A sex therapist is the person to see if something is bothering you in the bedroom.

Talk to a Sex Therapist

A sex therapist is the person to see if something is bothering you in the bedroom. Therapists are licensed psychologists or social workers who can address problems such as a lack of desire, trouble getting an erection, or problems reaching orgasm. You can meet with a therapist alone or together with your partner.

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REFERENCES:

  • Age and Ageing: "Examining associations between sexual behaviours and quality of life in older adults."
  • Egyptian Journal of Dermatology and Venereology: "Foreplay importance from the point of view of a sample of Egyptian women."
  • Harvard Medical School: "11 ways to help yourself to a better sex life," "Benefits of exercise for the prostate and erectile dysfunction help," "Get back in sexual sync."
  • Healthy Women: "Sexual Dysfunction," "Should You Try a Sex Schedule?"
  • International Society for Sexual Medicine: "What are Kegel exercises and what sexual health benefits might they have?"
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  • Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: "The specific importance of communicating about sex to couples' sexual and overall relationship satisfaction."
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  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: "Pelvic Floor Muscle (Kegel) Exercises for Women to Improve Sexual Health."
  • OHSU: "The Benefits of a Healthy Sex Life."
  • Psychosomatic Medicine: "Effects of Mindfulness Training on Body Awareness to Sexual Stimuli: Implications for Female Sexual Dysfunction."
  • San Francisco City Clinic: "What type of lube is best for anal sex?"
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  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans."
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