couple making out in bed

Who wouldn’t want better sex quickly? Quite often, surprisingly small sexual and lifestyle changes can produce instant benefits. Here are nine suggestions:

Use lubricant. Most people use saliva. Vegetable oils and commercial lubes are also available. Whichever you choose, wetter is better at any age. Lubricant increases erotic sensitivity and arousal immediately. It makes intercourse more comfortable for women, and entry easier for men. It enhances fingering and sex toys, too. Lubricant is a godsend for menopausal women (those over 40), and the men who make love with them. Don’t squirt lube directly onto the genitals—it’s too cold and jarring. Warm some in your hand, then apply it. Interested in commercial lubes? Check pharmacies near the condoms.

Do it earlier. Sex is not strenuous, but it takes energy. Most couples fall into bed late at night and do the deed when they’re tired. But sex is less fun when fatigued. Try switching to mornings or afternoons when you have more energy. This often makes sex more fun quickly, especially for older couples.

Light candles. Play music. Candlelight provides a soft shimmering glow that creates a romantic mood. Try music. It helps make lovers relaxed, and it soothes the soul, which can spur erotic pleasure.

Try something new—anything. The neurotransmitter dopamine triggers lust. As dopamine blood level rises, so does libido. What raises dopamine? Novelty. That’s why new lovers are so exciting, why vacation sex feels so arousing. So try something different—anything. If you haven’t already, how about candles and music?

Try sex toys. Half of adult American women now own at least one vibrator. They’re usually used solo, but an increasing proportion of couples now play with vibrators and other toys together. Shop together for toys that pique your interest. Many sites sell sex toys.

Relieve pain beforehand. Americans’ top medical complaint is pain. Pain not only hurts, but it’s also distracting, which impairs sex. If you have achy joints or chronic injuries and can take NSAID drugs, an hour before whoopee, try aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or acetaminophen (Tylenol). With age, aches and pains increase and pre-sex pain relief becomes even handier.

Use pillows. Speaking of pain, lovemaking may cause it. For example, when people provide cunnilingus, it can strain the neck, back, shoulders, and arms. Pillows can make a tremendous difference. For more comfortable cunnilingus, place a pillow or two under her hips to raise her pelvis. Or try bolsters or foam wedges.

Try one-word coaching. The most powerful erotic word is “yes.” Even those who find it difficult to discuss sex can usually say it. The next time you make love, when your partner does something you enjoy, say, “Yes” or “Ahhh.” When your partner’s moves are less than thrilling, remain silent. It rarely takes long for partners to provide more of what elicits a “yes,” and less of what’s greeted by silence.

Calendar it. As the hot-and-heavy period fades, one person typically wants sex more than the other. Desire differences can ruin sex. No wonder they’re a leading reason why couples consult sex therapists.

To resolve desire differences, therapists recommend scheduling sex in advance. When couples do this in good faith, the higher-libido lover no longer has to grovel, and the lower-libido partner no longer feels besieged. Over time, resentments usually fade, and as conflict subsides, relationship and sexual satisfaction improve.

How often? That’s up to you. There’s no right or wrong. But the most common frequency among couples age 21 to 40 is once a week, for those over 40, two or three times a month. Decide on a frequency you can both live with then get out your calendars and schedule sex dates.

Inevitably, however, the lower-libido lover objects, saying, “What if we have a date and I’m not in the mood?” After the hot-and-heavy period, mood rarely has much to do with it. Most lower-libido spouses are surprised to discover that when they no longer exhaust themselves fending off nightly advances, they feel surprisingly open to sex at the times it’s scheduled. Still skeptical? Try scheduling for a few months. If you don’t like it, stop.

Finally, if a desire difference has poisoned your relationship, consider sex therapy. To find a sex therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, the Society for Sex Therapy and Research or The American Board of Sexology.

More great, useful sex information from Michael Castleman, the world’s most popular sexuality writer.

Sizzling Sex for Life

The Cure for Premature Ejaculation

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