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18 Ways to Spice Up Your Sex Life According to Sex Therapists

For a deeper connection, more pleasure, or to try something new—follow these expert tips to spice up your sex life.

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How to spice up your sex life

Whether you’re tired of doing the same old thing in the bedroom, want to take your intimacy to the next level, make sex more pleasurable, reignite your sex life, strengthen your relationship, or just try something fun and new, there are lots of reasons to consider spicing up your sex life.

“Over time, in relationships, partners can become too familiar,” says Kate Balestrieri, licensed psychologist, certified sex therapist and founder of Modern Intimacy. “Novelty in the bedroom is one way couples can reintroduce themselves to each other, over and over again. Learning new things about ourselves and our partners keeps us curious, engaged, and alive with relational vitality.”

Exploring new dimensions of sexual play together can be a form of adventure and can introduce elements of novelty, creativity, and intensity, she says. But that doesn’t mean you have to install a sex swing or drop a few grand on a couples cruise (although those are fun too!)

Despite what the movies may show, really great sex generally isn’t a surprising, spontaneous act and a little planning can go a long way in creating a positive, fulfilling, and engaging sexual experience, says Rachel Zar, certified sex expert at Spark Chicago Therapy and the Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine at Northwestern University. This is especially true if you struggle with your libido or if you’re in a long-term relationship.

Below, expert-approved ways to have better sex.

(Related: Samantha Bitty Knows Good Sex (and Wants You to Know It, Too))

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Be mindful

Mindfulness is touted as a cure for everything from depression to overeating and that’s because your brain is such a powerful tool. Learning to be mindful about your body, particularly in relation to sex, can help you be more interested in doing it, more involved when it happens, and experience more pleasure, says Zar. Distracted sex is not good sex.”This is all about getting out of your partner’s mindset or your to-do list or your kids’ stuff and, instead, learning to focus on what’s happening inside you,” says Zar. There are sensual or erotic guided meditations but even practicing regular mindfulness can be helpful during sex.

(Related: 49 Interesting Sex Facts You Probably Didn’t Know)

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Plan for all your senses

You have five senses but often touch and sight get all the attention in the bedroom. The more senses you can incorporate the better the sex will be, says Zar. Think about ways to bring in new scents, tastes, and things to listen to. This could mean things like finding a scented candle or cologne that turns you on, making a sexy playlist or listening to an erotic podcast, or discovering which foods that you personally associate with sex.

(Related: 3 Ways Your Sex Life May Change at Midlife)

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Do an emotional check-in

Pent-up negative feelings can ruin sex before it even starts. Sex should be an addition to a healthy relationship, not used in lieu of one. “Sometimes sex feels stale because you’re phoning it in,” says Balestrieri. “Unprocessed feelings, fears, or other demands on the relationship can sometimes be a deterrent to sex. Feeling resentful, anxious, angry, obligated, or unsafe (emotionally or otherwise) can make sex an arduous task. Check in with yourself and your partner to connect before you get to the bedroom.” Don’t just ignore the feelings and hope they go away as this can hurt all aspects of your relationship. If this conversation feels too fraught or leads to fights, a sex or relationship therapist can help you navigate it.

(Related: How I Used 7 Communication Tips to Improve My Relationship)

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Schedule it

Putting sex on the calendar may seem like the antithesis of sexy but knowing that you are going to get lucky allows you to prepare and build anticipation for it. This is particularly useful for people who may struggle with wanting to want sex or who need to take medication beforehand or for busy couples who have a hard time finding time to get busy with each other. “Sometimes, sex is the first thing taken off the table when stress or obligations stack up. It’s understandable, however, when couples who want sex do not prioritize it, they can find themselves in a platonic rut,” says Balestrieri. “Making room for sex, mentally and in your schedules, may be the ‘spice’ you’ve been looking for.”

(Related: Covid Couples Therapy: Expert Tips on How to Talk About the Tough Stuff)

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Do a sexy activity (that isn’t sex)

“Sex-adjacent activities” are any sexy activity that helps you to relax and have fun together as a couple but without the pressure of having sex right that minute, says Zar. They often lead into sex but the emphasis is on couple bonding and emotional intimacy. These activities are anything you enjoy doing together but could include things like giving massages, watching a steamy show, or taking a shower together.

(Related: 14 Ways to Enjoy Better Sex as You Age)

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Come up with your own secret language

Whether your partner is in the next room or the next country, texting is a great way to keep the sexy conversation going. However, many people aren’t comfortable sending graphic texts or have privacy concerns. One way around this is to create a sexy language all your own, says Zar. Go beyond eggplants and peaches: Take any random emoji and assign it a special meaning that only the two of you will understand. That way, if your boss accidentally sees a string of airplanes and flowers, they’ll just think you’re really into travel.

(Related: The Secret to Happiness? Concentrate on Your Relationships)

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Sign up for a sex box subscription

There are subscription services for everything these days, from vegan meals to science kits, so of course, there are boxes to boost your sex life. “Adult subscription services are all the rave, as they give couples the opportunity to sample different accessories and activities and have a new theme each month,” says Balestrieri.

(Related: Better Sex and More Intimacy: 8 Habits of Connected Couples)

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Subtract a sense

Blindfolds are popular sex toys because when you take away the sense you rely most upon—your sight—it heightens your perception of all the other senses, especially touch, says Zar. But don’t stop there. Try experimenting with noise-canceling headphones to remove the auditory sense or light bondage to limit your hands from touching.

(Related: This Is the Worst Time of Day to Have Sex)

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Have sex on a swing

Every couple has their tried-and-true methods but even if they work they can get stale, says Balestrieri. Try changing just one thing: A new sex position, a new location, a new room, a different time of day, or a new toy. Even if it ends up not being something you want to do again, at least now you have a sexy adventure to talk (and maybe laugh) about together.

(Related: What to Know About Sex Toys and 6 Inexpensive Options Worth Trying)

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Be hot and cold

Temperature is a big part of your touch sense and playing around with it can enhance sensations, says Zar. Try using ice cubes or melted candle wax, or alternate the two, on your partner’s body. You can purchase special candles designed just for sex play that melt at a lower temperature so you don’t risk burns.

(Related: Alright, Tell Me More About Tantric Sex)

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Go toy shopping together

There are so many sex toys beyond vibrators but it can be intimidating. Going shopping together allows you to pick out some new things to try and build anticipation with your partner. Whether you go to a brick-and-mortar store or visit an online shop, feel free to ask lots of questions. The employees are usually very knowledgeable and helpful.

(Related: 16 Sex Problems Marriage Counsellors Hear About All the Time)

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Use a couples toy

You can use most sex toys alone or with a partner but there are many toys on the market that are designed for the purpose of using them with a partner, adding to the bonding experience, says Balestrieri. For instance, a remote-controlled vibrator or a tandem vibrating ring allows you to work together in a new way.

(Related: I Can’t Seem to Orgasm During Sex. What Gives?)

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Go beyond whipped cream

Food is a popular item in sex but many people limit it to chocolate and whipped cream. Think out of the box about other foods you may enjoy eating together as a precursor to sex or during sex, says Zar. “Aphrodisiac” foods are very personal. For instance, if you had a really great burger before having amazing sex and that’s part of your memory of the experience, then burgers may be an aphrodisiac food for you. If you’re worried about making a mess, put down towels or take that part into the tub.

(Related: 30 Natural Libido Boosters to Help You Have Better Sex)

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Play an erotic game

“Adult games take the fuss out of getting creative,” says Balistrieri. “They are designed to get your creative and sexual juices flowing.” She recommends Lovehoney’s Oh! 52 Weeks of Role Play, a game that allows you to explore a new role-playing scenario each week.

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Read or listen to a sexy script

An alternative to watching porn together is to listen to an erotic story, read one aloud to each other, or read a sexy script together, says Zar. Involving your hearing can change things up and allows you to focus your sight more intently on your partner. This is good for people who enjoy talking dirty but don’t know what to say in the moment.

(Related: 6 Ways to Build Trust in a Relationship)

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Use a vibrator in other places

Vibrators are designed to stimulate the genitals but they can be used anywhere on your body and may help you discover new erogenous zones on yourself or your partner, says Zar.

(Related: Your Vibrator Shopping Guide)

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Share fantasies

People are often ashamed of or scared to share their sexual fantasies but doing so in a safe way with your partner can be incredibly intimate and exciting. “Recognize that some fantasies aren’t meant to be acted out; you get to decide how you want to explore it together, whether that’s through talking, role playing, or something more,” says Zar. “Sharing fantasies and playing with roles can give you a chance to play with power dynamics, shame, and worth, as well as myriad other intoxicating roles,” says Balestrieri.

(Related: 13 Sex Problems You Should Take Seriously)

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Have sex, even if it’s not great

Too many couples fall into the trap of thinking that every sexual encounter has to be mind-blowing but that’s a lot of pressure. “Sex is like a muscle, the more you do it, the stronger it gets. So even if it’s not the best sex you’ve ever had, it can help set you up for a better time next time,” says Zar. “And don’t make a big deal out of a dry spell, that adds unnecessary pressure. Just get back into it.”

Next, here are 6 reasons your partner might be less interested in sex.

The Healthy
Originally Published on The Healthy