Here are 10 things you can do that are absolutely, positively guaranteed to help you enjoy sex more. Happy New Year!
This is the single best way to improve your sexual experience. Some people rush to sex before their partner changes his/her mind; some people rush to sex because they don’t enjoy kissing, or caressing their partner; some people rush to intercourse before someone loses his erection; some people rush to orgasm because the rest of sex is boring.
That’s a lot of rushing. To enjoy sex more, slow down and experience it, using all five senses. Or at least more than just one.
If you can’t find anything to enjoy in sex besides the orgasm, perhaps you should rethink how, when, and with whom you’re having sex.
Emphasize pleasure over orgasm
If you think that orgasm is the best part of sex, you’re missing the best part of sex. For too many people, sex is fifteen minutes of boring or mediocre stuff, with three seconds of pleasure (or relief) at the end. No orgasm can possibly be enjoyable enough to redeem sex that is painful, pointless, scary, confusing, or unwanted.
To enjoy sex more, focus on the majority of the experience (i.e., before orgasm), and try to configure some of it more the way you like it.
I’ve lost count of the number of men I’ve seen who interrupt intercourse (“pull out”) right before they ejaculate as a form of birth control. Why any man or woman would (a) take such a chance or (b) undermine their sexual experience is beyond me.
In addition to condoms, there’s the IUD and diaphragm, along with a wide range of hormonal options—which are safer today than ever before.
As a reminder, penis-vagina intercourse is the only kind of sex that requires contraception. Every one of us has many other options. If you and your partner(s) can’t agree on a contraceptive method that you use consistently, consider replacing intercourse as the center of your sex life with outercourse.
Lube, lube, lube
Putting anything into a vagina? Lube it. Someone’s hand stroking a penis? Lube it. Using a condom? Put some a bit of lube inside it and more outside it. Anal sex without lube—why would anyone do that?
Lube has no moral value—using it doesn’t mean anyone has failed to crank out enough “natural” lube, or failed to excite their partner enough to do so.
Many patients tell me they don’t keep lube in their night table because they don’t want the kids to find it and ask what it is. C’mon, just tell them: this is what I/we use to make sex more enjoyable. Yes, that does mean talking with your kids about sex, which every parent needs to do periodically.
Memo to porn consumers: actors and actresses use tons of lube—off camera.
When patients tell me a story about a disappointing sexual experience, I usually ask if they were excited. Often, the answer is “I was erect” or “I was wet.” Both indicate that the body is aroused—which is important—but they don’t indicate if the person is excited, activated, engaged, energized. And without those, hard penises and wet vaginas just go through the motions of sex without the emotional impact that most people want from it.
I don’t like the expression foreplay, but since most people know what it means, I’ll use it here: “foreplay” is for getting excited, both emotionally and physically. To enhance sexual enjoyment, don’t proceed beyond “foreplay” until you’re really eager for more.
Do only what you want to do
Most of us won’t let someone pressure us to eat something we don’t want. So don’t do anything sexual you don’t want to do. If that turns off your partner, you have a bigger problem than sex. And if it’s a dealbreaker for your partner, let him/her go.
When couples can’t agree on how much sex to have, the person who wants more sex generally doesn’t want just their partner’s body, they want their partner’s enthusiasm. If you can’t provide that, don’t be surprised if your partner is still unsatisfied when you say more than you want to.
Take your age seriously
Chronic pain is very un-sexy—and a fact of life for almost everyone as we age. Talk about it with your partner, and tailor your sexual activities around it. You may need to say goodbye to some of your favorite positions, which is part of the emotional side of the aging process.
As we get older, we take more medications—which may have sexual side effects. Talk with your pharmacist or physician about possible changes in libido, erection, lubrication, and skin sensitivity before or after taking a new drug.
Accept your body
When you wake up tomorrow morning, your body won’t be younger or more fit. Your complexion won’t be better, your hair won’t be more luxurious, you won’t lose your surgical scars, and your body parts won’t be more symmetrical or less wrinkled.
So hiding your body during sex (lights off, t-shirt on, don’t touch my fat belly or hairy butt) is never temporary. It’s a self-shaming way of life. And it prevents sexual pleasure. “You go to war with the army you have, not the one you wish you had,” said Donald Rumsfeld. Well, we go to sex with the body we have—our only options are to accept and enjoy it, or reject and struggle with it.
People usually don’t go to the doctor and announce what disease they have, requesting it be fixed. Rather, they report their symptoms (this hurts, that doesn’t work like it used to), and the doc figures out what the problem is. Your leg could hurt, and the problem be your spine; you might be getting headaches because of something in your diet.
Drug companies love when people self-diagnose, because they often then ask their doctor for a particular medicine. A self-diagnosis of “ED” (erectile dysfunction) typically leads to demand for Viagra.
Gentlemen, if you can’t get an erection when you’re drunk, angry, anxious, guilty, or indifferent to your partner, you don’t have ED. And women, if you don’t get wet or have an orgasm when you’re drunk, angry, anxious, guilty, or indifferent to your partner, you don’t have female sexual dysfunction.
Human genitalia are not like ATMs—ready to function rain or shine, regardless of circumstances. Don’t decide your genitalia are broken just because they don’t jump whenever you want them to 24/7.
Talk, talk, talk
This isn’t exotic, but it is effective: talk with your partner. Talk about what you like, don’t like, want them to know, and ask a few questions, too. If you’re embarrassed, or don’t know exactly what to say, or don’t know how your partner will respond, do it anyway.
One more thing: Remember that real sex doesn’t feel like porn sex, TV sex, movie sex, instagram sex, or romance novel sex looks or sounds.
More enjoyable sex isn’t about exotic techniques or new positions or expensive toys or a more attractive partner. As I describe in my book Sexual Intelligence, more enjoyable sex generally comes from better communication, self-acceptance, and simply paying more attention.
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