Ever felt like you’re not performing well in the bedroom or not ‘good in bed’? If yes, then you’re not alone. Sadly, this is a concern faced by many and can actually distract you from enjoying sex. It’s important to remember that rather than thinking about what you ‘should be’ doing, good sex is about the pleasure both you and your partner will experience.
Don’t assume your partner should know what you enjoy sexually. Show them by moving their hand to where you want to be touched, or tell them. They might even find it a real turn-on to hear you say the words. Be encouraging when you are enjoying the touch. Expecting your partner to work it out can lead to frustration and disappointment.
Make it happen
Don’t wait for the moment to come to you; make it happen. Sexual desire doesn’t necessarily spontaneously happen (particularly in long-term relationships), so you need to set things up, to help to get you in the mood for sex. Take a relaxing bath or shower and awaken your bodily senses by noticing the temperature, texture and pressure of the water on your skin. Set up the room with scented candles and soft lighting. Banish distractions like mobile phones, screens and other devices. Scheduling in sex with your partner can be part of the foreplay, allowing you to look forward to it.
Practise solo sex
Not only can masturbating boost your sexual desire, but it can also make sex more exciting. This is because masturbation can help you become more aware of what turns you on sexually. What you find arousing can change over time, so this self-exploration and sexual discovery will continue to evolve as you get older.
Vary the menu
Sex isn’t all about penetration. Mutual masturbation, oral sex, massage, exploring the whole body and what kind of touch feels good, can be equally pleasurable, if not more so. Choosing to take penetration off the menu occasionally can help you to explore other sexual activities.
Teasing to arousal
Rather than heading straight for the genitals, build arousal slowly, letting it wax and wane. Take your time, massage and touch all over each other’s bodies – vary the touch with slow, fast or soft, firm movements – gradually getting closer to the most intense places. Use your sense of touch and smell, as you may find that to be very erotic. And don’t forget about kissing!
Quality not quantity
Having sex more often doesn’t necessarily make it more enjoyable. Some people prefer to have sex very regularly and others less so; it’s not a competition and everyone is different. You might find that deciding not to have sex (particularly penetrative sex), even when you might like to, can increase your enjoyment next time.
Explore your fantasy world
Everyone is capable of fantasising and you probably do it without realising. Fantasy is a playful place in your mind where you can write your own stories and anything can happen. You may or may not wish to describe them to (or enact them with) your partner, but doing so may intensify sex for both of you. Reading erotic literature can help you create your fantasies, or you may enjoy a sexual fantasy written by someone else.
Just because you’re an adult, doesn’t mean you don’t have a playful side. Wake up that part of yourself by visiting an adult erotic store in person, or online. Experiment with sex toys, lotions, lubricants and perhaps play a naughty card or board game. Have sex in front of a mirror and vary the location of where you have sex. Play it safe. Don’t let anxieties about unwanted pregnancy and transmission of STI’s and HIV spoil your fun, so be sure to use protection. For more information on sexual health tests and treatment, visit our sexual health clinic.
Have you ever noticed that you feel horny or have more sexual thoughts after physical exercise? Not only does regular exercise improve overall health, but it can also lower anxiety, improve mood and make you feel relaxed – all of which can get you in the right frame of mind for sex. Regular cardiovascular exercise like swimming, running, cycling and going to the gym increases blood flow around the body, including the genitals, which can lead to an increase in desire, arousal and enjoyment of sex.
Don’t be a spectator
Don’t pay attention to performance anxieties, such as worrying about how hard your or your partner’s penis is, or whether you might orgasm too soon or not at all, or what your body looks like. It is very difficult to enjoy sex if your mind is elsewhere. Instead, pay attention to the physical sensations when you touch your partner and your partner touches you, to really immerse yourself in the moment. Try to veer away from being ‘good orientated’ during sex. Most people experience sexual difficulties at some point in their life, but if you feel that you need specialist help, visit your GP, LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor or seek help from a qualified, accredited Psychosexual Therapist.
Charlotte Simpson is an Accredited Psychosexual Therapist and Relationship Counsellor in Private Practice in North West London.