Spice up your sex life and boost your sexual confidence with these resolutions from sex experts
You’ve already got mind and body covered in your New Year’s resolutions, but what about your sex life? “Resolutions are easy to break because we typically pledge to accomplish changes that aren’t really important to us,” says New Jersey-based sexuality education consultant Melanie Davis, Ph.D., Certified Sexuality Educator, author of Look Within: A Woman’s Journal. “Many women resolve to lose weight, but if the extra pounds were the real issue, they’d be gone by now. Maybe the thing we really want to change is how we feel in and about our body.” Having a better sex life means not only making an effort in the bedroom, but also taking care of your sexual health and body confidence.
Look at what's not working for you in your sex life, and commit to making one improvement a month. “Spacing out specific commitments around your sexual intentions can help these resolutions stick in the long run,” says Jenn Gunsaullus, Ph.D., a sociologist and intimacy counselor in San Diego. Don’t know where to start? Check out these 16 resolutions to boost your bedroom and body confidence. (Also check out these 10 Running Goals You Should Make for 2015.)
Snuggling with your sweetie has endless health benefits: It releases oxytocin—the feel-good hormone—increasing overall happiness, reducing stress, and lowering blood pressure. Oxytocin is also the bonding hormone, so cuddling will make you feel closer to your man. And, it’s a way of commiunicating with your partner: “Non-verbal communication can be a very powerful way to say to your partner, ‘I get you,'" says David Klow, a marriage and family therapist in Chicago. "Cuddling is a way of saying, ‘I know how you feel.' It allows us to feel known by our partner in ways that words can't convey."
“Taking a sexual class, like tantric puja or a rope-tying course, can teach you new sexual and sensual techniques to take home," says Gunsaullus. If you’re not ready to sign up for titles like “The Art of the Blowjob,” take your education into your own hands: “Picking up a book, documentary, or instructional video about sex can teach you some new tricks, too,” says Carol Queen, Ph.D., staff sexologist at Good Vibrations, a woman-owned and -operated sex-toy empire. Where to start? Check out 5 Lessons Learned from a Sex Class.
“A good New Year’s resolution is to feel more confident, so try wearing something sexy for your own enjoyment,” says Davis. “If a partner enjoys it too, that’s icing on the cake.” (Try 5 Sexy New Lingerie Lines We Love.)
Even if it’s a quickie, resolve to not run off after: Couples who spend more time being affectionate after sex feel more satisfied with their sex lives, according to research in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. “We become so focused on orgasms, the so-called ‘goal’ of sex, that we often neglect the surrounding acts that sandwich the sex,” says Amy Muise, Ph.D., lead study author and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. Resolve to follow the deed with at least a few minutes of caressing, kissing, and cuddling in 2015.
Yes, putting your legs behind your head and twisting into all sorts of positions would definitely spice things up, but even the subtle flexibility you gain through yoga can help you have sex in new positions—and do it more comfortably. Plus, yogis have a stronger pelvic floor and, while it doesn’t sound sexy, the control to give him a little squeeze can increase sensation for both of you. Yoga helps you de-stress and focus, too—both of which can lead to better times between the sheets. Need more convincing? Check out Why Yogis Are Better in Bed.
“It’s important to know your status for sexually transmitted infections instead of just waiting for symptoms to appear, because some STIs are asymptomatic but can have long-term consequences,” says Davis. Resolve to protect yourself and any partners you may have. To make it happen, discuss your sexual activities honestly with your healthcare provider so you can discuss how often you should be tested and what you should be tested for, she says. (Make sure to cover these 7 Conversations You Must Have for a Healthy Sex Life, too.)
“Sometimes we get stuck being one way in the bedroom and don't know how to branch out,” says Gunsaullus. Choose a personality trait that's different than how you usually are in bed, and give yourself permission to try it on: Want to be fierce? Submissive? Dominant? Playful? Silly? “Choosing a new personality trait and thinking about how to bring that into the bedroom can bring new life to activities that you've been doing for a long time. What's a fierce blowjob like, versus a tender one?” she adds.
Sometimes it’s the small changes that make big differences: A new lube can just add a new dimension to sexual play because it's a different sensation, explains Gunsaullus. You can also play with flavored lubes or coconut oil (just don't use with condoms because it may weaken the latex) to make oral sex tastier.
If you don’t already do it (or don't do it enough!), resolve to masturbate this year. “No two people are exactly alike in terms of what they like sexually and how they respond. Do you know what’s in your own operating manual?” Queen points out. Find out what brings you to orgasm during a solo session. “It’s a great way to learn what you enjoy, to relax, to fall asleep, to activate pelvic floor muscles,” adds Davis. If you have a partner, experiment with self-pleasure as a way to build arousal during foreplay, she adds. (Check out these other 7 Kinky Upgrades for Your Sex Life.)
“If you're single and feeling a bit jaded about dating right now, commit to three months of no dating,” Gunsaullus suggests. But put that time to good use: Schedule time with friends, return to a hobby you’ve let slide, or try other activities that nurture you. After three months, you'll feel more grounded and ready to date with a fresh perspective, she adds.
Dancing gives you better physical grace and teaches you to move your body in a sensual way, Gunsaullus says. We’re not saying you need to perform a strip tease after your lessons are done (unless you want to!), but any dance class will give you more confidence in how you move. Or try a couples class: Learning a new dance with your partner, like swing or salsa, is good for teamwork—and the sensual touching can serve as foreplay, Gunsaullus adds.
Anyone who has kids knows private time falls by the wayside. But it’s important for you and your man to reconnect as partners instead of just as parents. Resolve to get at least an hour of couple time every week, Davis suggests. “The kids may need to go on a play date, or you and your partner may need to hire a sitter so you can get away—either way, the point is to have undivided time with your partner so you can reconnect emotionally.”
Both men and women want about 20 minutes worth of foreplay—and yet, most report that their actual pre-gaming only lasts about half that time, says a study in the Journal of Sexual Research. Another reason to not skip it: Fooling around before getting down can help him last longer and rev you up. The average man takes anywhere from three to seven minutes to climax, while the average woman requires anywhere from 10 to 20—this missed connection is considered the arousal gap, explains Laurence A. Levine, M.D., professor at Rush University Medical Center. Foreplay can fix it: “Men need to put in the extra effort and women should not feel ashamed that the stimulation is needed,” explains Levine. Whether it’s oral sex or manual stimulation, try to withhold from penetration until you’re nearing climax from foreplay.
If the chance that his fantasies mimic the roughest of Christian Grey’s turn-ons is what’s holding you back from sharing, don’t worry: Many sexual fantasies are more common than previously thought, reports a recent study from the University of Quebec. Sharing your fantasies can bring you closer together, and introduce you to new pleasures. Try this: Write down your steamiest scenarios and ask your partner to do the same, Gunsaullus says. Just check out these suggests for how to Fulfill Your Sexual Fantasies without being judged before you swap lists.
A huge part of feeling sexy is being confident in what you’re wearing. Scheduling a fitting for a bra ensures your breasts are properly supported, even in the pretty bras, Davis says. Sales associates at most lingerie or intimates stores will be happy to give you a fitting, but you can also consult our guide on The Best Bra for Your Breast Type.
It’s no secret that we have some very specific pleasure points on our bodies, but you might be surprised to know your guy also has particular trigger spots that—when stimulated—will send him over the edge. Whether it’s biting, licking, or barely caressing, check out these 8 New Ways to Touch Your Guy During Sex.