Has Your Sex Life Gone Stale??
Heat things up by harnessing your 5 senses.
Bad sex — it happens. I think back to my first-time ever (and the 12 years that followed) and I feel bad for the woman I was — the one who foolishly believed that missionary, silent, seven-minute-or-less sex was as good as it gets! She really had no clue what she was doing or just how beautiful and satisfying sex could be. Luckily for her (aka me), sex has continuously improved with age and experience, and I now know a thing or two about what makes or breaks it in the bedroom.
Lesson number one: Sex with the wrong partner will always be subpar, so choose wisely. No sex is better than bad sex if you ask me (and now I kind of want to get that tattooed somewhere on my body). And lesson number two? The best sex I ever had involved creative sensory play — it engaged or shocked or surprised some or all of my senses, and it left me feeling like the women-in-the-movies who collapse after sex covered in sweat and pure satisfaction.
With this wisdom in hand, I reached out to the experts and asked them for their best tips for spicing up your sex life by tuning into the five senses. Here is what they had to say:
Explore your options
There are many ways to explore sensory play in the bedroom. From incorporating your favorite foods (chocolate, Nutella, strawberries) to using ice, feathers or handcuffs — the possibilities are endless. Music, lingerie and creative mood lighting are simple ways to vamp things up in the bedroom, and if you are up for something a little more risqué, then go for it. Make a sexual to-do list and shamelessly include all of the new things you would like to try. Google, friends or one of those good old-fashioned romance novels with the Fabio-type guy on the cover can all be great sources for your research.
Talk about it
Daniel Sher, clinical psychologist and sex therapy expert at the Between Us Clinic says “let [your partner] know that you’re going to be trying sex in a different way, with a focus on the senses.” Ask for their feedback and make sure they are on the same page as you. Now is the time to discuss what you are willing to try and anything that may be off-limits. Come to the conversation with specific ideas and ask questions: Does he prefer perfume or your natural smell? Would he be open to experimenting with candle wax or body oils? It should be a fun, safe and comfortable conversation that leaves you both excited to try new things.
Sher encourages practicing mindfulness in the bedroom, “one by one, go through each sense: sight, smell, touch, taste and sound. Take a moment to bathe your mental focus on each sensation before moving to the next. Then, when you’re both ready to move on to penetration, do so slowly and mindfully. Focus on each momentary sensation as it arises.” The idea is to stay in the moment as you focus on the senses and be more present. Oftentimes we are overfocused on the end goal of orgasm, and that rushes the entire experience and takes our focus away from what we are seeing, hearing, touching and feeling. “By focusing on each sense, you are tapping into what is known as mindfulness, which can help us have mind-blowing sex.”
Lori Beth Bisbey, a psychologist and sex and intimacy coach, suggests that partners take turns giving and receiving: “Decide who will be giving and who will be receiving. The person who is giving will explore first with just their eyes. Look at your partner all over — without touching them. You can touch yourself. Talk about what you are seeing. This is a great time to talk about the attractiveness and beauty of your partner.” Next, intentionally move your focus from sight to sound: “Touch your partner and focus on the sounds they make [and] the things they say.” Work your way through every sense and then switch who gives and who receives.
Bisbey highlights that “the more senses we engage, the more we strengthen the memory of the experience” — and sometimes those memories are just as tantalizing as the real thing!
Remove one sense
Now that you have conquered the art of engaging all senses, it is time to try removing one. The most obvious sense to remove is, of course, sight (try a scarf or blindfold). Carol Queen, staff sexologist at Good Vibrations, shares that “removing one sense basically sharpens the other senses. So, when you use a blindfold or ear plugs during sex, the other senses perk up to stay engaged with the environment. If you can’t see, sound may seem much more intense, or being touched will be extra-stimulating.” This is a great way to shock your system into a new and improved experience while adding the powerful element of mystery, which Bisbey says “will add to the sexual excitement and raise the thrill level across the entire experience.”
Whatever you do, remember that sex is a journey, not a final destination; it is an experience to be anticipated, respected and enjoyed equally by both partners. Experiment with the five senses to see if it improves the experience with your partner — and if it doesn’t work, don’t force it. Even if it just gets you talking more (both in and out of the bedroom), that alone is a success. Happy experimenting, girlfriends!