By Jessica Leith & Fiona O'Farrell
Thanks to porn and the odd heated film scene (we see you, Kate and Leo), we are bombarded with preconceived ideas and unrealistic expectations of our future sexual experiences from a relatively young age. Anything less than a graphic reenactment can feel like a disappointment, either on your end or your partner’s.
If you’ve ever wondered how to have better sex and enhance your sexual relationship/s, or felt like there is more to be desired in your sex life with your partner/s, it turns out you’re not alone. One study surveyed couples in long-term intimate relationships and found that 42% of women and 58% of men were unsatisfied with the status of their sex lives.
Regardless of the issue - whether quality, quantity or expectations - finding ways to tackle this discrepancy can be the key to improved sexual satisfaction, and ultimately to have better sex. Fortunately, just because things may not be matching up right now does not mean that you are doomed into sexual purgatory for the rest of your life. Love that for us.
So, we’ve called on our Pepper Sexperts’ to share 6 tips on how to have better sex, encourage connection with your partner/s and enhance sexual satisfaction within your relationship, by:
Communicating in your personal and sexual relationship/s;
Setting the tone and knowing the content;
Being mindful and present in bed;
Knowing what you like in your solo sexual experiences;
Talking with a professional; and
Getting creative with sex toys and other erotic products.
Better Sex Tip #1: Communication is key in any relationship, sexual or otherwise.
It’s hard to problem-solve in relationships and improve your overall sexual intimacy if you don’t talk about the nitty gritty, uncomfortable topics. Finding the time to talk, listening to your partner, validating their feelings and/or experience/s, and being responsive to their wants and needs is key here, even if it makes you a little uncomfortable. A bit of discomfort can be an opportunity to explore new things and find out more about your likes and dislikes both in and out of the bedroom, which can eventually lead to better sex.
But knowing and doing are two different things. In fact, one of the top reasons people seek out couples counseling is because of problems with communication. Many individuals notice that their partner is not into sex at times and will often fall into a space of feeling rejected, which might lead to shutting down and not wanting to talk it through. If this goes on for too long it may lead to a lack of sexual intimacy and hurt your chances of improving your sex life. And let’s face it: no one wants that.
Ensure that you are not making assumptions and check-in to see if you are reading one another well. This is an opportunity to say “I noticed you seemed to like it when I did this move….am I on the right track?” or “I would love it if we could try this…and afterward we can decide if we’d like to do it again.” This type of open stance will be all the effort that is needed to feel like you’re on the same page, and can improve sexual intimacy between you and your partner/s.
Better Sex Tip #2: Set the tone and know the context.
Have better sex through setting the sexual mood and tone. No two people are the same when it comes to being turned on, or as sex educator Emily Nagoski puts it in her book Come as You Are, “what pushes your accelerator or pumps your brakes (commonly known as the Dual Control Model)”.
Those with a sensitive accelerator might be turned on by a simple look, touch, or smell (hello men’s cologne) and be ready to get down, while those with sensitive brakes are more easily distracted and sensitive to context. If the latter is you, then you’ll need to pay particular attention to what helps to set the mood for you. It can help to think about times when you’ve been turned on, when you’ve felt safest with your partner, when you’ve been able to relax and immerse yourself in the moment and when you’ve had satisfying sex. Take stock of:
Planning for intimacy doesn’t always feel sexy, but sometimes knowing what you want and need and setting the stage for this based on satisfying and intimate past sexual experiences can be an intentional act that helps you and your partner to have better sex. Preparation is key, right?
Better Sex Tip #3: Be mindful and present in bed.
Openness and the willingness to get to know what your partner likes are more important than “doing it right”. Spectatoring, a term coined by Masters and Johnson, is a concept many sexperts use to describe the act of thinking about yourself, or how you’re performing, during sex instead of actually experiencing it.
Basically, you are too busy judging whether or not you are doing it right or are pleasing your partner that you are not in the moment and enjoying the experience for what it is: intimate time with your partner.
So, be mindful. The next time you and your partner start to get frisky, try your best to be present. Notice how nice it is to steal some alone time with your partner, soak in how good it feels to be touched and to be intimate, attune to the present, let go of what you think should happen and be open to what is happening in the moment. The more you practice this, the more you will see the effects, and the better sex will become.
If you need a helping hand, Pepper has a lot of products to enhance your sex life
through mindfulness. Think of anything that increases your sensory receptors, such
as the smell of a scented candle like our CONNECTION candle, or the feeling of our signature slippery Silicone Lube on your skin, or even the tightness of a restraint. Your senses help you to notice what is in the present to keep you practicing mindful sex, and not only help you to have better sex but great sex, too.
Better Sex Tip #4: Solo pleasure is just as important.
Whenever solo pleasure is brought up, many people start to squirm. Out of all the topics discussed in sex therapy, solo-pleasuring brings up a lot for people. Masturbation is the original don’t ask, don’t tell topic–we all know it happens, most people engage in some form of self-pleasuring and yet we have a difficult time talking about it with others. However, solo-pleasure is one of the most important ways you can have a better sex life.
Quite simply, the more we know about ourselves, the better we can communicate to our lovers, and the better sex becomes. Expert in shameless sex, Dr. Tina Schermer-Sellers explains that the more we know what to say “yes” to, the more we will also know what to say “no” to. This means that we are in the driver's seat of our own pleasure and are not dependent on our partners to guide pleasurable, intimate and good sex.
Leaving it up to your partner to provide endless orgasms is a sure-fire way to performative sex and a lot of unspoken disappointment, and does not necessarily lead to better sex. Our advice? Get to know yourself, take an inventory of your body, and ask yourself these questions:
What spots welcome touch?
What parts are more sensitive?
What kind of pressure do I like?
Then, the most fun part of all: understand your toys for solo pleasure (for both penises and vaginas) and what they can do for you. Pepper can help you here, too. From clitoral awakening through air pulsation to deep penetrative pleasure using g-spot stimulation, Pepper has the toy for you to uncover your most erotic self and to improve sex with your partner/s (and even with yourself).
Better Sex Tip #5: Talk about it with a professional.
If you find that you and your partner are struggling to enhance your sex life, either through communication or common sexual discrepancies, it might be time to seek out more professional support. While many couples struggle with the stigma of failure or shame when it comes to asking for help in their relationship, couples counseling is becoming more common, with nearly 50% of couples in one survey reporting that they have engaged in counseling together at some point in their relationship.
Unfortunately, marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman’s work demonstrates that the average couple waits about 6 years before reaching out for support with couples counseling. There are a number of relationship counselors who specialize in evidence based treatment models for couples work such as The Gottman Method and Emotion Focused Therapy, as well as Sex Therapists who have specialized degrees to work with couples who are experiencing various issues of sexual diversity and sexual dysfunction. Translation: there’s no shame in talking, and counselors are here to help.
Research conducted by The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy suggests that 97% of couples reported that couples counseling was helpful and at least 93% learned useful skills for managing challenges after engaging in couples counseling. Talking to a professional is an incredibly beneficial and useful tip on not only how to have better sex but also to encourage connection and intimacy with your partner/s.
Better Sex Tip #6: Get creative!
It’s true, passion can only sustain itself for so long. Once the newness of getting to know one another wears off, and the reality of life sets in (hello small children!), things can start to get stale and effortless in the sex department of your relationship. If you’re tired of the conventional, boring, worn out sex routine you and your partner/s have down pat, get creative–it can work wonders for your sex life and can encourage better sex within your relationship.
Pepper’s time to shine! Fortunately, Pepper has a range of essential products that can help you reinvent your sex lives in ways you never thought possible. If you are one of the many women in hetero relationships who struggles with reaching orgasm during sex, adding a vibrator to help stimulate this experience can be the missing link, with 95% of those surveyed reporting that they were able to achieve orgasm with this simple addition.
If you want to slow things down, the Pamper Massage Wand can to help relax and enhance stimulation in sensitive areas for those looking for support with arousal, or for some extra intensity, try the CONNECT Vibrating Couples Ring for enhanced pleasure during sex. If you’re looking for some bendable, shapeshifting fun, check out the Crescendo Vibrator that can be tailored to each of your personal desires.