10 Tips from Experts on Improving Your Sex Life
Do you resolve every January to become a better, more giving person? How about choosing to be a little more selfish? Let's prioritize pleasure in 2023.
As women, we are often led to believe that there is something wrong with talking about sex, wanting it, and even doing it. There's also a taboo around masturbation. We are here to empower women to feel good about their sex lives - with or without a partner. Sex affects our physical, emotional, and social wellbeing - so it's kinda important.
Benefits of a healthy sex life: * Lowers blood pressure * Boosts immunity * Lowers risk of heart attack * Decreases depression and anxiety * Increases libido * Improves sleep * Strengthens pelvic floor * Youthful afterglow
To arouse our curiosities and help us dive into a healthy, intimate wellbeing routine for 2023, we've asked our community of experts to give us their best tips. Read on to incorporate some of these 2023 Sexual Wellbeing + Me routines.
Phd Registered Psychologist, Professor Of Obstetrics/Gynaecology, UBC
Sexual health is fluid throughout one’s life, and there is plenty of evidence that age is not necessarily a detriment to a fulfilling sex life. Desire and arousal can be cultivated, so invest your energy into exploring what are the triggers the elicit arousal for you, and then use mindfulness (defined as compassionate attention) to bring your full awareness to the arousal, which triggers desire as a response.
Thinking of self-pleasure as you would a meditation practice teaches you how to listen to and trust your body - implicitly. When you prioritize sexuality as a sacred, valued part of your life you develop a deep connection with pleasure and your desires. This is an invitation out of shutdown and avoidance into the magnetic power of the erotic.
Gynaecologist And Clinical Associate Professor Department Of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, UBC
There are a lot of myths surrounding female sexuality. Women, in particular, are socialized to believe that pleasure should consist of pleasing others. We're taught that our pleasure should come last. Let 2023 be the year to create space for your own sensual pleasure either with yourself or a partner - through education, exploration and adventure!
Pelvic Health Physiotherapist
Pelvic health is much more than having strong pelvic floor muscles. Our pelvic wellness is integral to our overall wellbeing, and our sexual health is part of that—the knowledge of how our bodies work is vital for us to connect to ourselves and others. Pelvic physiotherapy is a way to gain this knowledge. The goal of pelvic physiotherapy is to optimize pelvic function, including pleasurable and safe sexual experiences.
PhD Registered Psychologist, Director
Sex is how adults play. So the rules for sex are the same as the rules for when kids play:
1. No one has to play.
2. As long as everyone is having fun, anything goes.
3. Be creative: role play; put on costumes; use props; use your imagination; don't be afraid to get loud and wild.
4. And it’s ok (and even encouraged) to say any of the following:
· “You can go first this time.”
· “You can have another turn.”
· “It doesn’t matter. This is just for fun.”
· “Want to do something else now?”
· “I’m tired. I need a little break.”
· “Let’s pretend we’re ___________.”
· “Nice shot!”
The Vagina Coach
Do pelvic floor exercises incorporated into whole body movement. The movements can mimic your fave sexual positions such as adding kegels to the tall kneel, to cat cow and even happy baby pose. Keeping your pelvic floor muscles working optimally will ensure all the sensation and pleasure you deserve during sex, with or without a partner.
Founder and Registered Physiotherapist
Our Pelvic floor muscles are only one component of our deep core canister. We tend to think about activation and strengthening of our deep core way more than we think about relaxation and lengthening. We create habits that over time can result in tension in our muscles; engaging our abdominal wall consistently to have an appearance of a flat abdomen, not breathing properly with our diaphragm, or doing Kegels when it is not indicated are just a few examples.
Pelvic floor muscle tension or overactivity is one common reason why we may feel pain during intercourse. Pelvic floor muscles provide the tone for your vaginal and rectal canals. Learning to connect to your pelvic floor muscles helps you have better control over the contraction and relaxation of these muscles which improves penetration, arousal, and orgasm! Consider checking with a pelvic floor physiotherapist to learn when and how to properly engage and activate and more importantly when to relax your muscles.
PhD Registered Psychologist, Director
What are some things people can do to improve their sex lives in 2023?
1. Challenge their adherence to what they think sex should and shouldn’t be. Unhelpful and unrealistic expectations and assumptions, presumptions about what good sex is, and overly rigid sexual scripts tend to suck the pleasure out of sex. Have fun, be curious, take risks, own what you like, don’t be afraid to get an egg in the face and learn to laugh it off. Also, sex doesn’t always have to be a 10/10 to be worth having; most of it won’t be anyway, so learn to find value in good versus fantastic sex (which hopefully people can still aspire to!).
2. This is cliché, and for a very good reason, but talk about sex with your partner(s)! The good, the bad, the ugly – all of it. And as a corollary, be willing to be an open, understanding, and kind listener as you encourage your partner(s) to do the same.
3. This applies to both sexual and non-sexual parts of relationships (and frankly, life in general). It’s the ability to accept the absence of things someone may want (i.e., the price of entry). It can sound kind of bleak, but it doesn’t have to be. It is an important skill to develop, and can have a significant benefit to relationships and people’s contentment.
I’ve met so many people over the years who wish their partners were different than who they are, acted differently than they acted, or provided something which they do not provide. And no amount of compromising, negotiating, complaining or fighting helps. The people I speak with end up bitter, resentful, and/or checked out. People often act in ways that poorly communicate these feelings, either directly or passively, which erode the relationship further. This can go on for years, if not decades. Also, people are free to, and should, ask for more of what they want; many people don’t, and then are upset with their partners when they don’t get what they’re not asking for.
In a functional relationship, partners generously make efforts to provide for each other, but there are limits to this. There are going to be far more unmet wants than wants provided. People must either: accept these gaps; negotiate ways to fulfill those wants outside their relationships; or leave their relationships in search of a partner who can provide more of what they want. But holding a relationship hostage because one is bitter does not benefit anyone. Acceptance frees people to focus on what they can appreciate in their relationships, and better problem solve their wants in creative ways. Paradoxically, acceptance increases the likelihood that they may actually get more of what they want.
Solo-sex practice - Start off the new year by making time for a solo-sex experience (aka. mindful masturbation). This is a powerful way to reconnect with yourself and prioritize sexy self-care. Here are some suggestions for a sensual self-pleasure practice:
1) Set an intention, for focus and inspiration. Some possibilities to play with: to feel pleasure without the pressure of orgasm, to explore pleasure beyond my erogenous zones, to give myself permission to fantasize, to connect with spirit through sex, to reclaim my body for myself, etc.
2) Set a timer. Creating a time boundary for your solo-sex experience gives us permission to truly drop into and commit to the experience. Like any meditation practice, a time container invites us to be with ourselves and our bodies in the present moment, without expectation of a particular outcome (whether that’s orgasm or ‘enlightenment’) . I recommend 20 minutes to start.
3) Set the scene. Create an environment that engages and pleases your senses and sets this practice apart from your regular, everyday life. Maybe light a candle, put on essential oils and wear clothes you feel sexy in. Imagine you’re seducing yourself into a sensual experience - put in the same time and energy into the occasion that you would if you were meeting a new lover.
When was the last time you saw your own pelvic floor?
Standing over a small hand mirror, or using that mirror while leaning back, knees bent, back supported on pillows are both good positions to try this in. Seeing and feeling your own pelvic floor, including the "U shape" of muscles (the bottom of the U is towards your tailbone, top is towards your pubic bone, if you're feeling while inside your vaginal opening) as they contract is a good way to check in with your Kegels. This "U shape" includes many of the key muscles that contract during orgasm!