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Sexual Trends for Better Sex

Kristin Hall, FNP

Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Geoffrey Whittaker

Updated 12/29/2022

Popular bedroom trends are basically the internet’s best-of collection of ways to spice things up in your intimate moments. If you’re looking for advice on what you can bring to your next sleepover to maximize fun for yourself (and your partner, of course), you’re probably ready to go deep on the latest sexual trends.

Sexual trends aren’t really about the latest pet names, lingerie designers and innovations in sex tech — although these are all welcome if everyone’s consenting. Instead, they’re really popular ways to make the routine a little less, well… routine.

Whether you’ve been with your current partner since the first Obama administration or are fielding new faces like a midterm election, there’s no wrong time to explore new pleasure-seeking strategies.

Some can help you reach new heights, some can do the same for a partner, and some might even help you get over erectile dysfunction (ED) or premature ejaculation (PE) issues.

The difference between our recommendations and everyone else’s? Science. The Hims 2022 nationwide sexual survey asked what Americans were into in bed these days, and we’re gonna let you in on the findings.

If you’re ready to try something new, here’s where you should start, according to our survey results.

Each person’s sexual preferences are both valid and — as you probably already know — not always appealing to everyone else.

Still, the state of sex these days is full of choice and opportunity. Just a quick exploration of PornHub and other popular sites will demonstrate the variety of new sex trends you may not have been aware of, along with the different kinks other people are living their lives in dedication to.

In April 2022, we conducted a survey to gather additional information beyond what the “most popular” tabs on adult sites can show us.

More than 7,000 participants weighed in and delivered some surprising insight. For instance, while about one in five said their sex life would be improved by more sex in general, nearly three-quarters of participants said they were most interested in exploring sexual trends they hadn’t previously tried.

Curious what those sexual trends are or if your own chosen trend made the list? These are the 10 most common sexual trends, according to our survey:

Roleplay

Thirty-one percent of respondents said roleplay was on their list of things to try in sexual relationships. For the purposes of the survey, we defined this as “engaging in a fantasy scenario,” including acting like strangers or exploring power dynamics, like teacher and student. 

Nearly a third of people surveyed had at least one roleplay scenario in mind they wanted to try with a partner.

Dom/Sub Relationships

Dom and sub relationships (also known as dominant and submissive) are defined by a consensual power imbalance between sexual partners. Respondents (specifically 17 percent of them) were on board with agreeing to cede or take power in intimate relationships.

Interestingly, it’s somewhat hard to determine the portion of the population that’s into dom/sub relationships and BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism). Research puts the number somewhere between 2 and 62 percent of the population, so no matter what your preferences are, we can’t really say where you fall.

Sexual Voyeurism

Another 17 percent of participants wanted to watch others engaging in sexual acts without their knowledge — a practice known as (sexual) voyeurism.

In a survey of a representative sample of Americans (adults aged 18 to 87 across ethnicities, genders and income levels), voyeurism fantasies were of interest to a whopping 60 percent of participants. That’s more watching than doing when it comes to fantasies.

Sugar Relationships

It seems 17 percent of respondents to our survey have a lot of experimentation they want to participate in. Sugar relationships — defined as one partner giving financial or material support to another in return for intimacy or companionship — were in the top half of the list of trends to try.

Solo Polyamory

Relationships were clearly optional for the 13 percent of respondents who wanted to engage in solo polyamory, the practice of having multiple partners without a monogamous relationship as an anchor or goal.

And according to a nationally representative survey of Americans, more than two-thirds of respondents fantasized about this in their spare time. Having multiple sex partners does mean you’ll have to be more careful with things like birth control and healthcare, though, so be advised.

Consensual Exhibitionism

Consensual exhibitionism is the practice of being seen naked or engaged in sexual activities by others. For 12 percent of survey respondents, it was on the list of intriguing trends to try. 

According to that study of fantasies we mentioned, roughly 42 percent of people may be into it, which means you could be closer to like minds than you know.

Digital Legal Sex Work

At least 12 percent of respondents were interested in exploring platforms and apps like OnlyFans that have risen in popularity since the pandemic began.

To produce sexual content legally for pay and (potentially) avoid sexually transmitted infections seems to be a welcoming option for many people. The content might include nudity, sexual acts or other intimate behaviors, and it’s all based on the individual preferences of the content creator.

Cuckolding

Our survey found that 10 percent of respondents were interested in a sexual trend known as cuckolding. In cuckolding, one partner is made to watch their partner “cheat” with someone outside their relationship for the enjoyment of all involved. The key to your emotional well-being here is that the “forced-to-watch” partner is consenting to everything.

Foot Fetishism

Finding feet sexy for physical or visual stimulation made the top ten list as well. We probably don’t need to explain too much about foot fetishes — at least not to the 9 percent of survey respondents who said it was a kink they wanted to try.

Objectophilia

To the average person, objectophilia may sound taboo, dangerous or otherwise obscure. But once you realize it’s just a sexual relationship or romance with inanimate objects, it makes more sense that 6 percent of people were interested in the practice.

While it might include sex toys, everything from dolls to office equipment could technically qualify. Oral sex, anal sex and other types of sexual experience with objects can be a great way to find new sexual pleasure. Just remember flared bases and non-toxic substances are essential.

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For many people (sexually active or otherwise), there’s some confusion about a couple of terms that describe sexual behaviors: kink and fetish.

Fetishes and kinks are often considered interchangeable, with a fetish being viewed as a “stronger” attachment and attraction. But there’s another way to define certain kinks: as a sexual orientation.

In fact, some have argued that BDSM kinks as a whole comprise more of a sexual orientation — (toward control and power) than a trend or a simple kink.

Experts generally argue that both definitions are valid, and the scientific consensus seems to be that both are acceptable ways of seeing that kink.

It goes without saying that orientation is far more “intense” a connection to identity than a trend. So the short answer is no, they’re not the same, though there are valid reasons the terms may overlap.

If you prefer to identify that way, go for it, but for our purposes, trendy kinks can be something you explore without necessarily being something you are.

Choose your chew

Sexual trends aren’t miracle cures for a bad sex life — they can only augment what you’ve already got going on. And if you’re facing issues, you need to pick trends that can augment your intimacy in the ways you need.

Erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation are two of the most common sexual problems in men. ED is prominent in men over 40 and increases in commonality with age.

Premature ejaculation is considered the most common sexual disorder in men — between 30 and 75 percent experience PE, according to some experts.

Both conditions, thankfully, do have augmentations, and there are even ways to sidestep the symptoms of ED and PE at home. Here’s what to consider.

Practice Adaptive Sex

Generally speaking, the best way to combat sexual disorders and dysfunction is to practice adaptive sex, an unofficial catch-all term for common and normal health conditions that affect bedroom performance.

Adaptive sex can cover anything from sex for the physically impaired to sex for the quick on the trigger. It’s really just a way of describing any obstacle that makes comfortable and pleasurable sex more difficult to achieve.

Practicing adaptive sex can be particularly important for feelings of safety, comfort and confidence in intimate situations where people have traditionally operated under the stigma that says functional problems or disabilities in the bedroom make you less attractive, less active and less fun in bed.

Using Toys  

If you’re a well-meaning sexual partner, you already know that toys are more like teammates than competitors. Both women and men can enjoy an array of enhanced pleasures from toys and devices — from penis pumps to vibrators.

Believe it or not, vibrators can do a lot for men, from increasing erectile function and arousal to ejaculatory function. Bringing toys into the bedroom is one of the easiest ways to spice things up on the path to better sex.

Pre-Sex Masturbation

It’s simple when you think about it: the best way to have better orgasms is to have more orgasms. But in all seriousness, it turns out that a little pre-sex masturbation can relieve more than stress before a big night.

Self-pleasure is contraceptive-free, STD-free, and something you’ve probably been practicing since high school.

And studies so far show it works. Masturbating one to two hours before having sex can decrease the chances of premature ejaculation.

Think of it as a penile pregame. Just don’t do it too much — we’ve heard that’s possible.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Speaking of games, the best way to perform on game night is to practice and stay fit in the lead-up. Yep, this works for your sex life too.

Studies show pelvic floor exercises (also known as kegels) have lots of potential to reduce symptoms of premature ejaculation. There are still questions about the best way to do them, but experts point to this plan if you’re curious.

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Whether your own interests align with or deviate from the things we’ve mentioned here, the most important takeaway from this data should be that you’re not alone in wanting to try new things.

Sexual trends may come and go, alternate or otherwise behave like fads. But wanting something beyond “vanilla” is normal — in an ice cream parlor or your own boudoir. 

At the end of the day, it’s about living your best sex life, and that’s something you and your partner(s) need to chart for yourselves. So here’s the big-picture advice we’ll leave you with: be bold.

Learn new ways to have better sex, and try them out with a consenting partner. And if your relationship is currently lacking in the sex department, talk to them (and maybe a therapy professional) about what’s coming between you.

On the other hand, if the thing coming between you is you, and it’s happening early, maybe introduce something like a benzocaine wipe into your sex life rather than a new trend. 

Your sexual health and sexual wellness should always be on your priorities list. Treating erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, seeking help for intimacy issues and performance anxiety — those are trends everyone can get behind. Even the vanilla folks.

Explore sexual health resources at Hims today.

11 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Rullo, J. E., Lorenz, T., Ziegelmann, M. J., Meihofer, L., Herbenick, D., & Faubion, S. S. (2018). Genital vibration for sexual function and enhancement: a review of evidence. Sexual and relationship therapy : journal of the British Association for Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 33(3), 263–274. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7678782/.
  2. Gaining control over - Cornell University. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2022, from https://health.cornell.edu/sites/health/files/pdf-library/premature-ejaculation-gaining-control.pdf.
  3. Pastore, A. L., Palleschi, G., Fuschi, A., Maggioni, C., Rago, R., Zucchi, A., Costantini, E., & Carbone, A. (2014). Pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation for patients with lifelong premature ejaculation: a novel therapeutic approach. Therapeutic advances in urology, 6(3), 83–88. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003840/.
  4. Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). The 7 most popular, and powerful, sexual fantasies. Psychology Today. Retrieved November 15, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-about-sex/202107/the-7-most-popular-and-powerful-sexual-fantasies.
  5. Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). Disabled? you can still enjoy satisfying sex. Psychology Today. Retrieved November 15, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-about-sex/202208/disabled-you-can-still-enjoy-satisfying-sex.
  6. Sprott, R.A., Williams, D.J. Is BDSM a Sexual Orientation or Serious Leisure?. Curr Sex Health Rep 11, 75–79 (2019). https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11930-019-00195-x.
  7. Crowdis M, Nazir S. Premature Ejaculation. [Updated 2022 Jun 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546701/.
  8. The 2022 sex report. Telehealth for a healthy, handsome you. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2022, from https://www.forhims.com/sex-report/. https://state-of-sex-tech.s3.us-west-1.amazonaws.com/2022+Sex+Report_FINAL.pdf.
  9. Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). The surprising psychology of BDSM. Psychology Today. Retrieved November 15, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-wide-wide-world-psychology/201502/the-surprising-psychology-bdsm.
  10. Sooriyamoorthy T, Leslie SW. Erectile Dysfunction. [Updated 2022 May 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562253/.
  11. Elliott, S., Hocaloski, S., & Carlson, M. (2017). A Multidisciplinary Approach to Sexual and Fertility Rehabilitation: The Sexual Rehabilitation Framework. Topics in spinal cord injury rehabilitation, 23(1), 49–56. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5340509/.
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kristin Hall, FNP

Kristin Hall is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with decades of experience in clinical practice and leadership. 

She has an extensive background in Family Medicine as both a front-line healthcare provider and clinical leader through her work as a primary care provider, retail health clinician and as Principal Investigator with the NIH

Certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she brings her expertise in Family Medicine into your home by helping people improve their health and actively participate in their own healthcare. 

Kristin is a St. Louis native and earned her master’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University, and is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can find Kristin on LinkedIn for more information.

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