Reviewed by Jill Johnson, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
Written by Our Editorial Team
Some people will say that any sex is good sex, but if you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you know that from time to time it’s important to spice things up and try new things to keep life interesting in the bedroom.
Sex certainly isn’t everything in a relationship. However, keeping sex exciting and enjoyable for both you and your partner means putting in work and not doing the exact same thing day in and day out.
Whether things in your bedroom are getting a little stale, on their way to good, or on their way to great, there are a few simple tricks you can employ to take things to the next level and maintain a more satisfying, fulfilling sex life.
The good news is that none of our tricks require acrobatics, incredible stamina or some kind of advanced knowledge of human anatomy. In fact, many of them don’t require any athleticism at all. It’s all fairly straightforward stuff.
Below, we’ve talked about why you might want to spice up your sex life, as well as how common many sex-related issues are.
We’ve also covered 10 actionable ways to spice up sex, strengthen your sexual connection with your partner, feel more sexually fulfilled and increase your relationship satisfaction.
Before we get into tips and approaches for improving sexual communication and having better, more satisfying sex, let’s quickly go over why it’s important to keep your sex life fresh, exciting and enjoyable in the first place.
There’s nothing wrong with having a “routine” sex life, and it’s important to start this discussion from that base.
If both you and your partner are enjoying the same thing or things every time, then maybe your intimate relationship doesn’t need additional spicing up. Think of it as a perfect recipe that gets no better with additional ingredients.
But sometimes, our sexual partnerships might need a bit of spring cleaning or sprucing up for a few reasons:
Your excitement about the status quo declines. Over time, even the most incredible sex can become routine. You or your partner may start to feel less excited with sex that used to turn you on, or just feel like it’s the right time for something new and exciting.
You’re having less sex than before. It’s far from uncommon for sex to decline over the course of a long-term relationship, especially if both you and your partner are frequently busy during the daytime and evening and feel as if you don’t always have time for sex.
Your relationship satisfaction is declining. Sometimes, having more sex — or, better sex — can make your relationship more fulfilling, dynamic and satisfying — an important component for long-term happiness together.
You’re not having sex at all. A surprising number of relationships involve either totally or occasionally “dead” bedrooms. In one study, experts found that 16 percent of married couples in the US had no sex in the previous month.
If you’re having less frequent or less enjoyable sex, it’s very normal to wonder if things could be better. One important factor to keep in mind when you’re assessing your own sex life is that the numbers suggest that a “normal” sex life often isn’t as great as we might imagine.
For example, one study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior found that more than 15 percent of men aged 18 to 89 self-reported that they had not had sex in the past year, with more than eight percent of men reporting no sex in the last five years.
Among women, close to 27 percent reported having no sex in the past year, with 17.5 percent reporting no sex in the last five years. In men and women, sexlessness was most associated with older age, as well as being unmarried.
In other words, contrary to what popular media might make you think, the average person isn’t exactly having incredible sex every night or rolling in incredible sexual opportunities every day of the year.
This is important to know because chances are if you’re having sex at all, you’re statistically in the middle of the population. Not too shabby, eh?
Less frequent and less exciting sex is a complicated topic to try and quantify, but there are some common trends among people who reported not enjoying intimacy with a partner.
Men tended to point to bad interpersonal communication, a sense of entitlement, self-doubt and a false conflation of love and sex as the primary issues.
It’s common to feel that a lack of sex means your partner doesn’t love you, or that a lack of good sex is a judgment on you or your skills.
For women, bad sex was typically associated with anxiety, feelings of abnormality or inadequacy and a sense of obligation.
In the studies mentioned above, researchers found that the following factors were linked to a reduced level of sexual activity among married couples:
The presence of young children
Lack of shared activity
Resentment and anxiety can build over feeling obligated to perform, particularly when you begin to feel self-conscious about your body or the experience.
In many cases, these issues can represent themes of sexual inadequacy, unnecessary pressure on sexual performance, and avoidant tendencies toward addressing the problem.
Whether this describes you or not, the foundational pillar of communication within a relationship is something we could all benefit from putting a little more energy into.
That involves communicating, but also making space for your partner to communicate their key needs and concerns to you.
So, what can you and your partner do to make things better? Part of the solution to a sexually unfulfilling relationship is accepting that this might not be a problem you can fix with one quick conversation, or even a day or two of consistent effort.
“Confronting” your partner with communication isn’t likely to achieve much more than additional conflict, and neither of you are going to get much satisfaction, sexual or otherwise, from a long, tense and stressful argument.
The good news is that, armed with the versatile tool that is clear communication, it’s possible to have a supportive, open conversation with your partner and begin making progress toward the sex life you want to have.
Since no two relationships are exactly the same, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula that you can use to have a healthy sex life.
However, there are numerous techniques that you can use to improve your sexual environment, have a more active sex life and get your sexual experience back to how it was during the early days, or honeymoon phase, of your relationship.
We’ve listed 10 of these below, along with simple advice to help you incorporate each technique into your sex life:
Just about every couple aspires to have a fulfilling, fun sex life, but it’s far from uncommon to fall a little short. If you’re going through a dry spell, or just feel as if your relationship doesn’t feature as much sexy time as you’d like, you’re definitely not alone.
Because sexual problems are so common, there are lots of resources that you and your partner can use to educate yourselves about how to spice up your sex life.
If you’re looking for ways to spice things up, it might be time for an advanced class for fun. Your first assignment? A group project with your partner.
Exploring sex together through reading articles and watching videos can help you discover new things to try and become more comfortable sharing with one another, all without judgment.
Hitting the books before you hit the sheets together can also be a fantastic way to become more informed, which can go a long way toward building a foundation for the type of sex you want to enjoy together the road.
In other words, if you’re feeling lost, intimidated or confused about what to do next, try starting by defining the issues you’re facing, then looking for resources online about overcoming those specific problems together.
Speaking of construction projects, building sexual stamina is a great way to increase pleasure and enjoyment in the bedroom.
Increasing your sexual stamina not only lets you enjoy sex for longer — it’s also a great way to gain more control over the pleasure you feel during sexual activity.
Lifting some weights might be great for a few positions, but there’s one exercise that’s great for every position: pelvic floor exercises, or kegels.
These exercises are used to strengthen the muscles located at the bottom of your pelvis, which are involved in some aspects of male and female sexual function.
Our guide to pelvic floor exercises for men shares some simple exercises that you can perform at home for better sexual function, control and stamina. These exercises involve clenching the muscles you normally use to control urination, usually for a few sets a day.
In addition to strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, improving your overall fitness can have a huge positive impact on your sex life.
Not only can aerobic exercise and resistance training help you have sex for longer before you’re tired — they can also improve your body composition and make you more physically attractive to your partner.
New positions are a great way to spice things up, but you don’t have to be a contortionist to find enjoyable angles. In many cases, making sex more interesting can be as easy as changing who is on top.
Different positions can stimulate different erogenous zones for both you and your partner, giving you a more pleasurable experience. You can often unlock deeper forms of pleasure by focusing more attention on erogenous zones, such as the G-spot and prostate.
One thing to keep in mind is that not everything you try will feel great right away, either for you or for your partner. However, a lot of new positions will. The key is to keep trying new stuff until you find some things that work for both of you.
Once you identify what you both enjoy, try making it a regular activity to breathe new life (and a dose of new excitement) into your sex life together.
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Not quite sure how to spice up your sex life? Toys, toys, toys are your friends. Forget whatever toxic stigma is associated with finding pleasure via accessories, because using toys to up your game is often an absolutely positive thing for you and your partner’s sexual experience.
As with most things related to sex, there’s no one-size-fits-all plan with it comes to adding toys to your sex life. Try talking to your partner about what you’d like, then putting together a budget to try new toys every month.
Just like with sex positions, over time you’ll discover which toys work best to make sex a more enjoyable experience for both of you.
Modern technological toys, like this penis vibrator, can enhance pleasure for both you and your partner during intercourse.
Communicating fantasies is harder than it should be, even though it’s ultimately one of the keys to making our desires real.
You know that telling your partner about the roleplay in your head might get them in the mood, but what’s stopping you is the very understandable fear that your partner might not share your fantasy and reject you.
We all know that feeling. Luckily, there are ways to build trust and open dialogues about these things without just abruptly asking an awkward question.
One way is to start with some recreational viewing, whether it’s a movie scene, a PornHub clip or something else. This can set the stage for you to bring it up, or for them to get the message without you ever having to bring it up.
Speaking of setting the stage, it’s important to make sure that if you’re expecting your partner to be judgment-free and supportive of your sexual fantasies, you’re also offering them a safe space of their own.
Your partner is an individual, and like you, they have their own sexual fantasies that you should listen to. They also have their own needs, as well as days when they’re just not in the mood for sex.
Not being in “the mood” can be a result of bigger issues, such as anxiety or depression. It’s also something that may occur naturally due to a busy schedule, physical exhaustion or simply other things that are occupying your partner’s mind.
Understand that even if there’s nothing wrong, sometimes your partner might just not be in the moment. When this develops, it’s important to give your partner the space and/or support they need, without pushing for sex then and there.
Pushing for sex when your partner isn’t in the mood might seem like a good way to enjoy more sex together, but it can potentially create resentment and weaken your sexual connection.
Remember: your partner is far more than just a sexual being. They’re not a machine, and they have their own needs and emotions. If they’re not in the mood, make space for them and try to delay sex until you’re both feeling better.
These issues can develop for a number of reasons, and it’s rare for them to get better without you addressing them head-on. Luckily, help is available to those who seek it.
Erectile dysfunction, which can cause you to find it difficult or impossible to get or maintain an erection, can be treated with several medications, such as Viagra® (which contains sildenafil), Cialis® (tadalafil) and Stendra® (avanafil).
These medications, which belong to a class of drugs called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, have been around for decades. Used in combination with lifestyle changes, they’re excellent for getting your member back in action.
Likewise, when it comes to how to spice up your sex life, dealing with premature ejaculation is right at the top of the list.
Although there’s no medication that’s approved by the FDA specifically for delaying ejaculation, several existing drugs are used off-label for this purpose.
For example, SSRIs such as sertraline and paroxetine are widely prescribed to slow down your orgasm and ejaculation process, while over-the-counter treatments such as our Delay Spray for Men can provide a convenient stamina boost by reducing sensitivity during sex.
We offer these treatments and others as part of our full range of evidence-based treatments for premature ejaculation.
Not sure how to spice things up in the bedroom? One easy way to make sex more appealing is to set the mood beforehand with the right music, lighting and pre-sex activities.
If you and your partner haven’t had sex much recently, try scheduling a night out together. After a romantic dinner, drinks together or a night at the club, coming home to have sex can feel like the natural next move.
Sometimes, a simple thing like setting the mood with a sexy playlist can be all it takes to make sex feel like the right thing to do.
Even small details can make a difference. If you’re not sure how to spice things up in the bedroom, try planning an evening that will get both you and your partner in the mood, making it easier to take the next step and bring sex back into your life together.
It makes sense to bring things full circle back to communication because it’s vital for success in all of the other items on this list.
Communication is deeply linked to sexual satisfaction. In fact, research has shown that frequent sexual communication is linked with increased orgasm frequency in women and a higher degree of sexual and relationship satisfaction in both sexes.
In other words, good communication not only makes it easier to have sex — it can also result in more pleasurable sex.
Often, improving your sexual communication starts with simple things, such as listening to your partner, taking their needs and concerns seriously, letting them know what you enjoy and being able to pick up on non-verbal cues when they’re used.
Put simply, don’t be afraid or hesitant to talk with your partner, especially if you feel like there’s something in the way of your happiness and sexual satisfaction.
Finally, if the techniques mentioned above don’t appear to improve your sexual connection and spice up your sex life, you may want to consider seeing a therapist.
Therapy can help you to deal with many of the mental health factors that can contribute to poor sexual function, including sexual performance anxiety and depression.
Research also suggests that certain forms of therapy, such as couples therapy, may be helpful for treating issues such as low sexual desire in women.
For problems such as anxiety, depression or feelings of guilt about sex, you connect with see a therapist from your home using our online therapy service, which is part of our range of mental health services.
You can also reach out to a sex therapist, marriage therapist or other mental health specialist in your area for in-person assistance.
Sexual tastes, desires and preferences aren’t universal. Some people like sex once or more a day, while others are content with sex one time each week. Some people like kinky sex, while others are strictly vanilla.
Because people’s desires, tastes and sex drives vary so much, there’s no precise formula that you can follow to reinvigorate your sex life and strengthen your sexual relationship.
However, the tips and techniques above are a fantastic start. Try focusing on one at a time, from trying new positions to treating erectile dysfunction, experimenting with new sex toys or working on your communication.
Over time, you may notice that you and your partner start to feel more connected to each other, and that your sex life goes from stale to extremely satisfying.
Chances are you’ll receive a double benefit from this process: you’ll learn how to deal with any problems you may be having right now, and you’ll also demonstrate to your partner that they’re worth the effort. What a turn-on that would be.
Interested in learning more about improving your sex life? You can find out more about having better sex in our guide to maintaining a healthy sex life, or participate in an erectile dysfunction consultation online to access evidence-based medications for better sexual function.