How To Have Better Sex, More Often: Tips for Longterm Relationships

How To Have Better Sex, More Often: Tips for Longterm Relationships

Sarah Riccio

So you're in a longterm relationship and the sex feels like it's starting to fizzle. Well, I've got news for you: that's completely normal. Longterm relationships typically experience a dip in that right-here-right-now passion, and an increase in pee-with-the-door-open intimacy. 

But that doesn't mean longterm lovers can't have great sex, and often! In fact, there are certain intimacy building exercises that can take your sex life from stagnant to the best it's ever been. In this guide, I explore how to do just that.

Let's dive in!

How to Build Intimacy for Better Sex

If you want more action in the bedroom, it can help to start by addressing any issues in your relationship. It's normal and healthy to experience conflict in relationships, but when things go unresolved, tension can build over time. And if there's one thing that's guaranteed to kill the mood, it's unresolved tension. 

Even if you're not actively in an argument, hurt feelings that were never mended and apologies that went unsaid can create a wall between you and your partner. Think of it this way: great sex happens outside the bedroom first.

Take time to hone effective communication skills, learn each other's turn-ons and turn-offs, and seek professional guidance if you feel the need.

More: What are the Biggest Barriers and Threats to Intimacy?

Improving Communication Skills

When you're in the heat of an argument, it's not always easy to express yourself. And that's okay! But there are some things you can do to make conflict resolution more seamless. Practice active listening, regulate emotions, and take the time you need to have an effective conversation.

Take a breather 

If you're mid-quarrel and don't feel ready to talk it out, say that. It's better to take the time you need to calm down than to force communication before you feel like you're in a good headspace. 

Set a specific time to talk

If you do feel the need to take a breather before communicating, be sure to let your partner know that you do intend to revisit the conversation. You can say something like, "I don't feel ready to talk about this right now. How about tomorrow afternoon?"

If it's something that demands more immediate attention, even taking 20 minutes to cool down can help establish effective communication. 

Seek professional guidance 

Say it with me: there is no shame in asking for help. Unless you're a trained therapist, you probably don't have all the tools and techniques needed to solve every relationship issue you have. So why not consult someone who does?

There's still some stigma surrounding therapy, but it's important to forgo those outdated ideas and utilize the professional care available to you. 

Discover each other's turn-ons and turn-offs

Of course, communication doesn't always mean ironing out issues. Talking with your partner is one of the best ways to discover what makes them tick, in and out of the bedroom.

Understanding what turns you both on (and off) leads to more satisfying sexual experiences, and strengthens the bond you already share. Arousal operates in a dual control model of accelerators and brakes, and it's important to know your partner's as well as your own. 

Your accelerators are all the things that tell your brain to feel turned on in a given scenario. It could be anything from a type of touch to a specific scent. It could be coming home to a clean space, or simply being in an environment that makes you feel comfortable.

Your brakes are all the things that turn you off like stress, a messy room, unfinished chores, a looming work deadline. Your brakes also respond to the context of your environment; if you're sitting in church or standing in line at the DMV, chances are good that your brakes will be all the way on.

Learn: What's Your Lust Language?

When you pay attention to what affects your accelerators and brakes, you'll be able to pinpoint your turn-ons and turn-offs more efficiently. Then, you can share what you've learned about yourself with your partner.

Don't be shy — be honest

When you talk about what turns you on and off, it's important to do so openly and honestly. Otherwise, you might mislead your partner, or make it hard for them to understand what you're actually looking for. It can be tempting to shy away from explicitly stating your needs, but it is the most effective way to ensure mutual satisfaction.

For example, you may want to try incorporating sex toys into partnered play. This can be a delicate topic for some couples, so be sure to approach it in a way that makes your partner feel included and desired.

Instead of saying, "I want to use a vibrator to make sex with you feel better," try, "I think using a vibrator with you would be sexy and fun!" There's always a way to explicitly state your needs without alienating or discouraging your lover. 

More: How Do I Convince My Partner to Let Me Use Sex Toys?

Quality Over Quantity

It might sound like a cliche, but the quality of your sex should be prioritized over quantity. Focus on improving connection and intimacy rather than just increasing frequency. Practice mindfulness during intimate moments, enjoy extended foreplay, and prioritize pleasure over climax.

Learn: What Is Foreplay and Why Is It Important?

Experiment with new techniques or positions

Trying out new sex positions or techniques can help keep things fresh and exciting in the bedroom. Not only is it a fun way to spice things up, but charting new territory together can be an intimacy building experience in and of itself.

Some couples may feel nervous about trying something new, but remember: you're in this together! There's no shame in not being perfect at something right away. Besides, exploring each other's bodies in new ways is half the fun. 

Bask in the aftercare 

If you thought aftercare was only for BDSM, think again. Aftercare, which involves nurturing and comforting one another after sex, is an essential part of any intimate encounter. It builds trust, strengthens emotional bonds, and leaves both partners feeling more connected.

Take time to cuddle, share compliments, and discuss what you enjoyed most about the intimacy you just shared. 

Learn: What Is Aftercare and Why Is It So Important?

Broaden Your Concept of Sex

It's important to remember that sex includes much more than PIV penetration. Things like oral sex, tantric massage, mutual masturbation, anal play, and dry humping all fall under the umbrella of sex. The more narrow your concept of sex is, the more likely you are to fall into a rut.

Oh, and foreplay is not the same as sex. Fingering, handjobs, and oral sex are often mistaken as foreplay, but they're not! Foreplay includes all the things you can do to set a mood of arousal before play of any kind (think flirting, sexting, kissing).

Be sure to set aside ample time for foreplay before moving on to penetration or sex. The more aroused you are going into sex, the better it's going to feel. The goal is to ignite each other's erectile tissue so that erogenous zones are extra sensitive and ready to receive pleasure. 

Learn: What Is the Clitoris?

Explore different types of erotic touch

When I say different types of touch, what do I mean? Here are a few of my favorite examples: 

  • Tantric touch. Incorporate elements from tantra into your intimate encounters by focusing on slow movements and deep breathing techniques that heighten sensations. 
  • Nipple play. Experiment with gentle pinching, licking, or sucking to stimulate this sensitive erogenous zone (yes, nipplegasms are a thing!).
  • Erogenous zones. Explore pleasure zones like the inner thighs, neck, earlobes and other supercharged areas before heading for the penis or vulva. 

More: 5 Things That Guarantee Good Sex

Keep Arousal Alive Throughout The Day

Don't limit foreplay to the bedroom. Remember: foreplay happens before sex, so it's important to keep the spark alive throughout the day with small gestures that foster a feeling of arousal.

Here are a few tips to help maintain sexually charged energy:

  • Share non-sexual physical intimacy. A gentle touch on the arm or a hug from behind can send shivers down the spine. Small physical connections remind your partner that you find them desirable, and helps build anticipation for later.
  • Send sexy messages during the day. Sexting is great way to flirt with your partner when you're apart, and hype each other up for the fun that's yet to come. Snap a hot pic, send a flirty message, and make each other's feel wanted throughout the day.  

More: Top 5 Sexts to Send Your Crush

Put Sex on the Schedule

Spontaneity is great, but let's be real — life gets busy. Hollywood would have you believe that the hottest sex is totally unplanned rip-each-other's-clothes-off kind of sex, but I beg to differ. 

When you schedule intimate times with your partner (and yes, I mean literally putting it on the calendar), you give yourself time to plan for and anticipate the fun to come. Pick a sexy outfit, select your favorite sex toys, take time to set the scene. 

Remember: time, planning and effort doesn't make sex boring — it makes it better. Here are some fun tips to get you started

Get creative

Dedicate specific days each month to focus on your partner and explore new ways of connecting. Try new positions, experiment with different types of touch, or simply enjoy an evening of cuddling and conversation. 

Ready to get creative? Check out How To Practice Sex Magic

Communicate openly

iscuss what you hope to explore during your scheduled sessions so that everyone's on the same page. Open communication fosters trust and understanding, which ultimately leads to more satisfying sexual experiences.

Add some spice

Incorporate fun elements like themed date nights ("sensual massage night" or "roleplay night"). Shop for toys and sex accessories together, or surprise your lover with something new! 

Browse our collection of fun couple's toys!