There was a time when “sex” and “fashion” in the same sentence meant some highly flammable underwear. Possibly without a crotch. Today, sex takes inspiration from fashion; in particular, from its high-profile collaborations that live up to the hype. Stella McCartney for Adidas, Kate Moss for Topshop, Iggy Azalea for Steve Madden: all proof that a (sometimes surprising) pairing can produce seriously desirable results. We applied the same formula to your sex life, but skipped the whole “race you to eBay” panic.
Sex Toy + Your Regular Routine
You and your vibrator already have an exceptional private life. Time to bring it out of hiding. Sex researcher Dr Kristen Mark found that being adventurous in bed significantly increased how satisfied people were with their sex lives. The new activity that gave women most pleasure? Incorporating their electricity-powered pal into proceedings. Think of it as the bird, the bees, and the buzz.
That Dream You Had + Your Partner
No, not the one where Benedict Cumberbatch left his wife for you, or the one where you turned into a chicken and laid eggs. But telling a partner that you had a dream about them – then describing details of your favourite sexual fantasy – is the stealth way to gauge interest, says sexuality counsellor Ian Kerner. And this way, you’re less likely to get knocked back. In a study for his website Goodinbed.com, he found more than 70 percent of people were open to trying out a new sex suggestion from their partner. This whole “dream sharing method” cuts the awkwardness of putting it out there.
20 Minutes Of Exercise + Sex
Think of exercise more like foreplay in Lycra. “It can prime a woman’s body to experience higher genital arousal,” says Dr Tierney Lorenz, research fellow at the Kinsey Institute. In a study for the University of Texas, she pinpointed the exact libido-boosting formula: intense exercise for 20 minutes. (Aim for an effort level where you can say a sentence but not hold a conversation. If you’re using a fitness tracker, that’s 70 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate.) After cardio, the arousal-boosting effects lasts five to 10 minutes. Add strength training to boost arousal for up to 45 minutes afterwards.
Shower + Silicone
“Shower sex can be one of the most stimulating ways to orgasm, but also one of the most uncomfortable and awkward if you don’t have the right equipment,” warns psychotherapist Amanda Joy Robb. First, if you feel like you’re trying to get busy while surfing on banana skins, pop an anti-slip mat on the floor. No-one wants to have to explain to the neighbours downstairs why there’s been a flood in your apartment. And because water has the potential to wash away your vagina’s natural wetness, always use a silicone-based lubricant, which is not water-soluble (otherwise, it’ll just wash off). “It’ll increase your comfort during penetration,” says Amanda.
Simultaneous Orgasm + Err, Yeah, Right
It’s a wonder that more actors don’t receive Oscar nominations for movie sex scenes. The way the two main characters always orgasm together, well, it’s quite the creative performance. In real life, the odds of a co-gasm are about as likely as your guy being wide-awake post-deed: slim. According to Dr Mark, 11 percent of women said they often had same-time orgasms, with one percent saying they always did. “I was actually surprised it was even this high,” she adds. “Focusing on an orgasm is bad enough. Focusing on it happening simultaneously increases the pressure.” So, the co-gasm? More like the faux-gasm in our opinion. Now, let’s pull the plug out of the sync.
Side-By-Side + One-On-One
If you’ve been together forever, enjoying a bit of solo sexy time probably happens when your partner’s not in the house. Although, showing him exactly how it’s done is a brilliant, critique-free way to up-skill. “Masturbate the way you always do,” Ian explains. “It may seem odd to be doing something that’s typically a private pleasure in front of someone else, but if you allow yourself to relax, you may find yourself enjoying the spotlight.” Move closer and take turns touching each other. Rest your hand over his and lightly guide him. He gets a lesson in exactly what to do, and you get to reap the rewards for eternity! [Evil laugh.] Good deal, right?
Doing the Deed + Not Bed Time
Whoever came up with the idea of having sex late at night must have been playing an April Fool’s joke on us. Because if there’s one time when you’re not likely to feel sexy, energetic or ready to embrace your partner’s dirty underwear, it’s just got to be then. “Have sex as an entree, not dessert,” says sex therapist and educator Jacqueline Hellyer. “Try earlier. Have sex at 8.30pm instead of 11pm. Don’t veg out in front of the TV for three hours first.” She’s a firm believer in prioritising your sexy times. “People say, ‘Surely that’s unsexy?’ But it’s not. Sex is supposed to be one of the best things in life, and other things that we like, we put effort into. Yet we think sex should just naturally happen when we’re in the worst possible circumstances – and then feel puzzled if it’s not very good, or we’re not really into it,” she explains. So it’s time to invert your sex schedule and put a stop to associating “getting it on” with your night-time routine: get home, eat dinner, watch TV, brush your teeth, have sex. Ugh, boring!
Start + Stop
Tempting as it is to race for the finish line (you know, so we can get back to racing through the new season of True Detective), try keeping one finger pressed on your sexual pause button. Why would we be so cruel as to make you wait for an orgasm? Because bringing each other to the brink – then pulling back – ups your chance of having multiple orgasms. (Yep, thought you might like that part). Linger on foreplay, move on to oral sex and only then have intercourse, stopping every time you get too close or moving slower if he does.
Slow Game + Sexting
There’s a time and a place for the sexy pants text, and it’s usually when your partner’s two minutes from your front door – not when he’s about to give a PowerPoint presentation using the MacBook that also flashes up his private texts. The problem with going in with the whole “booty text” if you’re not seeing that person until much later is that the sexting gets too hyped; eight hours’ worth of eggplant emojis is a lot to live up to. Ian advises starting innocently. Start off with something like, “I’m thinking of you” or “I wish you were home already” and then tell them about a body part you can’t wait to touch. By home time, you definitely won’t have any trouble getting out of work mode.
21 Minutes of Foreplay + (Minimum) Intercourse
OK, the bad bit first: according to legendary sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, men can really only thrust continuously for about two minutes before it’s game over. Women need around seven times that duration to even have a look-in at an orgasm – and with the average sex session lasting 7.3 minutes, according to urologist Dr Harry Fisch, the odds aren’t looking too great. However, super size the foreplay – moreplay, if you will – and it just gets oh-oh-oh so much better. Kinsey’s research found that when partners spent at least 21 minutes on the actual foreplay, only 7.7 per cent of women failed to consistently reach orgasm. Not a bad stat, we say. Set a timer, ladies. So, 20 minutes of foreplay is your one-way ticket to orgasm-ville.
Your Attention + What You’re Feeling (Not Thinking)
During sex, where are you focused? A) On how good it feels; B) On how much money is left in your parking meter; C) Whether he thinks your boobs look a little odd or D) Mentally drafting an e-mail about this year’s budget. If your answer is “A”, congrats – skip to the next section! The rest of us need a team talk on how to get back in the moment (and, nope, you’re not in it just because you’re in each other). “First, notice you’ve drifted. Clients tell us, ‘I can’t orgasm’ or ‘I feel numb’, and I ask, ‘Where is your mind during sex?’ They don’t know because they’ve mentally checked out,” says sex therapist and relationship counsellor Cyndi Darnell. And to get back in? “Focus on what you can feel, like where your partner’s hand is rather than the hamster wheel spinning around in your head. We live in a society where the mind is dominant – which is fine as it helps you get stuff done – but it doesn’t always lead to amazingly good sex.” True that.
Using the Word “Normal” + A Total Ban on Saying It
Of all the terms that could be screwing with your sex life (or lack thereof), Cyndi believes “normal” is the worst. “People say to me, ‘I just want to have normal sex’. But when I ask them what normal sex is, no-one can answer. Everyone is aspiring to this ‘normal’, but nobody has any idea what ‘normal’ is – because it doesn’t exist,” she says. Copying what other people say that they’re doing isn’t the answer. “Trying something new and not liking it is fine; that’s experimenting. If you find yourself engaging in sexual practises that can leave you feeling empty, but continue to do them because you’d rather be seen as ‘normal’, then you’re doing yourself a serious disservice.”
Post-Sex + Conversation
Confession: we know that sex isn’t the easiest thing to talk about. “Heaps of people struggle, and even I had to learn to get better at it,” admits Jacqueline. “But how can sex be fantastic if you can’t even talk about it to the person you’re doing it with?” We often avoid the topic because we think that talking about sex must mean something is wrong with the sex. “But think of it like a mutual hobby. If you dance together, you wouldn’t find it difficult to say, ‘I sometimes find that when you’re really close, you stand on my toes’. No-one’s going to go, ‘Oh my god, I’m never dancing again!’” Jacqueline recommends talking about sex right after you’ve done it, when you’re still in that intimate, lovely, post-coital bliss kind of phase.
Side-On Position + Taking Advantage of His Hands
Don’t take the concept of getting on top of your sex life too literally; hopping off (or out from under him) and approaching things from the side can give a whole new perspective on your pleasure – and it’s because of his fingers, not his penis (hey, we don’t discriminate). “It gives easy access to the breasts and clitoris, so it’s the best bet for women to orgasm,” says sex therapist and online dating coach Bettina Arndt. And in a Canadian study on how reactive different body parts were to pleasure, the clitoris and nipple both came on top. It’s thought that the sensation from your nipples travels to the same part of the brain as sensations from the vagina, clitoris and cervix.
Tech Ban + Eye Contact
Look, we love Facebook as much as you do. Instagram, too. We heart it day and night. Anytime, really. But it’s almost as if social media has replaced… Uh-oh. Yep, sexy time. The problem is that tech keeps us turned on – in a really bad way. “Women have two nervous systems: parasympathetic and sympathetic. Sympathetic is the ‘switched on’ one, and technology keeps you in this mode, making it difficult to become aroused,” explains Jacqueline. Reading a book is OK because you’re not jumping from one website to another (reading actually triggers your parasympathetic mode – the relaxed one). “There’s got to be a period of time when you put your phone down and have some space. So much of the work I do with people is really simple stuff on how to connect,” she says. “It isn’t hard work; it’s just about turning off your phones, making eye contact and enjoying each other’s company. Really radical concepts, I know!”
Images: Corbis/Click Photos
Additional Reporting: Kit Chua