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6 Ways to Improve Your Sex Life by Yourself

You don't need a partner to have better sex.

Anna Nekrashevich/Pexels
Source: Anna Nekrashevich/Pexels

Your sex life is the way you express your sexuality, which can be with a partner or alone. As a couples therapist, an issue that often comes up in sessions is the desire to have a more connected or exciting sex life. For some in long-term relationships, intimacy can start to fade with busy schedules and the fading newness of a relationship. Sex can often feel like another item on the to-do list and so it loses its purpose. But sex can have many different purposes: building connection, pleasure, stress reduction, relaxation, or reproduction.

For those not in a relationship or without a partner there are things you can do to improve your sex life on your own. These tips can help in the future if your goal is to have a partner but everyone can have a satisfying sex life with themselves. No matter the reason, the following research-supported tips can help get the results you want.

1. Explore your own body. It’s important to be familiar with your own body and what feels good whether you are with a partner or by yourself. Masturbation and general self touching can give you insight into your erogenous zones as well as places you prefer not to be touched. You can explore the type of touch you like, i.e. hands, objects, vibration, soft, or firm. Masturbation has also been shown to boost sex drive (Anders 2012 and Waterlink 2014) by putting you in the headspace of thinking about sex more often; also, your body experiencing orgasm or pleasure prepares it to be turned on more frequently.

2. Explore your fantasies. Fantasy is about exploring imaginary scenarios or past memories. You can explore fantasies by thinking about them, reading, or watching videos. Fantasies don’t have to be things you want to explore in real life but are a way to express your sexuality. Fantasies can be expressed with a partner or explored on your own. Research has found that fantasies can help people with arousal and achieving orgasm. Discussing them with a partner can improve the perception of a relationship as well. (Nese 2021) Taking time to think about what excites you and turns you on is a good way to get your mind thinking about sex more often.

3. Practice muscle relaxation. Muscle relaxation and deep breathing can strengthen your pelvic floor and reduce tension. Reducing tension in your pelvic area can make sexual acts more pleasurable and reduce pain. Pelvic floor exercises can help to increase blood flow to the area, create stronger orgasms, and increase sensitivity. (Kanter 2015) For women this is especially important after having kids, or for those living with menstrual pain disorders. For men, strengthening the pelvic floor can also be helpful for erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. (Pract 2004)

4. Nutrition and Exercise. Nutrition and exercise can do a lot for our health but also can produce specific improvements for our sexual health. Eating processed foods with unhealthy fats can lead to hormone disruption and lower libido. A diverse, whole-food diet can balance your hormones and promote a healthy libido. (Kudesia 2021) Exercise links to cardio endurance, which has been shown to be connected to sex drive and arousal (Jiannine 2018). Something as simple as walking can help with cardio endurance and help your body with sexual function. Exercises like yoga and pilates can help with flexibility and strength, making it easier to engage in certain sexual positions.

5. Set the mood. Setting the mood means creating the right atmosphere to promote sex. There are certain enviornments and situations that make it difficult to put yourself in a sexual frame of mind. Reducing stress and promoting relaxation day to day can help set the mood. Research has looked at how stress diminishes our ability to be interested in sex. (Atkins 2010) Your physical environment also plays a part in setting the mood. Lighting, temperature, and smell can be good places to start to foster a sexual mood. If your bed is the place of choice, your bedding color and texture can also play a role. Think about how you want to set up your space when engaging in sex.

6. Talk about sex more. Talking about sex more can help you be more open about it. Talking about sex with a partner if you have one is essential for maintaining open communication. Research shows that talking to a partner about sex can lead to greater frequency, desire, arousal, lubrication, and erectile function. (Mallory 2019) Research has also explored how talking to friends and other trusted sources about sex can aid your sex life. (Hinchcliff 2019) It can help to share information, provide support, and normalize certain sexual interests. You can join a book club that focuses on romance erotica, ask a question to a close friend, or bring up the subject with your therapist.

There is no magic way to improve your sex life. It takes some work on self-care, communication, and exploration. It can be helpful to set aside some time to practice these things and talk to a partner or reflect independently about how you feel. If you are experiencing sexual dysfunction that causes disruption with your ability to be intimate talk to your doctor or a therapist about how to address your symptoms.


More from Kari Rusnak, MA, LPC,CMHC
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