Whether you’re frolicking with a new partner or the love of your life, banishing these habits from the bedroom will keep you happier, both in and out of the sheets.
Don’t assume you’ve got all the right moves
It’s impossible to know your partner’s desires right off the bat. “Everyone has personal preferences,” says sexologist Gloria Brame, PhD. Communication is critical to all aspects of the relationship, and by working to understand what your partner prefers, you’ll be building a more fulfilling physical and emotional relationship. (Check out these unexpected health benefits of regular sex.)
Don’t make it a negative space
Many couples air their grievances before bed, says Brame, possibly because it’s the first opportunity they have to talk in private. But when you bring your anger and resentments to into the bedroom, you turn a space for pleasure into a battleground. And if it escalates, it could lead to one partner withholding sex as punishment. If you’re upset with your partner, work it out in another room or put it off until tomorrow. “Going to sleep angry once won’t end your relationship,” Brame says. “What can change your sex life and the glue within a relationship is when you associate the bedroom with negative experiences.” Protect your health and your relationship by learning the best ways to deal with anger.
Don’t be shy about sharing your fantasies
“So many women and men are focused on the sex or foreplay they’re not getting instead of talking about what they want,” says psychotherapist and sexuality counselor Ian Kerner, PhD, author of She Comes First. But it won’t be taken as criticism if you express your desires in a way that’s constructive. As in, “Here’s something that would drive me wild…” As a bonus, the language you use can be as arousing as the act itself, Kerner says. And if you’re itching to go a little 50 Shades of Gray, say so. “The woman or man who really loves you is going to listen,” says Brame. That said, neither partner should press for anything that’s outside his or her comfort zone. Trying something new should be exciting, not unsafe or uncomfortable. (Steal the habits of couples with steamy sex lives.)
Don’t fake it
Opt for honesty instead of flattery—or just as a way to end something you’re not enjoying. Instead, use the anti-climax as an opportunity to discover how your partner can better satisfy you in bed. “Allow your differences to prompt conversations about what’s working and what’s not,” advises Kerner. If you’re concerned that your partner might be putting on a show for your benefit, talk about it, rather than being embarrassed. “If you genuinely think they faked it, make it clear that you don’t expect that they will have an orgasm every single time and that’s totally okay,” says sex and relationship expert Tracey Cox, author of Hot Sex: How to Do It. Try out these 7 ways to make sex great again.