Couples may be ahead of singles when it comes to frequency of sex, but that doesn’t mean it’s good sex. In fact, we all know that when you’ve been in a relationship for long enough, sometimes sex is just…sex. And though we all have friends who are uninhibited when it comes to pushing the boundaries of bedroom behavior, I’m willing to bet that the majority of us aren’t ordering sex toys online on a regular basis. (But if you are, check out our 10 Eco-Friendly Sex Toys for Valentine’s Day.) For those of us with a shallow sexually adventurous streak, we called on Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., research scientist at Indiana University and author of Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction, to give us her top five sex tips about come-hither creativity for the romantically timid — just in time for February 14:
1. Don’t rush things before.
Herbenick advises spending at least 20 minutes engaged in sexual foreplay. “Whether you use that time for kissing, massages, a strip-tease, or touching is up to you,” she says. “Most couples who have been together for a while skip this important part of sex, but it can enhance intimacy and arousal as well as increase orgasm intensity.”
2. Don’t rush things after, either.
Don’t jump out of bed (or just fall asleep) when the fun part is over; relax and make an effort to stay in bed longer. “Remember when you were a new couple and you hated to get out of bed after sex,” says Herbenick. “And now you both get up and go back to the laundry or work, or if you stay in bed it’s only to go to sleep?” Yes, Debby. Unfortunately, we do. She advises trying to stay in bed to talk, hold each other, or even go for round two.
3. Don’t fear the vibrator.
According to a 2008 study that Herbenick and her colleagues conducted at Indiana University, more than half of women and nearly half of men in the U.S. have used a vibrator at some point. And, she says, most men feel that vibrators are a healthy part of a couple’s sex life; make sex more exciting; and take some of the pressure off them to give you an orgasm. To ease the introduction, Herbenick advises shopping for toys together at couples-friendly websites like My Pleasure, Early to Bed, and Babeland.
4. Get crafty.
No need to hit up the adult emporiums when you have all the makings of a sex-filled night in your own kitchen, like make your own body sugar. Herbenick says to mix about two tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar with your favorite flavor (e.g., freshly chopped basil, cocoa powder, or vanilla sugar) to taste. “Sprinkle on your partner’s body and lick away,” says Herbenick. This is one time not to count calories.
5. Take a cue from the youngsters and sext.
The written word can be an easy and powerful way to transition into more sexual adventure — sort of like storytime for adults. Herbenick says to read erotic stories in bed or text your significant other with a few lines from your favorite story. (Herbenick recommends checking out Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories by Rachel Kramer Bussell for inspiration.) “It may give you ideas to try the next time you have a weekend alone, and at the very least, it can help you explore fantasies and use texting as foreplay.”