We all want to be better in bed, and many guides will boil it down to sex positions. While the physical stuff does matter, there's a lot we can be doing to make sex better, and it starts with setting the mood.
Do things you love to do, and do them with genuine enthusiasm. "Your partner will be able to sense it if you're not into something. But when you really enjoy what you're doing, that will make it far more of a turn on for them, amplifying the experience and the pleasure," says Antonia Hall, MA., a psychologist, relationship expert and sexpert, and the award-winning author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life.
2. Set the mood
Creating ambiance for lovemaking is an ancient tradition going back thousands of years. "Set the tone with great music and soft mood lighting. Bring in organic materials, like fresh flowers, silk sheets, and draped fabrics, especially around the bed when possible," says Hall. Upgrading bedding is an instant way to make your bed look more inviting. Invest in quality pieces like this luxe down pillow from Slumbr, a 500-thread-count Wamsutta sheet set for under $100, or a gorgeous duvet, like these from Crane & Canopy.
3. Have an empty stomach
While you don't want to eat so little that you pass out or get light-headed, you also don't want to overeat before sex. "First, you don't want to be lethargic and weighed down from a big meal. Second, if you've eaten the wrong thing, your partner doesn't want to smell your breath or especially your burps! And, finally, for men, digestion takes away valuable energy and blood flow, both of which could be best used, ahem, elsewhere," says certified counselor Jonathan Bennett of The Popular Man.
4. Clean up after your pets
Most people love animals. However, a lot of men and women (even animal-lovers) are allergic to cats and dogs. "If you let your pets sleep on your bed, you should definitely sweep the room and clean your blankets (including the comforter) prior to getting intimate with someone," says Bennett. If your partner can't stop sneezing, it'll definitely kill the mood.
5. Breathe deeply
Breathing and making sounds expands pleasure in the body in amazing ways. "The more breath you're getting into your body, the more relaxed you'll feel, which increases the ability to orgasm, especially in women who might otherwise have difficulty bridging the orgasm gap," says Hall.
6. Passionate presence
A great lover isn't thinking about that meeting at work or if their butt looks fat in a certain position because their focus is solely on being with their partner, giving and receiving pleasure. "Using fingertips, mouth, tongue, they have a conversation with their partner's body, aware of the subtle signs of what's pleasurable, building the excitement. Enthusiasm for what they're doing is a natural extension of their obvious desire and enjoyment in being with their partner, which heightens the experience for them both," says Hall.
7. Maintain the space
From a feng shui perspective, it's best to keep your bedroom a clear and neutral space, used mainly for sleeping and sex. "Keep your TV and computer OUT of the bedroom and create a beautiful and sensual atmosphere. Invest in high-quality bedding (organic bamboo sheets are silky smooth and my favourite!), lighting that you can keep dim (or use candles), and have your sexual accessories close on hand (in a night stand or dresser)," says Kim Anami, holistic sex and relationship expert.
8. Feel the part
Lingerie is a great investment to help you feel more sensual and beautiful, and it also creates visual variety and art for your partner. "You can go full throttle with a luxurious set, including bra, panties, garter, stockings, and heels," says Anami.
9. Pre-sex date foreplay
"Text your partner seductive bon mots throughout the day to build anticipation for your rendezvous," says Anami. You could include preview snaps of your new lingerie (but don't give everything away).
Throughout the day, schedule in activities that make you feel your best and calm you. For example, make sure you get a workout in to boost your mood and energy levels, have a bath with your favourite body scrub and essential oils to pamper yourself, or have a facial or some other kind of beauty treatment. "Anything that brings you into your centre and grounds you or boosts your brain biochemistry will help you to feel more confident and bring the best version of yourself to bed," says Anami.