These hard-earned bits of wisdom boost your sex life no matter what stage your relationship is in.
Life is too short to have bad sex (even though bad sex may only take a few minutes). Well, OK, sometimes bad sex is useful because it teaches you what you don’t like and also without it there would be a lot less to talk about while getting tipsy at brunch.
But once you’re in a relationship, the sex should be good. When it is, it’s part of the glue that binds you two together. (And when it’s not, it can be the wedge that drives you so far apart you look back one day and are like, WTF was I thinking staying in that hellscape I called a relationship?)
Here, 11 things all happy couples know are absolutely true when it comes to sex.
1. Quantity may go down over the years, but the quality generally should go up.
My congratulations if you manage to be the rare couple who is still going at it like rabbits years into your relationship. Write a book about how you do it, sell the manuscript, make millions, retire early, and thank me when all is said and done! But in general, you’ll have sex less often the longer you’re together, which is fine as long as you’re both still doing the things that drive your partner crazy—and learning new ones.
2. No one’s right to orgasm is more important than the other person’s.
Equality extends to the bedroom, too. Thinking either of your pleasure matters more than the other’s might lead to resentment, which is wonderful for a couple! Just kidding. Resentment can suck the soul of out a relationship like a particularly vicious dementor. People in happy relationships prize each other’s pleasure because seeing their partner happy makes them happy, so it’s just this wonderful cycle of trying to make each other come so hard they pass out (or doing whatever else gets them going).
3. Compromise extends to the bedroom.
It’s all about doing things that the other person is obsessed with even if you’re not as big of a fan. Obviously this doesn’t mean going beyond the bounds of what feels comfortable to you. If you know that you will absolutely never have anal sex until the day you die but your person is all about that peach-emoji action, they’ll just have to deal. But if there’s something they’re crazy about that you’re comfortable with even if it’s not your favorite, indulge them sometimes. They should do the same for you.
4. Your sex life will shrivel up like a prune—arguably the least sexy fruit out there—if you aren’t open to experimenting.
Humans are living longer than ever. That is generally great except when it comes to monogamy—it’s a lot harder to stay sexually interested in one person for decades on end. That’s where trying to introduce new things in the bedroom comes into play. On a related note…
5. Sex stores can be useful.
Let’s upgrade that: Sex shops can be an oasis for happy couples who want to maintain stellar sex lives. Browsing through the items can help you come up with new ways to switch things up, like grabbing a hands-free vibrator you can use during sex.
6. There are other sexual destinations beyond Orgasm Town.
Even though orgasms are always billed as the pinnacle of sex, focusing on them can make sex boring. First of all, it’s easy to fall into a rut because you each know which moves make the other orgasm. Unlike in math class, sometimes you’ve got to stray from the formula even when you know it works. Plus, when you focus so much on orgasms, you can miss out on other reasons for having sex, like having emotional orgasms because you feel so close.
7. If you take it all too seriously, you’ll miss out on amazing sex.
So many things can go “wrong” during sex, but the way you react to them can make them right in a pretty mind-blowing way, if you know what I mean. (What I mean is that when you crack up after a noise escapes from some orifice instead of freezing like you locked eyes with Medusa, you’ll feel even more bonded together, leading to even better sex.)
8. Using sex as a relationship weapon is just not OK.
Sex is not something to be bartered, nor a means of controlling someone (unless we’re talking about BDSM, but that’s a whole different article). Clearly you don’t need to have sex when you’re upset with your partner, but withholding sex solely to prove a point or gain leverage, rather than trying to fix a problem, is relationship kryptonite.
9. Mundane things can actually be really hot.
Being in a long-term relationship means you’ll have a lot of normal days together. But people in happy relationships know to open their eyes to the potential sexiness of those moments. Like, when your partner cleans the kitchen because you hate doing it, pause to really take in what it means: that they’re trying to make you happy, which can be one of the sexiest things of all.
10. For many people, being turned on is more of a slow burn than an on-switch.
A friend of mine had a major sex gripe: Her boyfriend shelved any mystery around the subject in favor of straight up being like, “So, are we going to have sex?” That doesn’t count as foreplay, FYI, which is what my friend needs to really get in the mood. Once her boyfriend understood that some foreplay was necessary, their sex life and relationship got way better. Moral of the story: Just because you’ve had sex with each other like a million times doesn’t mean it no longer deserves to be treated like something special.
11. Absence makes the genitalia grow fonder.
Give yourselves a chance to miss each other. Being attached at the hip is not always good for your relationship, as counterintuitive as it seems. When you spend some time apart, you maintain a level of independence that is a) really hot and b) a way for you two to seem novel to each other, like there’s always some fascinatingly sexy tidbit to discover about the other person. You also get to see each other with fresh eyes and have thoughts like, Wow, her eyes really are gorgeous, where did my underwear just go? It’s a win all around