Feeling a bit lacklustre in the bedroom recently? Your physical and mental wellness has a great impact on your sex life.
We gathered 20 tips that can help improve your sex life. What are you waiting for? Start 2018 off with a bang…
1. Do your Kegel exercises
You might have heard about Kegel (pelvic floor muscle) exercises, but what’s the deal? Several factors, such as pregnancy and age, weaken these muscles over time. When kept strong, it doesn’t just lower your risk for incontinence, but it can also benefit your sex life tremendously.
2. Don’t treat sex like a chore
While it’s often difficult to find the time between exhausting schedules, sex can become another thing on the to-do list if you treat it like a chore – and that can zap any spontaneity or passion from the deed.
According to a study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, more sex between couples doesn't necessarily equate more happiness. The reason? Doing it so much made it feel like a chore. Make time, but keep the spontaneity.
3. Don’t dismiss the experts
Struggling to open up to your partner? Worried about the fact that your partner wants more sex than you? Do you have niggling relationship issues holding you back?
Don’t cringe at the idea of bringing in the experts. You both might benefit from couple’s therapy or sex therapy. You can also ask Health24's sexologist, Dr Marelize Swart, any sex-related questions.
4. …or foreplay for that matter
There is nothing wrong with spontaneous sex, but women often take a bit longer to be aroused than men. And getting to the point of full arousal will ensure a greater sexual experience (and an orgasm) for both of you. So don’t dismiss foreplay – it stimulates the blood flow to the genitals, which makes for stronger orgasms and more fulfilling sex in general.
5. Get tested for everything
This doesn’t only include STDs, but everything. Regular medical tests may rule out underlying conditions that may be causing your sex life to be unpleasant. Erectile dysfunction might be an indicator of cardiovascular problems and frequent painful sex can indicate gynaecological problems. Don’t skip out on those annual health checks.
6. Talk to your doctor or gynae if something is bothering you
Are you experiencing a weird discharge or strange cramps during sex? Do not hide this information from your doctor or gynaecologist. They are trained to deal with these types of problems and there is no need to feel embarrassed, especially not about a condition that could impair your sex life and may be a more serious problem.
7. Exercise can boost your sex life
What’s that saying about couples playing together staying together? It rings true. Exercise doesn’t only benefit your physical health which can lead to greater sex, but if you often schedule a workout or fun leisurely activity such as a beach walk with your partner, you are also strengthening your communication outside the bedroom. This will in return boost your sex life. And if exercise ups your self-confidence, it’s a win for everybody.
8. Check your medication
Are you and your partner experiencing a lack in sex drive? Some medications, such as antidepressants, birth control pills or even antihistamines, can zap your libido. Always talk to your doctor about chronic medication if this is influencing your sex drive – there might be an alternative without the pesky side-effect.
9. Eat right
Diet can play a big role in your sex life. Poor food choices can ruin your sex drive, deplete your energy levels, lead to inflammation and even result in erectile dysfunction. Weight gain due to bad eating habits can also have an impact on your sex life – not only is excess weight bad for your heart, but it can also affect your self-esteem negatively.
Eat more foods that can benefit the libido – fresh fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, protein, such as salmon, and good-quality red meat. Treats such as dark chocolate and red wine are packed with polyphenols which are fantastic for the libido.
10. It’s okay to initiate sex
If you’re craving sex, don’t wait around. It’s okay to initiate the act – it’s not one partner's “job”.
11. Communication is key
Communication is important in any relationship and even more so in the bedroom. A lack of communication can lead to dissatisfaction, which can lead to resentment and one partner feeling unloved. Having problems opening up to your partner? Read this previous article on Health24.
12. Your cardiovascular health is important
If you have been lacking a bit of wind in your sails recently, it might indicated that you have heart problems. Erectile dysfunction is often tied to a lack of circulation that can be caused by ill heart health. Sex is a good way to keep your heart healthy, but if you’ve been struggling with a low libido, you might want to have your heart health checked out.
13. Keep the spark alive
Go on date nights, take a leisurely drive while listening to your favourite music from the year you started dating, book a weekend trip away, whatever it takes to keep the magic alive.
14. Work on your own self-esteem
There are many things that can take a toll on your self-esteem throughout your life. Whether it’s weight gain, physical signs of ageing or an impending midlife crisis, a lack of self-esteem can instantly kill your passion.
Think about what is causing your low self-esteem and make changes in your life – follow a balanced, healthy diet and exercise plan, do things you enjoy, learn a new skill or get a new haircut. Do whatever it takes to get out of a rut.
15. Keep work and stress (and finances, pets and kids) out of the bedroom
Work and financial issues may put a damper on your libido, according to a previous article on Health24. Keep your sex drive up by keeping other factors out of the bedroom. Focus on only the two of you and do not talk about work issues or financial matters while you’re in the bedroom or initiating sex.
16. Lay off the alcohol
While red wine is often deemed good for your sex life, excess use of alcohol can kill your libido, making good sex difficult, if not impossible.
Dr Abigael San, clinical psychologist and alcohol expert, says that alcohol decreases sexual sensitivity in both males and females, reducing the quality of sex. “In men, alcohol can cause difficulties getting and maintaining an erection – while women may experience reduced lubrication, find it harder to have an orgasm, or have orgasms that are less intense,” she says.
17. Take inventory of your life
Life changes, big or small, can have a negative effect on your sex life, even if the life changes are positive. A new house, job or baby can put you out of sorts mentally and physically. Address this with your partner and know that this lull isn’t permanent.
18. Keep your hormones in check
A lack of sexual drive can stem from a hormonal imbalance. Too much cortisol, resulting from stress, can instantly put a damper on your libido. For some women, low oestrogen levels due to menopause can lead to vaginal dryness, painful intercourse and an overall lack of sex drive, while others can experience a testosterone imbalance due to polycystic ovary syndrome or stress. Consult your doctor to get your hormone levels tested.
19. Just the two of you
Family obligations can often get in the way of couple time and a fulfilling sex life. Family conflict can also create strain in your own relationship. Make time for just the two of you regularly and understand that you need to be tuned in to each other's needs first and foremost. Avoid bringing negativity caused by your parents or other family members into your relationship.
20. Tap into your own desires
Get to know yourself... on a deeper level, that is. Discover what turns you on or what your fantasies are. Share them with your partner.
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