There comes in a time in any relationship, regardless of how happy you both are, that the sex component can take a dip—whether it’s hormonal, stress-related, or you’ve just been with the same partner for so long that no amount of pillow talk or date nights will make you want to get intimate. But when things get a bit monotonous in the boudoir, it is possible to spice things up. We put together a list of popular techniques which helped many couples spice things up.
#1 Keep your clothes on. Seriously.
You’re probably used to taking it all off when you have sex, but relationship sexpert Dr. Juliana Morris suggests leaving something on—from a fierce pair of heels to a sweet string of pearls—getting almost naked can bring out your sexy side. Men, try going commando, and just unzip your jeans! (That’s a lot hotter than leaving your socks on, isn’t it?) “Doing the opposite of what you usually do can feel exciting,” she says.
#2 Have a faux affair. (With your partner!)
Plan a date with your partner, and act like you’re meeting up with your lover, while you both (pretend to) leave your partners at home. (Use your imagination!) According to intimacy expert and certified Ayurvedic educator Coltrane Lord, part of the reason why couples cheat (which we’re not suggesting you do IRL) is to feel more sexually uninhibited, simply because it’s taboo—so who knows where a faux affair can lead you. Even prepping for it may make you hot with anticipation.
#3 Don’t underestimate the power of lubricant.
“I want to introduce you to a mind-blowing concept—flavored lube during oral sex,” says Emily Morse, Doctor of Human Sexuality and founder of the Sirius XM show and podcast Sex With Emily. Even if you aren’t a big fan of oral, knowing you’re getting a sweet treat could be a relationship game changer.
#4 Switch locations.
“Have sex on the kitchen counter. Get it on in the hallway. Do it on the couch or in your bedroom closet,” says Morris. “It doesn’t matter where, just pick a place that isn’t your usual spot.” According to Morris, the new smells, sounds, lighting and textures will help keep your sex life on its toes.
#5 Test new positions.
“A new position isn’t always comfortable, but often you’re defying circumstances…and sometimes gravity!” says sexologist and CEO of Dame Products Alexandra Fine. Try standing up—you’ll touch places you don’t usually have access to, she says. Or how about Morse’s simple but super effective trick: “Put a pillow under your butt,” she says. The angle helps with deeper penetration.
#6 Touch yourself.
Masturbate! It’s basically the battle-cry of every expert we talked to: “Once you know what helps you orgasm, you can ask for that from your partner,” says Fine. “Plus, demanding what you want can be really sexy.” Somatic Sex Educator Kiana Reeves agrees. “Masturbation is your best friend,” she says. “It’s the best way to create a pleasure roadmap that empowers you and helps your partner become a better lover.” A little trepidatious? These vibrators for beginners can get you started.
#7 Try a couples’ vibrator.
Adding a sex toy to the mix is kind of like adding a third party, but without the emotional attachment. From vibrating, to pulsing, to penetrating, sex expert and sex tech entrepreneur Dominnique Karetsos says to research toys as if they were beauty products: “Look for premium quality, body safe, and even gender neutral toys,” she says. Dame’s Fin and Mystery Vibe’s Crescendo are both good options.
#8 Brainstorm a list of fantasies.
“Create a bucket list of no-stress, exciting ideas to try together,” says Morris. If you come up with something that both parties aren’t into, put it on a ‘maybe’ list, and revisit it later, she suggests. Not only is making a list together fun, simply talking about desires can keep things hot. “Communication allows you to fantasize consensually so that you can focus on pleasure in the bedroom with no hesitation,” says Fine.
#9 Have fun together!
Sometimes keeping passion alive in the bedroom has nothing to do with sex at all. Take a tennis lesson, try a new restaurant, go on a hike together. “When you do a fun activity that’s not sexual with your partner, you’ll pay attention to one-another, which helps build desire, and that’s a form of foreplay,” says Amy Levine, certified sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure.
#10 Send a provocative text.
Sexting is a fun, playful way to let your partner know they are on your mind. If you’re not sure where to begin, Dr. Lanae St. John, board certified sexologist, and author has an easy place to start: (just fill in the blanks), she says: “I want you to ____ my ____ slowly while you ___ your ____.” This is your chance to get creative.
#11 Get a room.
The messy chaos of everyday life is anything but a turn-on…but a tidy hotel room with a nicely made bed, a Do Not Disturb sign, and room service? Now that’s sexy. “I often recommend a staycation for sex,” says Morris.
If the pressure of knowing you’ll need to get it on has the opposite effect, Morris recommends looking at it as an opportunity to snuggle, talk, and maybe have a drink. “That way you can relax and be open to whatever happens next.”
#12 Send a meeting request.
“I like to send a Google invite on our shared calendar,” says Anne, 38, who has been happily married for over 11 years. “It makes it a priority, but also it’s kind of fun to be the one who receives the invite,” she says. The experts agree: “It’s the wanting that makes getting a meeting request for sex so great,” says Morris. To amp up the fun, Morris suggests adding a few “notes” about what you want to do to each other during the “meeting”.
#13 Go slow.
Slow your breath down, when you’re making love—it doesn’t sound like much but it has a big impact! Reeves promises that slowing down helps partners concentrate on touch and movement, which means you’ll experience a more intense connection. Morris agrees, and recommends Tantric sex—a meditative practice. Not sure how? Start by ordering a Tantric book. Just opening the package with your partner can feel exciting.
#14 Get out of your head.
“Gummies!” was the one-word response we got when we asked a group of friends how they spice things up. According to Reeves, “CBD is a blessing in the bedroom.” She says that many people find that CBD helps them feel calmer, more present, and less anxious—all of which can help make sex amazing. There are lots of options (the women we spoke to enjoyed CBD vape pens and CBD lubes like Foria Awaken), but keep in mind not all products are FDA approved, and they can vary greatly.
#15 Try watching porn together.
It’s usually used in private, which makes watching porn with your partner feel even more risqué. “Porn builds sexual tension and piques curiosity,” says Dr. Alyse Kelly-Jones. But don’t limit yourselves to screens. See what happens when you take turns reading erotic literature to each other. Even if you break down in giggles before you turn the page, you’re on the right track. “Laughter is a great way to spice things up, too,” says Morris.
#16 Take away your senses.
“Blindfold your partner while they listen to sensual music with earphones on,” says Lord. Then, she says, take it to the next level and experiment with objects like ice, feathers, melted wax, and coconut oil. “Not being able to see or hear heightens awareness and anticipation for sensations that are to come,” says Lord. “It’s the surprise and mystery that is exciting.”
#17 Set up a mirror.
First things first: make a commitment to yourself and your partner that you will not judge your bodies or the faces you make in the throes of passion. Then, set up a full-length mirror by your bed, or position yourself in front of a bathroom or closet mirror. “Watch your own face, your lover’s face, and your bodies as they move together,” says Morris. “It can be very sexy to see how you look while having a sexual connection.”
#18 Send a special delivery.
Flowers are sweet—but how about sending something a little more…raunchy? “I opened a package that had my name on it, and found lingerie inside,” says Lindsey, 41 who has been married for 12 years. “Apparently my husband did some surprise online shopping.” Kelly-Jones says that sending (or receiving) an intimate gift like lingerie, a sex toy or lube lets your partner know what they matter to you, and the surprise of opening it and finding something provocative can help set intimacy in motion.
#19 Have sex before the main event.
Feeling tired, full, and bloated is an intimacy killer. So instead of waiting until the end of the night to have sex, Morris says to get busy before going out. “If you have children, ask the sitter come early and take the kids out of the house,” she says. You may find that connecting early in the evening puts a whole new spin on the rest of the night. And you may even want more of each other after dessert.
#20 Hire a sex coach.
Tips can be helpful, but what if you’re still in a rut? If your partner isn’t open to talking about sex (or improving your sex life), or if you never orgasm (and he always does), a good sex coach could be a major relationship saver. St. John recommends visiting The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) to find a coach or practitioner near you. Another good resource is the World Association of Sex Coaches. St. John is a member of both. “The best tip of all is to know it’s ok to ask for help,” she says.