Ten ingredients for great sex

Great sex doesn’t have to be complicated. Fiona Daly, a psychotherapist specialising in relationships and sexuality, shares the 10 ingredients you need to increase intimacy and passion in the bedroom.

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1. Talk to your friends – All genders, all sexual orientations – there is a wealth of untapped expertise right there in your circle of friends. We can learn so much from each other. Why not benefit from the exchange of wisdom and exploration of sexual pleasure? Remember to be respectful of your partner’s privacy.

2. Don’t just focus on intercourse – The challenge here is to see just how sexy it can get without genital touch. We have erotic areas all over our bodies and it makes for great sex to get familiar with your body’s entire repertoire for pleasure. This approach is great for getting to know each other’s bodies and allows pleasant levels of arousal to percolate through your day. When you next get to it, it can make intercourse even more exciting.

3. Show how you like to be touched – Once your partner has a sense of how you like to be touched, let them try to touch you in exactly the way you showed. Give lots of feedback and encouragement when they get it right and gentle redirection if they drift off course. Swap roles. I recommend you do this exercise a few times with the rest of the body before including the genitals.

4. Map your erogenous zones – With your lover, make an outline map of your bodies, front and back. Taking turns, go on a 20-minute journey of exploration, noting what parts of the body are most responsive to what kinds of touch. Use colours to express the intensity of the sensations. This is a great way to get talking about likes and dislikes.

5. Open your eyes during intercourse – This increases intimacy and connection. For the more emotionally adventurous, try the ancient Tantric practice of ‘soul gazing’. Soul gazing is a way of attuning to your lover. It’s receptive rather than simply staring, so imagine you are allowing your partner to see into your soul. At first it can feel awkward with lots of giggling, but stick with it, breathing gently through your mouth and reminding your body to relax. After a few minutes, something in your nervous system relaxes and often a deep feeling of love for your partner just bubbles up inside. Download the full technique for free on my website.

6. Take it slow – Instead of going straight to orgasm, while wrapped in your lover’s arms, just breathe into the arousal allowing it to seep into the rest of your body. Tune in to the feel of your bodies together and as the intensity lessens, start to move again and bring the arousal back. Doing this a few times in lovemaking generally has the effect of allowing a second and third wave of arousal, each more intense than the last.

7. Make some noise – Allow yourself to give voice to your pleasure. It’s great encouragement to your lover if they can hear what’s working and what isn’t. Also, making noise intensifies your pleasure. Be supportive, never mock or mimic each other’s sex sounds – it can lead to self-consciousness and embarrassment in sex and that can really dull down your natural joy and spontaneity together.

8. Get creative with your foreplay – It can be sexy and fun to pretend to be a movie character or a pop icon and play out what might happen if you were to meet up, sexually, with your partner. Often couples who met when they were young can get into a habit of sex and feel self-conscious about trying something new. Pretending to be someone else can give you the freedom to experiment and get playful about sex.

9. Indulge in fantasy – Share a sexual fantasy with your partner, then find a way to recreate it together. This is a trust and intimacy building exercise. Start with a tame fantasy each and feel in to how receptive you can be to each other. Don’t put each other under pressure to do anything that doesn’t feel good.

10. Stick sex on your calendar – It may feel a bit clinical as an idea. Many couples hope that sex will just spontaneously happen in the gap between television and falling asleep. However, tired, quick sex is not going to make for a lasting intimate connection. Once a month prioritize a minimum two-hour lovemaking session. Get the kids to a babysitter, turn off the phones and create a sensual escape in your own home. You’ll be surprised at the beneficial effect this will have on your entire relationship. Sometimes couples who come to me are apprehensive that they won’t feel sexy and just feel under pressure to perform. Invariably they report that once they relaxed into it, starting with a foot massage or a bath together, it didn’t take long for things to heat up. This session every month can have a ripple effect into your relationship, warming up the love and re-igniting spontaneous sex.

Fiona Daly MIACP is a psychotherapist specialising in relationships and sexuality. For more information on these techniques and free downloads visit her website: www.fionadaly.com