5 Tiny Tweaks To Improve Your Sex Life Now

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
No, we unfortunately can't wave a magic wand and wish away sex woes when they rear their ugly heads (though some types of wands work better than others for this). We are, however, believers in the power of a quick and inexpensive sex-life tweak. The orgasm gap is real, sadly, with one five-year study of 24,000 students at 21 colleges indicating that while 80% of the men had orgasmed in their last hookup involving intercourse, only 40% of the women had. (It's worth noting that queer women enjoy significantly higher rates of orgasm than straight women, though still not as high as men.)

Fortunately, you can fight this disparity both by demanding your climax, Nicki Minaj-style, and arming yourself with a few simple techniques. Tantric sex workshops, sex therapy, setting aside an hour every night for an exploratory masturbation session— all of these are well and good (and if you need professional counseling, then get it!). Sometimes, though, what you need isn't a makeover but an adjustment. Ahead, we've gathered five tried-and-tested tips from our favorite sexperts and sex-havers to give your intimate activities an instant boost. From introducing unexpected flavors to the bedroom (literally) to instating a habit that isn't directly about sex at all, these tricks can push your sex from good to great.

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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Spend 20 Screen-Free Minutes
If you're in a relationship and either live with your partner or spend a lot of time together at one or both of your places, what's the first thing you do when you walk in the door? If your answer is "flop on the couch," "scrounge for food," or "fire up SimCity," consider another option: spending 20 screen-free minutes with your partner. "Yes, I know there's always something to attend to when you get home," San-Francisco-based sex therapist Vanessa Marin tells us. "But so many couples leave quality time and intimacy until the very end of the night, when they're completely exhausted and already dreading not getting enough sleep for the next day. There's simply no energy left to have any sort of connection, let alone to have sex." Your 20 minutes of touching, cuddling, and talking don't even need to lead to intercourse, says Marin: "The point isn't that you need to have sex every single time; the point is to create the opportunity for intimacy." Even if you don't get it on, you'll be reminded that you are your partner's priority, which can also lead to more connected sex over time.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Get Your Lube On
"If I could give just one piece of advice to a woman that would improve sex right away, it would be this: Try something new," suggests Wicked Pictures contract performer and sexual wellness expert jessica drake. "For every action there is a reaction, and if you're doing the same things, you can expect the same results." While that new "something" can vary from watching porn with a partner to incorporating a toy in your play, drake says, she especially recommends using lube, in particular Wicked Sensual Care's unique flavors: "The simple act of trying something new with your partner, like a flavored lube (Salted Caramel and Mocha Java are my favorites) can really be a fun way to instantly change the dynamic in bed, and then lovemaking becomes a playful adventure instead of a routine." Even if bakery flavors in bed aren't your thing, lube is never a bad idea. You may not think you need it, but trust us on this one and give it a try, even for masturbation or non-anal intercourse.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Squeeze In A Mini-Workout
"I sometimes have a hard time feeling physically aroused even if I am mentally aroused," shares Zoë Ligon, a sex educator and R29 contributor. "If I know I'll be hooking up with my partner shortly, I'll do pelvic floor exercises (Kegels) beforehand." While strong muscles require consistent exercise, even a few pelvic-floor-muscle-engaging reps can up your circulation and alert your body that it's time for sex: "Not only does it strengthen your PC muscle in the long run (the same muscle that contracts during orgasm), it also gets blood flowing to the genitals, which increases sensitivity," Ligon points out. "I find that I have a much easier time achieving orgasm through penetration alone if I've already warmed myself up!" Only a minority of women can, in fact, achieve orgasm through "penetration alone," and the jury is out on whether indirect clitoral stimulation is nonetheless responsible for this kind of orgasm (not that how you get off matters) — but a solo pre-sex warm-up can ease you into the main event, whatever that may be.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Memorize The Moment
Often during sex, we're so focused on the sensations of obviously involved body parts — specifically the genitals, and on a good day maybe the nipples — that we ignore other details (or, worse, we're thinking about our to-do lists and whether we left the door unlocked). Distraction is understandable, but destructive. "When we forget to be mindful during our sexual experiences, they can quickly turn into a race for the finish line," observes Jessica Boehme, M.Ed. and sexologist. "During sex, take time to feel your partner's skin underneath your fingers, explore their body with your eyes...memorize them, breathe in their scent, listen to the sounds they make, taste them." Sure, sometimes you're in the mood for a fast-and-furious quickie, but when you have some time for sex, try thinking of it as a form of meditation and noticing details that usually escape your attention. You never knew how endearing your partner's birthmark was until now.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Pull On A Pair Of Socks
No, seriously. "Wear socks!" says Carlen Costa, PhD, sexologist and R29 contributor. "It's not that socks are magic, orgasm-inducing wonders," she clarifies, but that the temperature of your environment influences your sexual enjoyment. Dr. Costa cites a study in which women instructed to have sex in a lab were significantly more likely to orgasm when wearing socks than when bare-footed. If socks don't get you figuratively hot, then adjust the thermostat or pile on some blankets before sex in colder months — and remember that poor circulation includes low blood flow to your genitals, a major player in arousal. "Another great reason to snuggle up close to your lover," Dr. Carlen observes.

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