A Field Guide to Improving Pleasure in the Bedroom

Sex is great – not a shocking revelation, but a truth worth reminding yourself of.

It’s proven to improve physical health and mental wellbeing. Not to mention that it shapes the way you relate to others and how you see love.

Understanding your relationship and sexual life

Adult relationships are built on the foundation of physical intimacy and closeness, whether you’re actually having sex or not. Can a relationship survive without sex? Yes. Sex isn’t always necessary, but for the majority is an important part of a healthy, fulfilling relationship.

For many, sex can be the lens through which we see our partners and plays a significant role in the relationship dynamics. When there’s a mismatch between the sexual satisfaction of both partners, issues arise, and some couples even break up over sex. If you feel as though sexual satisfaction may be an issue, then it’s time to evaluate your attitude towards sex and look at how much you’re getting out of it.

In heterosexual relationships, the “orgasm gap” refers to the disparity in the frequency of orgasm experienced by men and women during sex. Despite attempts to downplay the issue by suggesting that women are either less capable or less interested in experiencing orgasm, such arguments have been debunked. Women know such suggestions are completely untrue, even just based on the frequency of orgasms they experience while masturbating, as opposed to while having sex with another person – the latter being much more infrequent. This orgasm gap can be reduced within the relationship through communication, understanding, openness and effort made on both sides. Sex is a team sport after all.

And satisfaction in the bedroom also correlates with other areas in your relationship such as mental, emotional and spiritual intimacy, clear communication and continued support. You’ll get а more meaningful and even more secure relationship with your partner, if they are there for you even in less sexy moments, like taking a Surecheck test.

A fresh, new way to measure sexual satisfaction

For too long sexual satisfaction has been reduced to the mechanics of sex and the achievement of an orgasm. This attitude simply overlooks the rich language of sexual touch, flirting, foreplay, intimacy and mental stimulation that contribute to sexual satisfaction. All of the above can make your experience in the bedroom a lot more… well, sexy.But why measure it in the first place? Simply put, it’s because we want more. People are measuring their satisfaction and pleasure in life  all the time.

The significance of sexual activity should not be underestimated. Despite the fact that one can be happy and healthy without engaging in sex, for many individuals, a fulfilling sexual life is a crucial aspect of overall wellbeing and is deeply tied to the quality of life. Sexual activity offers numerous health and wellbeing benefits, such as reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and cortisol levels, and improving immunity.

This is why it’s so important to measure sexual satisfaction and go about it in a way that takes in everything rather than just the mechanics. You might actually be leading a much more satisfying sex life than you thought.

What’s the best way to measure how much satisfaction you’re getting?

There’s no mathematical formula that’s going to tell you how objectively satisfied you are with your sex life. It’s all about how well your reality matches to the sex you wish you were having. It requires a little bit of intuition, analysis and wishful thinking.

Before you start thinking about the actual sex you’re having, it’s smart to evaluate the rest of your life. Sexual pleasure is only one of the levels of pleasure . If you’re under a lot of stress or going through big life changes or you are mentally not in the right place, chances are you might not enjoy sex at the same intensity. It’s wise to address some things around your life such as confidence and self-care.

Is your mind in the right place? Are you taking care of yourself? This extends to sexual health, practicing safe sex and feeling secure (for example, knowing a Surecheck test is waiting for you if needed).

Onto sexual intimacy and satisfaction, there are several questions worth exploring. Do you court each other still? Are you satisfied with the frequency of sex? Or the attention you’re getting from your partner in and out of the bedroom? Are you adventurous? Is sex varied? Does it happen spontaneously? (We’ve all probably received the late night ‘wanna have sex’ text from a casual hookup, and went along with it, even if the experience was underwhelming.) Falling into a set routine often diminishes sexual satisfaction over time.

Are you comfortable communicating about sex with your partner? What are the ways in which your partner can increase your satisfaction in and out of the bedroom? What activities do you wish were part of your sex life?

Your answers give you a rough idea how you evaluate your sex life and points you in the direction of where improvement needs to happen.

Now let’s get to the good part – the helpful tips you can practice right now

The first principle of pleasure is not to force anything. Sexual pleasure is not an exam to be faced. There’s no perfect score. Think of life as an unending exploration and understanding of what you desire and what brings you the most pleasure. As you transition into different life phases and your body changes, some sexual activities you used to love might not deliver the same amount of satisfaction, and others might take their place.

Just listen.

Listen to your body and do it without judgement or shame. Also listen to your partner when you discuss your needs and preferences. Open and clear communication is the bigger part of the work whether you’ve been with your partner for years or just started seeing each other. Compare notes on what each of you finds sexy, sex drive and ideas on what you might want to try with each other. For such an exercise it is important to leave judgement behind and explore your fantasies freely.

Spontaneity and experimentation yield the best results for a vibrant and active sex life. Discover your sense of adventure to try out a new position or breathe life to roleplaying fantasies. Have you had sex in all parts of your home? Maybe now is the time to switch it up. Or spice things up a lot by dedicating a whole night to just one partner’s pleasure, where you grant their each and every wish. Whatever you decide on, have a discussion beforehand to communicate how things should progress and keep them equally pleasurable.

You should not be made to feel afraid to give directions to your partner. Each body is unique and yours is no different. Take the time to guide your partner through what you like and don’t like. If you’re trying to rekindle some initial sexual spark that has dimmed a bit, focus on intimate touch only to take the pressure off. Giving each other massages is a tried-and-true method to ground the body to the here and now and fall in sync. Once relaxed you can progress from here.

Not enough is being said about the virtue of slowing down. Yes, it’s thrilling to lose all self-control and be unable to keep hands off each other. But not all sex is like that. Certainly not all of the time. Sometimes it’s equally, if not more, satisfying to build to the climax starting with a romantic date night, dressing sexy, disconnecting from electronics and taking your time.

The last thing to take into consideration is that a satisfying sex life requires more than raw passion, but tenderness, intimacy, compassion and attunement to your body and your partner.

When you make space for all, you’re able to achieve deeper satisfaction not just in the bedroom but your romantic relationships from here on out.