Sexuality is a huge, complex subject that is incredibly nuanced in every expression of its infinite variations. Figuring out what works best for your specific sexuality at this exact time in your life with your (current choice) of partner is a long process with potentially endless options unique to your preferences. There is very rarely a one size fits all approach to any aspect of sex. So of course I’m often asked for simple, general advice that will work for everyone – a fairly difficult task to accomplish.
“It’s very easy to get into habitual sex; the kind of sex where you do the same things with slight variations on pacing or positions and very little opportunity for creativity or variety.”
Instead, here are some ideas that might be fun for some people. This article is specifically for sex that involves two or more people, but don’t worry I will be covering solo sex in another post. Probably lots of them, it’s practically a hobby.
It’s very easy to get into habitual sex; the kind of sex where you do the same things with slight variations on pacing or positions and very little opportunity for creativity or variety. We prefer to go for the sure thing rather than the unknown, which can lead to a slightly stale routine. If you aren’t currently practicing any of the below ideas, this might be the nudge that gets you out of your rut.
Massage can be on the healing part of the touch continuum, or it can be on the erotic end – or anywhere between the two. Many of us enjoy sensual massage as a prelude to foreplay, but often not enough credit is given to massage itself as a sexual activity.
Have you ever really dedicated time to exploring the different ways that touch can be given and received on its most basic level? If not, this is one easy idea you can get started on right away. You don’t need fancy equipment as your regular body lotion will do in a pinch, but there’s always room to upgrade!
“Massage is the only form of physical pleasure to which nature forgot to attach consequences.”
For healing massage, an arnica based cream can work wonders on sore muscles. For sensual massage, coconut oil is a great option as it also works well as a personal lubricant – with the caveat that coconut oil can damage latex condoms, so don’t mix them. There are also many two-in-one massage oils designed to also work as lube, but as always with lube, check for reactions on a patch of skin that isn’t your genitals first. Remember that some oils can be comedogenic and cause break outs in those sensitive to them – particularly almond oil and coconut oil, so be sure to check with the receptive partner!
Ask your partner for feedback to guide your hands, and if you really wanna wow them read up on techniques here with The Idiot’s Guide to Sensual Massage
I used to think lube was for special acts or situations only, but as I gained more experience and found out about arousal non-concordance I’ve realized that a good lube can make all the difference in the world. Women’s natural lubrication can fluctuate with their hormonal cycle, so you may need lube one week and not so much the next, and menopause also reduces vaginal secretions. Some medications can affect vaginal lubrication. Hayfever tablets, general stress levels, and even drinking alcohol can slow down your sexual response. Lube makes silicone or glass toys glide like Disney on ice, plus you will definitely need lube for buttstuff.
“…ordering a bunch of appetizers rather than a single main can be just as fulfilling, perhaps more so!”
Lube can also turn the average handjob into mutual masturbation heaven. It’s easy to think of PiV (Penis in vagina) or penetrative sex as the only kind of “real” sex, but ordering a bunch of appetizers rather than a single main can be just as fulfilling, perhaps even more so!
Good quality lube can be a totally different sensory experience to the average supermarket lube, with many different ingredients that can offer various levels of viscosity, taste, smell and friction. For a full run down on the best kinds of lube, check out my guide “Lube, Glorious Lube”.
The humble blindfold is often overlooked as just an accessory to kink, rather than a world of pleasure unto itself. While restraints can add to the experience, a blindfold alone can turn an ordinary encounter into something else entirely. When you take away one sense, your other senses feel enhanced to compensate. You listen more closely to your partners breathing, straining to hear their movements. You can smell their body more intensely. Trying to determine what strange instrument is being stroked down your arm requires you to intensely focus on the skin being stimulated. With a blindfold on, you don’t know it’s a hairbrush, you just feel lots of tiny points driving you crazy.
“With a blindfold on, you don’t know it’s a hairbrush, you just feel lots of tiny points driving you crazy.”
Try feeding your partner various finger foods and asking them to guess what they are. You’d be surprised how unfamiliar some foods can taste without sight; or how intense they can be. Unusual combinations usually start to result as you try to stump each other, so it can be more fun than just arousing but it’s still a great way to get anchored in the senses and the body, which is always beneficial for great sex. Banana and Nutella is a good place to start!
Temperature play can also be more exciting with a blindfold, so that classic ice cube or heated massage wand may feel all the more intense.
Cockrings go around the base of the penis (or phallus), the balls, or both together. Their purpose is to trap blood in the penis, creating a firmer erection that lasts longer – it’s best to put them on while semi erect with a bit of lube. The tightness around the base of the penis imitates the squeeze technique and can help hold back ejaculation. This means that the penis owner may be able to withstand much more sensation than usual before orgasm and ejaculation so you can really turn up the volume on them. This one obviously works best if at least one of you has a penis, but putting a vibrating cockring on a dildo can add clitoral stimulation. Generally, cockrings are not recommended for more than approximately 30 minutes to an hour of use, although aficionados may wear them all day.
“putting a vibrating cockring on a dildo can add clitoral stimulation”
Vibrating cockrings can bring a whole new level of sensation to the classic cockring, providing vibration to the wearer AND their partner. My favourite so far is the we-vibe pivot, due to its cool app capabilities and long-distance potential. I haven’t tried the Tenga ring myself yet, but it’s widely regarded as one of the best vibrating cockrings available due to its power, shape and dual purpose as a finger vibe.
For a more thorough guide to cockrings, check out this from the cockringbuddha
I was going to chuck this in with blindfolds, but it really is a category unto itself. Many of the people I’ve talked to never realized they were into being tied up until they actually tried it – myself included. Giving over control can be an exhilarating experience, sometimes it’s nice to take a backseat and let someone else do the driving. If you’ve ever liked being held down a little, chances are you might like a set of fuzzy handcuffs. In that case, don’t actually go for the cheap set of fuzzy handcuffs! Invest in some purpose made bondage cuffs, which are wider and softer so as not to damage your delicate human wrists and ankles.
You can get classic leather, fur lined, or even neoprene (machine washable, which appeals to my inner clean freak).
No bedposts? No problem. You can now get an under the bed restraint system that slips between the mattress and bed base to create four adjustable anchor points for cuffs. We took this one away with us on holiday and it couldn’t have been easier to set up and adjust – just minutes to create our very own dungeon in an air bnb.
Shibari is a form of restraint play from Japan than focuses on intricate rope tying and knot work. It’s a lot of work but the fun kind, so if Wonder Woman’s lasso got you wriggling in the cinema seat then it’s worth picking up some nice soft rope, a beginners guide and of course safety scissors in case your flatmates come home early. Try some video tutorials like these from Twisted Monk who also offer great starting out kits.
The important thing is to be absolutely certain you can get yourself or the tied up person out of the restraints immediately – which is why bondage scissors are an essential item. If you are playing with a new lover or feel like there is any possibility of a panic attack or consent issue, quick release restraints are the safest option. Also remember that you should never, ever leave the room while you have someone restrained (even for a joke or to watch greys anatomy).
Clearly communicated and negotiated consent is the underlying principle of all BDSM, so if you are considering being tied up or tying up someone else it should NEVER be a surprise. Talk about it first, maybe spark the conversation by watching a BDSM themed movie (Secretary is my first choice, never 50 Shades. Never 50 shades.) or trying an online quiz about preferences.
So that’s my (relatively) quick top five tips for spicing up your sex life with a partner. Try one, or try all five – let me know what your favourite is!