I'm not going to lie: I often walk down the street and stare at hot power couples in envy, thinking "Boy, I bet they have so much good sex." Sure, that might be a little weird and voyeuristic of me, but who doesn't wonder about the sex lives of others (even perfect strangers)? It's natural to be curious, and it makes total sense to want to emulate the habits of couples who have lots of sex.
The sad truth about long-term relationships is that, whether you've been dating for five months or five years, you can fall into a sexual rut (sometimes more than once). Issues like mismatched libidos, high stress levels, poor communication — all these things can keep you from having the healthy, awesome sex life you deserve. Only by being proactive and making changes to your routine — both individually and as a couple — can you see results.
I spoke to Lauren Brim, a sexual wellness coach and author of The New Rules of Sex , to find out how you and your partner can have the most satisfying (and frequent) sex. After all, sex is vital to relationships.
"Sex is often seen as something we outgrow or can easily go without, but sexuality and intimacy are an expression of our life force, creativity and love, and must be expressed to be fully realized as a people," Brim tells Bustle. "If our sexuality isn't being expressed, it will show up as problems in other areas of our body and life. Plus, sex is just too damn good for you to live your life without it!"
Preach, sister. If you've fallen off the sex wagon and are looking to get back on track in the bedroom, here are nine habits for you and your SO to adopt ASAP.
1. They Flirt Often
"The most important thing to keep your sex life healthy in a relationship is to keep the sexual energy simmering in-between the act," Brim says. "This could be commenting when your partner looks extra hot, gently slapping, squeezing or pinching them when you pass them in the kitchen or raising your eyebrows in an ooh-la-la [way] when you see them undressing to jump in the shower. Noticing your partner's attractiveness will make them feel desired and keep you both wanting each other in bed."
2. They Communicate Well
I can't possibly quantify how many times I've said that communication is key for healthy relationships (both in and out of the bedroom). Couples who can talk about their emotional issues as well as their sexual wants and needs are more likely to get it on more often, because they know exactly what to do to please their partner.
3. They Don't Harbor Resentment
There's nothing scarier than the thought that your partner secretly resents you — and that can have an impact on your sex life. "If the relationship starts to be weighed down by resentments and other things that have been suppressed or invalidated, the sex will gradually disappear because secretly one partner is angry at the other for not being heard," Brim says. "Making time to talk about things, even the simple things, can open up the space between your partner and you and make you suddenly aware of that super sexy person sitting right across from you that you can't wait to make love to."
4. They're Active
Ugh, say it isn't so! Brim says that couples who are active are more likely to have frequent sex. You'll have more energy, and the release of endorphins will get you and your partner in the mood in no time. Pro tip: hit the gym together, get all sweaty, then get home for a "bonus workout."
5. They're Well-Rested
While exhaustion is often just a lie to cover up some larger reason why your partner isn't in the mood, the fact still remains that being well-rested can only improve your sex life. If you and your SO lead busy lives, it can be easy for sex to fall to the backburner so things like work and kids take precedence. But skimping on sleep will only make things worse in the long run, and if you want to have sex more often, you should make time to get the rest you need to function (and to orgasm).
6. They Spice Things Up
Easier said than done, right? While you don't have to force yourself to develop a new kink, Brim says that couples who "create sexually novel situations to keep sex interesting, surprising and fun" are more likely to have a lot of sex. Not that regular old missionary ever gets truly boring, but it can't hurt to make an active effort to diversify your sex sessions. You might be surprised by what you learn about yourself and your desires.
7. They Masturbate
There's no better way to amp up your partnered sex life than to make time for solo sex, too. In addition to learning more about your body, having a "healthy relationship with [your] own pleasure," as Brim puts it, is a great way to increase your own libido. By being a sexual frame of mind more often, even just on your own, you put yourself in the mood, which will translate into your sex life with your SO, too.
8. They Make Time For Sex
It might seem like there aren't enough hours in the day, but couples who make time for sex rather than making excuses are going to have more active sex lives, period. Taking charge and setting aside romantic alone time — daily, weekly, whatever works for you — can have major benefits for your sex life. You don't have to 'schedule sex'. Rather, take a couple hours to just have an intimate moment away from the couch and potato chips, and then see where that leads (my guess is the bedroom).
9. They Aren't Afraid To Lose Control
There's probably a reason everyone on dating apps has a skydiving picture — people are drawn to adventurous spirits. Brim says that the ability to let loose is common for couples who have frequent sex. It goes hand-in-hand with spicing things up in the bedroom: If you and your partner are open-minded about sex and don't like to play by the rules, it will be easier for the two of you to have a passionate, spontaneous sex life — and that's hot AF.
At the end of the day, Brim has only one piece of advice: "A healthy sex life starts with you. Loving and taking care of your body, cultivating a relationship with your sexuality, and making time for sex because you value your pleasure, your partner's satisfaction, and what sex does for you as an individual and the relationship."
Check out the “Sex & Relationships” stream in the Bustle App for tips, tricks, and advice on friends, sex, dating, and everything in-between.
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy (9)