10 Things Couples With Healthy Sex Lives Do

While getting laid may be easy, having a healthy sex life requires some work. It’s not just about the act of sex, whether it’s intercourse, oral, or anything and everything else that falls under the sex umbrella, but about so much more. Healthy sex lives means making time for sex, realizing the importance of intimacy, and speaking up when something's not right. It's about giving direction, being honest, being open to each other’s needs and wants, and communicating. SO. MUCH. COMMUNICATION. Even if that communication might feel a bit awkward at times.

"[Couples with healthy sex lives] have awkward conversations," sexologist and relationship expert Dr. Nikki Goldstein tells Bustle. "Often people can have sex but are scared to talk about it out of fear that might offend their partner or it might be awkward. In order to have a healthy sex life you need to have sometimes awkward conversations about what might not be working in the bedroom or what you want more or less of."

Besides, sometimes awkward can be a good thing. So if you want to be one part of a couple that has a healthy sex life, then here are the 11 things you need to do.

1. They Realize The Importance Of A Hot Makeout Session

While making out is often thought of as a step toward sex, making out, on its own, is SO DAMN HOT. Kissing is a very important component of not just sex, but intimacy. It’s also a way to sexually explore your partner above the belt in a fun tongue-tied sort of way.

2. They Still Flirt With Each Other

Similarly to realizing how important it is to still kiss and kiss often, couples with healthy sex lives still flirt. Flirting may be deemed something that people do in the beginning of a relationship, as a means to lure someone into your world by showing how well you can toss around witty, flirtatious remarks, but it still carries a lot of power later in the relationship. It shows that you’re still into your partner.

"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,” Lauren Brim, a sexual wellness coach and author of The New Rules of Sex , tell Bustle. “Noticing your partner's attractiveness will make them feel desired and keep you both wanting each other in bed."

The New Rules of Sex , $20, Amazon

3. They Talk About Sex

If you’re going to have a healthy sex life, then it's crucial to talk about sex. What's working for you? What isn't? And, along with flirting, dirty talk, even when you’re not in bed, will help keep sex on the forefront of both your minds. Besides, sexting makes for great foreplay, and foreplay tends to get people hot and bothered, which leads to — you guessed it — more sex.

4. They Talk A Lot About Everything

In addition to talking a lot about sex, there’s also the fact that couples who have healthy sex lives talk a lot in general. Communication is so important, not just in having a healthy relationship, but a healthy sex life. You need to be able to say what’s on your mind about everything, because if those lines of communication are clogged, then part of yourself is being held back. That doesn’t make for great sex.

5. They Believe In The Element Of Surprise

In a relationship, you need to keep things fresh to make it last. Couples who have healthy sex lives do this so they don’t let things get stagnant. Instead, they keep each other on their toes, both in and out of the bedroom. In other words, these couples have no room or interest in the mundane.

6. They Don’t Fear Intimacy

Sex without intimacy can still be great. I mean, just think of all those successful one-night stands you’ve had in your life. "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 you fear intimacy, you’re not going to get the most out of your sex life as you possibly can.

7. They Masturbate Regularly

Masturbation makes sex lives better. It keeps you feeling sexual, it allows you to further explore things on your own, you get to indulge in your fantasies, it helps with body image, and it will make you want even more sex than you’re already getting with your partner.

"It's important not only to know how to self-pleasure but also to be able to show your partner how you like things done," explains Dr. Goldstein. "Masturbation does not have to be a solo sport, it can be something that is done together when penetration sex might be off the table."

8. They Know How To Resolve Issues

Couples with healthy sex lives know that there are other things out there to worry about than some silly spat over something that, in the grand scheme, means nothing. Because of this, they don’t waste their time being angry. Instead, they get to the resolving and maybe even some makeup sex, too.

9. They Embrace Their Sexuality

When you embrace your sexuality, you’re placing a value on pleasure. Not just your own pleasure, but the pleasure of your partner. You're not making apologies for their desires and are accepting that sex is healthy, natural, and normal, with a boatload of physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. "If our sexuality isn't being expressed, it will show up as problems in other areas of our body and life," says Brim. "Plus, sex is just too damn good for you to live your life without it!"

10. They Make Time For Sex

Although it might seem sort of unsexy to schedule a time for sex, people who have healthy sex lives, but also busy lives, know that sometimes you need to schedule things if they're important to you. If you take time to schedule a few romps into your week, just as you would anything else, then you're more likely to have sex as opposed to letting other stuff get in the way.

Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy (7)

FYI, Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article.