The Number One Tip Sex Therapists Want You To Know

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle
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There are so many sex tips online, from the obvious to the adventurous, it can be hard to figure out what's actually important, what's potentially fun but not necessary, and what's totally off base. One way to figure that out is to get sex tips from sex therapists. Normally, that costs money. But thankfully, I got nine therapists to share their #1 sex tips for free and compiled them here.

First, another source of reliable information about improving your sex life is scientific research. A Chapman University study published in the Journal of Sex Research last year looked at the factors that correlate most with a satisfying sex life. The biggest ones  were variety and communication, and the most effective forms of communication for improving people's sex lives were praise, requesting specific acts or techniques, exchanging feedback, and engaging in dirty talk through texts and calls. But the number-one contributor to a happy sex life was saying "I love you" during sex.

The biggest problems people see sex therapists about include low desire, mismatched libidos, and lack of sensation during sex. To deal with these issues or make good sex lives even better, here are the top tips sex therapists would give.

1Kate Klein, LMHC At Chamin Ajjan Psychotherapy

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"My number one trip is multi-faceted and includes being playful and open minded, including a willingness to try new things, keeping the lines of communication open regarding feelings, desires, wants, and needs and having flexible expectations."

2Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills Family And Relationship Psychotherapist

Ashley Batz/Bustle

"Tip #1 is for both partners to engage in sustained eye contact. Some folks prefer to not talk during sex. You can stay deeply emotionally connected to your sex-mate if you lock eye gaze and intuitively feel your partner’s pleasure zones."

3Dr. Jess O'Reilly, Astroglide's Resident Sexologist

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

"Talk about sex. There is no technique, move, or position that can compete with a good conversation. Talk about what you like and what you dislike. Talk about your fears and concerns. Talk about how often you want to have sex, what you fantasize about, and which feelings you associate with sex. Talk about what you want to hear in bed (be specific) and what distracts you from being present. Talk about your body and the way it responds to different types of touch. And talk about your core erotic feeling — the feeling required in order to get you in the mood for sex."

4Vanessa Marin, Sex Therapist

Ashley Batz/Bustle

"Masturbate! It is, single-handedly, the best thing you can do for your sex life. (Terrible pun fully intended.) Masturbation can help improve your body confidence, decrease sexual stress and anxiety, and increase your libido. It helps you get to know your body and what it likes, and it's the best way to learn how to orgasm. Trust me — there's nothing as empowering as knowing how to get yourself off."

5Marissa Nelson, LMFT

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"One tip to deepen emotional intimacy during sex is maintaining eye contact. Many couples close their eyes and have their own sexual experience not always connecting with their lover. Sustained eye contact helps you read your partner's face, be proactive, and know what spot you are hitting that is pleasurable, and be able to communicate at times without saying a word. It also helps couples get out of their heads and become present and more attuned to their lover and to the sexual experience."

6Dr. Cristina Romero-Bosch, NMD, The Sex Docs And The Hormone Zone

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"Make your sex sessions workout sessions! Get up and get moving during sex. It doesn't always have to be laying down in bed. Get creative with your positions, experiment and talk with your partner, reminding them of what you like and giving them what they want and need. This communication lends itself to movement and changing positions... all while standing up. This practice engages your core muscles and improves your orgasms, for men and especially women."

7Dr. John Robinson, NMD, The Sex Docs and The Hormone Zone

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"Practice having sex WITHOUT having an orgasm. This will make you a Jedi Master in the bedroom and keep your focus on your partner and their pleasure. Hold out for a week, but have sex and masturbate as much as you can. Just hold back right before you feel like you hit the point of no return. This really builds up the power behind the orgasm. And when you finally let go and have that full orgasm, it will be more intense and more satisfying, for you and your partner!"

8Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, ABS Certified Clinical Sexologist, Founder of Relationup, & Relationship Therapist

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"Make eye contact. Satisfying sex is about emotional and physical connection. Feeling your partner’s disconnection during sex is a real turn off.  Eye contact allows your partner to feel that you are making love to them and not just dialing it in."

9Noni Ayana, M.Ed., Sexologist & Relationship Expert

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

"Don't always assume your partner is satisfied. Don't become complacent. Periodically ask your partner about what you can do to give them a more pleasurable sexual experience. Many times, partners assume that because their past partners may have considered them to be great lovers or because they hear no complaints, there is no need for improvement. However, every individual is different and sexual satisfaction is person-specific — and sometimes event-specific."

So, to sum it up, talk to your partner about sex, and make eye contact. So much eye contact. Because apparently, sex therapists cannot emphasize that one enough.