What Does Good Sex In A Long-Term Relationship Look Like? An Expert Explains What’s Important

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One common feature of a long-term relationship is, well, the spark's eventual fizzle. This isn't the case in every relationship, but like every other aspect of having a partner, having good sex takes work. What is the definition of good sex for people in relationships? For some, it might be any sex that includes an orgasm. For others, the orgasm might not be as much of a priority as the journey. While for others, it could mean everything but actual penetration. Just like pizza, when it comes to sex, what's "good" is subjective.

No matter how you slice it, though, there are some general factors that make sex good. For starters, setting the scene and mood is often key.

"When you’ve got a sexy living space, you’re more likely to have actual good sex," New York–based etiquette and relationship expert April Masini, tells Bustle. "This means a clean place that is neat, and prepped with sumptuous linens, fresh towels, nice food, and drinks ready to go (before, during or after), and great music. If you’ve set the stage for a romantic encounter, you’re much more likely to have good sex because both people feel indulged by the space."

While this isn't to suggest that a disaster of an apartment will necessarily lead to bad sex, as Masini points out, being intentional with your surroundings can have an effect on you. Spur of the moment sex on the kitchen floor won't be even half as delicious as it could be if the sink wasn't full of dishes and you didn't realize you're lying on a pile of stale bread crumbs.

Now wash your brain of that image and focus on the good stuff. Here are seven factors that help make sex great in LTRs.

1. There's No Pressure

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Although it's often attributed to men, women can also suffer from performance anxiety in bed. But once that pressure is taken off your shoulders, allowing you to relax, sex is so much better.

"Good sex means you both feel free and easy about what you do together," Masini says. "When one or both of you feel pressure to perform, the sex isn’t going to be great. Great sex requires a relationship dynamic without pressure."

2. Both Partners Feel Good About Themselves

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Have you ever noticed the better you're feeling, mentally and physically, the better everything in your life is? Well, naturally, the same goes for sex.

"Good sex requires both people to feel good about themselves, sexually," Masini says. "And body image is key to feeling good about yourself."

Having body insecurities is extremely, extremely common, but reframing your thoughts around them can be incredibly helpful, both for sex and your overall mental health.

3. There Are No Interruptions

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Although squeezing in a quickie can be really fun, if you want to take your time, you need to do so without interruptions. All you need is a knock at the door and things go south pretty quickly.

"Good sex means you don’t have kids knocking on the door or busting in, and your roommate isn’t having a study group in the next room, and someone’s parents aren't banging on the door because you’re in a childhood bedroom," Masini says. "Good sex means you have the cell phones on mute and the electronic devices that tend to cause interruptions when a message comes in, out of the room."

You read that correctly: bye-bye cell phone. "When you can focus and feel free from potential interruptions, you’re more likely to have good sex, than if any of these situations are ripe," Masini says.

4. There's No Shame

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"If one or both of you want to try something new, it’s important to be able to express yourself without shame," Masini says. "If your partner makes you feel ashamed about sex, it’s not going to be good. You’re going to be focusing on the shame, not the sex."

Human sexuality is all over the place in regards to what turns people on and even the most vanilla of people definitely have a kink or two under their belt — they just might be choosing to ignore it. If someone makes you feel bad or ashamed about something you're into or you want to try, show them the door. The world is full of people who will welcome your kinks with open arms.

5. You're Both On The Same Page About Your Relationship Status

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"Whether it’s a booty call, a one-night stand, an annual interlude, or a weekend within a long-term relationship, as long as you’re both on the same page, the sex will tend to be better than if there isn't anxiety about what the sex means," Masini says. "When one person thinks this is a friends with benefits night out, and the other is desperately hoping to turn it into more, there’s potential anxiety, miscommunication, fighting, and tears." That's why it's important to make sure you're on the same page.

6. You're Not Afraid To Spice Things Up

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"Same old same old is not always the best way to have great sex," Masini says. "Whether you mix it up a little or mix it up a lot, breaking the patterns of boring sex, is a great way to achieve good sex. So dig into your bucket list — or make a mutual sex bucket list with your partner — and spice things up to insure good sex, not boring sex."

You don't even have to go to extremes when spicing things up; even just adding sex toys to the bedroom will do the job.

Anyone and everyone is capable of having good sex, and anyone and everyone deserves good sex. It's just a matter of realizing that sex isn't just about being physical. Your sexuality and sexual urges come from your brain, so once you realize that you'll find yourself have more good sex than bad sex.