Whatever your relationship status — newly dating, long-term sweethearts, or somewhere in between — learning how to be a better lover is a skill that can be worth investing time and energy in. The results will be, in a word, spicy. That said, being a better lover encompasses more than what you do between the sheets. What you do outside of the bedroom also matters. Ahead, Rebecca Alvarez Story, a certified sexologist and founder of Bloomi, an online intimacy platform, shares her top tips on how to be a better lover. Take notes.
How To Be A Better Lover In The Bedroom
Learning how to be a better lover to another person begins with being a better lover to yourself. This is why Story's top tip for spicing things up in the bedroom is to set aside more time for masturbation. "Self-pleasure will not only help you understand what your body likes and doesn't like but will strengthen your ability to communicate with sexual partners during partnered sex," she says. "You'll begin to notice after a few solo sessions how your body responds to certain sensations and rhythms and be able to guide your partners with ease."
Schedule Date Night
Some may say scheduled sex takes away the heat that comes with spontaneity, but according to Story, it's actually a great way to become a better lover. Here's why: "Scheduling date night with your partner or yourself builds anticipation but also keeps the momentum going to have sex on a regular basis," she says. "Send a calendar invite with a sexy emoji or text your partner how excited you are for date night. This will build connectedness and overall excitement to spend time together."
Create A Yes, No, Maybe List
Another way to elevate your bedroom skills is by establishing some ground rules with your partner(s). To do this, Story recommends creating a "yes, no, maybe list." This list should include sex and intimacy acts for you to think through and discuss — think everything from anal sex and dirty talk to eye contact and cuddling.
Once you have your list, go through it together and circle the things that are yeses for you, meaning you're down to do them. Cross out the things you don't like and don't want to do, and put a question mark next to the things that are maybes. "Reviewing this list together can foster space for everyone to voice their desires but also non-negotiables so that boundaries are not crossed during partnered sessions," Story says. If you’re a little shy about sharing your fantasies with your partner, experiment with apps such as Own Our Sex, where you can each answer questions about your interests in bed and it’ll only reveal the ones you both match on.
How To Be A Better Lover Outside The Bedroom
So why is it important to work on your better lover skills outside the bedroom? The short answer: "Intimacy is more than just the physical act of sex," Story says, and communication is key to a rich sex life. "Doing things outside of the bedroom, like learning and discussing your love languages, are forms of bond-building that strengthen the overall relationship but also help you learn more about your partner(s) and what makes them tick." Keep reading for more small actions you can take.
Get To Know Their Love language
According to the best-selling book The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, we all love others and receive love in different ways through physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, or spending quality time together.
So to be a better lover to your partner, you must first understand how they specifically receive love (there's a quiz for that!). "This is especially important for couples who have different love languages," she says. "You might notice that conflict arises simply because you're speaking different love languages. For example, you've been showering your partner with gifts when they actually just want to spend quality time with you."
Learn Your Attachment Style
Along the same lines, we all also have an attachment style, which refers to how our caregivers interacted with us during our childhood and how that impacted the way we relate to others as adults. There are two main types of attachment styles: secure and insecure. A secure attachment style means you feel confident in yourself and your relationships, while insecure attachment does not. "Understanding your attachment style will help you recognize your own patterns and behaviors that will ultimately make you a better partner and lover both in and outside of the bedroom and sex," Story says. Don't know your attachment style? There's a quiz for that too.
Be Open To Change
Lastly, Story says being open to change and learning new things is a big element of being a better lover both in and outside the bedroom. "Your sexual preferences and interests will change over time, and it's important to give yourself space to change your mind and experience growth," she says. "Stay informed about what's happening in your body and relationships and nurture curiosities as they come up.”
To do so, Story recommends reading books and other sex-related resources to help increase your confidence in sharing your preferences. In particular, she suggests adding The Multi-Orgasmic Woman: Sexual Secrets Every Woman Should Know (or the other books in the trilogy: The Multi-Orgasmic Man and The Multi-Orgasmic Couple) and The Sex and Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex For Everyone filled with answers to lots of common sex questions.
Rebecca Alvarez Story, a certified sexologist and founder of Bloomi