Call it low libido, a temporary loss of the erotic self, or just feeling like you need to sit on the shelf for a bit - our sex life can often go through peaks and troughs. Whether single or with a partner, sex can be tricky business.
And for some reason, we tend to give ourselves a hard time if we just aren't feeling in the mood.
What every sex expert and self-help writer will tell you, though, is that good sex doesn't come down to sexy underwear or spicy dirty talk (though those things are fun!). A healthy sex life and sexual satisfaction begin with you and your relationship with sex.
Sometimes it's fine to sit in the slump if you need time, but for those looking to recast a sexual spell, here are our tips to spice up your sex life, beginning with yourself.
1. Explore Your Own Body
Learning to self-pleasure is one of the ultimate tools of eroticism and one of the best ways to get started on the journey to spice up your sex life. When we are able to explore our own bodies and to know the where and how of what we love, this can become an amazing starting point for achieving the pleasure we want.
It makes it easier to communicate to our partner, whether husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend, what position or experience we crave most. Some couples explore self-pleasure with each other via mutual masturbation, making room for something a little out of the box but definitely pleasurable (no pun intended).
Self-pleasure also teaches us about our own desire or sexual fantasy. Learning to explore your sex life with your own body helps us to tap into our deepest desires and teaches us what makes better sex. It means that we don't have to rely on anyone else if we are feeling like it isn't time to invite other people into our sexual world.
As an added bonus, self-pleasure can improve body image in European American women. So consider it a self-care routine.
2. Explore Your Belief Systems Around Sex
Many of us have come up in a society that doesn't always have healthy answers and attitudes when it comes to sex. From performing for the male gaze to the idea that sex is a prize, that sex slaps a label on you, or that sex has to look and feel a certain way can truly affect our relationship to getting down.
From heightened pressure of having to know what to do in the bedroom to not fully understanding our own consent, it really helps to take a look at our own belief systems around sex.
In a society where men's sex life is the precedent, women are faced with additional mental health challenges when it comes to sex.
You can find more information about women's experience with sex in the modern world via many podcasts, books and articles from sex therapists across the web.
3. Explore Touch With Your Partner
The modern world has filled our lives with things that simply get in the way of human connection, sex and intimacy included. For most of us, as we crawl into bed with our partner, we are more likely to look at a screen than at each other. This can not only get in the way of a good night's rest, but also intimacy and, well, your sex life.
In fact, high screen time can lead to depression, anxiety, and increased suicide rates among younger people. And touch with other people, especially in a non-sexual way, can improve mental health too.
So yeah, it's time to put away the technology when it comes to bed as it can truly hinder your sexual intimacy levels and lead to mental health issues. Having televisions in the bedroom can also lead to disrupted sleep patterns and affect libido levels.
So what to do?
Try and make the last thing you touch at night and first thing in the morning be your partner. We aren't even talking about in a sexual way, either - a light brush of the shoulder, or a stroke of the cheek - it all adds up to better intimacy... Although who is to say that a little touch won't turn into some steamy foreplay.
Explore each other's bodies in a way unrelated to intercourse just like you explore your social media feeds.
And for those who aren't sharing a bed with a partner, then go for a massage or opt to do something cozy with people you care about. Give your body and your brain the physical intimacy it desires so that you don't seek it out in your sex life.
That way, sex can just be sex with no strings attached.
4. Check Your Vitals
If your sex drive is in a slump, then it may be because you are out of gas.
Lack of sleep, a lousy diet, and heightened stress can all have a a negative effect on a woman's sexual desire. When we feel physically and mentally crappy about something, it's hard to get into gear.
So where do you begin?
Start with the basics. Do the things that make you feel good. Get enough rest, go for a brisk walk and let the wind whip color back into your cheeks, take a night to dance with friends; the small pleasures lead to the grander pleasures. It improves mental health too.
And stable mental health isn't just good for building sexual desire. It's good for your marriage, long term relationship, and interpersonal relationships in general. Increased sexual satisfaction is an added bonus.
5. Know Your Cycle
For women who menstruate, it's worth noting that often your sex drive can follow a cycle. We are being relatively generic here but this tip may be of use to many.
Since the Victorian age, we have followed a system of having sex on the male clock (for hetero couples), but it may be time to consider that the female cycle plays a major role in sexual desire.
During ovulation, for example, sexual pleasure is easier to come by, thanks to our bodies trying to procreate at any given moment.
Other times during the cycle, however, can leave a woman feeling rather asexual.
Keeping a period journal or even just using a period app to record your cycle, hormonal shifts, and moods can really help you to track when you are feeling the passion and when you are feeling dead and bloated.
This knowledge helps you to regain control over your libido and to understand when sex is going to work for you and when it's not.
6. Sort Underlying Issues
There are so many reasons as to why people's sex lives can go into a slump and simply introducing new sex positions on Valentine's Day won't help.
Issues such as guilt, resentment, mistrust, or other larger problems can lead to loss of sexual intimacy or libido.
When there are underlying issues in a marriage or any relationship, it may be time to seek external help. Going to a family or sex therapist or getting your own individual therapy can be a good solid start in sorting out the bigger issues that can have a negative effect on physical relationships.
Resources To Find A Therapist
7. Experiment with Play
Pornography, kinky sexual positions, sexy underwear, and dirty talk may have you blushing, but these are tried and tested ways in which you can spice things up with each other.
Plus, male libido is really tied up with sexual novelty, which is why porn is so popular in the first place. Sexual novelty can be as easy as using your other hand during a hand job or as exciting as role play in a hotel restaurant.
So if you're a married couple or in a long term relationship, then take your sexual fantasy to the next level with new things.
That being said, not everyone's sexual fantasy is perfectly portrayed in porn. And not all pornography is a healthy representation of what good sex can be.
So if porn isn't your thing, then try the other stuff.
The idea is to try new things and explore ways to bring each other sexual satisfaction.
Experiment with role play and dress up as imaginative stimuli can certainly add to the sense of stimulation. Use a sex toy, like a vibrator or cock ring, or try different sex positions. Try slipping in some dirty talk to see how it feels.
And for the love of god, incorporate more oral sex into your sex life.
It's a whole lot easier to achieve sexual pleasure when sex is fun and unbound.
8. Say Yes to New Sexual Positions
Listen, what feels good to one person doesn't always feel so good to another. While your spouse may love missionary (don't they all?!), you may prefer doggy style.
Or reverse cowgirl.
Or the pretzel dip or the scoop or whatever other imaginative sex positions there are out there.
And don't just stick to the bedroom, either. Try changing the position or location of WHERE you have sex to help reignite the fires of excitement.
Whether you get down and dirty on the kitchen counter or take scrubbing up in the shower to a whole new level, the idea is to break the monotony so it has a pinch of that first time magic.
9. Don't Shy Away From Products
Toys, dress-up fun, tingly lubrication - there are tons of products out there to help people keep things fresh when it comes to the desire to spice up sex life. From sex toys that vibrate to those that penetrate, the world of sex toys has definitely surpassed the oversized throbbing vibrator of the 1960s.
Take your time to research which sex toy works for you (either in a solo sense or as a couple or more). If you feel like you are too shy or startled or overwhelmed about the idea of going into a shop and exploring sex toys, then check out online guides.
10. Keep it Fun
We can all get hung up about our issues and whatever problem we are experiencing when relating to sex. Whether or insecurities come from society or from our own sense of self, we often forget that sex can be about joy and laughter.
For some reason, we all feel that we are supposed to be naturally good at sex without being taught how to actually have good sex.
We even use language like 'good sex' or 'bad sex' when it comes to sharing our experience in the bedroom.
Bringing the joy back to sex can help you to rediscover one another and to find your own kind of truth when it comes to intimacy.
After all, keeping it fun can be a great way to practice focusing on welcoming joy into other avenues of your relationship.
Do fun stuff together and pay attention to each other and you may be able to find that same level of life pleasure spilling over into the bedroom.
How do you pull yourself out of a sex slump? Make sure to your sex tips and thoughts in the comments.