Yep, making new year’s resolutions is pretty much pointless.
Come February, we’ve forgotten what they were, let alone stuck to them.
But that’s not to say you can’t benefit from having a think about what’s working in your life, what isn’t and trying more effective strategies to make it better.
Make 2023 your best sex year – ever! – by adopting these 10 transformative resolutions.
A new year marks the chance to refresh your sex life…and Tracey Cox’s ten resolutions include being more playful between the sheets, and initiating sex with a partner
Initiate sex as much your partner does
It’s one of the most significant changes you can make to your sex life. ‘He/she never initiates sex,’ is always in the top three sex complaints of couples.
If your partner is always the one who suggest sex, the message sent is that you only have sex to please them.
Being the one to say, ‘How about it?’ lets them know you think they’re attractive – and puts you in the power position. Look at me! Now I’m the sexy one!
Worry less about frequency, more about quality
This is the most common mistake couples make when trying to improve their sex life: they focus on how often rather than how good.
A once a fortnight half-hour sex session that’s playful and enjoyable will make you both much happier than grimly sticking to a must-have-sex-three-times-a-week regime.
Sexual satisfaction isn’t measured by the number of times you did it. It’s all about the mood, the connection and the intimacy.
Another harmful misconception…
Stop thinking sex means intercourse
I can’t count the number of times people have asked me, ‘But does it count as sex if we don’t have intercourse?’.
Yes! It does! Sex is any kind of erotic stimulation.
Would you call it a sexual encounter if your partner had a long, sensual kiss and some foreplay with a stranger? Absolutely!
So why doesn’t it count when it’s done with a partner?
The last time you had ‘sex’ wasn’t the last time his penis went into your vagina. It was when you gave him a cheeky hand-job before you met the in-laws for lunch. When you gave her oral sex during a surprisingly hot scene on the show you’re watching. Any kind of encounter with your partner that gives you even a tiny erotic thrill ‘counts’ as sex.
Think of sex as a box of chocolates. Polishing off the entire box in one go is fun. But allowing yourself just one and taking the time to savour it and appreciate it fully, can be even more rewarding.
Be kind to your body
LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX: CONVERSATION STARTERS
Want to make talking about sex one of your New Year’s resolutions but don’t know where to start?
Here’s some inspiration.
To introduce the topic of sex
I love you and want us to be as happy as possible because we’re in this together forever. Can we have a chat about something? I wanted to talk about…how to make sex better/the fact we haven’t made love in ages because I miss it/how it feels like you’re avoiding sex. Is that something we can talk about now?
You want to try something new
I had a dream last night that we were doing X. (Watch to see what their response is. If they’re interested, they’ll want details and look intrigued.)
One of my friends – I won’t say who because it’s her business – told me yesterday that she and her partner do X. (If they’re up for it, they’ll say ‘Let’s give it a try!’. If they’re not, it’ll be, ‘I always knew they were perverts!’.)
You aren’t sure if they’re enjoying what you’re doing to them
Do you like it when I do this/do it here/do it harder/do it softer?
Which way do you like it best? Like this or like that?
Can I touch you here?
If you want more of something
I love it when you do that. Can you do it for longer?
Remember when we used to have sex after a boozy Sunday lunch? I used to love that. Let’s do it again.
You want something done differently
I love it when you do that. Do you know what else I love? When you do X. That really feels nice.
I love it when you give me oral sex. But you know what? It takes me much longer now to climax. Do you mind doing it for longer? Sometimes I feel rushed.
I don’t just mean eat well, exercise and try to manage stress.
Don’t be critical if it doesn’t conform to a societal stereotype or your own perception of what’s attractive.
The best present you can give yourself and your partner is to accept the body you were born into. Aiming to be healthy is great; learning to love every little bump, wobble and ‘imperfection’ is even better.
It’s impossible to be confident sexually without being confident about your body: relax and enjoy your own and each other’s quirks. A naked body in your bed is always the best-looking body in the world.
Most of us take sex far too seriously. We’re put off if our partner laughs during sex, talks or lets their attention waver for even a moment. ‘It’s unnerving’, one man wrote to me. ‘It’s like she forgets we’re having sex and meanders off into normal chit-chat and then comes back to it. She laughs after she’s had an orgasm.’
How lovely, I thought. An adult who has remembered how to play.
Sex is fun! The more cheerful it is the better.
A sex session that’s lusty for a while, then lapses into silliness, then resumes, is a healthy sex session. It shows you’re not bound by rules that say, ‘Focus! This is sex! You must concentrate!’
We’re used to seeing couples portrayed as being playful before the ‘real’ sex starts and afterward, but rarely during. Yet lust waxes and wanes when we’re having sex with our partner. Why pretend you’re in the thrall of it the entire way through?
Relax and take the pressure off.
Make a sex bucket list
Goals are good – especially fun ones.
You can do this solo or do it with a partner (feel free to cheat and steal from the many lists you’ll find online).
Make your bucket list a mix of experiences (sex at an iconic tourist destination), positions (master The Wheelbarrow) and techniques (try the Kivin method oral sex trick). Then throw in some sexy books, movies and shows to watch along with compiling a sexy playlist.
Don’t feel guilty about your other ‘lover’
According to research, at some point 85 per cent of us fantasise about someone else during sex with a partner.
Does it mean either of you would seriously rather be having sex with those people in reality? Usually not.
Even couples who rate their sex lives as extremely satisfying fantasise about others during sex. Fantasies are our brain’s way of delivering an aphrodisiac shot when the newness of sex has worn off.
One study found people who fantasise during sex feel a greater level of sexual satisfaction and have fewer sexual partners, even if the fantasy figure is not their partner. Another study concluded that sexual fantasies help many women in long-term relationships achieve sexual arousal and/or orgasm, irrespective of the quality of lovemaking.
They’re nicknamed ‘a vibrator for the mind’ for a reason.
Try new things – for her sake not his!
Society has men complaining about partners who aren’t ‘adventurous enough’ but the reality is women need more variety erotically than men do.
A recent study found women are twice as likely to lose interest in sex after a year of being together or while living with a partner than men are.
This isn’t because women don’t like sex. The women in the study went off sex because the sex on offer wasn’t interesting enough to tempt them.
Why then do women often reject their partner’s suggestion to try new things? Usually because they aren’t interested in what their male partner suggests.
Sensing a theme here?
You’re right: this is a couple problem, not a person problem. Women need to give themselves permission to explore the ‘seedier’ side of their sexuality: it’s delving into things that push us out of our comfort zones that makes our libidos spring to attention. Then we need to tell our partner what it is we DO want.
Men should stop assuming their partner has just ‘gone off sex’ and instead make the sex they’re having interesting and more tailored to suit her taste.
You can start by resisting the urge to do this…
Don’t have join-the-dots sex
Most long-term couples know how to make each other orgasm: you each know what buttons need to be pressed, in what order and when.
Humans are inherently lazy (or clever, depending on how you look at it) and always choose the quickest way to achieve our goals. If you know your partner always climaxes through a certain oral technique, you dispense with the preliminaries and go straight into it.
Orgasms are nice but last mere minutes. If you’re getting each other off in under five, you might as well do it yourself!
Move away from that tried-and-tested routine. The further you stray from the well-trodden path the better.
OK, brace yourselves because you all knew this was going to be on the list…
Talk about sex often
Yep, you’ve read that advice umpteen times.
But…do you follow it?
Having a library full of books does not make a wise person, reading the books does. Knowing you should talk about sex is not the same as talking about it.
If you can talk about sex honestly together, you can solve any sex problem you encounter. Not being able to talk about sex means the smallest issue could make the whole thing topple.
Our bodies, wants and needs change over time and sometimes this makes us feel vulnerable. There is always a time when a penis doesn’t become erect, when sex is painful, when desire falls or disappears.
Talk about it with your partner and the problem is easily solved. Him: ‘That was weird! I’ve never had problems getting hard before.’ Her: ‘Don’t worry about it. Sometimes I don’t get wet even though I feel aroused. I think it happens to everyone’.
Don’t discuss it and this happens.
He doesn’t get erect. She thinks it’s because he doesn’t fancy her anymore so reacts badly. He thinks: ‘She thinks I’m pathetic because I can’t get it up’. No prizes for guessing the next sex session will be a disaster. Anxiety ensures he’ll be temporarily impotent – and her paranoia is fed again.
And all could have been sorted with a few reassuring words.
Visit traceycox.com to find more advice on sex to help keep your sex resolutions. You’ll also find Tracey’s product ranges, her blog and podcast.
If you enjoyed reading this article…
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Also, these are 18 things you should never say in a relationship, according to Tracey Cox