We know that hitting your training goals are on a priority on your must-do list, but when it comes to living your best life in 2017, we want to make sure you cover all the bases. (Literally.) We mined the research on sexual satisfaction and the brains of sex experts for the hottest tips you could incorporate into your bedroom routine over the next 365 days. These 17 tips will keep your gears (and your girl’s) going longer than the typical resolution commitment. Here’s how to keep the New Year’s fireworks going all year long.
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1. Every Woman’s Body is Different
Sure, you knew this already, but our point is that what worked for your ex-girlfriend might not necessarily work for this one. So your ex melted when you ran your fingers down her back while she was blindfolded? Great. But your new partner will likely want something different. From what gets her going, to how long it takes her to orgasm, treat each woman differently.
Take, for instance, the clitoris. “There are many nerve endings at its tip,” says Paul Joannides, Psy.D., author of The Guide to Getting it On. “But one side or the other can be more sensitive for some women.” As a result, she may prefer more or less pressure on this area, a more focused touch (say, with one finger or the tip of your tongue), or a more spread out touch (involving multiple fingers or a flatter area of your tongue).
“Don’t assume your partner knows how to put into words what works and what doesn’t,” Joannides adds. “The two of you may have to discover that together — but that’s the fun part.”
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2. Stimulate Her Brain Before Her Body
“The more aroused a woman is before you approach her genitals, the more her brain interprets what you’re doing as feeling good,” says Joannides. Translation: Foreplay often occurs outside the bedroom.
If you notice she’s more inclined to tear your shirt off after a romantic dinner or after watching you sweat at the gym, consider that a smart prelude. If she prefers deep conversation to feel connected, try honing your communication skills — think: listening without interrupting and asking open-ended questions, like What was it like for you to do that presentation in front of so many people at work today?
“A lot of women say they want to have sex after they feel the emotional closeness,” says Charlie Glickman, Ph.D., sex and relationship coach. “And a lot of guys in my practice find that if they can learn to create that emotional connection first, the sex is better for them, too.
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3. Increase Your Heart Rate–Before the Date
Numerous studies have found that folks who make physical activity a regular part of their weeks are not only better able to perform in the bedroom, they also enjoy it more!
For men, the uptick in sexual satisfaction could derive from having a lower body fat percentage. “Overweight men tend to have lower testosterone, which can decrease libido, and they typically have higher concentrations of visceral fat, which converts testosterone to estrogen,” says Robert Silverman, chiropractor, certified sports nutritionist and author of Inside Out Health: A Revolutionary Approach to Your Body.
Aim for 30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity (light jogging or brisk walking) three times a week if you can, says Silverman. The increased energy results will certainly be worth the effort
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4. Ditch the Simple Sugars
Refined carbohydrates like sugar and high fructose corn syrup can mess with your insulin levels and send more of what you eat to fat storage cells than to replenishing muscle, Silverman says,
Reach for complex carbohydrates, like yams or sweet potatoes. If your sweet tooth won’t keep mum after overdoing it on the sugar during the holidays, nosh fruit to curb the craving. Fruits contain simple sugars (in the form of fructose) but the fiber they contain keeps them from spiking blood sugar, which Silverman says helps prevent fat storage (and, as a result) helps keep testosterone levels healthily high.
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5. Tighten Up Your Core Routine
Having killer core strength isn’t just about flaunting washboard abs (though that’s an admirable goal—and if you wish to achieve it, start here)—it’s great for helping you hold certain sex positions longer.
Gary Blackburn, a personal trainer certified by the International Sports Science Association and owner of United Personal Fitness Gym, suggests a move (dubbed “the Y Toe Touch”) to stabilize the spine of partners on top, prolong their performance, and increase the flexibility of partners on the bottom.
“Lying on your back, raise your legs straight up and then spread open creating a Y. Then going from side to side, reach up and tap your toes. This will work the core and increase your range of flexibility and movement,” says Blackburn.
If you’re new to this move, perform it for 30 seconds. Advanced Y Toe Touchers: Shoot for two minutes.
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6. Strengthen Your Hips
If you want to keep your thrusting game strong, you’ll need to boost the flexibility and stamina of the area of the body most used in this motion. Blackburn has just the solution to train your hip flexors, midsection, and lower back, enabling you not only to perform longer but also to keep rhythm with your partner and have better control over your motion.
Start by lying on your back. With your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, proceed to raising your hips up until they form a straight line from your knees to your throat, then lower them down to hover off the floor. Keep this going for 30 seconds if you’re a beginner. Try for two minutes if you’re advanced.
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7. Kegels Aren’t Just for Her
You may have heard about this subtle exercise that can enhance your own pleasure as well as your partner’s. By contracting the muscles that make your erection bounce for three seconds, then releasing them 10 times in a row, three times per day, Glickman says you can maintain an erection for longer and achieve more enjoyable (and longer) orgasms.
Start off by doing one set in the morning. Do another during lunch, another during dinner, and then you’ll be set. The effort required is minimal and shouldn’t take precious time or attention away from the rest of your daily agenda (or other New Year’s training goals)
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“A lot of people, especially men, tense their bodies and hold their breath during sex,” says Glickman. In many cases, this may be involuntary. But sometimes men make the mistake of thinking that tensing up will enable them to thrust more efficiently, Glickman adds. And that thinking would be wrong.
Glickman explains that when you focus on your breath and make sure you have enough coming in as well as going out you not only deliver more oxygen to the entirety of your body (meaning: all its extremities); you’re also more present, which can enhance sensation.
Consider the breath your ally in the bedroom, just like you use it to propel your workouts, either by pumping forward on an exhalation or using the inhalation to slow things down.
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9. Pace Yourself
Rather than viewing stimulation as linear and adding more and more until your partner reaches orgasm, “consider backing off or slowing things down, and then resuming what you were doing,” suggests Glickman. “Every time you do that, things feel more intense. With any sexual act your body’s capacity for pleasure expands when you treat it like peaks and valleys rather than one steep climb up a hill.”
Of course, if she’s getting close to orgasm, that’s when you’ll want to maintain the pace or, if you can increase it and she enjoys it, then speed up. “Consider this the last lap of a race or the final set at the gym,” says Glickman.
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10. Go Green
Green tea offers a host of health benefits that can ultimately boost sexual performance, studies show. This power plant floods the body with antioxidants and flavonoids that improve insulin and blood flow, helping the most important parts of your body function to their highest potential. Edibles and drinkables containing flavonoids like epicatechin, a key component of green tea, have been linked to lower incidences of erectile dysfunction. So drink up, since the moderate amount of caffeine in green tea can also give you just the natural boost you need for a killer workout.
A moderate amount of alcohol intake (think: one to two drinks daily) has been shown to reduce men’s risk of erectile dysfunction. Enjoy a cold brew after a long week at work (and at the gym) or toast your girl before showing her the fruits of your labor. Remember that the key here is a moderate intake, as one too many alcoholic beverages can wreck your ability to get it up—not to mention your drive to keep your 2017 fitness resolutions going the morning after an overly indulgent night.
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12. Consume More Folate
A moderate intake of folate has been linked with a healthier sperm count and quality, according to research published in the journal Human Reproduction. Follow Popeye’s lead and stir-fry some spinach, sauté or roast Brussels sprouts, or add some kidney beans to your next meal to sneak natural sources of folate into your system. Or spread some avocado on whole grain bread, both of which contain high amounts of the stuff.
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13. Make Sleep A Priority
It can be hard to fit in regular training in between work and your social life—especially if you’re someone who lives life at full throttle. While we’re in favor of giving life your all, it’s important to not let sleep fall by the wayside in the process.
Inadequate sleep—meaning less than 6 to 8 hours on a regular basis—has been found to lower testosterone in healthy young men. A 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that 10 men in their 20s with no prior history of medical issues saw a 10- to 15% drop in their testosterone levels following a week of less than six hours of sleep per night. Make sleep a priority by allowing yourself 30 minutes to an hour of wind-down time before bed. Turn off screens, which emit blue light that can interfere with your ability to fall asleep, and avoid caffeine late in the day to make sure you hit the hay just as effectively as you hit the weight rack.
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14. Make Minor Adjustments
Improve your comfort and enjoyment in certain sex positions by making changes to positioning in your limb placements. “Especially for men who aren’t as flexible in their lower backs, the smallest differences in knee and wrist placement can make the biggest differences in pleasure,” says Glickman.
If it’s stamina you’re concerned about, Glickman advises changing positions every so slightly and often: “When you’re on top, move your knees a bit farther or closer apart as your legs or core tire as well as the position of your hands or wrists if your arms start to fatigue.” (See also: giving your wrists a break by holding yourself upright with your forearms for a bit.)
“If you’re in doggy style and your core gets tired, shift from thrusting your hips to using your hands and arms to gently pull and push your partner back and forth onto you,” says Glickman.
“And don’t be afraid to use props, like pillows,” Glickman adds. Altering the angle at which you enter your girlfriend, or arranging pillows and blankets so that her pelvis is tilted at a new angle can increase the pleasure (and comfort) of all parties involved. “A pillow under her hips can also save your neck a lot of trouble if you’re performing oral sex.”
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15. Stop Worrying About Your Size
Chances are, you’re not hung like a porn star—and that’s probably a good thing. Not only do many women report being perfectly pleased with a less than enormous penis, says Joannides; a larger-than-life penis can also be painful for some women.
A 2006 study published in The Psychology of Men and Masculinity found that though only 55% of men were satisfied with the size of their anatomy, 85% of women were satisfied with their partner’s penis size.
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16. Bring all Hands on Deck
Most women achieve climax by having their clitorises stimulated, says Joannides—no matter how good having you inside of her feels. So don’t take it personally if she needs a little extra stimulation to put herself over the edge. And to ensure she does climax during intercourse (or oral sex) try asking her to use her hands and show you what feels best to her. (After all, she should know.)
“A good lover is someone who makes her feel comfortable enough to do what she needs to do to get off instead of worrying that it’s a commentary on his lovemaking,” says Joannides.
Be patient, nonjudgmental, curious, and encouraging throughout the process and your shared experience will be all the more enjoyable.
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17. Let Go of the Sexual Compatibility Myth
When things aren’t going perfectly with a new partner, or one of you feels consistently disappointed by sex, it can be tempting to chalk things up to incompatibility. While this attitude may make it easier to let each other off the hook — or to discard someone—adopting it may throw a permanent wrench in the satisfaction you derive from getting it on.
Researchers from the University of Toronto recently found that people who believe satisfying sex is predicated on the amount of effort funneled into learning about a partner’s wants and desires are far more satisfied by their sex lives than people who cling to the idea that romantic partners are either natural fits for one another or not.
That’s not to say you should suddenly welcome others into your sex life if you’ve committed to one person—unless that’s something both of you are into. But it is a testament to how much happier each of you might be if you let go of the idea one or the other of you is fundamentally incapable of adapting and work together to keep things hot, exciting, and mutually beneficial.