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Ooh La La: 6 Ways To Improve Your Sex Life

Lissa Rankin's picture

Do you long to have a juicier sex life but simply don’t know where to start? Have you quit even fantasizing about spicing up your sex life, moving beyond the missionary position, or feeling hot for your partner and yourself again? If you feel that way, you’re not alone.

After giving birth, suffering through my Perfect Storm, and completely losing my mojo, sex was the last thing on my mind. Plus, I tend to be so cerebral that I lose touch with my body completely for hours, even days on end. Then I started exploring ways to enliven the sexual creature within me. I took a class at Sheila Kelley’s S Factor (the pole dancing exercise classes that teach you to “feel your fur” and move like the sensual being we all are) and attended Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts.

Have my efforts transformed me into the evolved, divine sex goddess I long to be? No, not yet. But I’m getting closer. (Just ask my hubby.)

They say we teach what we need to learn, and this topic came up frequently when women submitted questions to me for my book What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend (which launches September 28 -- pretty please preorder now!).

I may not have it all figured out, but I got to interview a lot of experts while writing this book, and I learned a thing or two along the way that I’ve put into practice (with great results!). Here are some tips.

6 Ways You Can Improve Your Sex Life
  1. Research your pleasure. How can you expect your partner to know what pleases you if you don’t know yourself? Set aside private time to explore your own body on your own. If you don’t know what pleasures you, you’ll never get in touch with your desires. Take the time to discover what feels good! When I interviewed Regena Thomashauer, author of Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts for my book, she said, “There’s a scene in the Julia Roberts movie Runaway Bride where someone asks her what kind of eggs she likes, but she doesn’t know. When she dated a guy who liked scrambled eggs, she ate scrambled eggs. When he liked fried eggs, she ate hers fried. When he liked hard-boiled, she ate hard-boiled. In one scene, she finally lines them up and tastes them all, so she can make a decision, independent of any man. You can run this kind of experiment with her own body. Taste. Touch. Experiment. Discover.”
  2. Stop trying to be something you’re not and OWN who you are. If your Catholic guilt makes you think you should be the demure, quiet, Madonna wife but you’re really a freak who likes to get wild, OWN IT! If you partner wants you to dress up in a cheerleader uniform and you’re just not into it, say so. Bringing your authentic self into the bedroom will work wonders for your sex life.
  3. Take responsibility for getting your needs met. If you’re still waiting for Prince Charming to show up and blow your mind, you might spend your whole life waiting. Get in touch with what you need and be creative about ways to have your needs met. One patient of mine is a vital sexual being in a loving, happy marriage who wasn’t getting all of her sexual needs met, so she joined an online forum and started secretly writing erotica on the internet. It fed the hungry part of her and brought new passion into the sex life she shared with her husband.
  4. Put aside judgment. You may have been raised to think porn is wrong and anti-feminist, but you might discover that you actually love it and it totally turns you on. So why not embrace what makes you hot? Maybe your best friend bought you a vibrator but you’re afraid your partner will think you love your new electronic boyfriend more than him. But why can’t you have both? Maybe you’re finding yourself attracted to women even though you’ve considered yourself heterosexual your whole life. Allow yourself to feel desire for whatever makes you hot without letting your inner critic get in the way. This doesn’t mean you can’t also have morals and values that affect your behavior and keep you from acting on every impulse you have. But allow yourself to be honest about your desires -- then figure out how you choose to behave. Apply the same non-judgment to your partner. Let your partner explore his/her desire as well and be as open as you can be about trying new things without sacrificing your authenticity and integrity.
  5. Make time for sex. If you have to do the dishes, do the laundry, and then do your lover, it will feel like yet another thing on your to do list. But if you set time aside, make sex dates, and make it exciting (try using 101 Nights of Grrreat Sex -- a sexy, experiential how-to for planned seduction by Laura Corn), you may find yourself wanting to skip making dinner so you can go straight to dessert.
  6. Learn to communicate openly about sex. Talk talk talk about it! Lou Paget, author of How to Be a Great Lover agrees that you must talk about sex! Her tips for helping to chat about sex with your partner: "If you wish to give guidance during sex, limit your directions to just one word- left, up, harder, down. A sentence is often heard as criticism. A word is heard as direction. Use sounds as well. Make happy noises for what works. Speak up or withhold the happy noises when something isn’t working. If you feel comfortable, try masturbating in front of your partner to demonstrate what works for you. Even the world’s best athletes have coaches. They need someone who can show them and guide them. Don’t practice psychic sex, thinking your partner should know what you want. It’s crazy-making. Communicate what you need."

What works for you? Have you discovered tricks for jazzing up your life in the bedroom? Dish, dear ones!

Ooh la la,




Lisa  Faulkner's picture

Ooh la la!

Ooh La La drew me in. It's one of my favorite songs by Goldfrapp. Never fails to turn me on from the inside. Music that I find sexy or sensual is a great shortcut to help me climb out of my head and into my body! Especially songs I've danced (or should I say S'd) too.

I really enjoyed meeting and chatting with you on Sunday at the studio. Regular S Factor helps me stay connected to my body. If you (or anyone) can't get to an S Factor studio, maybe you can find a way to bring S Factor to you? For example, it helps me to do S moves for even 20-30 minutes in my dining room. Or maybe it's time for some offsite workshops again? There was a time, a couple years ago, where a Marin studio almost happened...

Before S, my favorite Laura Corn book was "The Great American Sex Diet." When I read that even she suffered from low sex drive sometimes, it gave me hope. And one discovery she (and her case studies) discovered: Frequency works magic. The more you have sex, the more you want it. Committing to 3-4 times per week makes for a really steamy and vibrant 28 days!

See you at the retreat!


Lissa Rankin's picture

Thank you all!

What do YOU think? How can we improve our sex lives?

Scott Sheperd's picture

Do the dishes. . do the laundry. . do the lover

Great line! That is exactly what happens to a lot of us. We're busy and we're checking off our goals for the day. Great article.

Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul's picture

Put aside judgment

I think all of these tips are wonderful, but I particularly appreciated the one about putting aside judgment. So many people I talk to have such strong feelings about issues of sex and what is and is not appropriate, despite never having challenged themselves as to why they hold these beliefs. This is not to say that everyone should be open to pornography or masturbation, I just think that, like every issue, we should really take time to examine our beliefs. And if we're not sure about them, to challenge our old patterns.

Dana Theus's picture

Great subject!

All good advice, Lissa. My favorite on your list is "research your pleasure." It took me way too many married years to figure out what I really liked that try to help my hubby understand it. My big ah-ha was realizing I could do this on my own and took the burden off him to figure out what i liked. He says he's now rather relieved:)


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