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    How to Get in the Mood

    When our in-person social lives dwindled (er, absolutely tanked), you’d think our libido would go up ten-fold. There literally is nothing else in the world to do than have sex or masturbate. But don’t fret; if your libido has seriously taken a hit since staying at home, you’re not alone. Many of us are feeling an immense amount of stress right now: work, health, relationships, current events—it’s no wonder we’re not excited to have sex! “During this time many people are affected by the quarantine in different ways,” said Board Certified Sex Therapist, Ieshai T. Bailey, CMHC, LMHC, CST. “Depending on the situation, stress levels are at an all time high. And stress isn’t sexy! Stress, specifically chronic stress, can have a significant impact on our sex lives. Chronic stress causes us to produce the hormone cortisol which in turn lowers our libido.” 
    So, how exactly do we slough off that stress and get busy? If you’re wondering how to boost your sex life right now, getting your libido back to where it was is the start, and it doesn’t have to be weird or awkward. Here, we’re discussing easy ways to get in the mood and get back to amazing sex right away.

    Find healthy ways to cope with stress
    “Getting back sexually after the pandemic can start with lowering our stress levels and finding other ways to cope,” Bailey said. Obviously, getting our stress levels down is a goal for any of us right now. But, as Bailey points out, it might be one of the most important things we do for our sex lives this year. “Our sex lives are not only affected by hormones, but other factors as well, such as psychological and social factors. Getting back to being close and intimate with others, and taking care of our mental health and physical well-being can be helpful.”
    So, how do we start? Well, for starters, stress-reducing behaviors are pretty personal, so if you know what works for you (taking a bath, reading a book, having a dance party in the kitchen, going for a run, etc.), do that. But there are some other ways you have both reduce stress and purposefully get your mind in the gutter for once. 

    Get some sleep
    If you’re not well-rested, you’re likely not going to be too excited to ruffle around in the covers. But how the heck do we get more sleep right now? Likely, this tip has to be performed in tandem with another way to relax so that you can sleep. Our editors love CBD (especially CBD baths!), staying off technology before bed, and exercising in the evening.

    Talk about sex 
    Although it might seem awkward, the simple act of talking about sex with your friends and partners can get your head in the right space. Think about what makes sex fun and why you enjoy it; then, ask yourself what you want to have in your sex life.

    Build intimacy
    If you’re with a partner, do things that build intimacy without having sex. Communicate with each other beyond “how was work today?” when you sit down for dinner. Do activities that you enjoy together. Be vulnerable with each other. Appeal to each other’s Love Language. Do what you can to inspire intimacy and thoughtfulness between each other that don’t involve sex. This will might ultimately encourage the two of you to seek intimacy in other ways, *wink wink*. 

    Talk to your partner about your libido
    If you’re finding that your partner’s libido is higher than yours at the moment, talk about it. Having a libido that’s lower than your partner happens often, and it’s not the end of a relationship. Talk about what’s going on with you and why you’re feeling the way you do. Can’t put your finger on the issue? That’s OK! Getting it out and telling your partner that you’re feeling a certain way is the perfect start.

    Get touchy 
    Although you might not be ready to go full-blast into having sex, simply being touchy with your partner might inspire it later on. Touch their arm while you’re watching TV, or play with their hair. This also goes beyond having a partner. If you’re trying to boost your libido on your own, the act of getting comfortable with your body once again might do it. Don’t be afraid to touch yourself in the shower and enjoy it! Get naked even when you’re just sitting around. Being comfortable with yourself is an important part of boosting your libido, as your sex drive can plummet when you feel insecure or uncomfortable with yourself. 

    Engage in mutual masturbation
    Sometimes, it can feel uncomfortable to have sex, but you feel OK masturbating on your own. If you have a partner, ask if they would be interested in mutual masturbation, or masturbating together. For one, it’s hot AF. But it’s also another way to build that magical intimacy between the two of you. Inspire that intimacy even further by getting sexual in a way that doesn’t seem uncomfortable or “too much” for you right now. 

    Not only does regular exercise reduce stress and relax the body, but it’s also a great way to feel confident and strong. Don’t tell me that you don’t feel at least a little sexy after completing a hard workout? Yes, you’re sweaty and maybe more than a little flushed, but maybe your arms look more defined than last week, or you lifted a heavier weight and feel stronger than ever. Being comfortable with yourself and your body is a great starting point to feeling better in the bedroom. Bailey recommended exercise as a way to reduce stress and get your libido back, so it’s totally sex therapist-approved. 
    If you want to exercise with your partner, have at it! Exercise alone is libido-boosting, but together, it’s like a whole form of foreplay. 

    Do things that make you feel sexy
    Again, we’re all about making you feel hot and confident in the bedroom. Before you want to have sex with your partner or yourself, do those little things that make you feel like a million bucks. Take a bath with one of your expensive bath bombs, get in lingerie, walk around naked, dry brush—these are just a few examples of easy ways to get yourself in the zone. 

    Read (or listen to!) erotica
    Erotica doesn’t have to be a book called something like “The Huntress’ Maiden” with an absolutely jarring image of two barely clothed individuals. Read these steamy romance novels that actually have a whole plot and storyline you’ll love, plus lots and lots of absolutely hot sex. We also love Dipsea, an app for audio erotica that will absolutely blow your socks off.  More

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    5 Habits That Can Boost Your Sex Life

    Sometimes, it can seem like we’re all being told everything we should be doing. Eat more cauliflower! Try this new workout that will make your butt look amazing! Meditate every morning! It’s exhausting to be told what to do but never communicated how exactly it will affect our health and our bodies.Instead, we should be focusing on easy, actionable, healthy habits that actually cause a change in our lives over time. Boosting our sex lives isn’t much different from our overall health — sex isn’t independent of the rest of your mental and physical health. Adopting healthy habits can improve all the areas of your life, sex included. So, when we add these habits into our day-to-day routines, there’s more happening than increased energy and a higher sense of confidence.
    So, you want to get healthier and pump up your sex life? We’ve got you covered. Here are our top five habits that will positively impact your overall health and your libido:

    1. Keep work out of the bedroom
    We’ve all been there. We sit in bed with the laptop catching up on e-mails or scroll through Instagram on our phones. It seems harmless when it’s happening, but over time, you’ll start to notice it’s difficult to turn off the work brain when you’re in the bedroom. Next thing you know, you’re thinking about your to-do list while you’re doing the damn thing!
    The easiest way to get out of this mindset is to slowly take technology out of your room — no more writing or replying to Instagram DMs just before bed. Set a designated area of your home to do work and leave the bed for sleeping and other bed-related activities. You don’t need a separate office space to do this either! Simply creating a nook in the corner of your small studio for working or only working on your couch can help keep the work brain out of the bed.
    This is a lesson in becoming more present and focused with your partner. When you’re able to let go of work or anything else going on in your life for a little bit of time to enjoy moments with your partner, you can connect on a deeper level, which in turn means getting it on is much more enjoyable. Less stress, better sex — everyone wins here!

    2. Exercise
    Obviously, getting consistent exercise is good for you. We all know that by now. However, exercise (in various capacities) is amazing for your sex life. (Oh, great, another reason we need to be working out!)
    Exercise (whether it’s yoga, pilates, kickboxing, weightlifting, running, or whatever you enjoy!) is an amazing way to decrease stress. Not only does it help you cope with current stress, but when all those endorphins release, your body is less likely to build up the same stress and worry from before. Stress can be one of the biggest reasons women lose their libido, so if you’re trying to have better sex, this is a good one to kick to the curb first.
    Getting regular exercise is also an amazing way to improve stamina and flexibility, which in turn increase sexual pleasure. Exercise is another great way to boost your confidence, and we all know how it feels to have sex when you’re not really feeling like yourself. When you’re feelin’ yourself, sex is bound to be a great time.

    3. Communicate
    Communication with your partner is more than a simple “how was work?!” every day. It’s important in any relationship to keep learning and growing with your partner. Whether you’re in a LDR or have been together for a long time, keeping the spark alive emotionally can keep up the passion in the bedroom. Go on real dates (which can be especially helpful for those of us who live with our partners!), discover a new hobby you both like, and practice active listening. Making your partner know he or she is heard in the relationship and that their feelings or ideas are validated can go a long way in making you both feel more comfortable and at ease with each other.
    Aside from still taking the time to get to know the person, there’s a lot of sexual communication to engage in. You can tell your partner that you want to try something new (a new position, role-playing, or different days or times than your norm are all great ideas) or talk about what you like and don’t like. This could happen before sex (this could make some great foreplay!), during, or after.
    Make it a habit to talk to your partner about sex. It can often feel uncomfortable (weird, but true!) to discuss these things, but this can only improve the experience you two have together. Once you start to become more comfortable discussing these things with him or her, it will be easier to actually implement and try out all those new things you’ve discussed with one another.

    4. Ask the experts
    Don’t be afraid to talk to experts when you have questions about your sex life. OG/GYNs and sex therapists are there to help with whatever questions you may have! No matter how TMI or insignificant they may seem, your questions are valid. Make it a habit to write down (or put them as a note in your phone) any questions or thoughts you have and bring this list to any doctors appointments you have.
    While they’re obviously not experts, this also goes for talking to friends or other loved ones. It’s comforting to get second opinions or thoughts and ideas from your girlfriends. Talking to them is generally more comforting than a doctor, and they might have personal experience with the same situation.

    5. Get more sleep
    Sleep is basically the cure-all to everything — acne, stress, body aches and pains, and yes, good sex. There are many studies saying having more sex can cause better sleep, but there is also evidence that sleep can cause great sex, too! Lack of sleep can increase the levels of cortisol in your body while decreasing sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone. This can cause stress, which we’ve already established is not great if you’re trying to boost your sex drive.
    There’s also the simple fact of being too tired. You had a long day a work, came home, cooked dinner, watched an episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, and we’re supposed to still have the energy for sex after that? Not getting the rest you deserve (yes ladies, sleep is a right, not a luxury!) is enough to make any of us go crazy, let alone not want to have sex.
    Try changing your bedding, investing in a new mattress (this is for your health, people!), or rearranging your room to be the ultimate calm oasis you’ve always dreamed of. You could also try a weighted blanket, taking melatonin before bed, or keeping your tech out of the bedroom. (See tip #1!)

    What habits have improved your sex life? How have you implemented these into your routine? Tell us in the comments! More

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    Sex 101: How to Start Role-Playing With Your Partner

    Undeniably, one of the best sex scenes in movie history is The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn. Are you kidding me? 15-year-old me had a sexual awakening watching Bella and Edward get it on in the water, all to end up in bed. I mean, the scene when she wakes up to a completely broken bed, pillow feathers strewn about the room sounds like exactly what my sex dreams are made of (you know, with less Edward Cullen and more LaKeith Stanfield). And lest we forget the other best sex scene in human history: Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis in Black Swan. You know, I claimed Black Swan as my favorite movie of all time for quite a while; somehow it only dawned on me a few years later that I just might be bisexual.But you know why movie sex scenes are just so absolutely sexy? It’s acting; there’s a sense of “these aren’t real people” to the whole thing. And you know what? Regular old folk like us can get that same feeling with just a little role-playing. 
    I’ll be completely honest: role-playing with your partner can feel really intimidating and, of course, totally weird and awkward if you’re new to it. But as most sexual things go, with practice and communication comes many orgasms! So here we go, a 101 guide to the best role-playing of your life. 

    Get your boundaries and safe words all laid out
    Before you and your partner become entirely different people for the night, talk over what you’re willing to do and what you’re not. It’s important to know what each of you is hoping to get out of the experience. For you, it might just be a fun, one-night-only thing. Your partner might want to add this to your usual rotation. Some people like to use role-playing to act out fantasies. Whatever you decide is amazing, just make sure it fits for both of you. As always, communication with your partner about sex is necessary here.
    You’ll also want to come up with any safe words if you’re practicing BDSM or anything similar. 

    How to decide what to role-play
    You absolutely can just come up with a character on the spot and go with it. But if you’re not an Oscar-winning actress just yet (maybe if I flesh out the cash for that Natalie Portman Masterclass, but I digress), it’s OK to take some time to figure it out and come up with it as you go. Of course, the easiest thing would be a different person. Maybe it’s your alter-ego. You don’t totally change your look, but you go by a different name and act a little different (for example, normally you’re more dominant in the bedroom, and instead you act a little more submissive). Pretend it’s your first date all over again. 
    On the other hand, you can also decide who to role-play based on your fantasies. What turns you on? Is it a student/teacher scenario? A nurse/patient? Two roommates? Make your decision on truly what turns you on, because it’ll just feel awkward and funny to you both if it’s not something you actually find sexy. 
    Will you add costumes? You certainly can! But to be fair, if your partner is of the male species, you might be able to get away with putting your hair in a different style and slapping on a smokey eye, and they’ll think it’s different enough. (If your partner is more observant, wigs are a very fun and inexpensive way to change things up!) If the scenario is a little more complex, think about getting into character. This might feel really awkward for your first time role-playing, so don’t be afraid to start small. Speaking of…

    Start small
    It’s OK if the first time you role-play doesn’t involve the sexy French maid costume of your dreams and a fully flushed-out script of everything you’ll say. It’s really easy and casual to start role-playing through text first. You and your partner can gauge how you enjoy it and feel about it without the pressure of “acting” in front of each other. 

    Don’t stress if you feel silly
    Role-playing can sorta feel like you’re back in high school musical theater if you’re not used to it, and that’s completely normal. It’s different and new, but it takes time to get used to being that way with your partner. Think of role-playing like a game, and of course, very few people are good at a game the first time they play.

    Change locations
    Obviously, we’re not heading out to our local hotel bar to reenact our first dates right now. Instead, change up the location of where you are. You can take a walk to the park and start your role-play there (finishing at home, of course). Or just change locations in your home. Get really into it and turn your kitchen island or dining table into a little bar set-up for the evening. You could pretend your home is a hotel. Get into the fun of it and let your imagination go. Sex is all about flexing your creative muscle.

    Some scenarios to try
    Classic power dynamics—boss/employee, teacher/student, guest/maid, nurse or doctor/patient, fitness instructor/student, landlord/tenant, etc. 
    Best friends
    Long-distance—try Skype/FaceTime sex even if you’re not in an LDR
    Massage therapist
    Food delivery (very peak COVID, am I right?) 
    Non-monogamy—one person remains themselves and the other is a stranger
    Photographer and model
    Don’t be afraid to really act
    It’s not weird to get into it; it’s your fantasy for crying out loud! Role-playing is about being someone else for a little and acting out all of your desires with your partner. It’s a fun way to try all those things you dream about without a ton of commitment. Try something and realize you don’t really enjoy it? Try something different! Role-playing is about trial and error, so don’t be surprised if you thought you’d love or hate something and it turns out to surprise you. That’s what sex is all about, really: tons of surprises! More

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    12 Ways to Improve Your Sex Life

    In the hustle and bustle of your daily grind, work dinners out, trying to balance a mix of reading Sharp Objects and watching Friends reruns so you can actually sleep, following Chrissy Teigen on Twitter, and barely having time to drink your morning coffee in peace, sex doesn’t always feel like a priority. We don’t know […] More

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    There Are Major Health Benefits When You Masturbate On Your Period

    Oftentimes on your period, the only acts of self-love you feel like treating yourself to are Advil, Netflix, elastic-waist pants, and gargantuan tubs of ice cream. But if you haven’t yet given yourself some literal self-love while you’re menstruating, you’re missing out. Hear us out: Your period is actually a really good time to masturbate. There’s […] More