They say sex is like riding a bicycle: once you know how to do it, you never forget. While I agree with that statement in theory, I’ve come to understand that the actual “doing” isn’t as simple. You see, most of my clients are over the age of forty-five and are what society calls “midlife.” They often begin working with me due to a major life shift: a divorce, an empty nest or a career change. Though they may have enjoyed an active sex life in their twenties or thirties, those major life shifts have put them in a bit of a dry spell sexually.
What we lacked in bedroom skills in our twenties we were able to make up with unbridled enthusiasm. But, let’s be honest: who wants to fumble around awkwardly in the bedroom now that we’re adults? If you want to become a better lover—and enjoy sex more—it’s time to brush up your skills and go back to school.
Lesson 1: Be Ready and Willing to Learn
You’re more likely to actually learn something exciting when you make a decision to be open, willing and curious. You may think you know enough about sex, but I promise you, there is still a world of new information to explore. And the reward for your willingness is a happier and more fulfilling sex life (for both you and your partner).
Lesson 2: Crack Open a Book
Though you may understand the basic mechanics of sex, do you truly understand how arousal and orgasm actually happen? Do you have a clear understanding of the anatomy of both the male and female body? If you want to be better in the bedroom, then seek to master an intellectual understanding of how pleasure and the human body really work. (This goes for both sexes, by the way. School is in session for the both of you.)
Lesson 3: Don’t Substitute the Movie Version for the Book
Porn is pretty commonplace and easily accessible online these days (you no longer have to go to a seedy shop on the other side of town to rent a movie). But though porn can be a great way to explore your fantasies and get some ideas for your sex life, don’t mistake sex in porn for how sex works in real life. While the actors are actually having sex on screen, remember that they are still actors. Their responses and levels of enthusiasm are rarely accurate or authentic. Porn is meant to be visual stimulant, not a how-to guide.
Lesson 4: Take Psychology
The psychology of sex has always fascinated me, but most of my clients have confessed to not really thinking about it. Sex truly begins in the mind, so get a better understanding of how your own mind works when it comes to sex. What mentally arouses you? No only what type of touch do you prefer (hard, soft, gentle, rough or a combination) but what kind of conversation, environment, etc. help you get in the mood? Talk to your partner. What’s sexy to him? What makes her feel desired?
Lesson 5: Study Alone
Before you jump into action with your partner, begin by experimenting with your own body. Touch it. If you’re feeling a little unsure about this whole process, begin by gently (and then firmly) exploring parts of your body you may not see as erotic, like your forehead and ears. Move on to places where your body naturally joins parts, like your armpits and hip creases. Then, explore the sexual parts of your body, like the nipples, clitoris, vagina, penis and testicles. Take a good look at your body in the mirror. Examine your body in an unaroused state. Then, arouse yourself and see how your body changes. Masturbate with a mirror and watch how your body reacts. Don’t skip parts you may see as “dirty,” like the perineum and anus. There are pleasure centers hidden all over your body. Have fun finding and exploring them.
Lesson 6: Don’t Rush Through Your Homework
Please trust me when I tell you that the more you practice, the better you’ll get (and the more comfortable you’ll feel). And you’ll definitely learn more if you allow yourself the time to not only do the work, but also truly understand it.
Lesson 7: You Need Labs
Textbook lessons aren’t enough, you need some practice time in “the lab”, also. So grab your study buddy and get curious together. Now that you understand your own body, communicate with your partner about your discoveries. Show them how you like to be touched. Tell them what feels good and what you want to experience.
Then, take a good look at your partner’s body. Though everyone has the same parts, every body is still unique and your partner’s body will be different from the photos in books (and that’s okay). Ask your partner what they like about sex (and what they don’t), how they like to be touched (and don’t). Don’t assume you know. Also, understand that self-expression around the topic of sex can be very difficult for some people, especially if raised to believe sex is “a sin”, “shameful” or “dirty”. Be patient. Listen with love. Taking notes is optional.
Lesson 8: Don’t be in a Hurry to Graduate
Sex is meant to be enjoyed and savored. If you rush toward a result with only one objective in mind—an orgasm—you’re going to miss a lot of pleasurable discovery and moments of connection along the way.
Lesson 9: Be a Lifelong Learner
Once you get the basics down, consider advanced studies to keep elevating your love life to new heights. Experiment with different positions. Dabble in some light bondage. Explore your fantasies (and your partner’s). Midlife is a fabulous time to push our sexual boundaries. Look at this midlife back-to-school time as an adventure, not a destination. Being a lifelong learner when it comes to your sex life means that you’re willing to continue to explore, adapt, try new things and adjust how you relate to your body, your partner, and to the world.
Don’t buy into the hype that menopause or midlife means the end of your sex life? That’s nonsense. You can have an active and rewarding sex life well into your eighties if you desire. So study up!