Updated: Mar 24
If you're asking yourself how you can be a better lover, you're probably looking for tips to elevate your bedroom game. However, being good at sex isn't always about making someone come harder (or faster). On the contrary, being a better lover is often more about increasing emotional intimacy and embodying openhearted tenderness with each other. It's scary to let your guard down—but allowing yourself to be sincerely seen, touched, and affected by someone else is a powerful sexual experience. So, read on for how to intensify passion with your partner:
1. Communication is everything.
It's one of the easiest traps to fall into with sex: You might intuitively use your partner's body language as cues to figure out what they want without ever really having an explicit conversation about it. But doing this won't bring you closer. Being a better lover is about getting out of the habit of assuming each other's preferences and vulnerably stating what you need.
"Sexual communication is the foundation of a healthy and fulfilling sex life. It's hard to have great sex when you can't talk about it," certified sex therapist Michelle Herzog, LMFT, CST, tells mbg. "If you're not sure where to begin, start with asking your partner about their sexual likes and dislikes. This is a simple, yet effective, way to increase sexual pleasure."
2. Appreciate them as a person.
When you respect and value your S.O., you'll want them to have a good time with you—inside and outside of the bedroom—and directly expressing appreciation for them can help with that. It also helps reinforce the emotional bond.
Showing you appreciate them can look like remembering the small details, actively listening when they talk, and thanking them whenever they do something you like. Outside of gratitude, look for the good in your partner too. What do you find sexy about them? What do you like about their sense of humor? What makes you excited about them? How do they turn you on? Be specific; then tell them those things.
3. Cultivate care into the connection.
Whether they're a one-night stand, casual hookup, a new relationship, or a long-term partner, there are always little things you can do to demonstrate affection and a real interest in who they are as a person. You don't have to be in love with them to show you care about them and their experience. By deepening intimacy beyond physicality, it helps your partner feel closer to you.
This could look like being curious about their life, naming boundaries, asking thought-provoking questions, holding their hand, maintaining eye contact, or skipping penetrative sex entirely once in a while and only doing other fun sexual acts.
4. Understand your own sexual anatomy.
"It's not just your partner's job to turn you on. If you don't know what you like and how to make your body feel good, chances are, it will be hard for your partner to figure it out," says somatic sex coach Anya Laeta. "Teach your partners how to love you better. Don't expect them to read your mind. You'll make your lover's life so much easier if you can give them a tip or five on how to drive you wild."
If you don't already have a conscious solo-pleasure practice in place, Laeta recommends starting one up as a self-care ritual and then using that time as a goalless container to discover what feels good for your body. As you're experimenting with arousal, she suggests noticing the in-between emotions as you slow down, take your time, feel all of the sensations that come up, and try out different things to see what you like.
5. Embrace the awkwardness that will inevitably come up.
In intimacy, sometimes people strive to complete this choreographed dance where everything is super smooth as you're making out and simultaneously taking off your clothes in a fluid motion. But that doesn't always happen, especially when you're learning how to be intimate together. It's likelier it'll be a mess of elbows and knees. Instead of glossing over the awkwardness and moving on, it's better to laugh and let it be a part of what's happening.
By leaning into the honesty of the moment, it shows that you're comfortable with yourself. This helps your person feel safer about being themselves and expressing their emotions as it comes up too. Plus, it makes it easier to be creative in sex when you can break the tension with a sense of humor.
6. Keep play at the forefront.
"Being playful at sex means not taking yourself too seriously," Laeta says. "Don't be afraid to be silly, experimental, or spontaneous. There is no 'right' way, only your way."
When you invite enthusiasm into the connection, sex becomes a joyful exploration instead of a mechanical act of intercourse. Playfulness emboldens you to toss out outdated scripts about intimacy, work through any "performance" challenges, and add lightness to the situation as you candidly respond to each other.
7. Try something different.
In the beginning, sex is amped up as you relish in the novelty. Over time, the excitement diffuses and mellows out as you settle into a routine. But there are actions you can do to reintroduce thrill back into the mix. It could look like letting them into your fantasies, bringing in sex toys, or having a quickie in the car because you can't wait to get home. It could also be as simple as surprising them with sex in the morning instead of your usual nightly romp for variety.
8. Use thoughtful touch.
Last fall, I dated someone who would tightly grip me with his fingers whenever he would pull me in closer to hold and kiss me. Although we didn't last long, I still feel a blush of desire when I remember our time together. The physical chemistry was that good.
According to Laeta, there's a reason why I felt so wanted, and it comes down to how innovative he was about bodily stimulation: "Our skin loves variety. The best touch for arousal is a contrasting touch between lighter, gentle strokes and firmer, stronger holds. Be creative. Make sure not to use repetitive touch. You can use your lover's body as a canvas to draw on."
9. Become present through meditation.
"The better you are at feeling present and connected to your body and pleasure, the better sex will feel for everyone involved. [A] regular mindfulness practice with a focus on breath and sensations will help you develop this muscle," Laeta says.
To avoid getting lost in disconnective thoughts, she recommends paying attention to the five senses (smell, taste, touch, sound, and sight) and using them as anchors to connect to your partner. Laeta says it could look like focusing on the music, smell of the candle, and the texture of your sheets, then zooming out to concentrate on how both you and your partner smell, taste, feel, sound, and look to keep putting yourself back in the moment.
10. Bring out your senses by comfortably setting the scene.
Herzog agrees incorporating the other five senses can round out sex and advises taking it one step further. Put in some time to prepare an inviting environment that enables you to lose yourself in intimacy even more. "Getting creative with sensory experiences, like incorporating sultry scents, listening to sexy music, and so on can expand your sexual experience. My go-to recommendation for clients is listening to erotic stories together as part of their sexual dance."
On that note, she says it's hard to be sexy when the room is chaotic and unappealing. "Consider bringing in softer lighting and make sure that the space is clean and free of things like pet hair [or] clothes all over the floor to enhance the sexual space and make it free of distractions."
11. Practice open-minded flexibility.
"Sexual flexibility does not literally mean how flexible your body is or what positions you can do. It is the act of being open to things changing. Think the evolution of our sexual preferences," Herzog explains. The sexual relationship broadens with possibility when you're nonjudgmental and accepting of the ebbs and flows that will inevitably occur.
She notes by not being hyper-focused on the "shoulds" of sex can transform your sexual life. "Being flexible is one of the top predictors of sexual fulfillment for couples over time."
12. Integrate sex accessories.
Herzog points out when penetrative sex is seen as the standard outcome for a romantic encounter, it can be restrictive. "Penetration feels great for some people, but not everyone prefers, likes, or wants to be penetrated in any way." She suggests being open to other ways of giving and receiving pleasure, in the form of the hands, mouth, or sexual accessories like vibrators or prostate stimulators.
To make sure the item will be mutually fun, Herzog suggests first seeing if they're open to the idea of toys and, if so, going on a shopping date together. "There are a variety of options available to you, and I encourage you to do your research and try out lots of options to see what works best for your body," she notes.
13. Prioritizing pleasure-centered experiences.
Although orgasms are great, Herzog explains not everyone values or experiences them normatively either. Regardless of gender, sometimes it's difficult to reach orgasm, and it has nothing to do with your partner or your enjoyment of the experience.
"You have a whole body to work with. Instead of being centered on orgasms as the best way to pleasure your partner, I'd encourage you to make pleasure the center for your sexual experiences," she says.
14. Slow down to enjoy sex as a whole.
Edging is an orgasm control practice where you delay climaxing. When the receiving partner feels like they're close to reaching orgasm, the other partner reduces stimulation and builds anticipation back up to bring them closer to the edge, only to taper off and restart the cycle until they beg to come.
By keying into the tension in the arousal, it makes everything feel more intense for both of you. It's often seen as a way to have better orgasms because of the strength of the orgasm that can follow when you're done edging.
15. Finish with aftercare.
After sex, you're flooded with feel-good chemicals that connect you to your partner. Keep the positive energy going by engaging in aftercare. If one of you goes to sleep right away or puts on your clothes to leave, you're overlooking an important step, and doing so can lead to feelings of rejection and disconnection.
Show them that their feelings matter by asking them how they like to be taken care of after sex. It'll look different for each person. It could look like grounding themselves alone, eating a snack, watching a movie, taking a shower, pillow talk, or cuddling together. Intentional aftercare gives you time to reflect on what just happened, validate each other's feelings, and clear up anything that you weren't able to mention during sex.
The bottom line.
Being a better lover is about removing the conditions and "shoulds" from sex and flowing into radical presence with each other. If you're looking for a scale to measure yourself on, look to see how you can allow yourself to be more imperfect, curious, and completely yourself with your partner. Doing this will help with emotional and physical intimacy.