Preparing For Sex

Sex can be easier, you know.

As in so many other things in life, a little preparation can make a big difference. Have you ever found yourself 10 minutes into some nice erotic situation – wishing you’d done something different 11 minutes ago?

Here are three simple principles to help make sex more relaxing and enjoyable.

Prepare the environment

As you’re getting into bed, locate and take out some lube. Not because you’ll “need” it, but because it makes sex better. And because if it’s a hassle to get to, you’re less likely to reach for it when you’re in the middle of sex. And when was the last time you regretted having lube available, or using some? Never, right?

If the two of you are different genders and you’re both fertile, handle the birth control before you get going. Get the condom or diaphragm within reach; now’s the time to realize it’s in your car, or oven, or wall safe, and get it where you’ll use it. If you “think” your partner has birth control covered, that’s great – now’s the time to confirm this. Don’t wait until you’re so hot you can hardly speak English.

Pour a bedside glass of water, or ask for one – especially if you like to kiss or hope to have oral sex. Turn up the temperature if the rooms chilly (better than goosebumps or pajamas with feet, right?). If there’s a pooch around, get the mutt a treat – on the other side of the house.

Finally, if there’s anything you want your partner to know, tell him/her now: I have herpes. I’m married. I’ve been pretty gassy all day. I’m about to get my period, or I’m not quite finished with it. I’ve had a scratchy throat all day, so you’re better off not kissing me. My best friend’s in the closet, and she’s been dying to meet you.

Prepare yourself

Practically everyone should go to the bathroom before they play around sexually. Not only is this good for your health, it removes a really common reason people have to interrupt things. Or don’t interrupt, and wish they didn’t need to.

If youre self-conscious about your breath or body order, scrub accordingly. You don’t even have to pretend – “All that garlic probably makes me radioactive, and I want to kiss you, so…”

Take a deep breath and forget about your cares. Dragging concerns about work, money, kids, or the Electoral College into bed kind of defeats the whole purpose of being there.

If you’re ambivalent about getting into bed – either because you don’t feel up to it, or you’re not sure you want to start something with this particular person – think about it now, rather than waiting until you’re in the middle of it and you don’t want to think about it. As I say when I lecture at colleges, decide on whether you’re going to have sex while you’re putting on your lipstick, not while your sweater’s coming off. It’s a lot easier.

Prepare for afterwards

If your back always hurts after sex, take a pain pill before you start (and maybe put a pillow under your butt or your partner’s butt during sex). If you wear glasses, put them somewhere they wont get knocked around.

If you know you’ll have to get up soon after the two of you finish, let your partner know. And leave time to be friendly before disengaging and getting dressed. Figure out when you’ll have to get out of bed, and then stop making love a few minutes before that. Stick to your plan instead of starting another position or pushing for another orgasm. A nice goodbye is part of enjoyable, conflict-free sex.

So why dont more people follow these simple suggestions? Primarily because they require that we admit were having sex – both to ourselves and to our partner. That’s sometimes more complicated than the sex itself. Trusting someone can be quite a challenge. And yet it’s essential for easy and enjoyable sex. As always, if you’re too squeamish about talking to your partner, or if you feel like too much “real life” ruins sex, perhaps you’re not quite ready to jump into bed – whether with that partner, or with anyone.

C’mon, you’ve had sex before – you know what usually happens, and you know what you usually need in order to enjoy it. Don’t wait til you need it – discuss or arrange it ahead of time, so you’re more likely to get it.

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