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Turn Mediocre Sex into Great Sex

How to bring back the heat and get what you want in bed.
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Getting What You Want in Bed continued...

You can have the conversation whenever and wherever it's most comfortable for you. But before you talk, you need to know exactly what it is about your sex life that bothers you. Is it a question of technique? Personal hygiene? Timing? "Once you know what isn't working for you," Alman says, "there are things you can suggest that can mitigate those circumstances."

For example, if something about your partner's smell is turning you off, suggest taking a bath together before making love. If you crave more foreplay, ask for slower segues into sex.

Before you can tell your partner what you want him or her to do in bed, you need to know what you like. "I think especially for women, they've got to explore their own bodies," Sussman says. "You have to masturbate. Get a vibrator. Get some books. Teach yourself how to orgasm."

When It's Just Not Working

After you've tried talking and the sex still isn't working, what then?

"Experiment together," Sussman says. "Learn to get to know each other's bodies."

Try some sex aids. Read books with pictures (such as The Joy of Sex), or watch an educational video together, Alman says. Not porn, but explicit videos in which a voice-over explains what's happening in the scenes.

Sometimes, the problem is a physical one, such as premature ejaculation. Or it may be that the stress from your job is bleeding over into the bedroom and disrupting your sex life. In those cases it can help to see a sex therapist. "We unravel why you two are not getting along," Alman says. "And then we try to remedy that."

If you're still unsatisfied, is it ever OK to fake it in bed?

"If you're faking it, you're doing yourself a disservice because you're not learning what really turns you on," Sussman says. "I think eventually, it takes a toll. Your partner's going to realize that you're disconnected."

Can sex ever be bad enough to consider ending a relationship over? Possibly. "You might really love somebody and the sex is never going to be better than OK. You have to decide whether you can live with that," Alman says.  

Whenever you're considering a breakup or divorce, you need to weigh every element of the relationship and not just the sex. "You can't have everything in life," Sussman says. "If you have a wonderful relationship and you love each other and you have kids but the sex isn't great, maybe you can live with that."

Sussman says that every couple has the potential to have good sex if you’re willing to put a little effort into it. "If you're two emotionally and physically healthy people, you should be able to work with what you've got. Not everybody needs to be hanging off the chandelier," Sussman says. "You can get better. But you have to practice, and you have to be open to discussing it and getting help when you need it."

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Reviewed on March 30, 2012
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