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Health & Sex

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Turn Mediocre Sex into Great Sex

How to bring back the heat and get what you want in bed.

Getting What You Want in Bed continued...

But even long-term couples can struggle in the bedroom. Though we can easily tell our partner what shirt we'd like him to wear, or what we'd like to cook together for dinner, we tend to get tongue-tied when it comes to the topic of sex.

"People tend to be very sensitive when it comes to talking about sex," says relationship and family therapist Rachel Sussman. "They're afraid of hurting their partner's feelings, so they don't tell them what they like or don't like. But you're not going to get it unless you ask for it."

So how do you tell your partner what you want without bruising his or her ego? "I think it's really in how you bring up the statement," Levkoff says. "'I would love it if we...' or, 'Could we try this?' You don't want to make them feel bad about what they've done or haven't done."

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.

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