While you’re plotting out all your New Year’s resolutions for the coming year, why not add in one for your sex life?
We can sometimes forget to consider sex when thinking about what we want from our lives, but sex is an important part of our overall well-being. As individuals, our sexuality is one of the most powerful ways we can connect with our own bodies, understand them, and celebrate them; many studies have shown that positive body image and sexual satisfaction are deeply linked. And for couples? Research from clinical psychologist Barry McCarthy, Ph.D., has found happy couples say sex only plays a 15 to 20% role in their relationship, but unhappy couples say up to 75% of the trouble is related to sex. So yes, sex is always worth a little investment!
Here are a few ideas for sex resolutions you might want to make this year, whether for yourself or as a couple:
1. Make sex a priority again.
Just a simple mindset shift can go a long way. If sexual wellness hasn’t been a big priority for you in the last year or so, consider bumping it back up to be top of mind. Sometimes when you’ve been in the same relationship for a long time or when you haven’t been dating for a while, sex just becomes less important than everything else going on in your life. That’s totally cool—life ebbs and flows, and sometimes your family, or your career, or some other exciting project is what needs your attention. But if you feel like your sex life could use a little TLC, then commit to giving it the same amount of time, energy, and prioritization that you’ve been giving to other parts of your life. Your sex life won’t change until you invest in it.
What does that look like? When you’re choosing between working late and going on that date, pick the date. When you and your partner are deciding how to spend an upcoming free weekend, put sex on the menu of options. Decide that the chores and deadlines and social obligations can wait. When there’s an opportunity for sex, go for it!
2. Invest in your own pleasure.
Whether you’re in a relationship or not, you deserve to have sexual pleasure in your life. If that’s an unfamiliar idea for you, you can even just make your resolution to recite that mantra to yourself each morning: I deserve to have sexual pleasure in my life.
There are so many ways to invest in your pleasure: It could mean making more time for masturbation or figuring out what the heck actually turns you on, or it could mean buying yourself a few new sex toys or some lingerie that makes you feel like a goddess. Or maybe it’s about opening a conversation with your partner about making your favorite parts of sex more of the go-to thing. (For example, you shouldn’t have to be quietly hoping to yourself that your partner is gonna go down on you—just ask!)
3. Learn about sex.
Did you know just learning about the orgasm gap is associated with women having more orgasms during sex? Knowledge can go such a long way in terms of improving your sex life. You might think you know everything you need to know about sex, but here’s what I’ll tell you: I’m a sex educator, and I write about sex for a living. I’ve written literally hundreds of stories about sex, learned from countless sex therapists and couples’ counselors, read hundreds of scientific papers about sex—and I’m still learning new things about sex every day. There’s always more to learn. Especially considering how little sex education Americans receive, you can bet you’ll find a whole lot of new information and ideas from just one book, class, or podcast about sex. Commit to listening to one new podcast about sex, reading one well-reviewed book about sex, or taking a class about sex either online or in person.
4. Address your sexual blocks.
If you know you have a block related to sex, commit to spending this year trying to really figure it out, address it, and heal. That could mean finally seeking out a specialist to figure out why you’re experiencing sexual pain, or going to a sex therapist to talk through your experiences with sexual trauma, or just spending some dedicated time doing the inner work to learn about what’s been holding you back sexually.
5. Commit to variety.
If you’ve fallen into a rut sexually, make this year a year of exploration and experimentation. Maybe that means trying out new positions with your partner and agreeing to, say, making sure every time you have sex includes one position or sexual act that you don’t usually break out. Or maybe it means exploring something truly new and novel for you—something like pegging, going to a sex party, BDSM, role-playing, consensual nonmonogamy, watching porn with your partner, or whatever else you’ve had a little inkling of interest in.
6. Tap into your sexual energy, even when you’re not having sex.
Sex isn’t all about having sex. Weird, I know. One of the best ways to improve your overall sex life is to build more sexual energy into your day. A 2019 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found sexual desire is actually buildable: that is, experiencing sexual desire today increases your odds of having sexual desire and sex tomorrow. Moreover, feeling turned on isn’t just about getting in the mood to have sex. Being able to access that state of mind regularly can be incredibly empowering on its own: Sexual energy can make you feel more confident, outgoing, and flirtatious. Here are a few ways to build more sexual energy into your day.
7. Have more sex.
Hey, when it comes to resolutions, sometimes simple is best! Put sex on the calendar, often. Boom. Happy New Year!