Some things—a bottle of incredible Bordeaux, aged Gruyere, George Clooney—get even more enjoyable as time passes. One thing that you may not think falls into this category: sex in a long-term relationship. But that’s just not true, according to a recent poll that finds 90 percent of people believe that sex can get better over time.
The survey, conducted by Durex and YourTango, asked 1,096 people whether they think sex turns stale when you’ve been with the same partner for a while—and how they’ve kept things steamy between the sheets when they’ve been in LTRs. Turns out, almost all respondents said that long-term love and great sex can go hand-in-hand.
“This definitely goes against the grain and contradicts what we thought we knew,” says Patti Britton, PhD, cofounder of SexCoachU.com and host of the DVD The Great Sex Getaway. Of course, you can’t go into autopilot whenever you hop into bed and still expect to keep things interesting between the sheets. Use these tricks—all favorites of the survey respondents—to keep your sex life as steamy as ever:
Put your feelings first
Shocker: The secret to amazing chemistry isn’t about kinky bells and whistles. Ninety-six percent of those surveyed said the best sex they’ve had was with someone they were emotionally connected to, and 92 percent reported that it’s a turn-on when their partner shows emotional vulnerability. “Talking about how you feel, instead of what you think, taps into that vulnerable state,” says Britton. “You’ll understand each other more deeply, which makes you feel closer.” And having a strong emotional connection in turn triggers a powerful sexual bond, which boosts confidence and adventurousness in bed. To amp up the intensity during your next sex session, say something like, “I feel so close to you when you do that” mid-foreplay or during the act.
While an emotional connection may be key to satisfying sex, it still takes more than a lovey-dovey attitude to keep things thrilling. Interestingly, 57 percent of respondents said they view porn for inspiration. Skin flicks are a good introduction to moves you’ve never tried before, and watching them played out in detail makes it less daunting to attempt something similar (if less extreme) on your own, says Britton. X-Tube isn’t your thing? Try “lady porn,” which focuses on female pleasure and sensuality instead of graphic money-shots. Or you can get your 50 Shades on. Forty-eight percent of respondents turn to books as a source of erotic info. “Some research suggests that reading about a sexual act is even hotter than watching it on-screen,” says Britton. “It requires more imagination, which evokes fantasy, a major driver of desire.”
Give your go-to position a makeover
While trying out new moves can be fun, you don’t need to work your way through the Kama Sutra to stay spicy between the sheets—two-thirds of respondents reported sticking to the same two to four sex positions. “Every woman has a sexual blueprint: moves unique to her that bring her satisfaction,” says Britton. And once you figure out what works for you, it makes sense to keep going back for more. “Still, variety stimulates dopamine response, which builds lust,” she says. If missionary gets you going, mix it up—just a bit—by propping your legs on his shoulders, sliding a pillow under your butt, or bringing a toy into play. That way, you get the best of both worlds.