A Guide to Good Loving

‘Tis the season maids and fellows come a-flocking. Cat O’Dowd, our resident Sex Therapist, shares her best tips for adding bounce to your bedroom rendezvous… just in time for sexy Spring.

1. See sex as fun and playful. It doesn’t have to be serious and grim and it’s not the end of the world if something “embarrassing” happens. Just throw your head back and laugh! It’s better to have tried something new than be stuck in a boring sex routine.

2. Practice sexual communication. Your partner isn’t a mind reader. If something feels good, say so, or make encouraging noises. Explain what you want, need and like.

3. Be open and vulnerable. Lower your defences, don’t take rejection personally and let go.

4. Surrender yourself to the feelings of pleasure – not just the orgasm at the end. See sex as more of an intimate connection than a performance sport. The more you focus on your feelings, the less you’ll distance yourself as a spectator and criticise your body, appearance, or what you’re doing ‘wrong’.

5. Surrender yourself to how beautiful and sexy you are! Connect with your own self-love and self-pleasuring so you can value and appreciate yourself as a sexual being. Understanding how to pleasure yourself means you can show your lover how you like to be pleasured, and can help improve your self-esteem and body image. Isn’t it incredible the pleasure your body is capable of giving yourself and others?

6. Don’t compare your body to the plastic, airbrushed media ideals. The ideal body changes throughout the centuries depending what product or idea is being sold, so try not to let yourself get caught up in it. Embrace your body – flaws and all. If you feel sexy about yourself, sex becomes even better!

7. Make intimacy a priority. Turn off your iPhone, iPad, video game, TV and make time for your lover. Actively invest in your sex life by scheduling times for sex and a regular date night once a week. In our busy, fast paced lives, sex often needs to be planned in advance. It can still be spontaneous and exciting, just make time for it.

8. More foreplay! In and out of the bedroom. Foreplay doesn’t just have to be what happens when you are naked just before sex, it can be everything you say to your partner during the day. It can be an all-day exchange of sexy text messages telling each other everything you plan on doing to each other when you get home. It can be sexy words whispered into your lover’s ear as you leave the house. Foreplay builds suspense, anticipation and just the right amount of excitement for explosive sex!

9. Embrace your sexual power. It’s a shame there is so much shame around sex. We have been taught that words like ‘sex’ or ‘genitals’ are bad, dirty, rude and embarrassing… Imagine instead that you were brought up with the idea that your sexuality is a natural and healthy part of yourself. Sexuality can be manifested in a creative, loving and mindful way to enhance your life, passions and relationships.

• Cat O’Dowd, Sex Therapist, Relationship Counsellor and Art Therapist. www.creativesexpression.com.

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