Think you’re not up for it tonight? Think again. Tailor your bedroom antics to your mood and you could open up whole new avenues of sexual pleasure. Hotter sex, here we come…
“We grow up with the message that the only worthwhile sex is when there is explosive chemistry and desire,” says sex and relationship coach Dr Tara Few. “But sex can fulfil a number of needs beyond the physical.” So when you’re having an off day, asking your partner to turn you on could be just what the love doctor ordered, even if it’s not top of mind. It could also be a way to add a new dimension to your relationship.
“Just like different exercises at gym keep different muscle groups in shape, mixing up your sex styles keeps your partnership fluid and conditioned,” says sexologist Dr Wilme Steenekamp. Of course, you could always just tell him you’re feeling lonely, down or angry – but getting naked is so much more fun. And, by choosing your stash of Lindt and a trashy novel over him, you’re giving the cold shoulder to one of the best mood-enhancing therapies on the market.
So ditch the dressing gown, scroll down this menu and brace yourself for some memorable moments.
When you’re feeling: Blue
Try: Comfort Sex
“Having sex stimulates the release of endorphins, which give you a feeling of euphoria,” says sex therapist Dr Marelize Swart. These feel-good hormones activate pleasure centres in the brain that create feelings of intimacy and relaxation. This is sex in its slowest, most intimate form, says Swart – and it’s highly underrated.
“Begin by asking him for a massage, then set the scene by feeding each other strawberries or grapes,” suggests Swart. This isn’t about satiating your wild lust, it’s about connecting with each other skin-to-skin without worrying too much about the outcome. You want to create as much body contact as possible, so stick to the missionary position. Direct him to the places you most enjoy having touched, suggests Steenekamp, or ask him to rub his whole body over yours. Keep each movement slow, suggests Joburg-based sensualist Jonti Searll. “One full stroke of penetration should last one deep breath in, and the out stroke one deep exhale.” Engage in some deep eye-gazing and look at his face as he orgasms. You might want to lie in each other’s arms for a while afterwards.
“Comfort sex can remind you of all the reasons why you are together,” says Swart. It’s all about good emotional contact, trust and connectedness. “You’ll also experience emotional growth by allowing yourself to be vulnerable with your partner,” Steenekamp adds.
If you engage in this type of sex too often, your guy might start to see it as too much one-sided hard work. Also beware of comfort sex with an ex, which can keep you from actively seeking a new partner, Swart cautions.
When you’re feeling: Angry
Try: Make-Up Sex
Forget the candles and the massage oil. This is sweaty, grinding, howling sex at its most fiery. Experts agree that if the desire for it is mutual, make-up sex is a healthy way to take the edge off disagreements. An aggressive quickie while pinning your man to the wall can diffuse your anger quicker than you can say “yes, yes, yes”.
“Use the emotional arousal you feel after an argument to your advantage,” says Swart. “Explore the erotic possibilities that stem from this increase in adrenaline and dopamine – your desire hormones. It’s okay to have the discussion about your argument later,” Steenekamp says. “By then you’ll be able to express your needs better.” A condom-free encounter could also have added benefits. According to a 2002 study conducted by psychologists Gordon Gallup and Rebecca Burch, women who have sex without a condom are likely to be happier than those who don’t. This is because semen contains mood-altering chemicals, including cortisol (known to increase affection), estrone, prolactin, oxytocin, thyrotropin-releasing hormone (which all elevate mood) and even serotonin (perhaps the most well known antidepressant neurotransmitter). Your vaginal wall absorbs all this happy goo into your system. Steady on – we’re certainly not advocating unprotected sex, we’re just reporting findings.
“Sex is a very effective way of communicating,” says Steenekamp, and better at diffusing conflict than giving your man the silent treatment. “Sometimes we want to say, ‘I forgive you and I still love you,’ but are simply more fluent in sexual language,” says Steenekamp. Nothing wrong with that, we hear him say gratefully. Searll adds that after your hot ride, you’re more likely to be open to peace talks.
Are you avoiding dealing with your real thoughts and feelings? “Sex isn’t a panacea; it can’t solve all your problems,” says Few. “When couples rely on make-up sex, the root of the conflict often doesn’t get dealt with.”
When you’re feeling: Bored
Try: Pushing The boundaries
“Sex is the primary way we play together as adults,” says Searll, “and there’s no need to take it seriously all the time.” If you always have the same type of sex, it gets predictable and it can lead to a lack of intimacy, adds Few.
For starters, move your lovemaking from the bedroom to other rooms, suggests Searll. Even better, book a weekend away. This is also the time to broaden your mind about props, outfits and toys. Read erotic literature, talk about your fantasises, watch porn together. “Allow him to take time off from having to take control,” suggests Few. “Play with blindfolds or handcuffs and indulge in some light domination. Making the shift from being a passive recipient to being the active seeker can be exciting for both of you.”
Playing around with novel, experimental types of sex allows you to uncover sexual preferences and fantasies you never knew you had. “As you evolve as a couple, adding different dimensions to your sex life will strengthen your relationship outside the bedroom too,” Steenekamp says.
You might get so hooked on that latex nurse’s outfit that more intimate sex no longer features in your repertoire. Try to keep things balanced – every night can’t be a memorable marathon.