7 Easy Tweaks for a Happier, Healthier Sex Life

Making a few changes to your daily routine can pay romantic dividends.

7 Easy Tweaks for a Happier, Healthier Sex Life

Medically reviewed in January 2021

Updated on November 16, 2021

Don’t wait for a special occasion to work on maximizing your sexual health. Keep the sparks flying year-round with a few simple tricks to boost intimacy.

Live healthfully
Eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of rest, and exercising regularly are good moves for overall well-being, and a healthy body can contribute to a better sex life. Taking good care of yourself is the first step.

In fact, regular exercise may be one of the most important keys to healthy sexual function. Research suggests that people who exercise regularly have increased blood flow throughout their bodies, including the genital area, which may help improve sex drive and sensation. Exercises like running, strength training, and yoga increase your stamina, improve your flexibility, boost endurance, and give your body image a lift.

Turn off the tube (and Twitter, too)
Take an active role in your evening entertainment by skipping a night of TV to make time for physical intimacy. Television viewing could be getting in the way of your love life in more ways than one: Surveys suggest that owning a television is associated with a lower likelihood of having sex, and the effect may be magnified when the TV is located in your bedroom. Other research suggests that sedentary behavior—such as watching TV for three or more hours a day—is linked to a higher likelihood of erectile dysfunction (ED).

But don’t replace your late-night shows with scrolling Twitter, Facebook, or other social media. One small 2020 study suggested that exposure to light-emitting digital screens in the evening and night is linked to lower sperm quality.

Skip the music and candlelight
If it's romance you're after, try laughing your head off at a comedy club or even doing some aerobic exercise. Research has shown that activities that arouse rather than suppress the nervous system—that is, anything that hikes your heart rate and works your cardiovascular system—can significantly enhance sexual response.

Pick the perfect time
It's not just a matter of making time for lovemaking, it’s also about choosing the best time. Research suggests that there are certain days each month when people who have periods are more likely to have better sex and better orgasms. Studies have indicated that some people report greater sex drive and more arousal and sexual satisfaction around the middle of the menstrual cycle, leading up to ovulation. The exact time of day makes no difference; sex hormones are fairly consistent over the course of a day.

Focus on the olfactory
Need help relaxing? Try lavender-scented oils, sachets, and lotions to help you or your partner unwind and get in the mood. Studies suggest that the smell of lavender may increase feelings of relaxation and reduce mental stress in some people. Remember, though, that certain scents inspire different reactions in different people, so experiment until you find the one that works for you.

Open up
Be sure to keep communication lines open. Sharing your thoughts and ideas will help you and your partner understand and respect each other's likes, dislikes, moods, and desires. It also will help provide an atmosphere conducive to problem-solving.

Remember that nurturing your sex life is something you should work on each day, not five minutes before you fall into bed. Whether you give your partner a good-morning kiss or leave a sweet note on the bathroom mirror, considerate and loving gestures like these can help boost your partner’s sexual self-esteem and reinforce your attraction to them. That can translate into more satisfaction between the sheets for both of you.

Watch your alcohol intake
One drink may loosen you up and get you in the mood for love, but too much alcohol in your bloodstream may hinder your sexual performance and response. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system, which slows down nerve impulses, hampers your coordination, and makes it difficult to get or maintain an erection or to maintain sufficient vaginal lubrication.

Consult the experts
Sexuality is a complex combination of physical and psychological responses to stimuli, so you may need to enlist the help of more than one kind of health professional to help solve any intimacy problems that may crop up. Your primary care provider can help you determine if there are any underlying medical causes of sexual dysfunction. They can also direct you to other healthcare providers who may be able to help, such as counselors or therapists.

Sources:

Fergus KB, Gaither TW, Baradaran N, Glidden DV, Cohen AJ, Breyer BN. Exercise Improves Self-Reported Sexual Function Among Physically Active Adults. J Sex Med. 2019;16(8):1236-1245.
Gerbild H, Larsen CM, Graugaard C, Areskoug Josefsson K. Physical activity to improve erectile function: A systematic review of intervention studies. Sex Med. 2018;6(2):75-89.
Selvin E, Burnett AL, Platz EA. Prevalence and risk factors for erectile dysfunction in the US. Am J Med. 2007;120(2):151-157.
Green A, Barak S, Shine L, Kahane A, Dagan Y, Dagan Y. 0029 Light Emitted from Media Devices at Night is Associated with Decline in Sperm Quality. Sleep. 2020;43 (Supplement 1):A12-A12.
Koulivand PH, Khaleghi Ghadiri M, Gorji A. Lavender and the nervous system. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:681304.
Roney JR, Simmons ZL. Hormonal predictors of sexual motivation in natural menstrual cycles. Horm Behav. 2013;63(4):636-645

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