Sex tips aren't something I think about too often, but—after 15 years in a long-term relationship—I was ready to spice up my “married with children” routine. My man and I were still hot for each other, but we rarely deviated from the standard quickie: efficient foreplay followed by a satisfying shag.
I’m a restless Gemini who’s easily bored, and I’ve been tempted by extracurricular lust before, so I wanted to prove that monogamy doesn’t have to equal monotony if you're willing to put in the effort, which I was. For ideas, I gamely mined the Internet—Reddit, podcasts, and expert advice included—for counsel. What surprised me was how trying the sex research I found online sparked our curiosity, made us laugh, and strengthened our connection beyond the bedroom. Here, seven sex tips straight from the wide world of the Web, along with what's worth trying and what's just meh.
Tip: On date night, have sex first.
Sex and relationship expert Dan Savage always tells it like it is, and he often scolds parents for being too tired to screw. According to Dan, "date night" isn't the answer—sex before date night is. And not at home, either. Savage says to get out of the house earlier and get it on somewhere before you indulge in food and wine and feel the insatiable desire for sleep.
I resisted at first—it seemed so contrived. Plus, I like to dress up when my husband and I go out and I wasn't thrilled with the idea of arriving at a restaurant looking like I just got out of bed. But, it turns out a good meal tastes even better after working up an appetite.
Would I recommend it? Yes
Here's why: Anticipation is a potent turn-on, and I liked wondering where and how we’d manage to “f--k first.” After bidding our two kids and their sitter adieu, we’d zip out the driveway straight to our destination. Among other venues, we christened a spare room at the office, an empty yoga studio, a blanket in a field (yes, it was summer), and the bed of a pick-up truck. Soon I learned to bring a small bag with spare undies, lube, and a washcloth—and not to expect anything elaborate. Date-night sex is fast and adolescent in the best possible way. It filled us with pride and relaxed us for a night out.
Tip: Go sex-toy shopping together.
Tristan has long been my hero for her whip-smart sex writing and feminist porn, so I was willing to try nearly anything she said. I escorted my shy but willing husband into Good Vibrations on a Sunday morning and found browsing the IRL displays proved way hotter than online shopping.
Beyond the jewel-toned wall of vibrators, we entered a back room filled with BDSM gear. As we gaped at a huge dildo actually named The Boss, I reached down to feel my man was...excited. I was too. We nearly blew our budget on a luxury sex wedge but instead bought an erotica book, two small toys, and some new lube.
Would I recommend it? Yes
Here's why: Sex shopping was a playful bonding experience that got us laughing but also pushed us out of our comfort zone. We left aroused and intrigued, with a discrete bag of goodies to enjoy later.
Tip: Learn to talk dirty.__
This tip made proved my biggest challenge. I wanted to up my dirty-talk game and tried to experiment with Reddit users’ favorite phrases: “F—k me like you paid me” and “Cum for me, big boy” (yes, really.)
When I said these lines, they emerged as awkward memorizations, not sultry invitations. ‘What?” asked my husband, confused. “Nothing,” I said. “Keep going.”
Maybe I just haven’t found the dirty talk that works for me. I’m not into “Daddy” play or being called names. I like Dan Savage’s practical advice to “Say what you’re going to do; Say what you’re doing; say what you’ve done” and have followed it successfully before. But beyond the basics, I prefer to stay quiet and let my body do the talking.
Would I recommend it? Nope.
Here's why: Call me vanilla, but I couldn’t make this one work. The Reddit lines felt fake and porn-y, as if I was acting a part, not living in my own skin. I grew more self-conscious the more phrases I tried and ultimately gave up. Sex isn’t one-size-fits-all and neither is dirty talk, so better to speak from your own experience than force someone else’s script onto your bed.
Tip: Use yogic breathing in bed.
Source: Esther Perel, relationship specialist and author of Mating in Captivity
Perel is a groundbreaking sex therapist who researches desire, so I trust her when she says to take yoga off the mat. Full candor: My man and I are both instructors and sometimes use asana for sensual connection, but we’ve never brought our practice into bed before. Surprisingly, Perel's tip proved trickier than vinyasa class.
Resting in missionary position, we tried doing ocean-sounding breath together. With great concentration, we managed to synch our inhales and exhales and drop into a meditative stillness. This is it—we're in a flow state! But then the pace quickened, we began to move, and the whole deep-breathing thing fell apart.
“Maybe this would be easier in Doggie Style?” asked my husband hopefully. It wasn’t. We couldn’t find a position that allowed us to breathe together all the way to orgasm. Like yoga, sex-breathing clearly requires hours of dedicated practice before you find bliss.
Would I recommend it? Maybe
Here's why: Synchronized yogic breathing can be a powerful way to slow down and connect with your partner. Be ready to focus, though, to the point of distraction. I'd say this tip works best as an intimate warm-up.
Tip: Eat lots of pineapple for better-tasting oral sex.
My man got fired up for this one, bringing home a whole pineapple every few days. I’d find him at night happily snacking in the kitchen, and we’d exchange a knowing look. It was fun flirting, but would it actually translate into better-tasting lady parts, as Reddit suggests?
I’d heard the Pineapple Effect was fast-acting (like asparagus on pee), so I hydrated well, washed up, and ate a bowl of the fruit after dinner. Two hours later, when the kids were in bed, I asked my husband to put down the sports page so I could sit on his face.
Later, he admitted the sweetness was subtle at best. As I expected, this didn't work when we swapped roles, either.
Would I recommend it? No
Here's why: Pineapple is pricey and who needs the extra sugar? Go ahead and indulge if you want, but don’t expect it to revolutionize your oral.
Tip: Get high.
On a rare getaway to Boston (weed's legal in Massachusetts!), my man and I shared a joint on the terrace then retired to our anonymous hotel bed. I don’t usually enjoy recreational pot, but what the hell, right?
Reddit was correct: A little marijuana offered a tactile experience, heightening my senses so my husband’s skin (and my own) felt deliciously silky. I got out of my head and fully inhabited my body. Kissing became ecstatic. Bonus: He got “stoner boner,” prolonging the pleasure for both of us.
Would I recommend it? Definitely—but only if you're over 21 and aren't in public.
Here's why: A few hits yielded the hottest sex I’ve had all year. It lowered my inhibitions, upped my libido, and made me trust my own intuition. I came like a rockstar, but the extra laughter made the night unforgettable.
Tip: Find your A-spot.
I was skeptical about the elusive anterior fornix—said by some to contribute to especially strong orgasms, or orgasmic trances—but willing to learn.
Unfortunately, emailing my husband the anatomy diagram on Wikipedia was not an aphrodisiac. He claimed he was up for the fornix hunt, but the prospect felt as sexy as a gyno exam, so I decided to go solo. I studied Reddit, lit some candles, then read my new erotica in the bath. Using my index finger, I searched for my A-spot from the recommended semi-reclined position. There was my cervix, but where was the fabulous fornix? I spent about 15 minutes in the general vicinity but didn’t discover anything arousing.
Would I recommend it? Nah
Here's why: Maybe some women have a magic little pleasure pocket next to their cervix, but I couldn’t find mine. I’m not going to stress about my anatomy being inadequate or force my man to locate it for me. I’ll stick with my good old C- and G-spots and enjoy my body’s other erogenous zones (back of the neck, please) rather than searching for the holy grail of orgasms.
Conclusion: Sex research is fun! If you’re inspired to try these tips with your partner, make sure you keep your sense of humor and let yourself be vulnerable. At worst you’ll be entertained; at best you’ll have some hot nights ahead.
Diana Whitney’s first book, Wanting It, became an indie bestseller and won the Rubery Book Award in poetry. She’s the poetry critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and her essays have appeared in The Washington Post, Salon, and MS. Magazine,* among others. When she’s not teaching yoga, she’s working on a memoir about motherhood and sexuality. Find her at www.diana-whitney.com or follow her on Instagram @dianawhitney31*