- Whether you're in a new relationship, playing the field, or in a long-term commitment, it's natural to wonder about the state of your sex life.
- But the truth of the matter is, a 'good' sex life means something different for everyone.
- If you're getting what you want and need, and you feel comfortable communicating your wants and needs with your partner, your sex life is probably pretty great.
With so much emphasis these days on hooking up, swiping right, and showing off those couples selfies on Instagram, it can honestly feel like everyone in the world is having more (or better!) sex than you.
But whether you're in a new relationship, or well beyond the honeymoon stage of a long-term romance, or you're single and ready to mingle, there are some easy ways to know that you've got a pretty great sex life already.
A healthy sex life is important no matter what your relationship status is, but the good news is, feeling connected with your own body, as well as your partner's, is actually a pretty easy way to get in tune with your sex drive, no matter what your friends, neighbors, or friends on social media are up to.
You Masturbate - you set aside time for yourself
We're all busy, but whether you've been married for decades or flying solo, you should be taking some time on occasion to explore your own body and find out what feels good to you. Plenty of people think of sex as something that requires two (or more!) participants, but solo sex is an easy, healthy way to find out what you enjoy. Yes, even if you're partnered up.
As certified sex therapist Kat Van Kirk, PhD told Women's Health in 2016, "Masturbation is good for both of you. Sex begets sex, thanks to our biochemistry. That means more masturbation leads to more partnered sex. Win/win."
You Feel Comfortable in Your Own Skin - You have confidence in yourself
In a world where the cultural ideals of beauty are painfully narrow (for all genders), feeling comfortable in your own skin can feel like a seriously tall order. But when you have a positive body image and you feel good about yourself, you'll get more enjoyment out of your sexual encounters.
Most of us have had those moments during sex where we're concerned about what we look like from that angle or worry that our partner is fixating on one of our perceived 'flaws,' but when you're secure in your own skin, you don't let those nagging thoughts stop you from enjoying sex.
Feeling confident is an important, but often challenging, part of having a healthy sex life. As sex therapist Jane Greer, PhD, told Women's Health in 2016, "Both of you have a good sense of your sexual esteem and feel attractive and desirable. Even if you miss a week, or one of you isn't in the mood, it doesn't define your entire intimate life. As a result, neither of you take these moods personally. The key to maintaining this confidence is staying proactive in expressing (and acting upon) your desires to sexually connect with your partner."
You Feel Empowered to Ask for What You Want - You're not afraid to speak up
Great sex essentially boils down to one key element: communication. And when you feel comfortable expressing your wants and needs with your partner, you'll feel at ease and excited to try things out.
Certified sex therapist Aline Zoldbrod, PhD, told Prevention in 2015 that "good sex is all about finding your perfect recipe," which means talking it out, even when it feels awkward. Telling your partner what you want is important, but it's just as important to discuss what you don't want, whether it's something that doesn't feel good, or simply that you're just not into it today.
Your communication is on point outside the bedroom too - You feel connected with your partner on the less sexy things in life too.
As crucial as it is to communicate about your sexual desires, it's even more crucial that you feel connected with your partner on other, less sexy things. So when you feel a close bond with your significant other, you'll feel those good vibes radiate in all areas of your relationship, which will extend to your sex life.
Board-certified clinical sexologist Debra Laino told Women's Health, "Feeling emotionally connected and wanted by your partner makes you more interested in sex." She added, "A good exercise to keep this up is to choose to spend at least an hour per week catching up on your feelings towards each other — one-on-one, no interruptions."
You're Present During Sex - Make sure your mind isn't wandering
It's easy, especially in a long-term relationship, to have those moments where your mind drifts off elsewhere during intimate moments — and it can happen out of nowhere, when suddenly you're thinking about the household chores, or something that happened at work, or something going on with your kids — and suddenly you're feeling infinitely less sexy.
But if you're generally having mindful sex, you're probably getting plenty of enjoyment out of the experience. As Psychology Today notes, "Mindful sex is when you're totally and completely immersed in the physical sensations of your body."
However, "Mindful sex doesn't mean you'll never have distracting thoughts ... It means that you're able to let these distracting thoughts go without getting stuck on them."
You Prioritize Time With Your Partner - Do something fun and relaxing to get you in the mood
Life gets in the way of a lot of things, so most of us know what it feels like to inadvertently put our partner on the back burner. But no matter what life throws at you — work commitments, family situations, whatever else — you make sure to carve out time with your partner, sexual or otherwise.
As Ava Cadell, PhD and author of NeuroLoveology told Women's Health, "Making your partner feel like number one is key to a healthy sex life (even if you have kids). Make sex a priority by scheduling a sex date once a week. When couples do this, it's a sign that they want to please each other."
Yes, scheduling sex feels like it could be the least sexiest way to get it on, but it actually works: Experts agree that scheduling sex helps you get in the mood, knowing that you've made the time in advance to get a little bit frisky with your SO.
"Unless you're living a life of leisure and your kids are grown and out of the house, I think scheduling sex is a good idea," says Zoldbrod, who told Prevention that she recommends planning a night around your romp, setting the scene by enjoying a light dinner and de-stressing with a funny movie or TV show, so that you're relaxed.
But even if you only have time to schedule an early morning quickie or a lazy Sunday afternoon sex session, when you make the time regularly to be with your partner one-on-one, you'll enjoy the benefits when you're not between the sheets.
You're Game to Try New Things from Time to Time - Try a different location or position
Not every sexual encounter has to involve hanging from chandeliers or twisting one's body into something that resembles a pretzel, but if you are open and trusting with your partner, there's a good chance you don't mind switching things up on occasion. And that's a good thing.
Even if you're adding little tweaks, like new toys, outfits, or positions, from time to time, it shows that you're invested in the state of your union. And, let's be real, variety is the spice of life, so why not try different things?
Sometimes, you'll be into marathon sex sessions, but other times, you're both just in for a quickie. Getting stuck in a rut is surprisingly common though, and doesn't mean anything is wrong.
Kristin Zeising, PsyD, a certified sex therapist, told Prevention, "Most couples find they get stuck in a certain sexual routine, and they may feel less interested in sex if it feels like they're in a rut."
As long as you're willing to communicate and try something different, you're probably on the right track.
You're not stressed about how often you're getting it on - You don't feel the need to be doing it all the time
Life happens, and few of us find time for mind-blowing intimacy all the time. But as long as you don't stress about it, it's totally normal for things to ebb and flow when it comes to romance.
Zeising told Prevention, "It's important to have realistic ideas about what a healthy sex life is. If you accept there's no right or wrong way to be sexual, and you and your partner are open with each other about when you're feeling it and when you aren't, then you will have a healthy sex life."
You Get What You Want But You Are Giving Too - Both of you are Satisfied
It's important to assert yourself so you can get what you're looking for, but sex with your partner is a two-way street. When you take the time to make sure your partner is happy and fulfilled, you'll reap those feel-good benefits, too.
As Carol Queen, PhD, staff sexologist for Good Vibrations told Women's Health, "While orgasming is not the whole point of sex, the absence of orgasm is a signal that something else is missing, like comfort, info about what turns you on, arousal, time, and mutual respect. If you're not on the same page as far as the timing of sex, take each other's specific needs into account and alter your sexual schedule accordingly."
You Don't Take Sex so Seriously - You're willing to laugh about things
No matter how smooth and sensual it looks in pop culture, sex is often times awkward, clumsy, and weird. Even if you have insanely steamy chemistry with someone, anything can happen when it comes to sex. A position that doesn't work, a move that results in a near fall off the bed, or even a bodily function that you didn't anticipate … let's be real, bodies do all kinds of strange things, but the most important thing is not to stress when an unexpected situation pops up.
If you can laugh it off and carry on accordingly, you've probably got a pretty great sex life.
You're Happy Outside the Bedroom - Your sex life has a lot to do with how you feel outside the bedroom
Yes, it's definitely important to focus on your needs and your partner's needs when it comes to sex, but sometimes knowing that you have a good sex life comes from the way you feel outside the bedroom.
Relationship expert Lori Bizzoco says, "The truth is, sex relaxes you, so if you find that you are happier, lighter on your feet and have less stress over the small things, you probably have a good sex life."