Good sex tips

If you want to make the most of your sex life, these sex tips are a good way to start.

As long as you're talking and listening to each other, you're well on the way to a healthy sex life. However, even the most contented lovers can have fun trying new things; here are a few ideas.

1. Build anticipation

Agree on a period of time, say one week, when you won’t have orgasms or penetrative sex. At first, allow only kissing and holding each other. Gradually move on to touching and stroking each other, masturbation, oral sex (what is oral sex?) or whatever feels right for you. Avoid orgasm. At the end of the week, allow yourselves the pleasure of orgasm, through any kind of sex you like. This week may help heighten your senses to all the other wonderful feelings you can share when you’re having sex.

2. Massage

Massage can help you have very sensual sex. As part of foreplay, it's a great way to start things off slowly, and relax into the feel of each other’s skin as your arousal intensifies.

However, a simple massage that doesn’t lead to sex can also work wonders for your sex life. A non-sexual massage will familiarise (or refamiliarise) you with your partner’s body, reduce stress and reaffirm the intimacy between you. If you don’t want a massage to lead to sex, discuss this with your partner so you can avoid any misunderstanding. Read more about why it's good to talk about sex

3. The senses

Good sex can embrace all the senses, not just touch. Scented oil for a massage (don't get oil on a latex condom as this can damage it), music and candles for soft lighting can all be erotic, as well as listening to your partner’s breathing and the sounds that they make. Taste each other as you kiss. If you both want to, you could mix food and sex  feed each other something delicious and juicy, such as strawberries.

4. Whisper

Whether it’s sweet nothings or your sexy intentions, whispering things to each other can add an extra thrill. It doesn’t have to be during foreplay or sex. A sexy phone call leave both of you looking forward to the event for hours or days.

This works with texts and emails too, but make sure you send them to the right person, and remember that your employer has the right to access your work email.

5. Masturbation

Masturbation, by yourself or with your partner, can be a bonus for your sex life. Exploring your own body and sexual responses means that you can share this knowledge with your partner. Masturbating your partner can help you learn more about what turns them on. It can also be a useful option if one of you doesn’t feel like full penetrative sex, or if you have different levels of desire. Talk about this with your partner.

6. Sex toys

If you and your partner both feel comfortable, using sex toys can be an arousing thing to do together. Some people use vibrators (and more) as an enjoyable part of their sex life. If you’ve never thought about using sex toys before, how do you feel about trying them? You can buy them online or in sex shops. Find out more: are sex toys safe?

7. Read a book

There are many books that have exercises and ideas to help you achieve a fulfilling sex life, whatever your age, gender, sexual orientation or taste. If you’ve never thought about buying a book about sex, why not do it now? You might wish you’d done it years ago.  

8. Share fantasies and desires

Everyone has unique fantasies, tastes and preferences when it comes to sex. From earlobes to ankles, hairline to hips, pirates to picnics, don’t be afraid to talk about them. If you and your partner know about each other’s turn-ons, you can make the most of them.

9. Keep it clean

We’re talking about your general hygiene. You don’t have to keep yourself super-scrubbed: a certain amount of sweat is fine, as long as it isn’t overwhelming. But be respectful towards your partner, and wash every day to prevent nasty smells and tastes. For specifics, read more about keeping your vagina clean and how to wash a penis.

10. Relax

Sex with a loving partner can be one of the most beautiful and intense experiences in life. Sometimes the best sex happens when you’re not worrying about making it exciting or orgasmic. Relax with your partner, and great sex may find you. 

Try some relaxation tips to relieve stress.

Video: a healthy sex life

A sexual psychotherapist gives advice on how to have a healthy and fulfilling sexual relationship.

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Page last reviewed: 02/06/2014

Next review due: 01/06/2016


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The 8 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Susie4 said on 02 June 2014

If you and your partner want counselling to help with a sexual problem, your first step can be to talk to your GP. Or you can find out more about sex therapy and common sex problems on the Relate site at

Susie at NHS Choices

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clare38 said on 05 June 2012

In the first year of our relationship, young, in love, want to stay together permanently. He never had a very high labedo, and now he never wants to do it anymore at all. we comunicate freely about it. He has had a blood test to see why, and it was normal. He knows its not normal to never want to do it, he hates to hurt me and he wants to fix it, he just doesn't understand why he never wants to have sex with his beautiful girlfriend. he enjoys it when he does, and has no erectile problem, he just lacks the desire to do it ever. have tried all your suggestions plus more, no help. Is there a free nhs counselling service he or us both could go to? something that can help us?

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Vizz said on 04 December 2011

I talked to my partner about my sexual fantasies. She was disgusted and now our sex life has gone downhill. These tips do not work very well.

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jamesnimmo90 said on 10 November 2009

:D Cheers

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Susie said on 09 September 2008

Hi Ruby
Thanks for your comment. These articles are for everyone who would like to know more about having a healthy and fulfilling sex life, and we are currently updating the pictures to reflect this.
Best wishes,
Susie at NHS Choices

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ruby said on 23 August 2008

it is noticeable that on this section of your health info the emphasis is exclusively on heterosexual images to depict this info. Is this section only for heterosexual people or is it helpfull for all sexual orientations ? If it is intended for everyone the images would better depict this if they also included lesbian/ gay pictures.

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Anonymous said on 21 August 2008

really interesting

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