You’re definitely not alone: 57 percent of men in long-term relationships aren’t happy with the sex they’re having, according to a new Chapman University survey.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Another 32 percent of people said their sex lives were just as passionate now as they had been in the first six months of their relationships.
The researchers asked them about their habits in and out of the bedroom to figure out what they’re doing right. Follow their lead to get better sex—and more of it—no matter how long you’ve been with your partner.
They’re affectionate all day long
The single biggest predictor of sexual satisfaction wasn’t kinky positions or toys. It was how happy people were with their relationships outside the bedroom.
It makes sense: You’re more likely to hop into bed with someone you’re getting along with and feeling loving toward, says study author David Frederick, Ph.D.
So take the time to show her affection all day long—not just when you want sex.
Give her a playful tap on the butt when you compliment her outfit in the morning. Text her mid-day to wish her luck in her big meeting. Cop a feel as you watch The Late Show rather than retreating to your usual side of the couch. Don’t be surprised if she starts initiating a whole lot more often.
They actually talk about sex
Less than 40 percent of the men surveyed had asked for something they wanted in bed in the last month.
But the more couples broached the subject of sex—whether it was suggesting a new position, praising her afterward, or asking for feedback—the happier they were with their sex lives.
If talking about sex feels awkward, start with a baby step. Tell her one thing you loved about your romp right afterward. Something like, “Babe, it was so hot when you climbed on top of me. It drives me crazy when you take charge.”
If you want to ask her to try something new but you’re worried about what she’ll think, sex researcher Kristen Mark, Ph.D., suggests a devious tactic: Tell her you dreamt that you two [did it in a dressing room/experimented with anal/etc.] and gauge her reaction.
Does she seem intrigued? Segue into asking her if she’d want to try it in real life.
They focus on her pleasure
One of the biggest predictors of her sexual satisfaction is whether she’s getting off.
Orgasm wasn’t linked to satisfaction for men, probably because it’s a given for most guys. But the female orgasm is more finicky: Only 66 percent of women reported that they usually climax during their sexual encounters.
A better understanding of her anatomy and the process of her arousal can help you give her an orgasm every time. Check out How to Pleasure a Woman for a comprehensive guide.
If you can make sex more pleasurable for her, it’s likely that she’ll want to do it more often, says Frederick. And not shockingly, having more sex is one of the key drivers of sexual satisfaction for both men and women.
They mix it up
When you’ve had sex with the same person 1,500 times, a little variety goes a long way. Couples who tried little acts of adventure like new positions, sex toys, wearing lingerie, or watching porn together were more satisfied with their sex lives, according to the study.
Bonus: Switching things up in the bedroom may make her more likely to climax, other research suggests.
They set the stage for sex
Lighting candles and firing up the John Legend may do more for your sex life than receiving oral sex, the study suggests. Setting the mood for sex with lighting and music was one of the strongest predictors of sexual satisfaction, second only to the strength of your relationship.
It’s about creating an intimate setting, which fosters romance, says Frederick.
And even though lighting candles and playing music is a total cliche, less than 17 percent of people actually take the time to do so. So be one of the guys who bothers—it just might make the difference in your sex life.