How to Be a Better Lover in Your Relationship

Published 11/10/2021

There are many differences among genders, especially when it comes to sex. One thing that can cultivate connection or create distance is the experience we have with our lover. An unfulfilling sexual experience is felt by both partners and can harm the foundation that keeps a relationship healthy and stable.

In this article, we’ll explore different ways you can become a better lover in and out of the bedroom.

Most people think the key to becoming a better lover is sex, but there’s much more to it than that. Emotional connection, sexual connection, and attraction are all key components to having a strong intimate relationship.

Being a good lover is about more than sex

The key to becoming a great lover begins outside of the bedroom. One of the best ways to do this is to focus on the good in your relationship. Think back to when you first started getting to know your person. At the start of a new relationship, we focus on putting the best versions of ourselves out there to attract our partner. Mutual attraction happens and you feel good with each other. You likely found yourself with a peachy view of your relationship-this is known as the honeymoon phase, and happens when we focus on the best parts of our partnership.

However, things change as we get used to one another. Issues and problems may arise. We get complacent which can undermine attraction and our partner’s overall desire for us. Additionally, we may put less effort into the relationship in other ways. An example of this is no longer dressing nicely or taking care of our appearance. Another example is when we complain more or begin to fall back into habits we hid from our partner that we knew were unfavorable. We may also ignore unresolved issues that led to the end of previous relationships. Emotional reactions may become overwhelming, which can be triggered by our thoughts and lack of corrective action.

Plainly put, we are not focused on the good. By focusing on what bothers us, we trigger stress hormones. Stress hormones can affect your daily mood and performance and can lead to a downward spiral of negative thoughts, which often have negative consequences. This negative emotional state can be felt not only by us, but everyone in our orbit. Especially our partners.

A lack of effort and desire inside and outside of the bedroom dictates a lack of admiration and respect for our partner. This leads to more issues. The less effort we put in ourselves, the less effort our partner will feel inclined to put into themselves, us, and our relationship.

Your partner may start to think that they can’t make you happy, which can lead to the breakdown of a relationship.

Exactly what makes someone a good lover?

One crucial part of being a great lover is being responsible for how you feel. Our behaviors and actions directly influence our partner’s satisfaction and dissatisfaction in the relationship. When we put effort into ourselves and the relationship, it inspires our partner to do the same. How we feel comes down to autonomy and the few things we can be in charge of.

Taking pride in our appearance to feel good about ourselves, resolving our issues and helping your partner resolve theirs, and showing daily gratitude toward your partner are all ways that can help strengthen the foundation of your relationship and lift up you and your partner. Focusing on the negative aspects of your relationship won’t create a supportive space for your relationship or motivate you to become the best version of yourself.

In order to thrive in our relationship and be a better lover, it’s important to concentrate on the thoughts and actions that create the world for ourselves and our partner. Doing this makes us content in our own skin and makes us more desirable to be around. We won’t get it right all the time, but that’s part of being human.

Tips to help men be better lovers

Tip 1: Exercise

Routine exercise promotes chemical-level mood boosters (dopamine, endorphins). These mood boosters can make you feel more confident, happy, and passionate toward your partner, thus increasing chances for intimacy. Exercise also encourages testosterone production, which increases sex drive. Additionally, regular exercise can prime your body to be able to perform longer and stronger during lovemaking.

Tip 2: Be more present

Life is busy. We move frequently move from one thing to another without much thought. We can be preoccupied, and sometimes, this shows up during moments of intimacy. Prior to sex, take a few breaths to slow down and ground you in the moment. You may even take a silent moment of gratitude for the opportunity to have this special time with your lover. During lovemaking, be more present by focusing on your partner. Have a conversation about what they want and slow down your pace. Making eye contact with your lover is a great way to show your partner you are present and can help to connect the two of you on a deeper emotional level.

Tip 3: Engage in intimate touch more often throughout the day

Touch is an integral part of how we share emotion with others, and one of the five love languages. Touch can deliver messages of love, gratitude, warmth, and happiness. Touch helps to build passion, chemistry and increased arousal. Intimate touch can be increased and integrated into your daily life with your partner in many ways. Perhaps setting your alarm a few minutes early to cuddle in bed, making a point to kiss your partner before getting out of bed, or engaging in a long hug before you leave for work.

After a long day, you might consider holding your partner’s hand while you tell each other about your day, or offer up a short neck massage to help ease tension. If you’re both working from home, try a kiss in between meetings or after lunch. If you don’t share a workspace with your partner, try sending them a text telling them that you can’t wait to get home and give them a hug. Sometimes it’s just the thought that counts!

Tips to help women be better lovers

Tip 1: Practice exploring your own body

Your lover is not a mind reader, so sometimes leaving it up to them to figure out what turns you on can actually lead them to do something that turns you off. Taking time to explore your own body is one of the best ways to learn what will pleasure you. Take what you’ve learned from masturbation and share it with your partner, talking about sexual technique can be a big turn-on. Taking time to learn about yourself may make you more curious about your partner’s body, so encouraging them to learn their preferences will likely strengthen your sexual connection and your relationship.

Tip 2: Use your words

There’s nothing wrong with being a little vocal when it comes to sex, especially when it relates to creating a strong emotional and sexual connection with your partner. One way to use your words is to simply communicate during lovemaking. Tell your partner what you like or what you don’t like and listen when they are vocal about what feels good to them in the moment.

Another way to use your words is to take a step into the world of dirty talk. It’s normal to feel a bit self-conscious if you’ve never dipped a toe into the waters of dirty talk if you’ve never explored the basics. Dirty talk can be a powerful tool that encourages couples to use their imagination and feel liberated. One way to take baby steps into the arena of dirty talk, is to be descriptive to your partner. Tell them they look sexy or tell them what you love about having sex with them. Try tapping into a specific sense, telling your partner what body parts you enjoy touching or tasting during lovemaking. If you still find yourself afraid of the thought of vocalizing dirty talk to your partner, try sending them a text to spark the mood!

Tip 3: Make the first move

One way to make the first move is to pose a fun question to your partner. A simple “what if I kissed you right now” can initiate playful energy between a couple. If you’re looking for something a bit more passionate, you may make eye contact with your partner and tell them “I’ve been dying to kiss you all day!” You can also make the first move without any words at all by softly touching areas of your partner’s body.

It may feel a bit intimidating to make the first move, and we might ask ourselves many questions before. One crucial aspect of initiating sex is to pay attention to your partner’s body language. Do they look ready? Is this the right time? Is there something about what they’re doing with their body that is telling you they’re ready for this? Look for open body language cues (arms away from the body, sitting up tall), if they seem closed off (arms crossed, not making eye contact, withdrawn) now might not be the time to initiate sex. Consent from both partners is sexy!

Tips for LGBTQ+ Relationships

Tip 1: Be transparent about your sexual role and preferences

Are you a top or a bottom? Dominant? Submissive? Make sure your partner knows this from the start. Are there techniques or different positions you’re interested in trying with your partner? Be vocal with your partner about what you desire. You may even inspire them to have a conversation with you about how you can support what they need.

Tip 2: Respect your differences

Everyone’s coming out journey is different, you may be out to everyone, yet your lover may not be out to all of their friends and family. Having a conversation about where they (and you) are at in their journey can create a stronger bond between the two of you. The same holds true in terms of becoming a better lover. Sexually, your partner may not be as experienced as you or vice versa. Whether the intention is to catch up, maintain comfort zones, or work toward trying something new in your love life, meeting each other where you’re at and respecting the differences is instrumental in becoming a better lover.

Tip 3: Create a pleasure tool kit

There’s nothing wrong with getting a little help in the bedroom from some outside sources. A great way to set you and your lover up for success is to create a pleasure toolkit or a “treasure chest” of items that may help you explore your sexuality and keep things interesting. You can store toys, lubricant, and anything else that may help you and your partner spice things up during lovemaking. Having this at the ready is a great way to promote spontaneity. A fun date idea may be to go shopping with your lover for items to put in pleasure your tool kit-who knows what fun treasures you might find to make your next evening more interesting!

Tips for married couples in long term relationships

Tip 1: Plan a date night

Life gets busy. Work, social functions, family, and other obligations can often get in the way of cultivating quality time with your partner. For long term lovers, date nights allow us to, enjoy each other’s company, and remember why we fell in love in the first place. Prioritizing date nights can help you and your lover let loose, flirt, and set the stage for intimacy.

Tip 2: Change your routine

Do you find that you have sex at the same time, on the same day, in the space, in the same position? You may not even realize that lovemaking has become routine change it up! If you always have sex at night, try to initiate sex in the morning, or in the middle of the day. If you use sex as a weekend activity, try it during the week to escape the monotony of your work schedule. Integrating different toys and positions are also great ways to change things up and keep things interesting.

Tip 3: Create an atmosphere that provokes intimacy

It’s easy to let laundry pile up, allow floors to become covered with debris, and to slip back into an unmade bed. While an unkempt bedroom isn’t the end of the world, it’s not the most inviting environment for intimacy. Before getting intimate, clean up your space so that there’s nothing to distract you or your lover. To make the mood even more intimate, soften the lighting in the room and light some candles.

Tips for the Bedroom

Tip 1: Go to bed naked

Go to bed naked-seriously! Sometimes some skin-on-skin contact is enough to spark the mood between a couple, so if you’re in the mood to make love to your partner, ditch the sweats and sleep in your birthday suit! To make things even more special and to create a greater sensory experience, splurge on a nice set of sheets (higher thread count, satin) to cuddle your lover in after sex.

Tip 2: Foreplay

Sometimes we rush through sex just to get to the end result (who doesn’t want to have an orgasm?) Sometimes we rush through just to check it off the list, but taking the time to slow down can be an be very helpful when working on becoming a better lover. When prioritizing foreplay, think about putting your partner first. Ask them what they want, and do it slowly and intentionally. Be curious about your partner’s body. Focus on being more present, putting the goal of orgasm in the back of your mind, and focus on making your partner feel good in the moment.

Tip 3: Try new Positions

When it comes to maintaining a fun and exhilarating sex life in a long-term relationship, the key is to keep things fresh is to get creative and explore new things. Tapping into something that feels new maintains the same thrill as when you first got together. A great way to do this is to try new positions during sex. Couples can often fall into a pattern with sex, doing it at the same time, place, and in the same position. This can make sex feel chore-like and less fun. Explore new positions with your partner, perhaps even migrating away from the bedroom and into a different room to switch things up.

Laura Richer, Seattle Therapist

Laura Richer, Seattle Therapist

Laura Richer is a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, and coach. Located in the Queen Ann neighborhood of Seattle, she is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and has been practicing in the state of Washington since 2011.

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