Of all the New Year's resolutions you could make — better overall health, learning something new daily, practicing gratitude, etc. — arguably some of the best are those that involve improving your close relationships. And that includes your more (ahem) intimate ones. Regardless of whether your current sex life is stagnant or sizzling, there's always room for improvement. That said, if one of your 2020 goals is mastering just how to have the best sex ever, you might be curious to know how the most satisfied people are behaving in the bedroom (and beyond).
Recently Pure Romance conducted a survey of 2,000 sexually active Americans, and the results might just surprise you. Overwhelmingly, the participants seem to genuinely be enjoying their sex lives, with 79 percent reporting that they were "happy" with how things were going in that department and 44 percent rating 2019 as their best year for sex yet.
Before digging into what these people may or may not have been practicing that kept them feeling satisfied, it's also helpful to examine the factors that lead to a healthy sex life, according to the experts. "The elements that are essential for a healthy sex life include feeling good about your body, sexual thoughts, fantasies, feelings, and your overall well-being," says Dr. Carolina Pataky, a certified sex therapist with Love Discovery Institute in Miami. "Healthy sex also requires comfort in sharing your sexual and emotional world with your partner. It means knowing what you want to do and what turns you on, but also what you don’t want to do and doesn’t feel good."
Dr. Pataky also attributes the rise in sexual confidence and satisfaction to the fact that American culture has come so far in terms of being able to express certain desires — which includes preferences and orientation as well as fantasies. "The last three generations have grown up with hearing and learning about sex in ways that were previously unavailable," she says. "Sexual expression and experimentation is not limited to the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s, but new generations have now also grown up with it."
Sexual openness seemed to be an ongoing themes in the studies findings — whether that means communicating better with your partner, experimenting with more toys (including a ton of women-designed ones), and switching up styles, time of day, and frequency. For more specifics, read ahead for the four main things to consider for an even better sex life in 2020, based on Pure Romance's findings as well as Dr. Pataky's advice.
With a reduction in stigma around sex, it seems that more and more people feel comfortable trying new things in the bedroom. This is reflected in the study's data, with 38 percent saying they'd been more adventurous this year. More specifically, one in six tried phone sex and 29 percent tried a toy for the first time in 2019. But experimenting can mean different things for each and some may find it a bit harder than others.
If you're open to expanding your horizons but are feelings a bit shy or unsure about just how, Dr. Pataky has some advice. "Exploring doesn’t mean doing it but it means giving yourself permission to reflect on what they are. Write out what [your fantasies] are and let yourself notice what you are telling yourself about them. You can also try talking about it with a partner letting them know what you are wanting. You can also join an internet forum or a sub-Reddit that gives you the privacy to share your fantasies and fears with others that feel the same and share the same fantasy."
Do Some Research
To go along with the above, it might also benefit you to utilize the wide variety of resources available. "For those individuals that are still affected by taboos, I’d suggest reading books that help them understand their sexuality, desires, and fantasies as a natural part to the human component," says Dr. Pataky. "One book I’d recommend for starters would be Tell Me What You Want by Justin J. Lehmiller. This book brings to light the commonalities we share regarding our sexual desires and fantasies."
Make More Time For Intimacy
According to the survey, the biggest complaint about sex was not having enough of it, with 42 percent saying it was what they regretted most about their sex lives this year. While it may seem easier said than done, Dr. Pataky claims that if you want more intimacy for 2020, you've just got to carve out the time. "If you are wanting to have more sex, you need to prioritize it," she says. To do this, the sex therapist explains there's no better way than to just make it a part of your schedule. If you've got a partner, that might involve being open about your desire for more sex and coordinating your schedules and set aside some special alone time.
Nearly half of those surveyed said they were able to communicate more with their partner about their likes and dislikes, while another 44 percent claimed this year they learned more about what makes their partner feel good. And while Dr. Patasky notes that having an open discourse about your desires is certainly beneficial, it's important to keep the communication going even outside the bedroom. "One of the problems I’ve been seeing is that some people are open to positively discussing what’s going on between the sheets, but what’s going on in their relationships?" she asks. "While many of my clients do have plenty of sex, they sometimes erroneously use it as metric to measure how well their relationship is going." That said, for those who are in a relationship, it's important to focus on more than just that quality and quantity of getting busy. Chances are, having a healthy relationship overall will improve your sex life, too.