Psst! Want to supercharge your sex life? We have the scoop on the bedroom essentials that will rock your world. (Bonus: You have most of them already!)
1. A Pillow
A well-placed pillow can help you get into new positions and add sexy variety to old favorites. Try tucking a pillow under your butt in missionary position, says Mabel Iam, author ofSex and the Perfect Lover. Or put it between your legs while spooning. Of course, it also works the traditional way: under your head.
2. A Vibrator
The question isn’t why get a vibrator; it’s why not? You can use one on your own to explore what feels good, or with your partner to add a new dimension to sex together. Women who use vibrators report higher levels of sexual satisfaction with their partners, increased libido, and easier orgasms, according to research by REDBOOK Love Network expert Laura Berman, Ph.D. If you’re a newbie, try a discreet vibrator like the LAYAspot. “It fits in the palm of your hand, and it also easily fits between you and your partner for stimulation during intercourse,” says sex expert Emma Taylor (a.k.a. Em). Lo (Lorelei Sharkey), Em’s writing partner, suggests the Fukuoku 9000, which fits onto his (or your) finger. Or go to goodvibes.com for a guide on picking the right vibrator for you (click on “Sex Toys 101” under “Pleasure Principles”).
3. A Lube You Love
Not only does lube make everything glide more smoothly, it can also help make sex last longer (because you won’t dry out) and make it easier to try different positions. To find one, sample as many as you can, says sexologist Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., author of Prime: “It’s a very personal thing, and the fun is in finding one that you love and your body loves.” Water-based lubes (like Pink Water) are best if you’re worried about allergies, while silicone-based varieties (such as Pjur Eros Original Bodyglide) last longer. Mix things up with formulas that tingle or warm (like K-Y Touch Massage 2-in-1 Warming). You can even find organic and natural lubricants (such as Good Clean Love or Oceanus Carrageenan). To read user reviews of all these lubes Â— and more! Â— and buy them online, go to babeland.com or drugstore.com.
4. Just-for-fun Toys
Whether they’re tame (feather ticklers, whipped cream) or not so tame (fuzzy cuffs, whips), playful props add excitement to the mix. To see what tickles your fancy, take a field trip to an adult shop, or browse an online retailer like babeland.com or goodvibes.com.
5. A Great Sex Book
“When it comes to sex, you just can’t know too much,” says Iam. That’s why it helps to have a sex manual that covers the full gamut, from anatomy to vibrators. “Read it over a glass of wine and use it as a conversation starter,” suggests Em. Check out Em & Lo’s book Sex: How to Do Everything; the frank and informative The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex, by Cathy Winks and Anne Semans; or the Guide to Getting It On! by Paul Joannides, a comprehensive handbook that even has how-to diagrams.
Kegel exercises tone and strengthen your pubococcygeal (PC) muscles, also known as your pelvic floor muscles. “The stronger those muscles are, the stronger the intensity of orgasm, not just with a partner but by yourself,” says Schwartz. Exercising these muscles also promotes blood flow and lubrication, which leads to heightened desire and arousal, says Berman. And you can squeeze your PCs during sex to add to his pleasure and yours Â— the squeezing action stimulates the hidden inner part of your clitoris. To do basic Kegels, squeeze as if you’re stopping the flow of urine, then release. (For more details, see redbookmag.com/kegels.)
7. A CD That Turns You On
Everyone knows that great music can set the tone for a romantic evening. The key is to find music that gets you in the mood, whether it’s a classical favorite, an upbeat dance mix, even that jam band that was so popular back in college. To avoid having to stop and play DJ mid-makeout, fill a multidisc stereo with sensual CDs and put it on shuffle, or load up your iPod with a playful playlist.
8. Sexy Lingerie
“Just like putting on your running shoes gets you in the mood for jogging, wearing lingerie helps you look, feel, andthink sexy,” says sex educator Dorian Solot, coauthor of I Love Female Orgasm. And it doesn’t have to be from Frederick’s of Hollywood to be arousing. Wear whatever makes you feel sexy and self-assured, whether it’s a cami and boy shorts, a satin gown and sexy heels, or a push-up bra and a thong. You can also use clothing to experiment with different roles: Do you want to be sweet? A vixen? An elegant goddess? “Find an outfit that speaks to a different part of yourself, and let it lead the way in the bedroom,” suggests Solot.
Erotica can get you in the mood, keep you in the mood, and spark a lifetime of creative ideas to try out with your partner,” says Solot. And by “erotica” we mean any material that jump-starts your arousal and helps you plug into your fantasies Â— a sexy movie, an erotic story, an X-rated flick, even a good old-fashioned romance novel.
You can’t slip it under your pillow or into your bedside drawer, but honesty might just be the most important tool of all. “Anytime you withhold anything, it creates barriers in the bedroom,” says Berman, who encourages couples to keep an open dialogue in and out of bed. Feeling shy? Get started by filling in the blanks of these useful phrases: “I’ve always wanted to ________.” “Have you ever thought about ___________?” “I’m not comfortable doing _____, but how about we try ____?” “I love it when you _____, but sometimes it’s a little too _______. I’d really love it if you ______ instead.” And, of course, the phrase no one can hear enough of: “You’re so good at __________, I’d love to have more!”