couple in bed together clasping hands
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The foundations of a healthy, happy relationship include trust, shared interests, communication, and of course, a desire for one another. As the years go on, it’s natural for your sex life to shift. After all, busy schedules get in the way of spontaneous quickies and afternoon delights. However, just like you reserve time for date night and frequent emotional check-ins, you need to invest in intimacy, too. As we head into a new year — or frankly, anytime you feel like you’re in a rut — consider testing out one (or more) of these sex challenges from experts:

Sex Challenge #1: Ban intercourse for a month.

Yep, you read that correctly: no sex for 30 whole days. Though it may seem counteractive to improving your under-the-sheets action, sex educator and author Tracey Cox says it can be an incredibly beneficial sex challenge. How come? It stops you from thinking of sex as intercourse. Often, long-term couples forget to see foreplay as foreplay, and instead, they associate it as the ‘warm-up’ before the main event. While it may work for some people, typically, females need more attention before intercourse begins. “Sex should be a journey without an end destination. The more foreplay you have, the more women tend to enjoy sex. The clitoris is outside the vagina, and all orgasms originate from it being stimulated,” Cox explains. “Extended foreplay works well for men as well: their orgasms also intensify the longer it takes to get there.”

During this month-long sex challenge, remember, you can do anything else but intercourse: kiss, oral sex, hand stimulation, sex toys, mutual masturbation, and so on. “This forces couples to break out of their usual sex routine and come up with new ideas and ways to give each other pleasure,” Cox raves.

Sex Challenge #2: Experiment with a blindfold sensual massage.

Hopefully, you’re a fan of the ‘do not disturb’ sessions you have with the person you’re sharing your life with. But even if you enjoy it, there are times when it becomes predictable. It’s normal, but it can also be helpful to surprise one another, according to Megwyn White, intimacy coach and the director of education for Satisfyer. One easy way to get started is by blindfolding one another and giving each other a sensual massage. “Blocking off your sense of sight will heighten all other senses and helps to build anticipation and desire,” she continues. “It also gives you an opportunity to experiment with new forms of stimulation, play with the power of your voice, and edge your partner’s orgasm.” 

Sex Challenge #3: Orgasm a different way every time you have sex.

Once you have been together for, well, forever, you know exactly how to make your partner reach climax. Kiss this way, touch here, move in this direction, and boom. Because you've grown accustomed to this routine, you may feel uninspired to stray away from the course, but if you are brave, it could pay off big time. As Cox explains, one fun sex challenge is to work together to orgasm differently each time you have sex. So, instead of climaxing during penetration, orgasm through oral sex. Then, the next time it’s with hand stimulation, and then with a toy, and so on. “This sex challenge forces us to open ourselves to new methods and ways of experiencing orgasm,” she continues. “The more we climax the same way, the more the brain relies on us traveling that path to orgasm. The more different ways we can orgasm, the easier it is to orgasm and the more orgasms we have.”

Sex Challenge #4: Have sex every single day for a week. 

If you have been going through a dry spell, try not to worry too much. It can happen to all couples, and it is more than possible to break past. One way to do this is to give yourself the task of having sex every single day for a week. No excuses, no restrictions, just — ahem — get it done. “When you give yourself permission to say ‘yes’ to sex every day, you can create an intimacy between you and your lover that can be really incredible,” explains Marla Renee Stewart, MA, a sexologist, educator and the sexpert for Lovers. “With the hope that you're using lube and prepping for longevity, you can really increase your feel-good hormones — serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine — and become closer to your lover. When you get to seven days, try increasing the amount of time for harder sex challenges.”

Sex Challenge #5: Play around the house. 

Sit down together — preferably with an adult beverage of choice — and make a list of the places in your house that you haven’t had sex in yet. Maybe it’s the kitchen, the bathtub, the laundry room, or your home office. Then, assign a new ‘pleasure room’ each week where you’ll enjoy one another. “Experiencing your partner in new locations will help to catalyze creativity and invite new positions to explore,” White explains. “By engaging in new erotic zones in your home, you’ll help to expand your imagination to experience more opportunities for foreplay wherever you are in the home.”

Sex Challenge #6: The five-minute ‘sex clock.’

This sex challenge is fairly straightforward — and effective. Cox explains:

  • Set a timer on your phone for five minutes.
  • Now, each of you takes a turn talking about five things you love that your partner does sexually and why. 
  • While the other person is talking, you can’t do anything but sit quietly and listen. (And take notes, if you’d like.)

“Sitting down and having a serious chat about what’s working and what’s not with your sex life is daunting for lots of people. This turns it into a game and makes it fun — plus, you’re only talking about positive things, so no-one ends up offended,” White explains. “The more a couple talks about sex, the better the sex is. No sex problem is unsolvable if you have good communication. This gets you in the habit of talking about sex without pressure and for coming up with new things to try.”