Make good sex great with these pleasure enhancers
Much as Stephanie Alexander has perfected the art of the roast chook, you've mastered the basics of sex. Well done.
Now it's time to kick things up a notch: we've got brand-new tricks, toys and techniques to elevate your sex life from ordinary to piping hot. Read on...
1 Pop in earplugsIt'll enhance the sound of your breathing and block out the rest of the world, so you can home in on other senses - especially touch, says Claire Cavanah, co-author of Sex Toys 101
2 Take off your topForget the blindfold. Cover his eyes with the shirt you were wearing.
"Your natural scent is a huge aphrodisiac," says Dr Sharon Moalem, author of How Sex Works.
3 Play Scrabble"Competition raises testosterone levels in both men and women, increasing sexual arousal and response," Dr Moalem says.
4 Hide his razorA man with a 5 o'clock shadow is a bigger turn-on than one who's clean-shaven, says a recent study from Northumbria University, UK.
Researchers believe that women evolved to subconsciously seek out men with masculine features (like stubble) because in caveman days they were more able to protect their cave ladies.
5 Pick the right time to talk dirtyAccording to Professor Rob Brooks, an evolutionary biologist at the University of NSW, men find women's voices sexier during the few days right before they ovulate.
So leave a dirty voice message for him in the second week of your cycle - you'll have him wrapped around your little finger.
6 Hit the (yoga) matA study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found yogis have better sex. Women in the study who began practising yoga reported improvement in arousal and desire levels, and better orgasms. Plus, the increased flexibility will come in handy.
7 Don't skip the gymSo yoga's not your thing? Your regular workout is just as good. A University of British Columbia, Canada, study found women who got just 20 minutes of exercise a day reported having better sex than women who didn't work out at all. Now, that's a reason to break a sweat.
8 Don't let him skip the gym, eitherA study from the University of California at Berkeley, US, found that sniffing male sweat elevates a chemical that causes arousal in women for up to an hour.
9 Set up a mirrorAccording to research from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada, women are more visual than we thought. Seeing yourself engaged in the act will heighten your arousal.
10 Get out of bed"Most couples have sex in the same place every time," says sex therapist Dr Sandor Gardos, founder of online adult toy store My Pleasure. Any change in venue increases the excitement - why not get it on outside?
11 Be like a tiger"Stepping Tiger" improves on a classic doggy style. Kneel on the edge of a low bed, like a futon, and lean forward with both hands flat on the floor.
This allows your partner to enter you at an angle that better targets your G-spot, says Karinna Kittles-Karsten, author of Intimate Wisdom: The Sacred Art of Love.
12 Or do it CAT-styleCoital Alignment Technique, that is. Think missionary, but with him lying fully on top of you, chest to chest, instead of holding himself up.
When he's inside you, the base of his penis should rub against your clitoris and stay there as you move together, rocking (not thrusting). This greatly increases your chance of climax, says Tracey Cox, author of Secrets of A Super Sexpert. Women's Health also recommends you try these five new sex positions to add some spice to your bedroom repertoire.
13 Use two forms of birth controlThe Kinsey Institute in the US discovered that women who use a hormonal contraceptive plus condoms report higher overall sexual satisfaction. Researchers think that when women are less worried about pregnancy and STIs, they relax and enjoy themselves more.
14 Lock eyesWhen you get turned on, your pupils dilate, so this is a way of tracking each other's arousal, Dr Moalem says. And you'll feel a more intense connection.
15 Point and clickAdult Sexy Games has free downloadable games that you can play with your partner. Try Romantic Dares, where you take turns flipping onscreen cards with sexy tasks to complete.
16 Let him spank youThe occasional love "tap" can increase the bond between couples, according to scientists at Northern Illinois University, US. And women get a jolt of testosterone when spanked - it may be the body's way of coping with the "stress" of the situation.
17 Press your ovariesWhen he's going down on you, ask him to gently apply pressure on either side of your navel - it can enhance orgasm, says Emily Dubberly, author of The Going Down Guide.
18 Go bungee-jumping togetherOr rock-climbing. Or anything risky. Then get busy. "Trying something exciting before sex delivers a burst of dopamine, activating pleasure centres in the brain. That may lead to more exciting sex," says Dr Gail Saltz, author of The Ripple Effect: How Better Sex Can Lead to a Better Life.
19 Try hoochymailText and email are great ways to seduce, but can be seen by other people (read: your boss). For safe sexting, go to hoochymail.com to share your fantasy with your partner.
20 Be a sole mate"The foot has 7000 nerve endings," says reflexology expert Michelle Ebbin. Pressing on the hollow areas just under the ankle bones on the inside of both feet is apparently a direct energy channel to the sexual organs. Start gently with slow thumb circles to unleash each other's hidden passions.
21 Chill your lubeStash a tube in the fridge. The chill will give you an extra thrill.
22 Have a seatStraddle your partner while he sits cross-legged. Instead of moving up and down or back and forth, both of you should move in a circle - you lean back, then to the right, he leans back and then to the left. Follow each other and it will feel amazing, Kittles-Karsten says.
23 Ask him to wear your favourite cologne"Smell is an incredibly powerful way to evoke memories," Dr Moalem says. "You can use it to transport yourselves to the beginning of your relationship - a time when sex was still new."
24 Watch porn together, with one ruleYou can touch him, but he can't touch you. Then swap roles.
25 Get specificWhen you ask "Does this feel good?" your partner feels pressured to say "yes", says Steve Bodansky, author of The Instant Orgasm. But if you ask more detailed questions (faster or slower? Right or left?), he can give simple, one-word responses.
26 Stage a blackoutGrab a torch and get naked in a dark room. Take turns passing the light back and forth; whatever body part you shine it on must be touched, stroked, nibbled and/or licked for two minutes.
27 Make a listWith your partner, write down every dirty, far-fetched sexual act you've ever heard of. Each of you can choose whether you would, wouldn't or might try the act, says Pamela Doan, from sex-toy shop Babeland.
"You may have sexual interests in common that you've never explored."
28 Make a body-part connectionWhile he's stroking your clitoris, have your partner stroke another body part (your neck, breast, stomach) at the same time. If you do it often enough, eventually just stroking the body part by itself will cause sensations in your clitoris, Bodansky says.
29 Explore his face"Facial skin is really incredibly sensitive, so exploring it can be very erotic," suggests Dr Stephanie Buehler, sex therapist and the director of the Buehler Institute in the US. "Use your fingertips, lips or tongue."
30 Go wirelessThe discreet 10 Function Remote Control Bullet is as quiet as a mouse and can can be operated from up to 7.5m away. Give him the clicker and you'll discover a whole new meaning the term "turned on".
31 Nibble on a chilliThe spice comes from capsaicin, which raises the heart rate and triggers an endorphin rush.
32 Turn on the tunes...According to researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in the US, listening to your favourite music stimulates the same areas of the brain as sex, possibly enhancing your euphoria during the act.
33...Then plug this into your iPodTo really get off on your tunes, try the Ohmibod and your iPod. The sleek vibrator hums along to the rhythm of whatever's playing.
34 Get your balanceReverse cowgirl is a favourite position for many women (and men), but it can be killer on your quadriceps. Instead, have him sit on a chair so that your legs have room to move, or grab on to the headboard of your bed to increase your balance and ease the burden on your thighs.
35 Keep your socks onOrgasms jumped 30 per cent in men and women who were chilled out during sex in a Dutch study. Researchers say it shows the more comfy you are, the more likely you'll reach the big O.
36 Put a lavender plant in your bedroomThe purple flower has one of the most naturally arousing scents, according to research from the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in the US.
37 Use double digitsHave him or her insert two fingers into your vagina and open them into a V shape, says Jaiya, co-author of Red Hot Touch: Genital Massage for Women.
"Making a 'come here' motion stimulates the roots of the clitoris inside your vagina, bringing on entirely different orgasmic sensations."