The New Year is nearly here, and you know what that means: it’s almost time to break your new year’s resolution. Only about 9% of people indeed keep their resolutions, so I’m here to help you develop some new year’s resolutions that will have a positive impact on your sex life and that you’ll actually keep in 2020.
Do or Do Not—There Is No Try
It’s almost better to not set a resolution than to repeatedly set goals that you will not keep. Breaking promises to yourself does not set you up for success or prepare you to meet future goals. So, this year, if you’re not going to follow through, don’t bother resolving to do so in the first place. Remember: you should only pick one so that it receives your full focus, and you can make changes slowly but permanently.
Resolution #1: Get Enough Sleep
Think this resolution isn’t very sexy? Think again. Not getting enough sleep is a primary reason people tell me that they have not as frequent or satisfying sex in their relationships. Becoming too tired for sex is a common problem. Studies have shown that even men with erectile dysfunction can reverse the process by altering their lifestyle with respect to health—which includes more sleep. The relationship between sexual function and sleep has been well documented by science. So, if you’re looking for resolutions that you can keep from the comfort of your own bed, this is an excellent resolution for you.
Immediate action you can take: get some data. Find out how well you’re currently sleeping, how many hours you average each night, and where there is room for improvement. Smartphones, apps, and fitness watches can help if you have access to them.
Next step: exercise sleep hygiene. The foundation of a sleep hygiene regimen is going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day because it eliminates the need to catch up on sleep. Then, clear your room of any extraneous sound and light—including your cell phone. Finally, abolish naps from your life, as naps can alter your sleep cycle for the following night.
Resolution #2: Practice Mindfulness
For women, practicing mindfulness has a direct correlation with increasing sexual desire. Studies show that being mindful can help anyone who has trouble reaching orgasm, low sexual satisfaction, or low sexual function. Plus, this resolution is simple to put into practice. Starting a mindfulness routine can include yoga, meditation, or any habit of finding time to be quiet and listen to your body and mind. Yoga is a great way to introduce this because it pairs breathing with movement and is a proven mood booster.
Immediate action you can take: begin with a small goal, like committing three minutes of each day to mindfulness. Mindfulness apps abound with helpful timers, focused meditations, and mantras that can get you started down this path. Headspace is a great, free app to start with that offers all kinds of options from mindful cooking, to couples’ mindfulness, and even mindfulness meditations for kids.
Next step: after you’ve established an initial mindfulness habit, you may want to upgrade to a paid app like Muse. Muse tracks the electrical activity in your brain with a headband, so that you can see how long your mind was active, neutral, or calm. Feedback like this can help to improve your practice, but other, less expensive mindfulness apps will work as long as you are continuously improving your focus.
Resolution #3: Commit to Foreplay
One of the most effective (and most fun!) resolutions you can make to improve your sex life in 2020 is to commit to lengthier foreplay. Studies have found that many people in relationships significantly underestimate how much time their partner would like to spend on foreplay—and this is true for all genders.
Immediate action you can take: start with a minimum of twenty minutes of foreplay before you’re allowed to advance to any other sexual activity. If you’re already consistently having twenty minutes of foreplay, try to increase this by a small amount to see if you enjoy the pace more.
Next step: try new techniques during foreplay on a monthly basis. If you’ve never tried roleplaying, erotic massage, reading erotica, or listening to an erotic podcast, those ideas can be a fun addition.
Resolution #4: Put It on the Calendar
Spontaneity is fun, but long-term relationships benefit from a bit of scheduling. It may not sound sexy to have sex dates on the calendar, but it can add anticipation and help you make sex a priority within your relationship. No matter how much you would like to have sex, busy schedules, sleep, kids, and hobbies can usurp priority and leave you without much of a sex life. Scheduling sex ensures that you don’t become roommates, and that you carve out time for your sexual connection.
Immediate action you can take: get your calendar out, and pick out some dates with your partner for the next month that you will have sex.
Next step: increase the frequency or the variety of activity you do during your sexy time, whichever piques both of your interests. You could even try having themed sex dates, so that you don’t fall into a routine.
Hopefully, these resolutions will put you and your partner on a path toward more sexual fulfillment in 2020. If you want professional help on your journey, talk to a trusted therapist for additional helpful tips.
Bio: Dr. Nazanin Moali is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in the Los Angeles area. She works with various individuals to understand and improve their sexuality. Dr. Moali conducts personal consultation sessions in her Torrance and Hermosa Beach offices, or via a secure, online video-counseling platform.
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