5  tips for better sex in 2011
December 30th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

5 tips for better sex in 2011

Heading into 2011, I thought it apt to revisit some of the themes I wrote about in 2010. With CNN reporting that nearly 40 million americans are stuck in sexless marriages, starting the new year off with a “bang” is more important than ever. With that in mind, here are five relationship resolutions to consider for your list:

1. Get into the 5 to 1 Zone. A satisfying sex life requires a strong relationship to support it, and there’s an intense dynamic between what happens in the bedroom and what happens outside of it. But the last few years of economic turmoil have taken their toll: Stress and anxiety are at an all-time high, and it’s no wonder that the American libido is at a low. Therapist John Gottman has spent a lifetime working with married couples, researching what makes some marriages succeed and others fail. Says Gottman: "It's the balance between positive and negative emotional interactions in a marriage that determines its well-being–whether the good moments of mutual pleasure, passion, humor, support, kindness, and generosity outweigh the bad moments of complaining, criticism, anger, disgust, contempt, defensiveness, and coldness." Those couples that succeed in their marriages enjoy an overriding proportion of positive over negative sentiment. But, how do you ensure that? "All couples, happy and unhappy, have conflict, but the ratio of positive to negative interactions during arguments is a critical factor," and Gottman proposes that this ratio should, ideally, be 5 to 1.  And while it's impossible to go through life tallying positive versus negative interactions, it is possible to determine intuitively whether your relationship is generally in the positive, or tending more toward the negative. For more on sex and your relationship, click here.

2. Engage in choreplay. With all the economic pressure, there are more dual-income families than ever. And while it often takes two incomes to support a single family, one thing that hasn’t changed is that many women still come home feeling like they have a second job: doing all the housework. That’s why it’s important to engage in choreplay. One recent study from the University of Western Ontario found that wives are happier when their husbands pitch in with housework. Another report from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago even suggests men who help clean, take care of their kids, and do other domestic chores may see the benefits of their labor pay off in the bedroom. Also, stress works against female desire on a neurological level: brain scans have shown that for women to fully engage in the process of arousal, parts of the brain associated with stress and anxiety need to deactivate. So if a woman is worried about everything that still needs to get done around the house, those parts of the brain that need to deactivate are going to remain active. For more on choreplay, check out an article I wrote for this blog.

3. Turn off to turn on. Once upon a time it was easy enough to advise couples not to put a TV in their bedroom, and there were plenty of studies showing that people were falling asleep with the remote in their arms, instead of in each others’ arms. But today, it’s not enough to just turn off the TV; our quality-time is besieged by technology. Couples are frequently spending more time Facebooking with friends than “face-timing” with their partners.  At its worst, technology can enable emotional infidelity, but even for the most well-intentioned couple it can create a digital black-hole that sucks up all of our quality time. Couples need to tone down the tech, and put their sex lives at the top of their to-do list.  At minimum try to have sex at least once a week, and for more on the health benefits of a weekly rendezvous, click here.

4. Discover new pleasure paths. But it’s not enough to just do it. Sex is like food – if you eat the same thing over and over, not only will you get bored, you’ll also end up depriving yourself of vital nutrients. And just like the food-pyramid, there are different categories of sex that you should be consuming from regularly: there’s sex that’s loving and tender and enhances emotional intimacy, and then there’s sex for the sake of sex: because it feels good and relieves stress. There’s sex that taps the power of fantasy and proves that the mind is the biggest sex organ and there’s sex that plays to all of our various senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. Indulge in all of these basic sex-categories, with the goal of giving you a healthy, balanced, (and ultimately hotter) sex life. And if you need some ideas to create your own personal tasting menu, check out my new book, 52 Weeks of Amazing Sex.

5. Don’t live a life of quiet desperation. According to the recently published National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, 85% of men said that their partner had experienced an orgasm during their most recent sexual event, while only 64% of women reported actually having had an orgasm. The implication: Lots of women are faking it. As we discussed in earlier articles, more women are still faking it, as are men. I once counseled a couple in which both partners were faking it, but neither had wanted to hurt the other’s feelings. Talking about sex isn’t always easy. But in the end, not talking about sex is even harder.

Ian Kerner is a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

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Filed under: Ian Kerner Ph.D. - sex counselor • Sex

soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Wayniac

    That was a rather useless article.

    December 30, 2010 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ariel Gonzalez

      Wayniac: Yo must be an eunuch. Go yo your dictionary if you don't know what it means.

      December 30, 2010 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Why do a third of the comments on the CNN articles always have something to do with the article being pointless? If you didn't find it interesting, then take your negativity somewhere else.

      December 30, 2010 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
    • Wayniac


      December 30, 2010 at 17:06 | Report abuse |
    • Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

      I wonder how the lucky Mrs. Wayniac feels about the article?

      December 30, 2010 at 17:11 | Report abuse |
    • Alert Citizen

      Read the book "His needs Her Needs" ....you might get a 30W light lit in your head!

      December 30, 2010 at 17:19 | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      This is to Alert Citizen. I didn't know the book you were referring to and looked into it. I was very appalled by 2 things. 1) she needs to look good for him – that is in the eye of the beholder. What he thinks is "hot" may not be something someone could really do! 2) She needs his financial support. I find this totally unacceptable unless they decided as a couple for her (or him) to stay home and take care of the house.

      December 31, 2010 at 23:04 | Report abuse |
  2. Dr. Bishop

    HOW true! Every word here holds true for me! WOW!

    December 30, 2010 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. maine bear

    They forgot a most important suggestion : get a partner lol

    December 30, 2010 at 15:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SuperMan

      and to wear a squirt-skirt if you don't want kids

      December 30, 2010 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
  4. Jeff

    At some point, each person is responsible for their own O. You can do everything that is asked, but if they can't get there, it is ultimately their problem.

    December 30, 2010 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • What

      self centered boob.

      December 30, 2010 at 15:36 | Report abuse |
    • Jamaaliver

      You're an embarassment to men, everywhere.

      December 30, 2010 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
    • Quizzle

      I feel sorry for your partner, if you ever have one.

      December 30, 2010 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
    • john

      If a guy can't get there, well that's just impossible...so forget that lol. Women on the other hand, sometimes need a lot more stimulation than just the act of intercourse. Maybe getting their mind in the right mood, or more foreplay to start. Everyone can get to an orgams, unless they have some genetic disorder, if everyone tries hard enough in every aspect imagineable.

      December 30, 2010 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
    • WhoWho

      To What: I like your comment. It made me smile.

      January 1, 2011 at 16:26 | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      I agree with Jeff. Some women don't ever get there and don't make any effort to find out why or to address the situation. The selfish one isn't Jeff (or me) - it is the woman who can't get there and deprives her partner of the satisfaction of getting her there. And I don't believe the percentages touted in this article.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:05 | Report abuse |
    • DaisyinAZ

      I can agree that sometimes this is true. Some people cannot turn off the rest of their life and focus on their partner even while being intimate. Both partners need to take action to achieve completion. If a wife just lays there and expects her husband to make it happen for her with no effort on her part...well she gets what she deserves.

      January 22, 2011 at 16:42 | Report abuse |
  5. otk

    ariel, u r funny

    December 30, 2010 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Nicole

    How does a man fake it? The stuff comes out. How do you fake that?

    December 30, 2010 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aaron

      Actually, not always. There is a condition where the product goes into the urinary tract.

      December 30, 2010 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      That condition sounds awful. Glad my husband doesn't have it.

      December 30, 2010 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
    • john

      hahaha i love how you describe it as "stuff comes out" lol

      December 30, 2010 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      It can come out but sometimes you don't get that feeling, if you know what I mean. It happens sometimes.

      December 30, 2010 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
    • Fricsaid

      After a "active" evening, it is possible to have an orgasm and nothing is excreted.

      December 30, 2010 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • Joe B.

      "Well you know, if it's enough already and I just wanna get some sleep."

      December 30, 2010 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
    • JT

      Actually, if you're wearing a condom, its very easy to fake it. I've faked it a few times while wearing condoms, cause I can't feel anything and didnt want the girl to think I found her undesirable – even though its clear to me it aint gonna happen after going at it for awhile.

      December 30, 2010 at 17:15 | Report abuse |
    • Smart Alec

      @Nicole, what are you wearing right now?

      December 30, 2010 at 18:49 | Report abuse |
    • Woods Tiger

      There is "The stuff comes out". Then there is "The stuff shoots out". And then there is "The stuff explodes".

      December 30, 2010 at 18:57 | Report abuse |
    • mike

      There really is a Seinfeld episode for everything...

      January 4, 2011 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      To Aaron's point - that's called retrograde ejaculation, a condition that can follow prostate surgery. It ain't all bad - wife now willing to perform bj to completion. Tube steak hold the cream.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:48 | Report abuse |
  7. mike


    December 30, 2010 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CAM

      If this is not news worthy, why waste your time, not only reading, but commenting on the article? You are not getting enough of the good stuff I take it?

      December 30, 2010 at 16:25 | Report abuse |
    • Fricsaid

      Most newspapaers have a crossword puzzle, horoscope, etc. 🙂

      December 30, 2010 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      If you have not noticed, there are different tabs to read the news. This article is under "health" where it should be. If you want the news, click on that tab.

      December 30, 2010 at 17:18 | Report abuse |
    • Mickety

      What a creep.

      December 30, 2010 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
    • Indyman

      Mike, are you new to news sites and newspapers? They have "sections." World News, National News, Local News, Health and Lifestyle News, Sports News; all kinds of "news." Did you think, after reading the obvious headline, that this story was going to me about talks in the Middle East? Good grief, man.

      December 30, 2010 at 18:08 | Report abuse |

    # 4 is probably the most important.

    December 30, 2010 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Fricsaid

    My 5 things?

    1.) Everyday, I tell her I love her.
    2.) I don't cheat.
    3.) I bring home flowers for no reason.
    4.) I surprise her with breakfast in bed.
    5.) Everyday, I tell her I lover her every day.

    Works every time. 😉

    December 30, 2010 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fricsaid

      Please excuse my typo. 🙂

      December 30, 2010 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
    • Smart Alec

      Also, you should probably tell her you love her every day. That is really important!

      December 30, 2010 at 18:42 | Report abuse |
    • Voice Of Successful Experience

      While it's imperative to tell her you love her every day, ensure you also show her your love by sharing life. Yes, that means giving a little more than you expect to get back. Remember too, an unequally yolked pairing is intended to self destruct. If either of you have to give too much more than you get back, it's merely a matter of determining the time till failure. Be careful when you court her, to be sure you're matched to begin with.

      January 8, 2011 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
    • Wow

      Thank you! That is why men like you have girsfriends/wife and do not need their hand. If the waste of lives below were like you there wouldn't be a divorce for every 1 out of 2 marriages! Not too mention that women would be more inclined to "do what men wanted" if you know what I mean.

      With the type of men that I see below, no wonder why no woman want to be with them!!!!

      January 17, 2011 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
  10. john

    Maybe i'm just the smartest person on the earth, ok so i'm far from it, but all these things seem relatively common sense. The fact of the matter is the world is becoming lazy and no one anymore wants to do what is necessary to continue to make a relationship last. All the things mentioned above shouldn't even need to be mentioned. The problem is couples now a days hit one fork in the road and just give up. Why? Because there is so much temptation everywhere you look, it's just easier to move on and get back the excitement that society loves to shove in our faces

    December 30, 2010 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Woods Tiger

      There is always Ashley Madison when all fails.

      December 30, 2010 at 18:58 | Report abuse |
  11. Mickety

    This works for me and my left had!

    December 30, 2010 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • islandboy808

      I guess it didn't work out with your right hand...

      January 2, 2011 at 19:58 | Report abuse |
  12. Eric Nicolas

    Number 6: stop doing it alone

    December 30, 2010 at 17:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Amanda

      that's hillarious

      December 31, 2010 at 09:56 | Report abuse |
  13. denny

    how abt getting someone to try a these tips?
    Tht would be my resolution. if it works i can try it on my wife as well 😉

    December 30, 2010 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Indyman

    They forgot the REAL number one: Find a partner who likes you and doesn't charge you money. That'll make it much more romantic.

    December 30, 2010 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. 2-n-a-row

    Try to finish two rounds in a row, without pulling your thing out, literally.

    December 30, 2010 at 18:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Rushin

    Its no different than the obesity epidemic in america.
    Its not that people dont know what food is bad for them, or what would make their partner smile or feel appreciated,
    They assume they already know it and let it fall down the daily priority list while rushing to and fro doing things they think "have to be done".
    I have a newsflash for you, 90% of all stress is self induced. You make yourself miserable failing to achieve 25 hours of "priorities" in a 24 hour day.
    Relax, rethink, enjoy life. If you can't do that, then what good is all the other things you're doing?

    December 30, 2010 at 18:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MidNitePearls

      I just want to say thank you! You spoke the truth and I think everyone should take your advise!

      January 13, 2011 at 19:15 | Report abuse |
  17. Woods Tiger

    What about escort service? Should that be part of the equation too?

    December 30, 2010 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. CeeCee

    This comment is faked.

    But it felt so good.

    December 30, 2010 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. LetsDoIt

    #1 tip for better $ex – Buy an escort, she'll do things your wife/girlfriend only jokes about, most likely cleaner than your S.O., and she leaves afterwards. It can't be beat.

    December 30, 2010 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LetsDoIt

      Not too mention a lot cheaper in the long run also.

      December 30, 2010 at 18:52 | Report abuse |
  20. Woods Tiger

    Try Ashley Madison. It really works!

    December 30, 2010 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Ten Year Old

    Wow! I'm learning a lot on here. More than my friends know.

    December 30, 2010 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. mico

    1. Eat fish, lots of it, specialy the best part, the head, you'll have not problem. Where do you think they get Viagra from?
    2. Drink sugar beet juice
    3. Wake her up at 2:30 AM and make love (on the weekends)
    4. Do it in the garage, laundry room, next to a river, forget about you bed
    5. Use you tongue, but speak only inf necessary.

    December 30, 2010 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • man w/ the stripes

      how is everyone today 🙂

      December 31, 2010 at 15:26 | Report abuse |
    • Magnus

      haha funny stuff. Is this Borat? You can't be serious...

      January 8, 2011 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
  23. Victor

    Please be more practical.

    December 30, 2010 at 19:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. sad

    I appreciate the fact that men ultimately need to connect on an emotional level. My guy is great emotionally, but lacks inspiration/spontaneity in the bedroom. Also views me as a "pal". Maybe good when you're 65, but not at 40-something! The jokes are funny, but it's nice when someone talks about the problem.

    December 30, 2010 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. erica

    Lol i so didnt need that article 🙂

    December 30, 2010 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Woods Tiger

      really? That's not what your hubby told me.

      December 31, 2010 at 00:01 | Report abuse |
  26. T-Rex

    If they are fat, losing weight would do the trick to get in the mood..lol. You won't have to throw flour to find the wet spot..lmao!

    December 30, 2010 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Grant Strong

    Working out with your partner can greatly help! Not only will it help your heart and blood flow, but will give you some quality relationship building time. For tips and tricks check out my blog http://www.GrantStrong.com

    December 31, 2010 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Talle

    This article was very enlightening and was very much needed becasue we as couples forget why we got together in the first place. We get so bogged down with life we forget about why we fell in love. This year my prayer is that we all stop for a moment and just remember and then take the time to love again. Becasue in the end all these "things" get old and decay but relationships last a life time. The memories that we make affect not only us but our children, relatives, and extended families and it is time we change the cyclical cycle of our children being or feeling unloved because we as spouses have lost our love for eachother. Just a thought!!!! Happy New Year

    December 31, 2010 at 22:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. OneProudMama

    Oh Ian I think this article is really just amazing, you need to keep this up and I printed this out for your father, I swear he is just impossible sometimes (I was telling you this earlier on the phone right?), he needs to open up and if he reads this amazing article of yours I think that he will, his weight and his varicose veins are just out of control since the refrigerator fell on him that one time when we were trying to be "intimate"... Ian please keep up the good work with this Internet Sites!

    January 2, 2011 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Teppy

      Laughed until I cried! Literally! Loved it!

      January 20, 2011 at 19:57 | Report abuse |
  30. Mark

    Would love to read about other men faking it but THE LINK DOESN'T WORK. Thanks

    January 3, 2011 at 19:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Tator

    what do you know another study that shows woman are fin liers. im totally shocked. woman lie about everything else why wouldnt they fake orgasms. woman are fake people.

    January 6, 2011 at 07:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Pull my finger

    Agree w/tator. Women lie about everything. They would rather tell a lie when the truth would do just fine. And thats just one reason I love to abuse, degrade and humiliate women as often as possible. Its really fun when they start to cry...LOL...cuz it makes me start to laugh...

    January 6, 2011 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Humpher

    Watch your woman. When she deviates from her pattern she is foolin around on ya or she is about to breakup with ya. Be sure to break up with her first or take her to some far away cinema get up to get some popcorn and leave her there. The next day when she calls SCREAMING break up with her over the phone, start laughing then hangup. Gets em everytime!!

    January 6, 2011 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Andy Kaufman

    Well Ive gotta hand it to women! When it comes to raising the kids, making the coffee and peeling the potatos I must admit women have it all over men. Other than that they are all oatmeal north of the eyebrows.

    January 6, 2011 at 08:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Ole home remedy

    One thing I learned years ago is give women enough rope to hang themselves cuz you can bet they will. Then when ya find out about them lying dont say a word...just sit back and let them dig the hole deeper. After that begin slipping around and find a replacement. Then have your woman come over at a certain time and let her replacement answer the door and start laughing and making fun of her in front of the replacement.

    The ensuing cat-fight, tears, anger, embarrassement is hilarious.

    January 6, 2011 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. silknlace

    lol hilarious! one and all...

    January 6, 2011 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Strange Tributes

    Best one...turn off tot urn on. I need to make a strange tribute to not having tvs in the bedroom.

    January 8, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Happy Husband

    Well, I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I KNOW when my wife has the O...its just as much a physiological response as our own. If YOU don't know, you don't know your spouse.

    January 9, 2011 at 01:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Sherri

    You are one demented person. Maybe you are just being funny, I don't know. If NOT, if you ARE serious, then you are sick. And I hope you never find a woman. Women don't need anyone like you. And I don't know that I would want to know this kind of woman. Someone with such low self esteem would not be an interesting person. Get a cat instead.

    January 13, 2011 at 23:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Jimmy Cornhole

    I agree with most here...its the responsbility of the woman to make things work and if she fails the kick her to the curb and toss all her things over the balcony.

    January 17, 2011 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Wow

    For all those backward ass stupid dickless men making comments on treating women like pieces of trash I guess getting f**ed by your mom really messed you up and that is why you hate women. I am also assuming that everyone of you are single and get it more from your hand and dogs than a woman.

    That being said I hope you find a woman that has the brains to castrate everyone of you and make you eat it.

    Oh ya and for anyone that will comment and say i'm alone with no man in my life or a feminist you are wrong in either case. Happily married and definitely not a feminist as I think women that would even give men such as you a second look are just as brainless as the men and deserve everything they have coming.

    January 17, 2011 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Johnny Torrent

    I was watching a show last night by the name of "Pig-Bomb" and it reminded me of women...all these fat sows running loose tearing up everything and taking no responsbility for their actions...LMAO...Hilarious.

    January 17, 2011 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
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