Building and Maintaining Your Healthy Sex Life

Sex is healthy — as long as you do it right. Having regular sex is good for your physical and mental health, and consistent sexual contact is almost always a necessity for healthy long-term relationships.

And, sometimes, enjoying a healthy sex life is easy. Sometimes, we feel attractive, are attracted to our partner, and have lots of time to enjoy ourselves. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, sex can be tough. Sometimes, relationships can feel stale. Sometimes, we’re just not going to be in the right physical or mental state for sex. And when a healthy sex life takes work to build and maintain, you’ll want to remember a few things.

Boundaries, consent, and healthy sex

First thing first: Healthy sex is always consensual and within the control of both parties. Even if you enjoy “giving up control,” bondage, or even S&M, you should always have safeguards such as safe words, and boundaries should be respected. Always seek consent for any sexual activity, and expect the same from your partners. Each of us has a responsibility to educate ourselves and our children about consent and boundaries in sex, and it never hurts to read up on the subject again even if you think you know everything that there is to know. Be proactive about seeking consent and making sure that everyone involved in any sexual activity is comfortable with what’s going on.

Protection and sexual health

Sex is a good thing, but that doesn’t mean that it’s free of dangers. It’s always a good idea to use protection when having sex, especially if you and your partner are not exclusive. Also thoroughly checked for any sexually transmitted infections and diseases. You should also make sure that you have a birth control method in place, unless you’re planning to start a family. Make sure that you know how effective your method is, and be careful to use it properly.

Communication and sex

Great and healthy sex relies on a lot of things, but few are as important as communication. If you want to have sex that you really enjoy, you have two options: You can tell your partner what you’re into, or you can hope they’re able to read your mind. One is a bit more effective than the other.

Talk about sex with your partner. Tell them what you like and don’t like. Chat about sex when you’re out of the bedroom, and be communicative while you’re getting intimate. Be sure to invite your partner to share their thoughts and preferences, too.

Keeping things hot

Long-term relationships are wonderful. They can also lead to wonderful sex. In fact, they should: The more time you’re with your partner, the more time that you have to communicate your preferences and desires.

But it’s also fair to say that sex can grow stale in relationships after a while. We don’t always have the time or the space to enjoy sex the way that we want. We may grow insecure or even less attracted to our partner. What can we do then?

We can communicate, of course. Talk about problems in the bedroom just as you would about good things. If you don’t, the problems will only grow. If this sounds tough, consider seeing a couples therapist or a sex therapist.

Talk about what you might do to spice things up and keep things hot. Should you try some light bondage? New positions? Maybe you just need to surprise your partner with sexy lingerie (for you or — with plenty of praise and a polite request — for them).

Sex is vital to a healthy relationship, so keep trying. You and your partner deserve all the joys and health benefits of a healthy sex life.