When you feel a strong sexual connection with someone, it’s tempting to tear off his clothes and go at it. But taking time to savor the experience has a big pleasure payoff. “When you engage your body and mind in bed, you’ll feel more relaxed, connected to your partner, and aroused—all of which result in better sex,” says Logan Levkoff, Ph.D., a certified sexuality educator. “Plus, taking things slowly will stave off your orgasm so that when you finally do peak, it will feel more explosive.” Here, tips that will help you extend the act.
In the morning, start getting primed by shooting him a sexy text or sending an e-mail to his personal account: “What are you going to do to me later?” or “I can’t wait to get you out of your work clothes.” (Just make sure you don’t write anything too graphic—you never know who might end up reading it.) According to Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of She Comes First, “The act of writing stimulates the imagination in ways that other sensory media does not. Writing compels you to fill in the blanks and create your own visuals. The combination of the writer’s words and the receiver’s interpretation is actually a form of sex in and of itself.” Plus, telling him what you’re planning to do to him that evening will keep you on his mind all day long.
To become aroused, you need to switch off your amygdala, the portion of your brain that controls fear and anxiety. About an hour before you plan to get busy, draw yourself a steamy bath to calm your mind and awaken your nerve endings; the hot temperature of the water will bring blood to your skin’s surface, making your whole body more sensitive to touch. Lather up with some cucumber-scented soap (research says this aroma can be a turn-on), then queue up your favorite music. A study found that listening to familiar tunes lowers anxiety and blood pressure. “The emotional response people have to listening to music they know by heart triggers a deep, relaxing physiological response,” says George Stefano, lead study author and director of the NeuroScience Research Institute at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury.
Start things off with sensate touch—a series of exercises designed to increase trust and arousal without touching each other’s genitals. “The goal of it is to relax and build intimacy,” says licensed psychologist and sex therapist Arlene Goldman, Ph.D., coauthor of Secrets of Sexual Ecstasy. She suggests stripping down, then taking 10-minute turns playing giver and receiver, applying stimulation everywhere but the genitals. Don’t focus so much on how your touch makes him feel, but rather on how you feel touching him. Slowly stroke his pecs and arms, kiss around his groin, and run your fingers through his hair. When it’s his turn to touch you, ask him to lick your inner thighs, rub your lower back and feet, and kiss your neck.
Foreplay is an important part of slow sex. Problem is, couples often motor through it. Prolong it by stopping in the middle to make out, share a sexual fantasy, or exchange massages. Another option: Take a break to give each other oral until you both climax—and then start up again.
Ready for intercourse? Choose a position that encourages you to stare into each other’s eyes, such as missionary or girl on top, with him sitting up and facing you. “Positions that give you a full view of each other’s naked bodies can build arousal too quickly, while ones that lend themselves to eye contact increase intimacy and tend to build arousal more gradually,” says Levkoff. Start moving slowly in random, circular patterns—it will feel good for both of you without building that steady momentum that leads to immediate orgasm.
“The time after sex is just as important as foreplay,” says Goldman. “It’s like eating dessert after a fabulous dinner.” Lie still for a few minutes while he stays inside you, focus on the sound of your heartbeats and breathing, and feel the sweat trickling down your bodies. “Staying physically connected like this will keep you both feeling bonded,” she says.
Then try a little dirty talk. “Speaking intimately can be a wonderful way to stay connected and prolong the sexual experience, because the dialogue almost puts you into a sexual trance,” says psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. Asking specific questions (e.g., “Did you like it when I did X to you?” or “Is your body still tingling too?”) helps you stay in the moment more than open-ended questions, which let your mind wander.
If you’re yearning for another go-around, tempt him with a little self-stimulation. “By letting him know you’re ready for sex again, you’ll not only boost his ego but also keep him in a heightened state of arousal,” says Kerner. “Since a man’s main goal is to keep his partner turned on and sexually satisfied, seeing her all charged up will likely have the same effect on him.”