10 ways to maximize pleasure during sex couples can explore during this Christmas festivities. They include:

Be Considerate

This is not advice that has much effect on pleasure during sex but it can make a big difference afterward and for the next time around. The basics of good sexual health are something most people understand: use protection and get tested. But there are a couple more tips that men should keep in mind for their female partners. For people having anal sex, never switch from the anus back the vagina because that can introduce E. coli bacteria into the vagina, causing infection. It’s also a general rule that women need to pee post-sex to avoid urinary tract infections. This information may seem sterile but knowing it is very sexy.

Keep Learning

Whether its through articles, diagrams, or porn, there are plenty of resources available to people who want some ideas for how to improve their sexual experiences. Etkes says that it’s crucial to look at a lot of different resources because not everyone knows what they’re talking about and much of the advice out there doesn’t apply universally. Of course, a person’s partner is likely their best resource. While moans and groans in the heat of the moment are somewhat informative, a sit-down talk is the most effective approach to understanding someone else’s needs.

Experiment More

There are a lot of different ways to explore sexuality and experimentation is a way for a lot of people figure out what works for them. Again, slow and steady can be crucial here. These days, testing out bondage is a popular form of experimentation. For this, Etkes recommends keeping it light to start. Using gentle props like ties and towels and making sure both partners are comfortable will get things going in the right direction.

Learn New Moves

Even people who don’t think they have a signature move probably do. In fact, they probably have a lot of them. “Most men and women touch the way they touched their last partner,” says Etkes. There’s nothing wrong with trying what’s worked before but it’s not the way to optimize sexual pleasure. What works for one partner may completely turn another off. Specifically, Etkes says to be cautious about rough stuff, like hair pulling. Moves like that may drive one girl wild but cause another to kick someone out.

Don’t Focus Only on the Orgasm

Orgasm (for most people) is such a salient part of the act that it becomes easy to make it into the one thing that defines good sex. However, when people get hyper-focused on getting themselves or their partner to climax, their behavior can do the exact opposite. “The best way to have an orgasm is not to require one,” says Etkes. He adds that there are plenty of people out there who have very satisfying sex sans orgasm.

Satisfy the Most Important Sex Organ

Part of the reason why great sex can be a bit challenging is that it’s not about focusing on just one area of the body. “The most important thing in sex is that the primary sex organ is satisfied for both men and women […] which is their brain,” says Etkes. Sexual encounters do usually involve touching some very specific spots but, in the end, it’s nearly all mental. This is, in part, why foreplay and romance can take sex from satisfying to spectacular.

Although it’s not exactly the most romantic part of doing the deed, lubrication is vitally important. For some, it happens naturally but there is no need to be embarrassed (or to feel insulted) if there seems to be a little too much friction. “The main thing is that you introduce this as something that will enhance your pleasure together,” says Etkes. Being proactive about lubrication can make a world of difference and any awkwardness will be long forgotten once things get going.

Try More Foreplay

Foreplay truly is a crucial element of high-quality sex. It is generally the case that women require it more than men but both partners can benefit from foreplay. While foreplay may not be something one person needs, using it to increase the pleasure of a partner often has a reciprocal effect. 

Start With a Massage

It almost seems too easy but massage is a great way to rev up a sexual encounter. Massages help people relax — which can mean the difference between great sex and no sex at all — and the skin-to-skin touching adds intimacy. Plus, massages can improve circulation, a vitally important function for successful sex. Etkes says that a back massage is a particularly smart place to start.