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Last Updated on December 11, 2020

How to Be a Better Lover and Spice Up Your Relationship

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How to Be a Better Lover and Spice Up Your Relationship

There are many differences between males and females, especially when it comes to sex, but one thing that can bring us together or drive us apart is the experience we have with our lover. The effects of an unfulfilling sexual experience are felt by both partners and can slowly undermine the very fabric that holds a relationship together.

In this article, I’ll share essential keys for how to be a better lover, both inside and outside the bedroom.

Many people think being a better lover[1] is just about sex, but that’s not the case. It’s about emotional as well as sexual connection, and it’s also about attraction, which needs to last the duration of the relationship. In fact, loss of attraction is a common problem among couples who fail to keep up their “A” game (note: “A” is for Attraction!).

How you interact with your partner outside the bedroom and how you present yourself as a person all have an effect on the level of attraction, intimacy, and closeness you can enjoy. If you want to be a better lover, it’s important to start here.

While sexual technique is an essential piece of the puzzle, if you feel disconnected on a mental or emotional level, then all desire for sexual intimacy with a partner can be lost.

We’ve all heard the generalization that males feel emotionally connected with their partner through a satisfying sexual connection and that females feel more open to and able to enjoy sexual intimacy with their partner when they feel emotionally connected.

However, when there is an impediment to connecting emotionally or sexually, either or both partners may begin to question their reason for being in a relationship with their partner.

How to Be a Better Lover Outside the Bedroom

Being a better lover starts outside the bedroom. It’s important to take a good look at what your relationship looks like on a daily basis. Try the following to get an idea of how you’re doing.

1. Focus on the Good

At the start of a relationship, we are focused on the best in ourselves and in our partner. We are constantly presenting the best version of ourselves and are completely focused on the best attributes of our partner. Unsurprisingly, this attracts our partner to us and makes us feel attractive and good about ourselves.

When we’re feeling good, we tend to focus on the best outcome, and life is rosy. This is also known as the Honeymoon phase of a relationship.

The Honeymoon happens because we are focused on the best. Physiologically, this type of focus triggers those wonderful, happy hormones we all enjoy, such as dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins.

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What we focus on attracts more of the related hormones.

Problems arise as we become accustomed to one another and secure in our partner’s love. As this happens, we can start becoming complacent, which can eventually undermine attraction and our partner’s overall desire for us.

We may put less effort into dressing nicely — or we only dress up to go out in public. We’re less tidy. We might complain more often. We don’t deal with those unresolved issues that may have led to the demise of previous relationships. We fall back into annoying habits and behaviors and also notice more of those in our partner.

We may even start becoming overwhelmed by the emotional reactions, which are constantly triggered by our thoughts and lack of corrective action.

Simply put, we are no longer focused on the best. And by focusing on what annoys or depresses us, we are constantly triggering stress hormones. Unlike happy hormones, these feel really uncomfortable and can lead to a downward spiral of negative thoughts, which often have negative consequences.

Emotional tension is not only felt by us; it has a radiating and repelling effect on everyone around us.

When we have an apparent lack of desire to make an effort inside and outside the bedroom, it communicates a lack of love and respect to our partner. This leads to further complications.

The less effort we put in ourselves, the less effort our partner will feel inclined to put into themselves, us. and our relationship.

They may even start believing that they cannot make us happy. This is when many relationships start breaking down.

2. Be Responsible for How You Feel

I’ve counseled many individuals and couples over the years for sex, intimacy, and emotional connection issues, and it’s surprising how often a partner will think they are responsible for their partner’s happiness.

Yes, our behaviors and actions can contribute to a partner’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction, which is why it’s so important to lift our own “A” game, as that will inspire our partner to lift theirs.

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But how we feel comes down to a few simple things we can be in charge of.

Dressing nicely to feel good about ourselves, making the most of what we’ve been given, taking charge of resolving sexual function issues in ourselves, and supporting and encouraging a partner to resolve theirs, being appreciative of our partner and all that we are creating in our life… these are all restorative actions that enhance how we feel.

It’s up to us to reprogram our reality. Remember that every action has an opposite and equal reaction.

If we’re focused on what’s wrong, what might go wrong, or our partner’s annoying habits, is that going to make us feel good, motivate us to lift our own game, and be that better version of ourselves? No, of course not. It’s going to be depressing at the very least.

To be a better lover, we need to be predominantly focused on the thoughts and actions that create the best outcomes for all, so we’re happier within ourselves and more engaging to be around. Yes, we will fall down from time to time, but that’s part of being human.

However, how long we stay down is up to us.

How to Be a Better Lover in the Bedroom

Once you’re able to improve your relationship outside the bedroom, move inside to work on the problems you may be finding there.

1. Deal with Intimacy and Sexual Function Issues

Now that we’ve dealt with outside the bedroom, it’s time to focus on upgrading our intimacy skills. I previously mentioned sexual function issues. These affect the vast majority of the world’s population. By combining statistics from a number of sexual intimacy studies[2], we can see that close to 80% of people are affected in some way by sexual dysfunction.

Sexual function issues, such as not being able to orgasm, problems reaching orgasm, vaginal dryness in women, and premature (early) ejaculation, erectile dysfunction (loss of erection hardness), and being unable to ejaculate all cause a lot of tension and stress inside and outside the bedroom.

These issues generally occur due to a lack of relevant sex education knowledge, such as what to focus on and when. I previously spoke about how our focus affects our outcomes. If we’re focused on the wrong thing at the wrong time during sex, then our brain is going to be confused as to what we want, and this will result in one or more of the above sexual “malfunctions.”

How does this relate to being a better lover?

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Many people go through life hopeful that these issues will suddenly resolve themselves and sex will become a fulfilling event. This is seldom the case because the person continues to apply the wrong action, hoping for a different result.

These issues can also result in failed relationships as a partner may look elsewhere for satisfaction. While this is a hard pill to swallow, it happens a lot. If we have a problem, we need to deal with it so it doesn’t contaminate our relationship and possibly cause challenges to our own mental and emotional health.

When we are distracted by a sexual function issue, there is very little emotional connection because we are focused on the problem and when it will (or will not) happen. This can lead to our partner questioning our desirability as a partner.

When sex is too hard (no pun intended) all attraction can be lost[3].

I’m speaking from my own personal experience here. I fact, it was the reason I got into this line of work. I am passionate about helping solve sexual dysfunction in both men and women because I know how prevalent it is and how it can negatively affect relationships and people’s self esteem.

Which leads me to my next point. Sex is about both partners, not just about one.

2. Care About Your Partner’s Experience as Much as Your Own

This is always great advice. However, you need to balance your sexual focus or this will cause problems. For instance, when a male focuses too much of his attention on giving his partner foreplay, it can cause him to lose his hard erection. A female partner overly focused on the emotional connection she feels with her partner during sex may render her unable to reach orgasm.

Even focusing on a couples’ spiritual connection can cause problems during intimacy[4] because their brains aren’t receiving signals relevant to completing the sexual act.

These are common problems people face when they are trying to be a better lover.

3. Don’t Spend So Much Time Stressing Over Sexual Function

Being a better lover requires corrective actions to resolve those sexual function issues which undermine our ability to truly connect with a partner.

Why? Because these issues continually eat away at both partners, lowering libidos and causing emotional and sexual frustration.

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For example, a woman who is unable to reach orgasm during intercourse is completely distracted during intercourse. Her partner can feel her disconnection and may start imagining she no longer loves or is attracted to them. This can lead to a weak erection or early ejaculation issue (in a male), which further compounds their intimacy issues.

While she may have consoled herself with the fact that she can sometimes orgasm during foreplay, she may not realize the stress this puts on her partner as he or she struggles to perform so that she may feel fulfilled sexually.

It’s hard work when your partner takes 20 minutes or more to reach an orgasm, especially for a male partner who has to remain hard as well as in control for this duration.

From the other perspective, a male who ejaculates early[5] is often judged by his partner as being selfish. Usually, he is simply noticing how arousing his partner is and how much they turn him on! Conversely, a male who cannot ejaculate is usually overly focused on his partner and not signalling to his brain that it’s time to orgasm.

What I’m saying is that these issues are frequently misunderstood. Sometimes it’s the misunderstanding itself that causes a relationship to break down.

4. Listen More

Everything we think, say, and do has an impact on how we feel. This is especially important in relationships as all of our actions also have a direct effect on our partner. To be a better lover, we need to be a better listener.

When we don’t give our partner our full attention, we tend not to hear beyond the surface of what is being said, and this causes problems, especially when they are requesting an important change.

It is said that the majority of communication[6] is non-verbal, and when we’re distracted we miss all those clues which demonstrate the importance of an issue.

This can lead to many drawn-out arguments where both partners blame each other for not understanding, whereas if the partner had fully listened and taken corrective action, that particular argument wouldn’t be occurring.

There’s nothing worse than feeling accused of something we feel we haven’t done, yet if we truly listen to our partner, we can realize what is being asked of us.

Final Thoughts

Being a better lover requires being the best version of ourselves. This means stepping up as an individual as well as actively listening and resolving the issues that are causing conflict in our life and relationships.

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More Tips on Being a Better Lover

Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Jacqui Olliver

Psychosexual Relationship Specialist

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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