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Last Updated on December 11, 2020

How to Be a Better Lover and Spice Up Your Relationship

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

How to Be a Better Lover and Spice Up Your Relationship 3 Simple Signs of a Strong and Healthy Relationship 3 Signs of a Failing Marriage (And How to Deal With It) How to Make Long Distance Relationships Work for You Why Boundaries in Marriage Are Good for Your Relationship

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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