Expert Reveals The Often-Overlooked Trick To Having Great Sex With A Partner – Exclusive

Sex is natural, sex is fun — and that's not just George Michael singing. The rewards for a great sex life have been studied many times over, and that includes the benefits of having orgasms.

"Perhaps one of the strongest benefits is that sex has a positive impact on our romantic relationships," notes sex therapist Emily Jamea, Ph.D., by way of Healthy Women. "Sexual satisfaction can even be used as a barometer for relationship satisfaction. And evidence shows that people in healthy romantic relationships are generally less stressed, live longer, and heal more quickly when ill."

The health benefits associated with having an active sex life really do add up. Medical News Today reports that sex can help your heart, blood pressure, and immune system, and has been known to help relieve stress. "Sex triggers the release of oxytocin, endorphins, and other 'feel good' hormones, which may be responsible for [stress reduction]," the outlet notes. 

The trick to having great sex with a partner is to have sex with yourself

There are a lot of old beliefs about women and sexuality, but the truth is, masturbation can have a positive impact on your sex life with a partner. "Get to know your own body," Jess O'Reilly, sexologist and host of the "Sex With Dr. Jess" podcast, advised in an exclusive interview with The List. "Have sex with yourself first to learn more about your body's unique responses."

"Masturbation can be a powerful way to learn more about your body ... and your preferences," affirms Dr. Kate Balestrieri, psychologist and certified sex therapist for Modern Intimacy. "By helping individuals understand how their bodies react to different activities, masturbation can actually make other sexual experiences more pleasurable."

Don't just speed toward a happy ending, though, notes O'Reilly. "Rather than masturbating to get to orgasm as quickly as possible, take your time and enjoy the process." Light candles, or don't. Turn on music, or don't. Wear lingerie, or don't. Decide what mood works for you, then take time to touch and explore. "The more experience you have pleasing yourself, the better quipped you'll be to show a partner how to share in your pleasure," says O'Reilly.

You and your partner should talk about sex

While doing it is a lot more fun, talking about sex is just as important as the act to make sure you're both happy between the sheets. "Talk about sex regularly — not just when something is awry," advises sexologist Jess O'Reilly. "Talk about your fantasies. Talk about how you want to feel before, during and after sex."

Via Psychology Today, Laurie J. Watson PhD, LMFT, LPC, shares that going back to the basics may be a good place to start a conversation about sex. "There are some basic questions you can ask to get a better understanding of each other's expectations. What is the time of day when you feel most sexual? Do you like sexual initiation to begin with touch or with words? What moods, rhythms, and acts during sex turn you on?"

If you don't want to start randomly chatting about sex during dinner, O'Reilly suggests your talk could begin with your viewing playlist. "Discuss the sex you see on TV and in the movies," she offers. "What do you like? What turns you off? What scenes, scenarios or characters do you find appealing and which ones are off-putting?" Once you get going, be sure to check in on what gets each other's engines revving at high speed. "Your core erotic feeling is the feeling you require in order to get in the mood for sex," reveals O'Reilly. "It can revolutionize the way you approach pleasure, seduction, and sex."