In June 2018, 2000 people took part in our PLSRx Survey. We delved deep. Exploring sex and intimacy in relationships across the UK, we uncovered just how many times a week, on average, Brits get between the sheets. We discovered that 52% of British couples have sex twice a week or less, while over 66% of couples watch or stream TV between 2-7 times a week. So it seems that “Netflix & Chill” has become… exactly that. Alix Fox summed it up quite nicely for us, the nation has become consumed by “box sets rather than hot sex”. What are we going to do about it? Led by our ongoing mission to empower pleasure and get the nation experimenting, we’ve asked Alix to put together her top tips for switching off the TV and switching onto your partner.
And quite frankly, she’s nailed it:
We discovered that 52% of British couples have sex twice a week or less, while over 66% of couples watch or stream TV between 2-7 times a week.
1. YOU GOTTA STROLL WITH IT
If you come home from work shattered and collapse on the settee straight away, it can be difficult to peel yourself back off! Instead of slouching on the couch and reaching for the remote, try taking a short stroll around the block with your partner to decompress and share news from your days. The mild exercise will help invigorate your body and clear your head, and romantically holding hands helps you reconnect physically.
Even if it’s rainy, huddle-snuggling beneath an umbrella and hearing the drops tap-tapping on your brolly can be surprisingly calming and enjoyable.
If there’s been any tough stuff happen that day, try to get it out in the open while you’re out in the open, then make a pact that once you get back home you’ll leave it behind for the night. This can be a healthy way of keeping problems in proportion and stopping stresses from taking over your entire evening and getting in the way of fun.
2. MAKE A ‘KETTLE KISSES’ RULE
A really good snog can be ab-so-lute-ly delicious. You can lose yourself in it so easily. It can make you feel so passionate, so potent… Yet many couples stop dedicating proper time to deep kissing as their relationship runs on. Make a pact that at least once a day, when you pop the kettle on to share a cuppa, you’ll give your full focus to kissing for as long as the water takes to boil. It’s an easy feel-good way to up the amount of affection and intimacy you enjoy together – and you may well find that the kettle isn’t the only thing to get hot.
3. ESCAPE YOUR DAY WITH A GAMES NIGHT
Lots of folks turn to gripping TV dramas to relax and unwind because they’re a very effective means of escapism. An engaging board or card game can deliver the same level of diversion from the strains of daily life but offers more chance to interact with your lover – and the opportunity to give things a cheeky twist. There are some brilliant specially designed sexy board games on the market, but it’s also easy to amp-up the adult action during a round of Poker, Chess, Guitar Hero or Twister by deciding that an item of clothing must be removed every time someone loses. Challenging each other to spell the rudest words possible in Scrabble can be a tonne of fun too!
Bonus round: once one person is naked, if they lose again they must put on a pair of their partner’s underwear (sizing permitting). You might be surprised how beguiling she looks in boxers, or he looks encased in a lace thong…and if not, you’ll still share a laugh, which is luscious in itself.
4. TAKE THE EMPHASIS OFF PENETRATION, AND PUT IT ON PLEASURE
I’d like to ban the word ‘foreplay’, since it frames all manner of thrilling activities like massage, oral sex, experimenting with toys and mutual masturbation as mere warm-ups that come before the ‘main’ penetrative act. I believe that as a society, we’re rather too focused on ‘putting a penis in a hole’ as the main sexual goal, even when for many women especially, this is not always the most enjoyable action. This obsession with penetration also places an immense burden upon men to gain and maintain erections, because they feel as though successful sex hinges upon them staying hard. Considering all that pressure to see penetrative sex as an obligatory, inevitable outcome of erotic play, it’s no wonder many opt for whacking on a boxset over initiating intimacy.
Try taking penetration off the menu one night, and exploring other touches and techniques that make you both feel good. Sticking to so-called ‘foreplay’ may well end up being a ten-out-of-ten experience.
I’d like to ban the word ‘foreplay’, since it frames all manner of thrilling activities like massage, oral sex, experimenting with toys and mutual masturbation as mere warm-ups that come before the ‘main’ penetrative act.
5. TRY ‘LEDGING’ WITH YOUR LOVER
You may already have heard of ‘edging’: teasing yourself until you’re on the edge of orgasm, then stopping, repeating the process to build to an eventual intense climax. In ‘ledging’, you use a small unisex vibrator to tickle your hot spots until you’re almost in O Town, then take the toy off your body and pass it to your partner while you cool down, taking turns until you both melt. Why the name? Because you’ll both feel legendary!
Given that over half of Brits are keen to integrate adult toys into their sex sessions, this is a fantastic way to explore a new toy purchase together and gain mutual pleasure from it. PLSRx’s The Bullet is a spot-on choice to hit both your hot spots: a dinky-but-powerful vibrator with 3 intensities, 4 pulsation modes and 2 differently shaped silicone sleeves you can pop on top to ring the changes, it works wonderfully on her clitoris, and can be held against his shaft, traced around the head of his penis or used to circle nipples.
Given that over half of Brits are keen to integrate adult toys into their sex sessions, this is a fantastic way to explore a new toy purchase together and gain mutual pleasure from it.
6. USE YOUR FAVOURITE FILMS AND TV SHOWS AS A SOUND SOURCE OF INSPIRATION…
Try playing the soundtrack from an erotically-charged TV series or movie in the bedroom to create an instantly intense, heady atmosphere, or set the scene for some role play. There are lots of fan-compiled playlists on music streaming services like Spotify, in addition to the official albums. I rate tracks from Bladerunner, Game of Thrones and Peaky Blinders. Remembering what you got up to when you next hear theme tunes playing on your TV will give you a knowing buzz, and may well prompt a scintillating sequel!
PLSRx toys are designed to operate as quietly as possible, but music can be handy to cover any noise if you’re worried about disturbing housemates or children. Alternatively, you could try blindfolding your partner, placing headphones on their ears and using music to further enhance their state of sensory deprivation: not only are they unable to see where you’re going to touch them next, but they can’t hear either… Exciting!
7. FIND NEW JOYS FROM CLASSIC TOYS
If you’re a creature of habit, you may well tend to automatically use vibrators, in the same way, every time. Try new toy tricks to get your fix and keep things interesting.
Rabbit vibes are gloriously gifted at simultaneously giving both internal and external stimulation – but have you tried twisting your rabbit 180 degrees so the ‘ears’ that usually rest on your clitoris tickle the anal area instead? The PLSRx Rabbit is flexible enough to be used in a similar way on male bodies too: rest the smaller ‘ears’ at the anal entrance while cupping the main shaft against the scrotum and perineum (the highly sensitive patch of skin between the anus and testicles). Just remember to clean toys before switching between the anal and vaginal zones to avoid transferring bacteria from one part of the body to another.
The PLSRx Classic vibrator has a hole at the base designed to make it easy to grip, angle, and undo when you need to change the batteries, but if you’re feeling daring and fancy trying some mild bondage, you could have your lover thread thick silky ribbons through this loop and bind them around your thighs, keeping the toy tied inside you… Hot.
8. RUB-A-DUB-DUB, PRESS PLAY IN THE TUB
If you truly can’t face missing your nightly dose of Netflix, at least watch it in a way that’s conducive to closeness. Run a deep warm bubble bath, prop your tablet or laptop up somewhere safe in the bathroom, and create your own cinema for two amid the suds. Scrub each other’s skin with foamy sponges, maybe treat yourselves to a glass of wine…far more sensuous than being slumped on the sofa, but you’ve still not missed an episode.
If you truly can’t face missing your nightly dose of Netflix, at least watch it in a way that’s conducive to closeness.
9. SOFA SO GOOD
Even if you’ve abandoned your settee to get sexy, the cushions can still come in handy: because they’re made of a denser foam than pillows, they’re better at supporting the body and can be useful to prop yourself up with while trying out ambitious sexual positions. Throw a blanket over them if you’re worried about damaging fabrics with your frolics!
10. SHOW AND TELL – OR HIDE AND PEEK
The PLSRx survey showed that almost half of Brits enjoy giving new things a whirl in the bedroom, but it’s essential to know the basics of what your lover likes in order to predict what fresh adventures they may enjoy. Masturbating in front of your partner allows them to learn precisely where and how you prefer to be stimulated from the ultimate expert – you! As well as being an educational exercise, this can be deeply enticing. Command your lover to sit on a chair facing the bed, then tell them that you’re going to put on a show – and you demand their close attention. If dirty talk turns you both on, get them to describe each move you make: where you’re touching, what speed you’re going, how you’re pressing your toy against yourself or whether you’re moving your fingers in circles or stroking up and down. In addition to sounding seriously sexy, vocalising what they’re viewing will help them commit it to memory, so they can put their lesson into action later.
The PLSRx survey showed that almost half of Brits enjoy giving new things a whirl in the bedroom, but it’s essential to know the basics of what your lover likes in order to predict what fresh adventures they may enjoy.
If – like one in five Gen Zs – you get self-conscious in the boudoir, playing with yourself while your lover watches may make you feel timid. If you’re more nervous, try my ‘Hide ‘n’ Peek’ technique. Ask your partner to leave the room while you put on slinky music, light candles, or do whatever else helps you get in the mood, before you start pleasuring yourself. After 10 minutes, they can come back and ‘spy’ on you by opening the door a crack; the sensation of voyeurism and idea of ‘catching you in the act’ can be thrilling for them, and you might find it easier to relax and feel less inhibited if you have the room to yourself. Alternatively, wearing a blindfold while you stroke yourself in company can make you feel less scrutinised. In addition, removing your sense of sight can enhance your awareness of touch, helping you focus in on everything you’re feeling.
Alix Fox – sex educator, co-host of BBC Radio 1’s real-life sex story show, Unexpected Fluids, and resident sex & relationships agony aunt on hit podcast The Modern Mann