10 Things Couples Who (Consistently) Have Great Sex Do

"The ultimate pleasure is giving pleasure."—Raheem DeVaughn


I'm in my 40s. Therefore, I remember mixtapes very well. I'm also a really big fan of music which is why, when it came to some of the guys I slept with, I preferred for there to be no music playing in the background at all. Not because music doesn't set the mood; it's actually because it does it far too well. To this day, if I hear R. Kelly's "Seems Like You're Ready", D'Angelo's "Lady" or "So Anxious" by Ginuwine, my mind immediately goes back to particular people and, umm, activities. And since I actually do want to listen to R&B for the rest of my life, I had to be careful about how songs were able to—pardon the pun—penetrate my mind and heart space during the act.

I thought about all of this as I was talking to a couple who absolutely adores the super sensual and sex-triggering slow jam "Breathe" by Raheem DeVaughn. As they shared with me some of the things that makes each time feel about as good as the first time, even 12 years later—yeah, talk about relationship goals—they told me that they create a new playlist for sex every season. That's right—four times a year. They said that putting the tracks together gets them extra hype. Then, when they play them, it feels like each song was written just for them and their love life—and that makes the intimacy that much more intense. As a bonus, whenever they listen to old playlists, it will take them back to a certain experience, position or technique and that inspires them to replay the moment all over again.

Just so I could put Raheem's song into better perspective, I went home to re-listen to it after having that convo. Apparently he agrees with where they were coming from because, peep this line—"I know your favorite love song and how you like it on repeat/I was born a patient lover, so I'll start with your feet." Wheeeeew…wheeeee.

It's one thing to have great sex moments. Hopefully, we've all had that. But after taking in the pearls of wisdom from the couple who seemed to get so hot discussing their sex life that I wondered if they were gonna strip right in front of me—again, relationship goals—it inspired me to share some of what takes for two individuals to go from having good sex every once in a while to having unbelievable sex, pretty much every single time that they do it.

1. They Really Like Sex. Like REALLY Like It.


Something that I don't think gets talked about nearly enough is how many people actually like sex. I don't mean they're attracted to their partner or that they can get into it once the right spot is touched or kissed. What I mean is, they have a really hard time, even going a week without experiencing the act itself. That it's something they find to be enjoyable, it's something they are super fond of, and it's something that they prefer doing over…a billion other things. These are the kind of individuals who really like sex—and when you like something, you want to do it as often as you can. You also want to get better and better at it so that you can grow to like it that much more.

I can't tell you how many sessions I've sat in where a woman has said to me, "I can go months without sex and I'm good." If you mean "good" in the sense of being a single woman who isn't going to settle when it comes to choosing a partner, I'm with you. If you're a wife telling me this, that is anything but good. What many conversations have revealed is, oftentimes, it has little to do with their relationship and more to do with their views on sex overall. This why, I had to lead off with, if you want to have a consistently awesome sex life, first ask yourself how "into sex" you are to begin with. People who have great sex on a regular basis already know the answer to that question.

2. They See Sex As Being Necessary. VERY NECESSARY.

For the past few years, something that I've been trying to make a regular part of my daily practice is the art of minimalism—figuring out what I actually need while not feeling like all of my wants are something that automatically should be pursued. Since doing this, my finances have stabilized, I have less debt and honestly, I feel lighter because I'm not clouded with so much excess…so much stuff. Where exactly am I going with this? Unfortunately, if a lot of people were asked if sex was a need or not, many of them would say "no". They would probably say something along the lines of it being something that's fun to do and, with the right person, a beautiful experience. But at the same time, if someone were to ask them if they found sex to be a very necessary part of their lifestyle, they might just say "Eh" and shrug their shoulders.

This isn't the case for couples who have consistently great sex. There's food, water, shelter—and sex. And here's the thing about when you see something as being a need—you make provisions for it, you make time for it, you rely on it to provide for some aspect of your life.

The things that I want, I'll get around to those at some point. The things that I need, those are top priorities, no matter what. See the difference? Couples who have the best sex treat their sex life like Column B not Column A.

3. They Practice Sexual Mindfulness


One of the worst things that someone can be during sex is mentally preoccupied. In other words, they aren't completely present or fully in the moment. While their body is doing one thing, their mind is thinking about the project they've got to finish, the bill that needs to be paid or even, someone other than their partner. Meanwhile, couples who have great sex on a consistent basis? Something that is important to them is practicing mindfulness.

"Mindful" is such a trendy self-help word these days but one of my favorite definitions is found in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary—"the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis." Two people who are intentional about being non-judgmental of one another's bodies or performance while sharing each other's thoughts and remaining aware of one another's emotions? Shoot, that's getting me all hot 'n bothered just thinking about it. Yep, sexual mindfulness is the dopest of the dope.

4. They Are Mad Adventurous

While checking out an article that said most women "go off of sex" at some point in a long-term relationship, guess the reason that was given? Boredom. Sheer boredom. I get why too because when we're bored, we're uninspired, creativity has gone totally out of the window and everything is pretty predictable. Hmph. When you apply all of this to sex, the phrase "tedious repetition" (a definition for being bored) comes to mind. Boring sex sometimes isn't bad…it's just…boring. It pretty much comes down to going through the motions, and when sex is like that, checking out a movie you've never seen or even painting your nails a new color can be more compelling.

For couples who have an incredible sex life, they absolutely can't relate to wanting to substitute something for sex…especially while they are having it. A part of the reason why is because of how adventurous they are. They like having sex in new places. They enjoy testing out new positions. Some even have sex-themed vision boards or bucket lists. To them, the key to improving their sex life is figuring out how to top themselves as often as possible. Yeah, their sex life is never boring. More than that, their sex life is always satisfying.

5. They Make Sure They Are Emotionally Connected


Oftentimes, when someone hears the phrase "emotional connection", love or even being in love is what comes to mind. While this tends to be the case for a lot of sexually active couples, there are some individuals who have great sex, even if love isn't exactly on the radar (or on the radar yet). How is that possible? They listen to each other. They esteem each other. They make sure that they both feel safe in one another's presence. They feel close even when there is no physical interaction taking place. When it comes to their personal dynamic, they don't question if the other values them or appreciates having them in their lives. There is peace without drama. This is what a healthy emotional connection looks like. And when you feel secure and comfortable with your partner, it's the foundation for the kind of sexual relationship that only gets better and better with time.

6. They’ve Got a “Nasty Meter”

OK so, y'all. Our managing editor is someone that I communicate with, at least a couple of times a week. If you check for her article byline (Sheriden Chanel), you'll notice that most of her content is sex-related, so it's not like it's a secret that she's a free spirit. But after listening to the xoHappyHour Podcast episode "What My Parents Never Told Me About Sex"? Let me just say this—if you're still trying to figure out the differences in the three voices, Sheriden is going to be the one who says the most "Umm…wow" stuff when it comes to sex and sexuality. Truly, her nastiness meter knows no bounds. NO. BOUNDS. I'm willing to bet that she has had some pretty phenomenal experiences because of it too.

And why am I using the word "nasty" instead of uninhibited? Whenever I think of intense, sweaty, no holds barred sex, for some reason Janet Jackson's track to "Nasty" plays in my mind—"I don't like no nasty car, I don't like a nasty food/The only nasty thing I like is the nasty groove/Huh, will this one do?/Uh-huh, I know".

Nasty grooves. No inhibitions. Let's. Do. This…FOR REAL. If there are a list of rules for folks who consistently have great sex, those phrases would about sum it up.

7. They Are Open, Honest and Real

Anyone who is in a healthy relationship, they are going to say that communication is a main component to a satisfying and lasting connection with someone. When you're truly able to communicate, you are able to be open, honest and real. Well, when it comes to sexual activity, this means being open about what your desires are, honest about what is and isn't working for you and real—really real—about what you want your overall sexual experience to be like.

While we're on the word "open", folks who have great sex on a regular basis also tend to be open-minded. Certain things that they naturally might not have been willing to try before, because they trust their partner, they are willing to explore more than usual. This doesn't mean that they allow themselves to be forced or even manipulated into doing what they don't want to do. But what it does mean is because their relationship is so safe and authentic, certain things are definitely up for negotiation.

8. They Don’t Overthink Everything


Does my body look good with the lights on? Will she think I'm big enough? Is my vagina ugly? What if I cum too quick? What if I can't climax at all?? Is she excited? Am I wet enough? Goodness. If there is a super underrated reason for why more couples aren't having consistently fulfilling sexual experiences, it's that one or both individuals are thinking way too hard—and for the life of me, I don't know why. The more research I do on overthinking, the more toxic I see the habit actually is. Overthinking brings forth anxiety. Overthinking tends to create negative hypothetical situations that will probably never manifest. On the sexual tip, overthinking can prevent us from relaxing, letting loose and totally enjoying our partner.

Couples who have amazing sex on a constant basis know this. That's why they don't spend a lot of time worrying about body image or even their performance. As the late great Luke Perry, as Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210, said on the night he and Brenda had sex for the first time, "We're not going to be judging each other. We're going to be enjoying each other." Words to live by. Very much so.

9. They Are More Focused on Giving than Receiving

If someone were to ask me what my favorite sex-related word was, in this season of my life, the answer would probably surprise them. Generous. There is nothing like experiencing copulation with someone who is a generous individual. When you're generous, you're liberal in how you give. When you are generous, you're unselfish. Generous people are also considerate, thoughtful, willing, ungrudging and totally free. They are the kind of lovers who enjoy giving oral sex because they like to see their partner happy. They are the type of partner who doesn't feel like sex is complete unless their partner climaxes.

Individuals who only give to get deserve all kinds of side-eye because, not only does that represent having a self-centered mentality, but it also reveals a lack of sexual maturity too. However, couples who are happiest when their partner is happy—how can the sex not totally be off-of-the-chain?

10. They Seek to Affirm and Heal with Every Experience


This one right here is probably my favorite. The reason why I say that is because, there are some sex partners and experiences that I've had that, as far as the act itself, things were pretty cool. But when it came to the actual person, in hindsight, they ended up doing me more harm than good.

Since sex is the kind of act that involves our mind, body and spirit, it's important to share the experience with someone who affirms every aspect of your being. It's even better when you are able to walk away feeling like some part of you was even healed in some way.

This is what I try and convey with the married couples that I work with. When they took vows to commit to the "becoming one process", a part of what should come with that is using sexual intimacy as a conduit to uphold and support their partner, to remind their partner of their beauty and worth—to make them feel like if there is anyplace where they can truly be "naked and not ashamed", it's with them.

And when you know that you know…that you know that you're sharing a bed with someone who wants to even use the act of sex to improve your quality of life as well as to soothe and restore you—whew! Why wouldn't you want to be in the presence of that kind of greatness, just as much as you possibly can? Anyone reading this who has great sex on a regular basis, I am confident that they are nodding their head in total agreement because this is exactly how they feel about their partner. And you know what, y'all? It doesn't get much better than that. Do it. (Pun totally intended.)

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

What GROWN Women Consider Great Sex To Be

How To Orgasm With Your Partner At The Same Time

Here's How To Make Morning Sex...Sexier

Why We Should Stop Using The Phrase "Make Love" So Much

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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