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Help, Me and My Partner Have Bad Sex. How Do We Improve It?

When it comes to relationship goals, there can’t be many more desirable than the winning combination of a deep romantic connection and hot sex.

However, many couples who might go great guns in all other aspects of their lives together find that things aren’t quite going to plan when it comes to passion.

Worse still, some people would go as far as to describe the sex they have with their partner as ‘bad’ and feel lost about how to fix such a delicate problem.

Fortunately, there are tried and tested strategies to help break down barriers and unlock the secrets of a better bedroom experience.

Today, we’re going to share them.

What we’ll be looking into:

  • Addressing communication problems in your relationship
  • Why sex education should be a continuous learning experience
  • The importance of self-pleasure
  • Establishing emotional intimacy
  • Using the sensate focus technique

Does sex matter to you and your partner?

Before we delve into the subject of sex, it’s important to say that not every romantic relationship has to involve sex.

If you and your partner both agree that the intimacy you share doesn’t need to be of a sexual nature, that’s entirely your choice and your business.

However, if one or both of you feel that sex is important to you and isn’t meeting your desired expectations, then you must express yourself and start talking about it.

Here are some suggestions on how to improve the sex in your relationship.

#1: Open the lines of communication

So many relationship problems come down to one fundamental problem – a lack of honest conversation.

Talking about sex can feel daunting, especially when the relationship is in its early stages, but if you don’t talk to your partner, how can either of you know what you really want?

If the sex you are having together is unsatisfying, you can begin to work on the problems by talking about what would turn you on, opening up about your desires and fantasies, and the things that don’t float your boat.

What the experts say:

Sex therapist Dr Emily Morse, the author of the book ‘Smart Sex’ suggests some ways to approach talking to your partner.

Dr Emily says “Talk about what you love about your sex life first”. She suggests talking about how attracted you are to them and how much you enjoy your intimacy.

You might then provide a little bit of feedback. You could make some positive suggestions about what you really like and what turns you on. 

She says you could then go on to talk about the things you’d like to include and how to incorporate this into your lovemaking and bring you both more pleasure.

#2: Get educated about sex

If the only sex education you’ve had took place in a classroom against a backdrop of sniggering, it’s time to get learning.

There are plenty of resources to deepen your understanding of sexuality and help you discover more about how to make sex better for you and your partner.

Better yet, you could find out more together and develop deeper intimacy by making those discoveries as a couple.

What the experts say:

Sex therapist Ian Kerner has dedicated his book, ‘So Tell Me About The Last Time You Had Sex’, to help couples who are stuck get back into sexual sync.

Books like Ian’s provide tools and techniques that you can use to identify and fix problems, as well as ways to enhance your lovemaking.

“Education is a powerful tool in transforming your sex life.”

Seeking professional guidance, reading books, and attending workshops could help to deepen your understanding of sexual dynamics.

#3: Start practising self-pleasure

Do you know what you like or what turns you on? Self-pleasure is a way to discover the answers to those questions.

It’s all about learning what sensual techniques work for you, and by taking time to pleasure yourself, you can share what you’ve learned with your partner.

It’s not all about masturbation either – there are lots of things to try as you explore your sexuality alone. These could include:

  • Learning to feel comfortable with yourself
  • Discover different techniques of self-pleasure
  • Explore porn without shame
  • Try Audio Erotica
  • Allow yourself to fantasise

What the experts say:

Dr Kelifern Pomeranz, who is a clinical psychologist, sex therapist and relationship expert, says, “If you are invested in becoming a better lover, I recommend that you regularly participate in a self-love/self-pleasure practice.”

Dr Pomeranz continues, “Before you can connect with a partner in a meaningful way, you first need to connect with yourself.

“It is important to discover what brings you pleasure, explore your turn-ons and turn-offs, embrace your body, and learn how to say ‘no,’ ‘not right now,’ and ‘yes’. You cannot communicate to a partner what you do not know yourself.”

#4: Put the focus on emotional connection

Put aside sex for a moment and work on the emotional connection with your partner.

When we spend time cultivating a deep emotional bond with our partner, it can significantly enhance the sex between us.

The reason? Building trust and connection outside of the bedroom means that you may feel less inhibited once you are in a passionate moment.

What the experts say:

According to relationship expert Dr John Gottman, co-founder of the Gottman Institute with his wife, Dr Julie Schwartz Gottman, emotional connection is critical to enhancing the physical relationship too.

Dr Gottman says, “Emotional connection is the bedrock of great sex. Strengthen your emotional bond, and you’ll likely see improvements in the bedroom.

“Couples who prioritise emotional intimacy often experience a richer and more satisfying sex life. Invest time in building trust, understanding, and connection with your partner.”

#5: Try the ‘sensate focus’ technique

Have you heard about sensate focus? It’s a tool used by sex therapists to get couples to explore sexual intimacy without the pressure of orgasm.

In the sensate focus, there are moments when one person is the designated ‘toucher’, and the other person is the ‘receiver’.

Often, sessions will start with non-genital-or-breast-touching to explore what feels pleasurable before moving on to those areas.

The goal of sensate focus is to give both partners a better understanding of how to give pleasure without putting sexual intercourse or orgasm into the mix until later.

What the experts say:

Many sex therapists advocate a four-stage approach for sensate focus.

Stage one is sensate focus without genital touching, and stage two is when genital touching is incorporated. In both these stages, each partner rotates the role of ‘toucher’ and ‘receiver’. In the third stage, the touching becomes mutual and happens simultaneously, while the fourth stage is where sensate focus moves on to sexual intercourse.

Therapists Linda Weiner and Constance Avery-Clark, authors of the book ‘Sensate Focus in Sex Therapy: The Illustrated Manual’, explain further.

They say, “Touch is the most primal sensation and need. The first thing children do is to explore through touch out of a sense of curiosity. By the time we are young adults, touch is often paired with sexuality, and expectations about sexual touch abound.

“People need to relearn the importance of touching for its own sake, touching mindfully. Re-experiencing the sensation of touch, without the pressure to like it, to be aroused by it, or to simultaneously arouse the partner, helps create a connection to oneself and/or to the partner. When the conscious mind gets out of the way of the body, the body may respond on its own, building up a simmering charge.”

#6: See a sex therapist

More and more couples are seeking professional help to fix the sexual obstacles in their relationship.

There are plenty of sex therapists out there who use a range of techniques and tools to bring about intimate change that can improve lacklustre lovemaking.

What the experts say: 

Renowned psychotherapist Esther Perel, founder of the podcast ‘Where Should We Begin?’ describes her approach to sex therapy.

Esther says, “When I work with couples on sexuality, when I work with desire, it’s about how one maintains a sense of aliveness—a connection to one’s erotic self.

“It’s really not about frequency, positions, technique, statistics of sex—it’s all about that erotic connection.

“When people come to my office and they complain about listlessness of their sex lives, they sometimes want more sex, but what they really want is better sex. And the better thing they are looking for is eros, the deeper dimension of sex.”

Start the conversation

Hopefully, you’ve found this piece helpful and have an idea of how to approach improving the sex between you and your partner.

As suggested in the article, doing small things such as getting educated, having honest conversations, exploring yourself, building an emotional connection or seeing a therapist could be the key to improving your ‘bad sex’.

If you are willing to start a meaningful conversation with the other person in your relationship, it’s a great first step.

Don’t be afraid to gently vocalise your needs and give your partner space to do the same.

Hopefully, it’ll be the beginning of a new level of intimacy between you.

This article has been reviewed by our Kari Health Experts and Editorial Board to ensure accuracy and reliability of the information presented. However, please note that the content provided is for informational purposes only and should not replace advice from your medical professional.

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