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Slow Sex Is the Best Sex. Here Are All the Benefits, Plus 13 Tips From Experts.

Updated: Jun 5

Time to slow things waaay down in the bedroom.

Slow Sex

Quickies have their time and place. Maybe you love the adrenaline rush of a hot and heavy high-speed romp, or, hey, maybe you’re just busy. We get it—you’ve got friends to see, work to do, and Bridgerton to watch! But when you do have the time for it, a super slow sex sesh can be nothing short of divine. Not to mention, taking your time in bed (at least every now and then) can have some serious benefits for your sex life and your relationship.

“When you slow down, every touch, kiss, and caress becomes more intense,” says Rachel Needle, PsyD, a licensed psychologist in West Palm Beach and the co-director of Modern Sex Therapy Institutes. “You’ll become more attuned to each other’s bodies, exploring sensations you might miss in a hurried encounter. Slow sex also allows you to connect on a deeper level, leading to a more connected relationship.”

It’s true. Slowing down in the bedroom can help to increase intimacy with your partner. Plus, slow sex allows for more time for orgasms to build, which tends to equal a more intense climax. “There are so many benefits to inviting slowness into your life, especially your sex life!” says Jesse Kahn, LCSW-R, CST, director and sex therapist at the Gender & Sexuality Therapy Center in New York. “While cultural depictions of sex often go from 0 to 100, taking your time with sex-related play can be fun and engaging, and also an anxiety-reducing approach.” And because we want you to be able to reap all of the rewards of a super slow-mo sex sesh, here are 13 slow sex tips that will help you master the art of taking your damn time.

1. Redefine What Sex Is

In case you haven’t heard, sex isn’t just when there’s a penis inside of a vagina—it really encompasses all forms of erotic touch.

If you’re queer, you may have already figured this out, but sometimes straight babes (and definitely the guys) need a gentle reminder. Oral sex, hand jobs, foreplay, and kink scenes can all count as sex.

“I like to compare sex to a plate with different pieces of cake," says Mariah Freya, sex education expert and founder of Beducated. “Penetrative sex is just one tasty piece, but there are so many others to try and mix. None is better than the others; it all depends on your personal taste. It's all about exploring different sensations and enjoying every moment, not just reaching the finish line fast.” Expanding your definition of sex can help you increase the amount of time you spend enjoying it.

2. Take Your Time (and Even Schedule It)

It may sound obvious, but during slow sex, you need to grant yourself permission to take your time. “As with anything in life, when we move quickly through experiences, we run the risk of glossing over or missing something,” says Dulcinea Alex Pitagora, PhD, an NYC-based psychotherapist and sex therapist. “So when sex happens slowly, with curiosity, attention, and intention, there are opportunities to deepen pleasure, intimacy, and bonding, and learn about ourselves and our partners.” So yeah, this isn’t something you want to rush through. That said, we get that you’re probably busy, hence this reminder that it’s totally okay to make slow sex a special occasion type of deal. In fact, we’re gonna go as far as to recommend making it a scheduled activity. Pick a weekend and schedule time for slow sex like you’re booking brunch. Plan a Sunday afternoon devoted to slow sex (you can even send your partner a calendar invite). “Take your time with foreplay and exploration: kissing, touching, and oral sex can really build anticipation and pleasure,” Freya says.

3. Use All of Your Senses

Again, while we’re definitely not anti-quickie, a quickie is, well, quick! While you may clock how hot your partner looks on top of you and the feeling of their weight, chances are you don’t take the time to really utilize all of five senses.

“Slowing down the sexual experience increases awareness towards our senses, which makes us feel a wider range of pleasure,” Freya says. You can even help yourself get into this practice by running through them all mentally. What’s something you can see about your partner (or yourself) that turns you on? What primal noises can you hear? What do they taste like? What physical sensations can you feel on your skin? And don’t forget about smell. Because the olfactory bulb in the brain is directly connected to the amygdala and the hippocampus, which are involved in emotion and memory, smell is indeed linked to memories more than any other senses—meaning this is a prime opportunity to tap into some super sexy memories (and/or make some new ones!).

4. Communicate

If you want to have the best sex possible, you’re going to have to talk about what you like. During slow sex, even those in long-term relationships have an opportunity to learn more about their partner’s fantasies (which can evolve and change), as well as what they like and don’t like. “Prioritize communication. Talking openly with your partner about what you both want and like builds emotional intimacy and makes sex more fulfilling,” Freya says. In newer relationships or casual hook-ups, this is a fast track to getting closer while enjoying better sex. In long-term relationships, it allows you to insert more novelty into your sex life by providing an opportunity to switch it up. If you usually gravitate towards rougher sex, you can try really slowing it down and taking your time, or if soft sex is your default mode, you can use the time to explore something kinky like bondage.

5. Tease

You know when you first start seeing or crushing on someone, and you can practically cut the sexual tension with a knife? Slow sex offers an opportunity to use teasing and delayed gratification to reinject your partnership with that kind of orgasmic sexual tension. “Tease and build anticipation by varying the pace and incorporating different types of touch and stimulation,” clinical psychologist and certified sexologist Denise Renye, PsyD. “Remember, sex is about connection and pleasure, so take time to enjoy every moment and not rush to the finish.” If you want to really up the ante, try some edging—aka the practice of bringing your partner right to the brink of orgasm, only to stop before finishing. Repeat until you just can’t take it anymore, and prepare to see god.

6. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of paying full attention to the present moment without judgment. It’s an important Buddhist practice that therapists from all walks of life adore, and it can also make sex better. The “without judgment” part basically means working on getting yourself out of your head and fully in the present, which can be done by focusing on your breathing and grounding yourself using those delectable five senses. “Slow sex encourages mindfulness—being fully present in the moment, which can be incredibly satisfying. By savoring the experience, both partners are more likely to feel satisfied and fulfilled,” Needle says. Mindfulness is associated with lowered stress levels, enhanced concentration, and a greater sense of calm and emotional resilience. Couple that with the fact that great sex can also lead to more profound emotional satisfaction, and you’ve basically got an epic therapy session in the form of great sex.

7. Make Eye Contact

Making eye contact is basically a sex cheat code. It’s so simple yet so effective—not only in terms of making the sex better, but also when it comes to increasing the intimacy within a relationship. And it’s all thanks to science. “Neuroscientists have shown that making eye contact produces oxytocin, dopamine, and other positive-feeling brain chemicals,” Freya says. “Eye contact increases our trust in each other.” Despite how accessible it is, making eye contact during sex can feel daunting (especially in casual hook-ups or new relationships) because it does involve a degree of vulnerability. You’re not alone if you feel more comfortable letting someone rail you from behind than you do making sustained eye contact. But it’s an easy way to improve sex and deepen your relationship (if that’s something you’re trying to do). “Eye contact during sex can really boost the intimacy and connection between you and your partner,” Renye says. “It shows trust, affection, and desire, making the experience feel more personal and connected. Plus, it can increase arousal and deepen your bond by adding a level of vulnerability and presence.”

8. Relax

So yeah, “Just relax!” is one of those things that’s really easy for someone to tell you to do and much more difficult to actually, well, do. Like anything, relaxation takes practice (many other tips on this list, like practicing mindfulness and utilizing the five senses, can aid in relaxation). But remember, slow sex can be scheduled, which can help you do the mental prep work to actually get yourself into a state of mind where relaxation is possible. Not only is slow sex an opportunity to connect with your partner and feel good, but it’s also an opportunity to relax, unwind, and take a mental health break. Everything is connected, so by prioritizing your mental health (try just thanking your brain for all the worried thoughts that are there to keep you safe, but letting it know that for the next hour or so, it can log off), both physical sensations and emotional connection should heighten. “One great benefit of slow sex is that it can reduce performance anxiety and take the focus off maintaining an erection or reaching orgasm, which leads to less pressure on both partners,” Needle says. “This relaxed approach can lead to more natural and enjoyable encounters, where both partners feel valued and desired.”

9. Take the Pressure off of Orgasm

Considering it takes the average straight woman about 13.41 minutes to have an orgasm, slower sex means orgasms are more likely. But! By taking the pressure off orgasming, it's actually more likely to happen. "Slow sex can lead to better orgasms by building anticipation and increasing arousal gradually, making the climax more intense and satisfying," says clinical psychologist and certified Renye. "It also takes the pressure off orgasming by allowing you to focus on the journey and the intimate connection rather than rushing to reach a specific goal. This relaxed approach can make the experience more enjoyable and fulfilling."

Remember, slow sex is supposed to be a treat. There's no rush. You're doing this to treat yourself and perhaps your partner as well, but the goal is to take the pressure off, not to add to your stress. Orgasms are not a requirement for good sex, and if it's an experience that isn't super accessible to you, that's totally normal. Plus, keeping this in mind and deprioritizing that “end goal” can actually make it more likely for orgasms to occur. (Because while orgasms are not required, climaxing can definitely be a nice bonus.)

10. Get Creative (and/or Kinky)

Taking your time with slow sex allows for more creativity by giving you the freedom to explore different positions, techniques, and types of touch without feeling rushed,” says Renye. “You can experiment with new sensations, incorporate toys, or engage in prolonged foreplay, making the experience varied and exciting. This relaxed pace fosters an open and playful atmosphere where you can discover what feels best.” Freya recommends expanding your sensual skill set by trying different activities like massages or incorporating new vibrators and other sexcessories.

This is also a great opportunity to experiment with kink. “Kink can be a great way to slow down sex,” Kahn says. “Often, taking it slow is an important part of kink. The play is thorough and involved—focused on pleasure and consent, which provides an avenue to go as slow as you want to without compromising pleasure.”

11. Prepare for Intimacy

As we’ve hinted, while slow sex is absolutely a way to feel good and treat yourself, it’s also a really wonderful way to help move along a relationship, whether that’s reinjecting passion into something long-term or helping a newer relationship get more serious. “Slow sex allows for a deeper emotional connection and enhances intimacy,” Renye says. So, if your sex marathon finds you and your fling moving into not-so-casual territory, well, don’t say we didn’t warn ya!

12. Don’t Forget Aftercare

In the world of kink, aftercare refers to the act of literally taking care of one another, such as putting ice on bruises, enjoying delicious snacks, and snuggling and engaging in pillow talk to discuss all the hot sex that just went down. Give your slow sex the aftercare it deserves, regardless of whether or not things got kinky. After spending lots of time tuned into one another’s bodies, when the sex finally ends, don’t just split! Honor it. “Take some time afterward to cuddle and bond,” says Freya. “This post-sex connection can leave you both feeling satisfied.”

13. Enjoy a Boosted Mood and Better Sleep

After the sex is over and the aftercare has run its course, you're not only going to feel amazing, but likely have lower anxiety levels and enjoy a great night's sleep. "The release of endorphins and oxytocin during prolonged intimacy can enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being," Needle says. Sexual intimacy, heightened by orgasms, can substantially enhance sleep quality through the release of hormones. Having sex also reduces your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, which is also great for your sleep sched. What can we say? Good sex is basically nature's Ambien. And, as an added bonus, the endorphins released during sex and orgasm provide natural pain relief. It's truly a win-win-win.

Article by Sophie Saint Thomas - May 28, 2024


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