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Essential tips and tools to make your sex life deeper

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Better sex starts with you.

When it comes to fostering a better sex life, the first step is bettering yourself. Why? Because a strong relationship with oneself is vital for enjoying sex. So if you’re looking for fun ideas to spice up the bedroom, you should start with focusing on yourself. Especially since becoming familiar with your body is not only a lifelong journey but an extremely rewarding one at that. So here are four key ways to bust into great sex–solo or partnered!

Tips and tools for creating a better sex life

1) Get to know yourself, inside and out

Even if you think you know it all, there’s a really good chance you don’t. Listed below are some highly recommended reads that will help you become reacquainted with yourself.

Pussy: A Reclamation by Regena Thomashauer

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From the publisher: It just may be the most pejorative word in the English language. It’s the ultimate salacious smack to a woman’s dignity, used to hurt, humiliate, and dehumanize. No one calls you a “pussy” when they want to tell you how radiant you look or what an inspiring life you lead. That’s about to change. In this remarkable book, Regena Thomashauer, founder of Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, reclaims the word for what it rightly is: the highest of all possible compliments, a sacred living prayer. Pussy has been written to reacquaint you with your own power source—both figuratively and literally. Drawing on Mama Gena’s 25 years of research into women’s history, experience, and potential, you’ll ramp up your “cliteracy” and learn to awaken a part of yourself you’ve been taught to repress or even despise. You’ll see that pussy is anything but pornographic—it’s actually the seat of all feminine power and pleasure. And you’ll discover how a woman’s sensual awareness is critical for her spiritual, intellectual, and emotional health.

Price: $13.99 (regularly $16.99) 

Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era by Boston Women’s Health Book Collective

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From the publisher: America’s best-selling book on all aspects of women’s health With more than four million copies sold, “Our Bodies, Ourselves” is “the” classic resource that women of all ages can turn to for information about every aspect of their well-being. Completely revised for the first time in a decade, these pages give women everything they need for making key decisions about their health — from definitive information from today’s leading experts to personal stories from other women just like them. This updated edition of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” includes the latest on: – Nutrition and exercise – Relationships, sexuality, and sexual health – Complementary health practices – Reproductive choices, pregnancy, and childbearing – Growing older – Medical testing and procedures Together with its companion website (www.ourbodiesourselves.org), “Our Bodies, Ourselves” is a one-stop resource for women of all generations. Plus: The rearranged food pyramid, a chapter about sexual orientation and gender identity, advice for making safer sex more fun, the latest on breastfeeding, support for women experiencing pregnancy loss, and a section devoted to getting the best care in today’s complicated health care system.

Price: $59.55

Life, Reinvented: A Guide to Healing from Sexual Trauma for Survivors and Loved Ones by Erin Carpenter

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From the publisher: Life, Reinvented brings both inspiration and practical tools to survivors of sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse and their friends, family members, and spouses. Combining recent research, years of clinical experience, and first-hand accounts of healing, Erin Carpenter offers a unique viewpoint on recovery from trauma. Life, Reinvented is a truly complete guide to healing. Beginning with the myths and facts about sexual trauma, Erin introduces common symptoms and describes what happens in the brain when trauma occurs. Erin explains in a novel way how trauma-related symptoms are actually signs of healing. Practical tools and easy strategies help survivors manage symptoms, find their strengths, and move toward recovery. Also included is crucial information and direction for loved ones of survivors. Friends, family members, and spouses will find support, validation, and tools to both help the survivor in their lives and recover from their own vicarious trauma. Accessible and beautifully written, Life, Reinvented is an important contribution to the literature about sexual trauma.

Price: $14.99

2) Keep it clean!

Regardless of whether or not you’re sleeping with one partner or six or none, keeping yourself (and your toys) clean should be at the top of the priority list. Listed below are some of the best products for keeping everything south of the border in pristine condition.

Summer’s Eve Feminine Wash for Sensitive Skin

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Designed to gently cleanse, freshen and balance your pH levels by removing odor-causing bacteria. It’s clinically tested for women with sensitive skin and unlike regular body soap, it won’t screw with your body’s natural pH. Summer’s Eve even formulates wipes for ladies who don’t have time to shower but would like to feel clean and smell fresh.

Price: $7.99

Bond Masculine Intimate Wash

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Men deserve soft, firm and supple skin too! So if you’re one of those people who hate the smell of anything overly floral and/or fruity, this soap-free extra-mild surfactant will leave your skin smooth and smelling great. Reviewers claim the scent is similar to some baby products–so think jasmine, rose, and iris.

Price: $9.95

Alcohol and cruelty-free hypoallergenic toy cleaner

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If you don’t clean your toys, you probably shouldn’t own any. Seriously, that’s disgusting. And don’t say you “don’t have time” because guess what, this spray takes like 30 seconds to disinfect your supply. No excuses. Go clean your toys, you filthy animal.

Price: $9.54 (regularly $10.04) 

3) Treat yo’self

You don’t need to be in a relationship to get off. And you don’t need to be single to own sex toys–unlike toxic people, adult toys don’t discriminate! Not sure where to start? Not a problem, just check out the list below.

Get satisfied with double the pleasing power of this rabbit/clitoral stimulator

better sex Amazon

Price: $46.37 

If you’re looking for something a little more versatile, try the PlusOne bullet

better sex Amazon

Price: $20.37 (regularly $22.72) 

If you’re looking to try butt stuff, we recommend grabbing a graduating kit and starting small!

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Price: $12.97 

4) Protection makes perfect

Unwanted pregnancies and STIs are avoidable and preventable with this little rubbery-device called a condom (you may have heard of them). And yes, they even make some for vaginas too.

LELO Hex Condoms

better sex Amazon

Price: $25.17 (regularly $26.49) 

And, of course, for those without penises (or latex allergies)

better sex Photo via Amazon

Price: $15.99

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Marisa Losciale

Marisa Losciale

Marisa Losciale specializes in NSFW culture, audio gear, and photography. A former editorial and photo director for Spoon University at SUNY New Paltz, her work has been featured in the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, Post-Trash, the New Paltz Oracle, and the Legislative Gazette.