How to have better sex in 2023: ‘Smart tech’, fantasies and re-exploring erogenous zones are key to peak pleasure and relationships this year – and it’s time to re-think that quickie

  • Sexual mindfulness is the over-arching theme for 2023; slow it down to level up 
  • Couples are also opening up about what they like and discussing fantasies  
  • Re-explore erogenous zones on the body and consider embracing smart tech  

A team of sexual wellness experts have spilled the must-know bedroom trends of 2023 – and thousands are ditching hot and heavy orgasm-driven ‘quickies’ in favour of pleasure-focused intimacy. 

Whether it be mindfulness, open intimacy conversations or ‘smart’ sex tech, Lovehoney has found Australians are looking to level up their personal lives this year and shed the inevitable pressure that comes with ‘performance-centred’ sex.

Instead, couples are focusing on ‘the journey not the destination’, opening up about sexual fantasies and tapping out of casual dating to prioritise strong emotional connections. 

A team of sexual wellness experts have spilled the must-know bedroom trends of 2023 – and thousands are ditching hot and heavy orgasm-driven ‘quickies’ in favour of pleasure-focused intimacy

‘Sex and intimacy is about so much more than an orgasm… people are now looking for a holistic experience rather than quick satisfaction,’ Christine Rafe, said

1. SEXUAL MINDFULNESS: TIME TO RE-THINK THE QUICKIE

We’ve all heard the terms ‘conscious consumption’ and ‘quality over quantity’ thrown around of late so it was only a matter of time before this mindset made its way into the bedroom.

Smartphones and social media have led to a state of constant overstimulation so people are searching for a balance in the form of mindfulness apps, workshops and books.

Intimacy-wise, this mindfulness has led to less casual dating and performance-centered sex and more self-focused interactions. It’s also why methods such as Karezza – a slow and sensual style of sex that focuses on whole-body pleasure rather than the orgasm – are becoming so popular.

For sex with a partner, it means focusing on one’s body and really being in the moment without any pressure to perform or climax. 

It is perhaps a reflection of the fast paced, instant gratification times in which we live that research has shown the ‘wham bam thank you ma’am’ hard and fast, microwave approach to sex to be the overwhelmingly dominant preference for the majority of the population. 

But I suggest you explore and develop a new skill set… slow sex.

The primary reason slow sex is the best sex is that it is a much more intense experience and provided you pause to savour the moment, you will experience the pleasure right throughout your whole body and not just in your genitals. It allows you to be more present and to stop worrying about the outcome. It creates greater intimacy and is more fulfilling for both of you. 

Slow sex, almost by definition, lasts longer. By slowing down, you guys will last longer than during a quickie and as a result, there is a much better chance that the woman will also climax. 

The release is much more intense when you experience sexual pleasure over a longer period of time. That of itself must be a huge motivator to slow down!

Read more: Rebel Glea, Sex Coach 

‘Sex and intimacy is about so much more than an orgasm and we have noticed that after the first wave of post-pandemic ‘make-up for lost time’ sex, people are now looking for a holistic experience rather than quick satisfaction,’ Womanizer sex and relationship expert, Christine Rafe, said.

‘When it comes to masturbation, clitoral suction toys like the Womanizer have helped many women to achieve an orgasm within minutes. This was a brand-new experience for many who have had trouble reaching climax beforehand.’

The brand’s OG, which focuses on the ‘longer journey’ to orgasm, targets the G-spot using Pleasure Air Technology that creates pulsating waves and gentle suction. 

The G-Spot can take more time to warm as it is covered by the vaginal wall and less sensitive than the exposed outer clitoris. However, it gets bigger, more sensitive, and more receptive to stimulation with arousal. 

‘Conversations around sex are more mainstream and with Millennials and Gen Z, there is an understanding that sexuality is a core component of overall health,’ sexologist Jessica O’Reilly says

2. OPEN INTIMACY 

Former ‘taboo’ topics such as menstruation, sex and (female) sexuality are being discussed more openly. This is a shift that has been strongly driven by women and members of the LGBTQI+ community who are speaking out loudly against prejudice and stigmatisation. 

Younger generations in particular approach intimate topics with greater confidence and curiosity than the generation beforehand; the Lovehoney global survey showed that when learning about masturbation, the internet as a source of information (39%) plays an equally important role as trying it out (41%) for young people between 18-24 years old.

Asking the same question to people aged 35 and older, the majority only learned about self-love by trying it out (53%).

Open intimacy leads to better communication about needs and desires. A better exchange on what is needed for sexual fulfilment ultimately leads to better relationships. 

What is your connection type? Try Dr Ali Walker’s unique new test 

What’s it like to talk to you, work with you or love you? How do you lead others? How do you respond to conflict and vulnerability?

There are 17 Ality Connection Types. Each type plays a unique role in relationships and teams in family, work and play. Learn a little about each type below. 

It explains who you are most compatible with, who you clash with the most and why. If you’d like to take the test yourself, please see the link here

In the assessment, you will be asked a series of questions about your day-to-day reality of connecting with others versus how you would prefer to connect with others in an ideal world.

Taken offline, a similar trend has been seen in supermarkets and drugstores; whether it is trendy period products or sex toys, the packaging and product designs have changed to turn them into lifestyle products. 

‘Conversations around sex are more mainstream and with Millennials and Gen Z, there is an understanding that sexuality is a core component of overall health (from the emotional to the relational to the physical),’ sexologist Jessica O’Reilly says.

‘In the past, retailers may have been afraid of the backlash (angry special interest groups), but they’ve obviously done the cost-benefit analysis and see that the former outweighs the latter.

‘I think consumers have been ready to buy sexual wellness products in mainstream shops for a while now. The retailers are just catching up.’

Rather than casual dating, singles are more interested in ‘slow love’, prioritising an emotional connection and meaningful conversations at the onset while also ensuring sexual compatibility

3. SMART TECH & THE METAVERSE

While online sex and virtual experiences gained popularity during the pandemic, people are now looking for experiences in the real world again.

But instead of a full virtual sexperience, people want the best of both worlds.

Toys are getting smarter: Some offer app-connectivity, others are equipped with heat-function or can automatically adapt vibration patterns to music. 

The Lovehoney survey showed more than half of the respondents (60%) are open to using a sex toy that can be controlled via an app. While this is not new, the appetite is still there and has survived the pandemic 

Other technologies that unite the digital and analogue world are Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence. These technologies will change the way we shop online in the future. With AR, customers are already capable of trying on glasses, digitally placing furniture in their flat or trying on clothes virtually.

‘If you follow a few guidelines, prostate stimulation can be an intense, positive, and pleasurable experience,’ Cam Fraser says

For something as intimate as sex toys, getting an idea of size and shape from the comfort of your home will help guide many customers through the ever-growing range to choose from. 

Brands are also embracing the Metaverse, with a popup store recently opening up in Decentraland to offer an anonymous place for people to explore sexual wellness products and content around sexuality.

‘The Metaverse allows us to immerse ourselves in digital content rather than feeling like a separate viewer,’ Bryony Cole, Lovehoney’s global sextech expert, said.

‘People naturally look at entertainment as the only possibility for sextech, but there is also a great potential for sex education, sexual happiness and sexual health support in the Metaverse. 

‘Plus, the combined anonymity and intimacy of this platform allows people to engage with this topic further, where they perhaps don’t feel comfortable in real life.’ 

Brands are also embracing the Metaverse, with a popup store (pictured) recently opening up in Decentraland to offer an anonymous place for people to explore sexual wellness products and content around sexuality

4. INTENTIONAL DATING AND SEXUAL FANTASIES    

A renewed desire for intimacy is shaking up the dating culture. 

Rather than casual dating, singles are more interested in ‘slow love’, prioritising an emotional connection and meaningful conversations at the onset while also ensuring sexual compatibility.

According to the survey, 38% of women and nearly half (46%) of men dive into the topic of sexual desires and fantasies within the first three months of dating.

Common fantasies include ‘having sex with someone that isn’t my partner’, ‘oral sex’, ‘sex with a stranger’, ‘romantic sex’, ‘passionate or meaningful sex’ and ‘being intimate in a public space’. 

Of course, sexual fantasies have existed for as long as humans have, but talking about them and acting upon them is part of the overall trend toward destigmatising sexuality. 

What are Australia’s top 10 sexual fantasies? 

Threesome (29%)

Shower/bath/water play (20%)

Being dominated (19%)

Sex with a stranger (18%)

Sex in a public space (18%)

Sex in an unusual space (18%)

Watching others have sex (17%)

Group sex (15%)

Role play (14%)

Sex Parties (12%)

Porn in 2023: How are we using it?

Free video porn remains the most commonly used, but ethical porn, erotica and new digital mediums are becoming more popular

The least popular forms are OnlyFans, online gams and ASMR. 

The Big Sex Survey, 2022 

5. RE-EXPLORING ANAL PLAY  

While we are talking about sex more openly, this is one area that is still occupied with shame and other negative feelings. 

Of course, as with any other exchange of intimacies and sexual encounters, anal stimulation requires consent. If all parties are interested and open to exploring, there is much to discover and enjoy.

Especially, when looking at male pleasure, the prostate as an erogenous zone is often overlooked. It is accessible through the anus and, when properly massaged, can provide unparalleled pleasure a man can experience alone or with a partner. 

The prostate is a gland about the size of a chestnut, made up of muscle tissue and located below the bladder near the erectile tissue of the urethra. A global study brought to light that four out of five men have never heard of the prostate as an erogenous zone. At the same time, 34 % of male respondents were aware, but never tried to stimulate it. 

Of course, sexual fantasies have existed for as long as humans have, but talking about them and acting upon them is part of the overall trend toward destigmatising sexuality

Looking at partnered sex, porn has taught us that anal play is primarily penetrative. However, a recent study by Indiana University has shown that three different ways to stimulate the anus can bring pleasure to women: Surfacing, Shallowing and Pairing.

Surfacing, which 40% of participating women find pleasurable, describes the touching on and around the anus without penetration.  

Shallowing is the touching just inside the opening, but not very deep while Pairing is the touch on or inside the anus at the same time as vaginal penetration or clitoral stimulation.

Wellbeing and pleasure are close together here and open up a deep access to one’s own body, sexuality and connection.

For men, sex coach Cam Fraser suggests experimenting with masturbation.

‘Men should take their time, relax, breathe, use a generous amount of lube, and be curious about what they find pleasurable. A prostate massager or an anal vibrator can add that extra stimulation,’ he said.

‘If you follow a few guidelines, prostate stimulation can be an intense, positive, and pleasurable experience.’

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