Building a strong, healthy lifestyle? Great news — the changes you are working toward aren't just helping your everyday wellbeing, but also your sex life.
That bedroom confidence boost really depends on your everyday lifestyle habits, and the key to better sex is creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle that involves fitness, wholesome foods, play and exploration.
Ready to decrease stress and increase your libido? If you're looking to spark those flames in the bedroom, try incorporating these healthy habits into your everyday life. They will improve your sexual confidence, are super easy to integrate and will make you relish the results.
Read more: 8 Habits of Highly Fit People
1. Eating a Clean Diet
When it comes to maintaining a healthy sexual life, diet is essential — and loading up on greasy potatoes and sugary treats just won't cut it.
"First, proper nutrition gives us the energy needed to sustain sexual performance. Second, nutrition has a significant effect on our physical look, which has a profound influence on our confidence level in bed. And third, some sources of food can improve our fertility," says Dr. Damian Sendler, PhD and sexologist.
If you're looking to build confidence and have better sex, a low-carb diet and or foods that are in line with the Mediterranean Diet (such as fish, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables, grains and lean protein) is a great place to start. Research from the Sexual Medicine Reviews showed a positive correlation between this pattern of eating and lower incidences of erectile dysfunction. "Limit fats and heavy carbs from the diet. These tend to make our body sleepy, obtuse and disinterested in sexual activity," he says.
And if your goal is promoting fertility, foods including fresh fruit, leafy greens, eggs, fish, legumes and good fats such as nuts and avocados are there to help.
Read more: 28 Day Mediterranean Diet Plan
2. Getting Regular Exercise
Feeling sluggish and out of shape? Use exercise to get that energy up and make you feel confident in between the sheets. "The more you work out, the stronger you will feel mentally and physically. Exercise is an amazing way to boost endorphins," says Katie Dunlop, personal trainer and founder of Love Sweat Fitness.
To begin, try adding in HIIT cardio workouts. These will boost your energy quickly and, if this seems to be the cause of your lowered self-confidence, also work to promote weight loss. Spot-targeted exercises are also a great place to start. Classes that improve flexibility, such as barre, can also lead to better sex. In particular, barre is the perfect place to work on those Kegel muscles (research has shown that Kegel exercises can help you achieve better orgasms and higher satisfaction in bed).
3. Getting Enough Sleep
If you're taking the time to secure seven to eight hours of sleep nightly, you'll also pleasantly find a lot more time to have sex (and better sex, at that). Allow us to explain. A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that just one extra hour of sleep a night might lead to a 14 percent higher likelihood of sex the following day.
"When we don’t get enough sleep, our body releases cortisol – which can lower our testosterone levels and therefore our sex drive," explains Alicia Sinclair, certified sex educator and CEO of b-Vibe, Le Wand and The Cowgirl.
"Getting enough rest also ensures we have a clear mind to say what we want in bed, and our bodies have the energy to fully enjoy all of the pleasurable sensations that sex can bring," she says. That means, you'll be able to understand how to be better in bed and how to translate that message over to your partner.
Read more: The Winning Sleep Habits of 7 Pro Athletes
4. Spending Time Naked
Your body is beautiful, so give it some love before throwing clothes on. "So many of us struggle with body image issues, which can majorly dampen our enthusiasm during playtime," says Sinclair. This can make it hard to get in the mood and feel confident about your sexual abilities.
"If you’re spending more time hiding under the covers than enjoying the pleasurable sensations during sex, try spending more time with yourself naked," she says. Before throwing clothes on post-shower, embrace your natural glow. (And maybe invite your partner to join the ritual.)
You can also "invest in new clothes, fragrance or cologne, take daily fun trips that require exposure to positive aura. That way our mind and body don’t feel ‘stuck’ in a single place, which improves confidence at work, home, and ultimately transcends our sex life," adds Dr. Sendler, PhD and sexologist.
5. Taking Deep Breaths
Confidence doesn't just grow by adding new habits, but also removing the ones that might be holding you back. "It’s also about getting rid of anxious feelings and negative self thought," says Dunlop. "Practice breathing exercises each day to let go of stress and feel more grounded," she says. When you feel happier and more at ease in the day, you're likely to experience better sex, simply because you're in the mood and feeling confident.
Breathing can help you channel your energy and reduce stress (which has been shown to be a major libido buzz kill and can lead to not-so-great sex). In fact, a study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that yogic breathing for 20 minutes a day decreases inflammation.
"Breathe in for a count of 5, slowly and deeply. Hold it at the top and then exhale slowly allowing any thoughts that are filling your mind with stress to slip away," Dunlop says.
Meditating can also help. A study in Psychosomatic Medicine showed that breathing mindfully can also improve female sexual dysfunction, and, per Dr. Sendler, it "decreases stress, muscular tension and clears the mind."
Yup, taking some alone time between the sheets can increase your sexual confidence with a partner. "Masturbating with toys is an amazing way to get familiar with your body’s favorite sensations, so you can better communicate them to a partner," says Sinclair.
"Using a toy can also help to set the mood – taking it out of the drawer is often an affirming moment that you deserve sexual pleasure, and you have the tools to help you achieve that," she adds. By taking control over your sexuality, you'll learn how to be better in bed and your libido will be higher on a general level.
From food to fitness to even breathing, so many positive lifestyle changes can also positively affect your sex life. Take your pick on which one to adopt first — the results will be worth it.
Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, author, and certified health coach. She writes for various magazines, such as Bustle, Shape, Men's Health, Women's Health, Health, Prevention, Popsugar, Runner's World, Reader's Digest, and more. She is also the author of 5-Minute Energy with Simon & Schuster. To read her work or inquire, please visit her website: isadorabaum.com.