Whether it’s a blossoming romance or a long-term love, the pressure of Valentine’s Day can cause sex stress (but only if you’re 16 or over!). And let’s face it – things sometimes just don’t go the way we plan. To make sure your V-Day goes off without a hitch, we asked our sexpert, Alix Fox, to share her top tips on staying safe and satisfied between the sheets. Whatever SOS situ you might find yourself in – from stage fright to split condoms – we’ve got you covered.
There’s a reason they tell you to imagine people naked when you go on stage. Baring your bits in front of someone you like can make you feel very vulnerable, and those anxieties affect men and women in different ways. If a guy is stressed about sex, his body will pump him full of adrenalin, causing an increase in heart rate and blood pressure and a decrease in sexual performance. When women experience this feeling, their vaginal muscles tend to tighten and it becomes harder to produce fluid.
THE FIX: Take the pressure off. Relax with your partner and ease into sex with a cheeky bit of foreplay. Taking a bath together or giving each other massages can relieve the tension.
Low on libido?
In other words, you’re just not in the mood. This can be caused by medication, hormonal contraception, stress, tiredness… the list goes on! Your sex drive can also change at different times in your life. Alix describes it as being like a boat, bobbing up and down as it goes along.
THE FIX: If you and your partner have mismatched libidos on Valentine’s Day, there are plenty of ways you can have fun together without either of you feeling forced or disappointed. Just remember that sex doesn’t have to involve penetration to be exciting.
With flawless Insta grids all over the place, body confidence is a HUGE issue, and it can really affect things in the bedroom. Just remember, social media isn’t real life…
THE FIX: To make sure you feel more boom than blah, follow Alix’s method of boot it, mute it, salute it.
Boot it: Get rid of anything that makes you feel bad about your body or your life – the unfollow button is your friend!
Mute it: If you can’t delete the negativity, mute those accounts so you don’t have to see any of it.
Salute it: Show love to all those accounts and channels that make you feel fab about yourself!
Two problems can arise when a condom splits: unplanned pregnancy and the risk of STIs. Understandably, it can feel like a bit of a nightmare... but the important thing is to keep calm and face everything as soon as possible.
Unplanned pregnancy: Don’t panic! There are a few emergency contraceptive pills – aka the morning-after pill – which you can take up to 120 hours after the split (although they’re more effective the sooner you take them). Simply go to your nearest Superdrug and talk to a pharmacist.
STIs: If there’s a risk that you’ve been exposed to HIV, there’s a medication called PEP that can help prevent you contracting the virus if you take it within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Remember that most STIs show no symptoms, so if you have any concerns, get tested. Find info on your options via the NHS or by going to your nearest Superdrug.