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Sex doctor: Five steps to a great sex life

Sex is a bit like typing. Anyone can sit down and bash something out using two fingers, but you'll never be as good as someone who uses 10 and took the touch-typing course. This step-by-step guide is the equivalent of the touch-typing course except a lot more fun.

1. Put it on paper

Each of you grab a notepad and write down what you do and don't like about your sex life. Divide the page into sections with headings: "What I need to get in the mood for sex"; "What I'd like more or less of during foreplay/oral sex/intercourse/during orgasm". At the bottom write general comments and say whether there are any new things you'd like to try.

When you've finished, read the lists out to each other, talking through each point. When both of you are finished, each summarise what the other has said. Give each other a few hours to digest what's been said, then come back with at least five ways you could make sex better for your partner, based on what they've told you. Don't try to put all 10 suggestions into one session; introduce one new thing each time you make love in the future.

2. Give each other permission to let loose

When you sleep with someone purely for sex, you can be as wicked as you like because you don't really care what they think of you. Once you fall in love, it's like the censors moved into the bedroom. Will he think I've been around if I suggest that? Will she think I'm kinky if I do this? We switch from being lovers to auditioning as potential Mr and Mrs Rights. But confess your fears and reassure each other that there'll be no judging going on.

3. Don't stop masturbating

In fact, do it more. Lots of people think they shouldn't need to masturbate once they're getting regular sex, and if you've just had it 25 times over the weekend you probably won't be locking the bathroom door Monday morning. But when your partner's away or you just feel extra sexy, it's a great way to keep your libido hot.

I'd also suggest you take it one step further and do it in front of each other. You'll see firsthand what technique you each use. If you or your partner are shy, talk about it. Tell them, "Much as I'd like to, I think I'd be too embarrassed." If they admit they'd also be uncomfortable, say, "This is silly. Why don't we try next time?" The more confident partner goes first. Ease them into it. Get them to put their hand on top of yours as you stimulate them. Once things heat up, move your hand out of the way and say, "Show me, it's easier." Watching her masturbate is a popular male fantasy and lots of women also enjoy it. More importantly, it's a great way to find out how to give your partner an orgasm.

4. Take a guided tour of each other's body

To be the best lover they've ever had, you have to know all their hot spots. Get your partner to lie on the bed. Use your hands and tongue to explore each part of their body, while they give you a running commentary on how each sensation feels. Remember: the idea isn't to make them orgasm, it's a learning exercise.

5. Show him how to stimulate your clitoris

If you're one of the majority of women who can only orgasm during intercourse with extra clitoral stimulation, speak up NOW. The next time you have intercourse, take his hand and guide him to the spot. Choose positions which allow easy access and share the workload or put your hand over his while he's stroking it. You can guide his strokes better and it seems more of a two-way thing.

Adapted from "The Sex Doctor", by Tracey Cox, published by Corgi (7.99). (For more details of Tracey's work, see www.traceycox.com)

Visit LoveHoney for relationship tips and advice from Tracey Cox. Every week, Tracey answers questions from visitors to the site.