Sex is so much more than just a fun way to spend a little free time. Numerous studies have proven that it’s also great for your health, not to mention a beneficial part of any well-rounded lifestyle. It’s a great way to get closer and more intimate with a partner (or with yourself) as well. However, there’s a fine art to getting things right when it comes to sex, especially if you’re a woman. Here’s a closer look at a few things every woman needs when it comes to making the absolute most of her life as a sexual being.

Healthy Body Image

Body image plays a huge role in any person’s ability to thoroughly enjoy sex. However, social pressures and persistent beauty standards that are far from realistic can make establishing and maintaining a healthy body image especially tough for women. Factors that can contribute either positively or negatively to a woman’s body image include weight, age, perceived sexual attractiveness, and so forth.

For some women, cultivating a positive body image means staying fit and keeping up with a beauty routine that meets their needs. However, others find it much more empowering to simply accept themselves as they are. It’s up to every woman to decide what loving herself looks like to her. Just keep in mind that a partner isn’t going to be anywhere near as focused on what you look like in bed as you think they will. Most people’s personal tastes tend not to conform to the going social standard anyway.

Knowing Your Likes and Dislikes

Reaching a place where you’re comfortable in your own skin is only part of the equation when it comes to enjoying yourself to the fullest in bed. You also need to have a solid, honest understanding of what you do and don’t like in bed, which is a challenge for a lot of women. Start by figuring out what turns you on both mentally and emotionally, as well as what turns you off. Exploring porn or erotica can be very helpful when it comes to learning about the possibilities and seeing which ones do and don’t intrigue you.

A really amazing vibrator and plenty of solo intimate time is perhaps the best way to discover all the ways your body likes to be touched. You don’t have to worry about meeting another person’s expectations or be concerned about how long it does or doesn’t take you to reach orgasm when you’re on your own. You’re free to simply explore to your heart’s content and focus on pleasing yourself without inhibition or fear of judgment. You can then communicate what you learn to your partner to make your sex life together even more fulfilling.

Emotional Security and Trust

Even when she’s into a more casual, carefree approach to sex, a woman really needs to feel safe and secure on every level when she’s intimate with someone else. Emotional security and trust are especially important if you’re married or committed to someone for the long term. That said, it’s important to promptly address any issues that might be stopping you from feeling as connected as you should when it comes to your partner.

Don’t be afraid to bring up problems or concerns that may be causing emotional distance on either person’s end. It’s also important to continually address concerns about STD status, birth control, and other sexual health topics, especially if you’re in an open relationship, are in a “friends with benefits” type situation or prefer a casual approach to your sex life. Never let anyone make you feel like you’re out of line for bringing such topics up for discussion.

Realistic Expectations

Popular culture has sold men and women alike on the idea that every woman should be able to reach orgasm quickly, easily, and under every possible circumstance. If you’re still buying into that concept yourself, it’s officially time to stop. In reality, very few women can reach orgasm at the drop of a hat or within seconds. For most, becoming properly and adequately aroused takes time and patience, especially as people grow older.

Take advantage of some of the absolutely amazing products on the market that are designed to make sex better and more comfortable. Lubricants are a great place to start, and can be a game changer whether you need the help in that department or not. You may also want to consider introducing toys and other fun gear options into partnered play. You might be surprised at how big a difference the right toy can make for both of you.

At the end of the day, sexual fulfillment is easier to achieve than you might think. It’s largely about reaching a place where you’re completely comfortable with yourself, your body, and any partners you might decide to bring into the mix.