SA Life

Get CityMag in your inbox. Subscribe
December 7, 2023

Happy sex(y) season

Summer has finally blessed us with its presence. The energy has shifted from the sluggish mundanity of grey skies and cold nights to sunshine and an energetic lift that exudes vibrancy, excitement and socialising. It's the perfect time to enjoy better sex. Here's how.

better sex
  • On the Cusp with Adelaide Sexologist Jamie Bucirde
  • Photo by Elena Mozhvilo

My shower thought this morning? We’re all basically walking houseplants – all we need is a little sunshine and some lovin’ to perk right up.

As the holidays approach, I want us to explore ways to embrace intimacy during the festive season and create steamy moments that go beyond the tinsel and Christmas pavlova. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, in a relationship, or somewhere in between ­– this is for you.

Stress less

As festivities start filling up your calendar – work Christmas parties, family Christmas lunches, friends’ long boozy dinners amongst the fleeting afternoon rays (twist my arm) – shit is starting to get busy. I’m already feeling stressed, and it’s not even halfway through December yet.

Stress can be the number one killer of having a great sex life. It can kill libido and lower your desire. When we get stressed, our bodies go into survival mode (fight, flight, freeze or fawn). When we go into survival mode our bodies focus on vital functions such as breathing or staying alert, which makes it hard for the body and the mind to focus on sex and pleasure.

Jamie Bucirde, CityMag‘s resident Sexologist

Humans have two nervous systems: the sympathetic, acting as an accelerator, and the parasympathetic, functioning as a brake. The accelerator is engaged when facing difficulties and stress in your life.

In moments of stress, our body activates the stress response, akin to pressing the accelerator. This triggers physical manifestations – increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and internal discomfort – signs that your body is supplying a burst of energy to confront or escape the challenges.

Once the challenge is met and the threat subsides, the brake takes over, offering relief.

It’s the satisfying acknowledgment that a hurdle has been overcome, and relaxation can ensue. However, prolonged stress can make it feel as though the accelerator is jammed. The body works tirelessly and the brakes seldom get a chance to engage. This perpetual state of heightened activity can impact various aspects of our well-being, including sexuality.

Sexuality and the brakes are intertwined.

Biologically, it’s counterintuitive to seek erotic experiences or engage in intimate moments when stress is consistently pressing the pedal to the metal. Stress and a healthy sex drive don’t align. It’s challenging to enjoy moments of intimacy when your mind is preoccupied with a barrage of worries and unopened emails. The harmony between stress reduction and a fulfilling sex life underscores the importance of allowing the brakes to kick in, fostering a balanced and conducive environment for sexual well-being.

This same theory also works for our sexual desire.

We have sexual accelerators which facilitate our desire and make us feel ready for sex, and we have sexual brakes, such as stress, which turn us off wanting a sexual experience.

Our sexual brakes and accelerators are all different, but much like a fingerprint, I could bet you that most human beings have stress as a sexual brake.

So how do we relax and prioritise sexual pleasure over stress this summer?

Focus on activating the pleasure accelerator and pumping the stress brakes.

Now that you have an understanding of sexual brakes and accelerators, you can start to think about what yours actually are. By understanding the things that turn you on and off, you can reinforce behaviours before a sexual activity to make sure it’s all accelerator and no brake!


Have you got sexual health, sex, love or relationship questions? Send them to to have them answered!

For example, if an accelerator for you is a clean house – ask your partner to clean it before you get home so you have more time for intimacy.

Same for the brakes. If you’re feeling extremely stressed because of work deadlines and not feeling sexually engaged, give yourself permission to turn your work notifications off after 5pm.

Removing the brake = better sex, so here are some tips to accelerate the process:

Hello novelty

Novelty is such an important part of living a vibrant life.

Whether it’s eating new food, making a new friend, experiencing new art or trying something new in the bedroom.

When thinking back to my favourite sexual experiences, most had the common theme of an element of new and exciting.

This could look like finally sleeping with the person you like for the first time, trying out a new sex toy with your partner, or having sex in the upstairs bathroom whilst the Christmas party happens downstairs.

I encourage you this silly season, to write a naughty ‘sexy to do’ list and start crossing things off you’ve always fantasised about. Think of it like a sexy Advent calendar. You’ll be surprised at how novelty can turn you (or a partner/s) on.

Focus on pleasure over orgasm 

It is so ingrained in us as humans, to see sex as only as good as the orgasm you get, but once we remove the pressure of orgasm, sex can become so much better. It becomes liberating and freeing.

Yes, of course, orgasms are fantastic, and obviously a huge bonus, but it’s the mental barrier that sometimes distracts us from enjoying the present, pleasure-filled moment.

Try taking away the pressure of orgasm next time you sleep with someone.


Read the entire back catalogue of On the Cusp here.

Communicate with your partner 

If you’re feeling stressed and not sexually excited, or simply want to have a more fun, sex-filled summer, the best way to do so is to ask for it.

That’s right folks, once again, I am reinforcing that communication is KEY.

You can’t expect people to read your mind and as soon as you open up a conversation about sex and your needs, you’re able to pave the way of getting there.

To wrap up, my horny little elves, as we are washed with this new wave of summer energy it’s time to prioritise our sex lives and take the foot off the brakes and hit the sex accelerators so we can go full speed ahead in the bedroom (or whereever).

Share —