Sex & Relationship Expert, Alix Fox, shares her top tips to ensure you're getting your O this National Orgasm Day:

If in doubt reach for the gel

If in doubt reach for the gel

SWITCH UP YOUR SOLO Os: Excellent American sex advisor and host of The Savage Lovecast podcast, Dan Savage, warns men about overusing what he calls ‘the Death Grip’: wanking all the time using such a rough motion and a tightly clenched fist that the comparatively delicate feeling of being inside a woman’s vagina can’t provide the same levels of intense sensation, and it becomes difficult for them to orgasm via intercourse.

Similarly, I believe some women become over-reliant on the strong vibrations of powerful sex toys used during masturbation – a problem I’ve nicknamed ‘the Buzz Kill’! While it’s an urban myth that vibrators can cause nerve damage or in any way permanently ‘desensitise’ you, it is possible for your body to become temporarily accustomed to climaxing only when your clitoris is receiving the kind of high-strength, non-stop, motor-driven stimulation that fingers, a tongue or a penis can’t physically match… and yes, this can make sex feel less satisfying.

Of course, one solution is to use toys with your partner as well as when you’re playing solo – the new Durex Intense Bullet is a good option. That’s something I thoroughly recommend – toys are fabulous tools, and I don’t want to diss ‘em! - but I also think it’s a wise idea to switch up the techniques you use during self-pleasure sessions, and reacquaint yourself with how delicious lighter, skin-on-skin touches can feel too. If you suspect over-using a bullet might be killing your sex life, or that your mains-powered magic wand might be casting evil spells on your lovemaking, pop the toys back in their boxes for a month or so, and learn how to hit those handmade highs.

BEFORE INTERCOURSE, SET THE SCENE TO FEEL ‘S.S.S.EXY’: SAFE, SENSUAL, AND STRESS-FREE: Many women report that their ability to orgasm with a lover depends on how they feel emotionally as well as physically – it’s about what’s happening between their ears as much as what’s going on between their legs. Stress and anxiety can kill orgasms faster than a stake to a vampire’s heart. Your partner should aim to create – and maintain – an intimate atmosphere in which you feel safe and comfortable enough to truly relax, express yourself and let go; not nervous, rushed or judged.

Small things can make a significant difference - like fitting a lock on the door if you live in a shared house or with kids, so you know you won’t be interrupted by anyone bursting in, and keeping the room a cosy temperature so you’re not distracted by being cold (you want to get goosebumps through excitement, not frostbite!).

Dissuade your partner from making grandiose promises to give you a mind-blowing, head-spinning, knee-trembling orgasm, come hell or goddamn high water; instead, ask them to simply pledge to give you a good time. Even if their intentions are admirable, a dude declaring that they’re “going to make you come so hard” or similar can unintentionally put pressure on a woman to feel like she has to perform, and that if she can’t climax, she’ll disappoint or upset him. A partner once said to me, “Tonight I just want to make you feel as great as possible, and I’d love you to tell me what you like and what feels best”. I felt empowered and confident about directing the action, plus because I wasn’t worried about achieving any ‘goal’ other than enjoying myself, I chilled out – and the experience was hotter than microwaved magma with a wasabi topping.

USE MUSIC TO MEASURE MINUTES: Studies show that it’s common for it to take up to 20 minutes or more for a woman to climax during sex, yet some ladies sadly feel as though they’re being overly demanding by expecting a man to stimulate them for that period. Even the keen-to-please woke blokes can be clueless about exactly how long a woman truly enjoys receiving manual or oral stimulation, too. Plus, time moves strangely when you’re having sex – it’s hard to gauge how long you’ve been doing something without glancing at the clock, which is inherently off-putting!

Give him a solid guide by popping some atmospheric music on, and telling your partner “I’d love you to play with me while the next six tracks play” (so around the 20-min mark). This permits you to relax into things, knowing that the pleasure isn’t going to stop unexpectedly, and he’ll be able to get into the swing of giving your body his full concentration without fretting that you’re getting bored or that he must be doing something wrong because you haven’t come in five seconds flat.

SHOW ‘N’ TELL – OR HIDE ‘N’ PEEK: Masturbate in front of your partner, so they can learn precisely where and how you prefer to be stimulated from the ultimate expert - you! As well as being an educational exercise, this can be deeply erotic. Command your lover to sit on a chair facing the bed, then tell them that you’re going to put on a show – and you demand their close attention. If dirty talk turns you both on, get them to describe each move you make: the spot you’re touching, the speed you’re going, whether you’re moving your fingers in circles or stroking up and down. In addition to sounding seriously sexy, vocalising what they’re viewing will help them commit it to memory, so they can put their lesson into action later.

If playing with yourself while your lover watches makes you feel nervous or timid, you could ask them to gaze at you through a half-open door instead. This helps some women feel like they’re the only person in the room, so it’s easier to shrug off their inhibitions, and many men find the voyeurism of ‘spying’ on their partner’s ‘private moment’ hugely hot. Alternatively, have him sit behind you – so you can’t see him watching – and place his hands over yours, so he can feel exactly how you massage and caress yourself.

When it comes to penetration (or indeed, if – great sex isn’t all about putting the D in the V), try finding positions that mimic how you masturbate. Do you lay on your stomach during ‘downstairs DIY’? Perhaps you squeeze your legs close together? Try placing your body in a similar arrangement to whatever makes you come when you’re going solo, to replicate the effect.

GAL, REACH FOR THE GEL: It’s worth giving Durex’s new Intense Gel a whirl: when applied to the clitoris, it gives waves of cooling, warming or tingling sensations, and encourages blood flow to your hot spots, making them more sensitive. Some women report that it helps them to hit climax with a partner faster and more easily, and makes orgasms more overwhelming and wondrous when they do arrive. Different ladies experience different effects, so experiment to see how it works for you, and take it gradually – one or two drops is all you need to kick off with. I found that it really helped me focus in on exactly how each touch to my clitoris felt.

Try getting your partner to apply the gel for you: challenge them to stroke it onto you as slowly and gently as possible - the application should amplify the thrill. I wish more people realised this, as it applies to lubricant and massage oils too: don’t just splash ‘n’ splodge ‘em on! Try pouring lubes into the palm of your hand from a height, to enhance the visual effect, and make the most of smoothing them over all the places you want to glisten and shine with sleek sensuality. Your motions are as important as your lotions and potions.