Once again, we’re taking a holiday as an excuse to discover hotter, deeper, more connected love and sex. Today’s focus: gratitude.

No, not the scheduled gratitude that’s easily brushed off when sales and discounted appliances enter the scene. We mean the research-backed gratitude practices that will level up not only your mental health and relationships but also (you guessed it) your sex life.

Read along to learn the easy habits you can adopt today to stop taking good things for granted and start not just saying but feeling “thank you”’s.

How gratitude improves your sex life:

  • It helps you focus on the here and now: Research found that gratitude can be an effective antidote to regret. An October study in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that gratitude stops us from noodling over past mistakes and firmly plants us in the positive of the current moment. Since it puts you in the present, gratitude can also keep future-focused feelings such as anxiety at bay. (Naturally, a grounded and fully present partner is a better partner.)
  • Gratitude strengthens relationships: expressing appreciation for the people in your life can make you feel closer to your friends, family, and patterns. Research has shown that romantic partners who express gratitude for each other consistently tend to feel more satisfied with the relationship. (I don't need to explain how a more satisfying relationship can lead to more satisfying sex, do I?)
  • Gratitude helps improve self-image and confidence: studies have shown that a gratitude practice can help reframe negative thoughts, improve your self-esteem, and stop you from comparing yourself to others. (More self-confidence equals more fun and fewer inhibitions which equals better sex)

Gratitude practices:

  • Intentional masturbation: instead of simply “rubbing one out”, take your time with yourself and your pleasure. Use masturbation not as a tool for orgasm but as a way to say thank you to your body and everything it has and continues to do for you.
  • Gratitude journal: get a journal (or app) and write 3-5 things you’re grateful for once or twice a week. Note that writing up to two times a week has been proven to have more positive effects on your mental health than writing a gratitude list every day. The idea is that if you write every day, you almost become desensitized to the positive while if you write a few times a week, you keep the feeling of gratitude fresh.
  • Gratitude text: each week chose one or two people to text and express your appreciation for. Be specific in your text, so instead of sending a generic “thank you” or “appreciate you”, really pay attention and push yourself to be expressive and honest.
  • Say "thank you" after every orgasm. It's practically a loophole for infinite gratitude and infinite sexual improvement; you orgasm, you say thank you, the sex gets better, you orgasm, you say thank you, the sex gets better (repeat ad infinitum or until someone taps out).