Sex that’s better than netflix. Seriously.

Streaming or getting busy? Tough call. But what if binge-watching your fave series could improve your orgasms? Pass us the remote!

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Streaming or getting busy? Tough call. But what if binge-watching your fave series could improve your orgasms? Pass us the remote!
Corbis/Click Photos
Corbis/Click Photos

Your genitals aren’t happy. Their biggest obstacle to pleasure used to be you taking your smartphone to bed. But a new form of contraception called Netflix will be available in Singapore early next year – and boy, is it effective. The latest US research shows that Netflix users stream for two hours a night, which is a lot of action… for your eyes. So, how can the rest of your body really benefit from it? Like diligent sexual scholars, we studied the formula that makes box sets so damn addictive and then applied it to total-body pleasure.

Box Set Trick #1 The Hook

Unless a TV series unleashes an object of lust 15 seconds into its first episode – hey, Sons of Anarchy – your attraction to a show takes a while to bubble into obsession. The producer has to put in legwork to get the setting, soundtrack and storyline to push your buttons. Sex, however, often comes with the assumption you’ll be into it the instant the title springs up – or in this case, something lower down. “The idea that you see a person and think, ‘Yeah, I’d like some sex!’ is spontaneous desire and works for 75 percent of men,” says sex educator Dr Emily Nagoski, author of Come As You Are. But only 15 percent of women operate this way. We have responsive desire, which is more of a “let us watch two episodes and then see” approach.

“Responsive desire is when the motivation to have sex begins after any sexual behaviour has started. You’re doing something else when your partner randomly comes over, starts kissing, and you go, ‘Oh yeah, that’s a good idea’,” she adds. “It’s not low desire. Your body needs a more compelling reason than, ‘Yep, that’s an attractive person’ to want to have sex.”

The hooks that trigger our sexual interest are simpler than what keeps you glued on-screen: swap dragontaming for zero-expectation foreplay (cuddling, touching, kisses). “If you have more physical affection and less performance pressure, you’ll have more of a spontaneous desire.” Or, as we call it, the Charlie Hunnam effect.

Box Set Trick #2 Communication

Once upon a time, if your guy dared to interrupt your fave show with a comment about the main dude’s big nostrils, you’d consider ending the relationship right there and then. Today, you laugh, then live tweet. Yep, 15 percent of us enjoy TV more when we talk about it online, while tweets from a cast member can boost a show’s followers by 228 percent. Talking about TV gets both sides going.

Yet, we’re reluctant to get vocal about sex, even within our couple-sphere. When 1,500 people were asked for their most loathed conversation topic with a partner, sex beat money and death to the very top of the list. “We’re desperate to avoid feeling uncomfortable, and talking about sex screams awkward,” says sexologist Dr Nikki Goldstein.

But Nikki believes we’ve got our approach all wrong. If you only talk about something when it’s not working, the conversation isn’t pleasurable.But talk about that amazing thing that happened last night – as you would Mad Men – and it’s both hot and practise for when you need to call the sexual IT department. “It’s when you’ve never spoken about sex that delving into intimate issues can be awkward.”

Corbis/Click Photos
Corbis/Click Photos

Box Set Trick #3 The Preview

The preview is where TV shows turn evil. Because that small, 20-second taster of what’s to come leaves you craving the next episode so badly that you’d name your first born Aaron Paul to get it. Now imagine harnessing that sense of longing towards sex. How? Rethink foreplay not as the thing you do 10 minutes before the deed, but all 24 hours outside the bedroom.

“Use technology as your preview,” says Nikki. “Text, ‘Just so you know, tonight I’m really in the mood for XYZ’ or ‘I’m getting turned on thinking about you.’ If they go with it, get more daring.” But don’t go too crazy-graphic to start off with. Nikki suggests treating texts like you’re dangling a $100 note in front of them to keep them coming back for more. “You don’t want it to all be over straight-away; you want to play with it during the day. That can be the downside of sending naked photos to someone; it’s kind of like an orgasm – yep, game over.”

Box Set Trick #4 Serious Suspense

Television shows are giant teases; masters in the art of not letting us know what’s coming next. Sex can be, too – though often from an angle of drought, as in, “I don’t know when it will happen again.” And it’s to be expected: we’re all busy, we have lives, we can’t just get naked when there are, like, five social media feeds to monitor. If you live by a schedule, diarising a set time for sexy time can work. Although, suspense-wise, it’s like working out in Episode One that the lead guy’s brother is his son.

Better to set aside a window, within which really anything could happen. “It’s different to scheduling sex – which means, ‘We’re doing it right now’ – this is saying, ‘two times a week, you and I are going to lock off this amount of time to be together totally uninterrupted’,” suggests Nikki. “Then you can be spontaneous within that window. You might really feel like having sex one night or you might just snuggle – it’s about making the effort to have that one-on-one time, and seeing what happens.” We’re pretty much sold.

Box Set Trick #5 Badassery

Your fave box sets have these things in common: gutsy plots, ballsy characters and confidence. Our brains lap it up, just as they light up to sex. But they just as easily shut down – as you do to Netflix when you realise it’s 1am on a weeknight.

Sexual stop-buttons could be a flashback to that rotten thing your boss said or a flash-forward to getting pregnant if the condom breaks. But the one thing that erodes sexual badassery like no other is a lack of body confidence. “A 2012 review of 57 studies found links between body image and just about every domain of sexual behaviour: arousal, orgasm, the frequency of sex and sexual selfassertiveness,” confirms Emily.

Why? Because if you believe there’s something wrong with you, your body reacts as if you’re under attack. Your levels of stress hormones increase and your interest in sex vanishes.

Emily blames cultural stigmas. “No girl is born hating her body or feeling ashamed of her sexuality. You had to learn that. No girl is born worried that she’ll be judged if someone finds out what kind of sex she enjoys. You had to learn that, too,” she remarks.

And she’s right. But if it’s learned, it can be unlearned. Your first lesson is never think anything about yourself that you wouldn’t want to say to your best friend . Then think back to all of the brilliant ways that TV shows are so unique. “Let go of the ideas about how sex is ‘supposed’ to work,” adds Emily. “Create space in your life for how sex actually works.” That sounds like something we should all press play on. Over and over again.

Corbis/Click Photos
Corbis/Click Photos

Buffering, buffering...

What to do when there’s a breakdown in sexual signal, by Dr Margaret Redelman, president of the Society of Australian Sexologists.

You’re on the verge of orgasm – then it vanishes

“The nerve endings in one spot can get saturated. Move to another area that feels good, then continue.”

Your partner suddenly goes limp mid-sesh

“It’s usually performance anxiety. Give him something positive to focus on by saying what a good lover he is and asking him to touch you. Make lots of positive sounds. This will hopefully distract him and his erection will likely come back.”

You phone rings, which seriously kills the moment

“There’s nothing wrong with an interruption. It means you can start foreplay again.” Bonus.

Your orgasm is taking ages

“Decide if you really want it. If you’ve had enough, stop. If you do want an orgasm, has a sex-negative thought popped into your head? Shut it down by focusing on sex-positives (physical turn-ons, what you’re doing). If you’re with a partner, try stimulating yourself. If alone, use battery power and replay a favourite fantasy in your head to get back in the zone.”