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15 Ways to Get Horny & Turn Yourself On, From Experts

Woman Lying On Stomach In Black Lingerie On Bed

For many people, it takes a little longer to get in the mood, and that's OK.

Humans process sensual and sexual experiences through a series of interactions between their sexual response system's so-called accelerator and brakes, also known as the dual control model of sexual response. The simplest way to think about it: The accelerator turns us on, and the brakes turn us off. When your brakes are dominant, you may struggle with getting turned on, whereas when your accelerator is dominant, you may have a much easier time getting there. 

"Arousal is about a balance of accelerators and brakes," says Tazima Parris, a sex coach, pleasure mentor, and founder of Infinite Relating. How do you balance them? Context.

How our individual system works, whether our brakes or accelerator is more dominant, and how they work together depends not only on the genitals we were born with but also on who we are as a person: what we like, what we don't like, what stresses us out, what makes us feel all tingly, where we are in life. Finding out what turns you on is about creating the best context for pleasure, for you, with as few of the turnoffs in play as possible.

Here are a few simple yet concrete examples of how to create those contexts to help you get horny when you want to be, sourced from experts:

1. Set the scene.

Research suggests women tend to be way more context-dependent than men are. We want the mood set. Bring on the candles, the sunset lamps, and the slow jams. "We experience pleasure through all five senses," Parris tells mbg. "Take time to create the situations that stimulate all five."

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2. Get in your head.

Part of turning yourself on involves knowing what works for you. That means you have to learn everything you can about your body, your likes, and your dislikes. Dive deep into "what begins to turn you on, what gets your attention and makes you begin to think about connection and sex," suggests Sarah Rattray, Ph.D., couples psychologist and founder of the Couples Communication Institute. Start with the general and then move into the specifics. 

3. Let go of that to-do list.

"We are all in a time and space of massive uncertainty as well as compound anxiety," Parris says. Because our minds are going a million miles a minute, we aren't exactly in the best condition to feel turned on. She suggests figuring out things that help to release some of the distress: something as clear-cut as washing the dishes or making sure you finish a project. What needs to get done before you can relax and enjoy a moment of pleasure? Get your to-do list out of your head to keep it from hitting your brakes.

4. Play that sensual playlist.

Our senses are very involved in how we enjoy pleasure, and sound is ever-so-important. Give yourself an hour to create the playlist of your sexual dreams so that you have it handy anytime you need some audio inspiration. 

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5. Daydream into pleasure.

If you're a visual creature, you understand the power of a good old-fashioned daydream. A fantasy so rich and so vivid, it takes you to great heights all on its own. There may be a scenario that you know for a fact makes you feel some type of way. Go there! Or, you can also play around and use your imagination to think of new scenes that turn you on in new ways.

6. Watch porn.

When in doubt, watching other people have sex is a tried-and-true way of turning yourself on. Find the kind of porn that works for you, and get into it. If porn is usually not your thing, consider searching for ethical porn—it tends to do better in regard to showing what sex really looks like for all sorts of people (not just people of one body type or race), and the performers are treated with respect.

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7. Listen to sexy audio.

If the visuals of video porn are a little too much for you or you just want to try something a little different, consider trying out audio erotica. Listening to full-on stories from erotic audio platforms like Audiodesires and Dipsea can definitely do the trick, or you can listen via Literotica or any of the subreddits that indulge in audio erotica—r/gonewildaudio, r/pillowtalkaudio, and r/vanillaaudio are solid starts.

8. Try sexting.

Sexting can be an excellent way to build excitement before a sexual encounter with a new partner or a long-term boo, or you can start an entirely new thread with a new crush during your next solo sesh. (If you've never tried it before, it's never too late to learn how to sext.)

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9. Better yet, send dirty voice recordings.

Exchanging voice recordings back and forth where you engage in dirty talk is like a gold mine for sexual fantasy. Sometimes simply talking about what gets you going, well, gets you going. (Just keep in mind that phone companies may be able to see all the things you're sending, which can make virtual sex a little iffy in the way of privacy.)

10. Scroll through erotic fiction.

Not everyone likes to listen to other people moaning and seductively whispering in their ears. Fortunately, there are some incredible erotic-lit platforms like ASSTR and Novel Trove that do justice to the sensual space. It's people writing and sharing hot stories they've thought up. And as you already know, imagination is a powerful thing.

11. Take a sensually conscious shower.

A sensual shower (or bath!) can be a real turn-on. Use your fingers and a little water to start the magic. Whether you're solo or with someone, taking a shower can immediately intensify a situation and create an intimate context. The feeling of wet, naked skin as you caress your body (or theirs)? Come on. Sponge or loofah can be a nice addition, but hands-only tends to be particularly steamy. 

12. Touch yourself, slowly.

Part of knowing what you like is understanding how different kinds of touch feel to your body. Confidence in your body and in your skin is one of the hugest turn-ons for people with vulvas. Run your hands along your body, and feel the sensations that course through you with every touch. Don't think of anything else. Just be there in your amazing body and appreciate how good physical touch can feel.

13. Move your body.

Sexual contexts don't just pop out of thin air. We create them. Or they appear, and we're open to letting them in. Turn on a song that gets you moving and just dance. Let your body move with the music, and if you decide to move on an object or person, then so be it.

14. Wear something you feel good in.

Whether that's your partner's shirt or a new lingerie set, put on something you feel like a babe in. Something that makes your body happy. When it comes to intentionally turning yourself on, "Putting yourself in a sexy context can help," says urologist and female sexual health expert Kelly Casperson, M.D.

15. Create a pleasure menu.

Parris suggests that everyone create a pleasure menu, a menu of things that you really like in all categories of your life. Separate it into sections based on your senses if you like, such as smells, tastes, or sounds. The goal is to sit with yourself and truly think about what brings you pleasure in life. In what kind of scenarios are you more likely to let yourself enjoy pleasure? Outside surrounded by nature? In a hotel room for the weekend? This helps you set yourself up for pleasure by taking away as many brakes as possible.

Taking your foot off the brakes is a process, sometimes a slow one. And that's OK. As Casperson tells mbg, "The slowness of it is how the symphony is played." There is no quick fix to turning yourself on. It's not how you get into music, and it's not how you get into sex. The more you can learn about yourself and what makes you tick, sexually speaking, the easier it'll be to turn off those offs and let your accelerator do its thing.

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