granola barSmart foodies know you can’t overload on the salty without then craving the sweet. It’s why I always follow up Kit-Kats with Cheez-its. It’s why — after overdosing on the marshmallows in my box of Lucky Charms — I run out to the Quik-Chek to pick up a bag of Combos. It’s why I have a muffin top when I wear that one pair of jeans.

Different flavors can do different things for you. Sex is the same way.

Here are some of the most common flavors of sex, and what they can add to a good, healthy, hearty relationship. Which one do you crave?

1. The Sweet. Slow and sensual (and maybe a little bit cuddly), sweet sex is a comfortable stand-by. Having it regularly increases intimacy levels within your relationship, guaranteeing you stay connected even when other areas of your life threaten to overwhelm. And just because it’s slow doesn’t mean it’s bland or boring. Try out different forms of touch, and focus on foreplay. It will only make your eventual orgasms that much more intense.

2. The Salty. A good bit naughtier than your typical, take-your-time, vanilla sex, a rough and tumble tangle beneath the sheets (whips and dirty talk optional) can raise endorphins, increasing libido levels and keeping the spark alive in a relationship that may have become too comfortable. And if you feel silly experimenting with things like dirty talk, take it slow! You can always ease into it with drawn-out moans and heavy breathing.

3. The Spicy. Of course, if salty sex isn’t your thing, you can still raise endorphin levels, and reignite your passion, with a hot quickie. Or have several quickies, allowing this kind of drive-by sex to act as foreplay for the late-night main event. Urgency only ups the spice factor.

4. The Savory. For sex that’s a bit more complex, try something new. Get acrobatic by working your way through the Kama Sutra. Consider something a bit more sexually adventurous, like a threesome or a play party. Or tap into your biggest sex organ — the brain — by sharing your sexual fantasies with each other… and then picking one or two to try out. You could even use porn or erotica for inspiration. Even introducing a toy into your sex play could be enough to take things up a notch. Trying new things is a good way to raise libido levels, and keep things exciting.

5. The Sour. Maybe savory sex isn’t exciting enough for you. Maybe you’re interested in something a little bit kinkier. BDSM may seem too out there, but there is logic to the idea that you can find pleasure in pain. Whips and spankings, for example, are meant to increase sensitivity in the applied area, priming it for even sexier sensations (like a quick sweep of the lips, or a gentle puff of breath). If you’re a curious beginner, you can always pick up a how-to book, like Jay Wiseman’s SM101.

6. The Bitter. Finally, makeup sex requires a flavor category all its own. A little bit bitter because of the negative emotions that preceded it, and extra intense due to whipsawing mood swings and just a hint of desperation, it’s amazing how something so bad can lead to something so damn good.

Which flavor is your favorite?

steph auteri Steph Auteri is a writer specializing in sex, relationships, and other sources of angst related to the back-and-forth between men and women. She has been published in Time Out New York, New York Press, Playgirl, Nerve, The Frisky, and other bastions of fine writing. She also co-authored an ebook — 52 Weeks of Amazing Sex — with sex counselor Ian Kerner. You can feel free to Twitter-stalk her here.