Most of us lead busy lives. It’s all about kids, work, household responsibilities, social obligations and those damn bills. We have a lot going on. What we do not have going on is sex.
Almost 2/3 of us don’t feel we have sex often enough.
44% “are fully satisfied with their sex lives.” (that means 56% is not)
All those busy life things can have significant and un-welcomed consequences on our sex lives. And the reason why we let those things get in the way of a satisfying sex life is because we don’t make sex a priority. We might make it one in our thoughts, but not in our actions. Why? We think sex should just happen. We never learned the communication skills to talk about sex and desire. We hold onto old misconceptions about sex. We focus on what we will get rather than what we can give.
Then few years go by and we find we have a home, a bunch of stuff filling the rooms (and the credit card debt to go with it), our kids are spending their weekdays school and their weekends in front a screen, but we are feeling empty and disconnected from the person we love. We aren’t having sex often enough and the sex we do have is unsatisfying – no intimacy, no connection, no spark. We are alone, lost and in a weird state of craving.
If this is you, read on for some advice based on my research AND my own real-life experiences of how to make sex a priority.
Sex is Important
Sex is a very influential part of couple-dom. It keeps you connected. This happens on a biochemical level and on a psychological level. Sex also has physiological benefits: lowers blood pressure, improves your immunity, increases heart health, burns calories, and much more.
How can you get back into a good sex life groove?
You have to decide what it is you actually want and make the changes. And doing nothing, accepting your status quo, or not acting are all decisions.
I know. So scary either way.
But if you want a satisfying sex life, then you need to make that a priority. It won’t happen magically by itself. The magic comes from you and your actions.
You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it come true.
I got this quote from a video by my business and life guru Marie Forleo. You absolutely must watch it. It is all about how to get the life you want and it can totally be applied more specifically to your sex life. Watch it, then come back here and let me help you along with…
A Few How Tos
So now that you have decided that you want to bring some sexy back into your relationship and have some ideas what to do from the exercise in the Marie Forleo video, you gotta take some action.
First, start with you.
Stop blaming your partner. Just stop. Blame doesn’t make anything better and certainly not an intimate relationship. It only makes for more bitterness, resentment and frustration.
Realize that while you are in this together all you can control are your thoughts and actions. Take a moment to consider how these thoughts and actions are working for you? They aren’t. You need to change them up if you want your sex life to change. The neat thing that happens is that you changing will also affect the other person. They will change too. Whether these changes lead to the result you want, I cannot say. What I do know is if you do nothing or the same thing over and over again, then you will just have more of the same old same old.
This leads me to couples counselling. Maybe you both need to learn new ways of communicating. We could all use a little help with that. It’s not something we are born. It is not taught in schools. Actually, bad communication skills are what we are exposed to more often than not (think about your family of origin).
If your partner will not go to counselling, then go by yourself. Dudes, listen up on this one. Doing personal work like therapy will bring such richness to you life. Therapy might seem like a touchy feel thing to do and it is. You get in touch with your feelings and learn what you can do to improve your situation. Again, the only thing we can actually control are our thoughts and actions. No one else’s. Some introspective combined with learning new strategies to deal with our frustrations is a good, healthy thing AND very well might lead to more touching and feeling.
Think about it.
Explore Your Own Sensuality
You are born alone and you die alone. I say this to myself all the time. I do not see it as depressing. I see it as a statement of self reliance and self nurture. When it comes to sex sure I masturbate, but I also tap into different sensations and pleasures as often as possible. When I was in a relationship this was an absolute must. When I didn’t do sensual things by myself I felt off my game.
Food – I like it when it is spicy and is covered in sauce. Eating with my hands is terrific to me. Ethiopian is a favourite.
Movement – I have little dance parties in my underwear. They say you should dance like no one is watching. I say, dance when no one is watching. Let go!
Relaxation – I take a hot bath with fragrant oils once a week. I soak in the tub, enjoy a whiskey, listen to slow beat pounding music in the dark or with a few candles surrounding me.
Plan It – Schedule It
It may not sound very sexy, but scheduling time for sex can make a big difference. What I really like about scheduling sex is the anticipation of it. When I had a primary partner I liked to look at my agenda and know that the little star with the happy face next to it indicated that I would be meeting up with him to share some sexy time together. It made me think back to when we were dating and how I would look forward to our special date night. You can have that feeling again. You just have to plan for it.
Now, scheduling something on Friday night works well for setting up babysitting, but there are other more spontaneous options that can be managed as well. Arrange a nooner. Send each other notes to build up the anticipation for your secret rendezvous. Have a little phone sex when you are away on business trips! Be inappropriate while at work and do some sexting.
Make It Weird
Doing it at unusual times, in wacky places and in different ways can really rev things up. Have a make out session in the car. Have sex with most of your clothes on. Do it before you go to church.
While I think adding some sex toys, watching porn, wearing sexy lingerie or introducing kink to your sex life can help at times, but I think doing simpler exciting things will have more lasting impact. Pick a wild, exhilarating activity and do it together (no kids allowed). Sky diving, scuba diving, jet skiing, wall climbing, roller coasters – be adventurous! More of a homebody? Watch a scary movie. Whatever it is it needs to have some thrill to it and you need to do it together.
Connect When You Are Not Being Typically Sexual
Think about being affectionate even if it won’t lead to sex. Especially if it won’t. Hold hands in public. Snuggle on the couch. Sneak in some tender caresses. Dry hump a little. Pat each other on the bum when you are in the kitchen. Slow dance. Think of what brings about butterfly feelings. Do that.
In a nutshell: Reflect, decide and act. Stop blaming. Take responsibility. Be creative. Do it for you and whoever you love.
For more on the topic of how our sex lives can change when we are in a long term partnership, I highly recommend this book…
Essay based on a piece originally published at Seska for Lovers in 2004.