For most romantic couples, it’s not uncommon for your sex life to ebb and flow over time. And your passion barometer can even dip pretty low at times (who hasn’t heard of the seven-year itch?) Well, fear not, we’d hate for your sex life to dry up or go sour, so we tracked down some top experts in the area to fill us in on how to keep the flames of desire alive.
Often trouble in the bedroom is due to shockingly simple causes. “When couples just don’t take enough time to relax and quiet down their mind, then have trouble focusing on one thing,” says Madeleine Castellanos, M.D, author of “What Kills Your Sex Life.” Sexual arousal is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system, she explains, and anything that triggers a stress response will short-circuit feelings of sexiness and friskiness. Here are ways to slow down, slip into relax mode with your partner and waken up your sex life.
The Sitch: Basically, you can’t ignore sexual pleasure and your sexuality and expect it to flourish, and because the brain rewards the experience of pleasure by increasing desire, explains Dr. Castellanos, “by simply lessening opportunities for pleasure, women can contribute to the decline of their own sex life.”
The Fix: In the bedroom, put as much energy into seeking and finding your own pleasure as you do your partner’s. Actively work to reduce stress and block out distractions. Allow more time for foreplay and for longer lovemaking sessions.
Try New Things Together
The Sitch: “When couples become too familiar with a repetitive sexual playbook and making love becomes a predicable routine,” says John Beiter, PhD., a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist. The way out, or up, as it may be, is to explore new experiences together, and to become vulnerable and open to trying new things that are slightly out of your comfort zone.
The Fix: Try visiting a nudist colony or co-ed Turkish bath or spa together, have a couples massage to get the muscles and mood loose, or try reading erotic texts together, even out loud if you’re feeling it, and take turns sharing fantasies. “Make sex about pleasure fun and intimacy, and take performance out of the equation,” says Dr. Beiter.
Clear Time on the Calendar
The Sitch: Life just got too busy, with too many balls in the air, and you have more responsibilities than ever. By the time you fall into bed, you’re fast asleep in seconds. Snoozeville between the sheets.
The Fix: Get out your calendar and make some dates. “Research has demonstrated that by this one simple thing, increasing the amount of time you two spend together, you build intimacy and increase the likelihood of setting off fireworks,” says Dr. Lawrence Stein.
Learn New Tricks
The Sitch: Couples who have been together a while are companions and friends and get to know a certain sex routine. “What was once exciting and thrilling no longer is because you know what’s coming, so you get into a mode of going through the motions to achieve an end goal of finishing,” says Elle Nicole, a clinical psychologist with a master’s degree in human sexuality.
The Fix: Try something new between the sheets, such as tantric sex, suggests Nicole, “which is the art of delayed orgasm to increase pleasure and connection with your partner.” Also consider shopping for a new sex toy together, and bringing it into the bedroom, or even other things outside the bedroom, like zip-lining or go-cart racing. If it gets your heart racing and adrenaline pumping and you’re together, this could lead to increased passion all around. “Remember, sex isn’t just a physical act, it’s a way for couples to express themselves to one another in a deeper way,” says Nicole.
Sext To It
Sexting Much? If the answer is yes, then you’re probably also getting laid. That’s because sexting, or sending sexually explicit text messages, including images (yep, those nudie ‘I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours’ photos), seem to be just another part of growing up these days, and not just the typing of at-risk teens, finds a new study. What’s more, the odds of being sexually active was found by scientists to be higher for those who sent sexts, meaning naked pictures of themselves, than those who did not. Yet the sexual encounters did not tend to be riskier than what’s found in most healthy sex lives.
Turns out, actually sending a naked photo may communicate a level of openness to sexual activity, says the lead researcher, and even send the signal that sex is expected. It basically indicates that the sexter is ready to rumble. However, that’s for the person sending the photo, not just receiving texts or asking for photos. So, if you’re going through a dry spell, it may be time to get your sext on and reach out and text someone.