1. Don’t do things that don’t feel good for you
It feels like common sense but if you enjoy something you are likely to want to do more of it!
Many couples get into a sexual rut and have sex in quite a prescriptive way. The same time, place and they include the same activities. There is nothing wrong with this if it works for you both, but for many couples it doesn’t and then sex feels like a chore rather than something to be enjoyed and savoured.
If sexual intimacy becomes boring then sexual desire (libido) will fall, and it will become harder for couples to stay aroused and this can then impact sexual functioning. Men may struggle to get or maintain an erection and women may find penetration uncomfortable or painful.
Ok, here’s the practical bit! Spending adequate time on foreplay and sensual touching is really important because this increases genital blood flow which in turn increases sexual arousal. Introducing a lubricant can be really helpful for heightening sensual touching of the genitals for both men and women as well as introducing vibrators for clitoral stimulation. This can be particularly helpful for women who might be struggling to get aroused.
2. Talk to each other about sex
Good communication is the most important ingredient in creating good sexual intimacy, but talking about sex is not easy. Doing so makes us vulnerable and this opens up the possibility of rejection from our partner — so it can feel risky. Set aside time that is away from the bedroom and give your partner some advance warning that you want to discuss this. It’s less threatening if you can say how you feel rather than how you want your partner to change. An example might be “……I’m aware that you haven’t wanted to have sex for a while and I feel sad about this. I miss it and I want to try and understand what has changed”. Your partner is less likely to hear this as a criticism and will be more likely to open up about what has changed for them “…..yes I’ve not been interested lately and I think it’s because….”
3. Make sure you’re both on the same page with your expectations
Films would have us believe that sex is always spontaneous and that everything falls into place. The couple desire each other at exactly the same time, clothes are removed effortlessly and simultaneous orgasm happens within minutes. I cannot say this strongly enough: this is not a real portrayal of sex especially in a committed relationship!
We lead busy lives juggling work, children, elderly parents, illness, financial worries… the list goes on. We have to be intentional about when we make time for sex and this is challenging. Being intentional feels like hard work — the very thing we think sex shouldn’t be.
Talk about when you are most likely to feel able to enjoy sex and this might involve you needing to be creative. Many couples talk to me about being a “morning” person or an “evening” person, but sex can happen at any time. This might be early evening, after a drink and before dinner, mid-morning or afternoon during a weekend.
If you set aside adequate time you will both know what to expect and having sex will become more of a priority. Research shows that couples that have regular sex tend to report greater overall relationship satisfaction!
Emma also gave us a list of her recommended purchases for increased pleasure:
“There are many good lubricant’s out there but I recommend an organic brand called YES. www.yesyesyes.org
If you are struggling with sexual problems you can seek professional help. The college of sex and relationship therapists (COSRT) hold a list of therapists in your local area and many therapists are now offering consultations on line.”
How to start a positive conversation about sex? Toucan Together’s Loving Module gets beyond the cliches, looking at different aspects of love, intimacy and sex to help you take your relationship to the next level.