Married and Still Doing It

Wanting the one you're with

5 How-To Tips for Changing Your Sex Life

Analyze, accept, appreciate, accentuate, and act for a better sex life.

"But how does the daddy sperm meet the mommy egg, Mommy?" asked my sweet 4-year-old. My clients ask, "But HOW do I change my sex life?" People feel frustrated when their requests fail to spur their partner to action. They've nagged, requested, demanded, yelled, cried, and gone silent.

How to Change:

1) Analyze your own part - is there anything you can do to make your partner's response easier? Has she asked you to wear nice clothes so her visual take on you is more attractive? Has he asked for more aggression on your part but you didn't think it was "lady-like?"

Even if you've tried everything... sometimes you have to "go again." You've felt discouraged and have withdrawn behaviors that your partner might need in favor of the power struggle. But to make change possible at this stage—do what works: initiation, romance, seduction, compliments, holding your temper,and helping your partner with the burden of life.

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2) Accept developmental issues - some changes take more time. Newlyweds who are virgins just aren't going to have fabulous sex until they have a few years of experience.  Adjustments to parenthood, menopause, male pause, retirement, moving, empty nest and recommitments can temporarily derail sex. Have traumatic memories emerged? Is your partner grieving the loss of a parent? Is he/she depressed? Patience is everything for a lifetime of good sex.  Ignoring important life events is selfish and will cause your partner to withdraw from you.

3) Appreciate the approximation - when your partner does something close to what you like—be all over it!!! Rave a little! Don't say, "well, it was kind of what I've been describing but not really..." Don't tweak everything. Human behavior can best be shaped by repetitive positive reactions. Encourage small steps.

Some people listen and exclaim, "Exactly!" They are fun to communicate with because it's like playing catch. You toss a ball and they catch it.  "Yes!" It is so satisfying to talk with them and everything flows. They aren't faking being understood. Intuitively, super communicators know that understanding is a process and they very enthusiastically support every modicum of effort on their partner's part to "get it."

Other people are more anxious that they will never be understood. They are constantly correcting for perfection. Communication is tedious, interrupted. Sort of like barbed wire. Every whipstitch requires a detailed minor argument. Ugh. If you approach sex this same way, all the joy, fluidity, and feelings of satisfaction will be drained from the experience.

4) Accentuate the positive it  - No one, no ONE, NO ONE!, likes to hear criticism in bed. If you can't say it with a positive spin, shrapnel will explode and damage every aspect of your sex life. Just stop. Shut up. Don't say anything. Finish this sentence... "I would love it in bed, if you..."

5) Act with integrity - sometimes this may mean saying, "I love you. I want you. If you don't want sex or sex with me then we need to break up." This is so scary. Especially if there are vows and children and mortgages. I'm not saying give an ultimatum, I'm saying: tell the truth. Never, ever say this unless you are absolutely at your end... like about-to-have-an-affair-with-the-secretary-end.

I'm asked, "Is it ever justified to end a marriage due to no sex?" First, let me say I have tremendous hope about helping people make sex hotter and better.  I've seen lots of "no-sex" marriages recover. Sexual problems are always, always, always system problems... that means you contribute to the problems too.

But fidelity is a two-edged sword. It's a promise to stay away from all others and a way into an alive, erotic life with your partner.

Pick a timeframe and watch and see what happens. Don't listen to words; pay attention to actions.  If your partner says they will do anything to change but don't go to therapy, read everything, and really struggle... reassess. Don't nag, simply observe. What happens without the push from your end. Check in with friends or a therapist to see if your expectations are unrealistic.

Link for more help from Laurie Watson with SexTherapy in Raleigh, Cary, Greensboro and Chapel Hill, NC. Laurie’s book Wanting Sex Again is available on Amazon!

Laurie Watson is an AASECT certified sex therapist and licensed couple’s therapist. She lectures at Duke University’s Medical Schooland is the clinical director for Awakenings in Raleigh. more...

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