In the top ten reasons why individuals and couples come to me for intimacy and sexuality coaching is the reality that they have simply stopped having sex. Many think that what they need is "Sexual CPR". They know it is not because they have stopped loving each other, or even think that they have stopped finding each other sexy. It's just that they are not "turned on" or excited by each other anymore. The problem is time and togetherness can wear down erotic energy in long-term relationships.
If you are in a long term monogamous relationship, and you have stopped having sex, or sex is very infrequent, you may think you are broken or something is wrong with you or your relationship. It might be comforting to know that you are far from alone.
Sexual boredom and the lack of fire are often the reasons why some people reach outside of their long term relationship even though they are still happy with their partner on all other levels.
In a culture that is obsessed with sex, we ironically provide very little adult sex education. Outside of a myriad of "how to" sex books, there is very little in the way of authentic tools taught to us about how to make sex happen when it stops, and how to make it feel good again.
What we need to learn is that sex needs to become a pleasure that we decide to make happen as opposed to us waiting for the heat of desire to take us over. It can seem awfully boring, and certainly not a NY Times best seller, to preach about how we need to create time and room for sex in our lives when our hormones are not raging for it. If you are waiting to be swept away by fiery passion in a long term relationship, it is possible you will be waiting a long time for your next sexual experience!
But putting conscious effort into what we think should come naturally can be very uncomfortable for many couples. Even couples who seek sexual coaching can have a lot of trouble doing their homework, because homework means consciously choosing to have a sexual experience. It can feel very awkward and uncomfortable to put sex on the calendar for Wednesday night!
But it is also very empowering to be able to consciously deal with sex as we do with everything else that is important in our lives. When we make room for sex, and put sex on the calendar we are making a very important statement to ourselves and to our partner. In making the commitment to mindful sex, we are also declaring to our partners that not only is sex worthy of our time and attention—but so are they.
Knowing that our partners still find us desirable and are willing to plan to show up for us is incredibly important. That kind of conscious love will not only help fuel our erotic engines again, but all of the other parts of our relationship as well.
The biggest resistance I get from couples around "calendar sex" is that scheduling sex is not "hot sex". Somehow, if we feel like our love-making is not going to be red hot and smoking, then "Why bother?" The fact is that calender sex may not start as hot sex, but it can start as "warm sex"!
Warm sex can be very nourishing and pleasurable and can reward you in a manner that hot sex can't. Try thinking about showing up for sex as anticipating and savoring a warm, nourishing, slow-cooked, pleasurable meal. And everybody knows that a pot has to warm up before it can boil.
Sex Educator and Sexological Body Worker, Caffyn Jesse offers these tools for conscious and warm sex:
"Why not experiment with expressing a range of emotions sexually: anger, frolic, naughtiness, mindlessness? We can play doctor, play dominatrix, have sex in a car, have a wild affair with our spouse.
When couples choose to explore the path of pleasure, learning and conscious sexuality, an astonishing richness becomes possible. We can share profound bonding, ecstatic awareness, and infinite variety within a single relationship." Mark Semple, an Intimacy, Love and Business Coach
suggests "Being gentle with ourselves is essential in this pursuit. Allowing ourselves a timeout from the demands of daily life and family. Ensuring we are our top priority and care for ourselves the way we care for everyone else. Exploring our hearts, minds, spirits and bodies to reconnect with our essence and align with that which does get out passion burning and our juices flowing."
Allow yourselves to explore pleasure again, and challenge each other to move past your sexual limitations. Do you feel a little fear sharing a long held fantasy with your partner? Try sharing it and see what happens! Have you ever experimented with your partner with one-way touch and sensual massage? Bring out the oil! Give yourself the room to explore all of the various ways you can allow pleasure into your life.
You can welcome sex back into your relationship. You don't have to wait until you solve all of the problems that occur in a long term relationship. Don't be stalemated by old conflicts, grudges, and who did the dishes last. You might be surprised to discover that when you welcome sex back into your relationship in a conscious and warm way - all of those old issues may start to feel less important after all.
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Check out Esther Perel's book on "Mating In Captivity"
and her upcoming workshop on Erotic Intelligence with Jaiya in Costa Rica.
To learn more about Pamela's coaching practice and her Shameless Community, please click here.
To learn more about Pamela's first book where she shares her personal journey through sexual desire and monogamy please check out "Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home In Time To Cook Dinner" (Rodale, January 2011).