Resolutions to change your sex life instead of changing your partner:
1) Make sex dates – Married people have a way of assuming that their sexual relationship will take care of itself. While I hate to bring it up, people in affairs don’t. I don’t think an affair is the way to spice up a sex life but we can all learn something in the comparison. People having affairs put out huge amounts of time, work and money to make sure that sex is fabulous – even amidst already busy lives. They book nooners at expensive hotels. They buy lingerie. They lose weight. They take time away from their family to invest in their exciting paramour. They are nice. They take their little blue pills. They don’t talk about work or the kids. They fantasize and arrive wet. They have desire.
An affair is intoxicating because of the projections of both parties - primarily they imagine the other as the perfect partner. It is magical thinking. And it works. It can work for married people as well. Believe the best in your partner. Then, plan a get-away, something unexpected, something so sexy it works you up just thinking about it. Your sex life can change with a fraction of the effort and none of the devastation of an affair.
2) Challenge your own inhibitions - More than once I’ve sat with couples unhappy about the quality of their sex life. It’s boring. Yet both privately tell me their ideas for how to make it more interesting. They hide from each other their secret fantasies for fear of rejection. Typical inhibitions: body self-consciousness; angst over size of sex organs, vocalizations of pleasure, and fantasy. While some partner’s claim to have no inhibitions, in therapy, they often confess to bringing very little creativity to bed. They haven’t lit a candle, turned on music, or offered an oil massage. They criticize afterwards but don’t moan when they come. Risk is what brings sparks – so make yourself vulnerable. How can you grow braver in bed?
3) Rebalance priorities - Three buckets define marriage and family life: daily living, friendship and sexual intimacy. Out of balance and you’re unhappy or your spouse is unhappy. It’s amazing to me that people can claim happiness when the person they claim to love above all others is unhappy.
Redistribute your energy, if you ever say the following: “I can’t relax until everything is in order,” “I don’t understand why my partner’s unhappy when we have such a comfortable life,” “My partner is grumpy unless they’ve had sex in the last couple of days,” “We’re so busy, we barely know each other anymore,” “The children are only little once, why can’t my partner put their needs on hold for a few years.” “I’m too tired for sex.”
Here’s some directions: 1) Turn off all electronics during dinner, 2) go out alone together for a meal once a week (even if you have to pack it and take it to the park), 3) spend an hour twice a week catching up after the kiddies are in bed or after dinner, 4) designate one night for relaxation, cuddling, and intimate talk – see what develops. 5) part from and greet each other with a hug and kiss, 6) never pass in the hallway without a smile or affectionate touch.
I could almost guarantee that if a couple did these things they would never show up in a sex therapist’s office.
4) Move toward flexibility. In order to not sabotage the sexual relationship, we need to be able to absorb some behavior that makes us uncomfortable from our spouse. For instance, sometimes our partner is too tired or too stressed to give to us. Other times our partner’s life situation makes them needy and anxious seeming to suffocate us. If we can allow for some of this (blogs are not good at capturing all situations – I am not suggesting you put up with a pattern of withholding or selfishness) – we will spare the bedroom from becoming the battleground.
Sexual Pursuers – gracefully accept a no and hold inside your anxiety that your partner doesn’t love you.
Sexual Distancers – realize that your partner may need sex in order to calm down sometimes not just to communicate their feelings of love.
5) Become an educated lover – Read a sex book. Consult with a sex therapist for just a few sessions. Book a weekend retreat as a couple to develop your erotic style (many therapists throughout the country offer these.) Watch my videos explaining the gender differences in desire and arousal. Talk to your physician about any difficulties you are having with your body that impact sexuality even if you think there is no connection. For instance, SSRI’s impact performance and desire; blood pressure pills often impact erections, menopause can cause vaginal dryness easily remedied. Medical treatments including pills and creams are available for early ejaculation. Testosterone testing might be necessary for low libido in both men and women. Birth control pills can lower libido, etc..
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!