Has it been longer than normal since the last time you had sex with your partner?
Perhaps there has been some tension in your relationship. Or you're navigating life with a new child. Or there are medical issues. Or back-to-back-to-back work meetings that leave little time to see each other, let alone connect. Or maybe life just got a bit too busy and your average once-a-week sexual encounters became two weeks, which turned into a month (or maybe even months).
Whatever the reason for the halt in sexual activity, once we take a sexual hiatus most of us find it hard to get back in the swing of things. We fall out of rhythm with one another. And, as much as we might miss having sex, it's not uncommon to feel it might be easier to continue not having sex than it is to figure out how you're going to broach trying to have sex again.
But if you're feeling ready to put sex back on the table, here are four things to keep in mind:
1. Accept That It Will Be a Little Bit Awkward
Because chances are it will feel awkward. Should I touch you here? Do you want foreplay? Kissing? Or should we just get down to business? When it's been a while since the last time you had sex, chances are you'll be a little tentative with yourself and one another.
If we set ourselves up with high hopes that we're just going to passionately rip each other's clothes off, we might retreat and pull away when we find that we aren't flowing into a nice natural sexual pattern. It's okay for things to feel awkward. Communicate, don't take things too seriously, and remember that you might need a little practice before things feel "normal" again.
2. Remember You Can Stop Part Way
It's always a good idea to evaluate, and reevaluate, your sexual comfort and urges throughout a sexual experience and to choose to stop (or just pause) if things feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or painful. This is especially important to remember when having sex again after a hiatus. If making out is all that feels comfortable right now that's fine. If you're trying to get your sex life back on track, any effort is better than none at all. If one person gets upset or frustrated that it wasn't a full sexual encounter complete with an orgasm, it will be harder to give it another go anytime soon. Be patient with one another and ease back into sex slowly.
3. Do Something to Get Yourself in a Sexual Head Space
For a lot of us, a lack of sexual activity can mean a lack of sexual thoughts. We might temporarily lose (or dampen, or ignore) our sexual urges and not feel as connected to them. So when we are ready to be sexual again, it's not advisable to jump in headfirst without thinking about what you might need to feel sexy and turned on yourself, before you start interacting with your partner.
That is, think about doing something that will get you in the mood. Maybe that means wearing some new lingerie or underwear, or meditating or working out to get in a clear and relaxed mentality so you're not distracted with other life demands. Or even reading or watching something romantic or erotic on your own to get warmed up before you initiate with your partner. Whatever it is that helps you cultivate your sexual interest will help you transition more comfortably to having partnered sex.
4. Don't Worry About Introducing Something Extra (Yet)
It might be natural to wonder why you hit a sexual slump in the first place and think that you need to introduce something exciting and fun to get things feeling passionate again. And while sex toys can be a fun extra to introduce into the bedroom, if it's been a longer-than-usual time without sex, try to reduce the pressure you're putting on yourself and just enter in with your authentic self. You can always add in some more fun and experimental things after you've fallen back into a more comfortable routine.
There are plenty of reasons that couples hit a sexual dry spell and it doesn't always mean things are hugely problematic in your relationship. But when you feel ready to put in the effort to become sexually active again after a hiatus, remember that it is normal for sex to feel a little bit awkward, so be patient, take things slowly, and accept that a little practice might be necessary.