Committed relationships provide a solid framework for a secure, consistent, and emotionally fulfilling sexual routine. But routines can be great until they overshadow new experiences and become, well, too routine. If you find yourself wondering “is this all there is?,” it’s probably time to evaluate and update your sex life. Add in one of these tips each week, or try a few at a time. Just remember, sometimes it only takes a few small steps to make a big change.
Pay close attention to your partner, both to their words and the emotions behind their words. If your partner asks for sex, or says no to sex, ask them the reasons behind their decision. Listen to their explanation with an open mind to learn about their mental and emotional state in the moment. Ask questions about their decision and inquire how it may be reflective of what has been happening in their life (inside and outside the bedroom). Simply listening and asking questions can give you vital insight into your partner’s life and help strengthen your connection.
A key to listening: don’t try to change their mind. Just listening is a great first step. And never use bargaining tactics. This breaks down communication and creates power imbalances. If you show thoughtful acceptance of your partner’s wishes, it will help them become more vulnerable and open with you in the future.
2. Trust The Process
Don’t let little disagreements and disappointments get in the way of sex. It’s normal, over time, to disagree and develop feelings of disappointment. Perhaps you feel you work harder than your partner, make more sacrifices, or strive to create a better work/life balance. Believe in your long-haul commitment and the shared history you’ve built. Take your time to approach and work through each disagreement or disappointment together, one by one. Try to create a pattern of discussing things that come up—during a weekly date night, while washing dishes after dinner, in the morning or anytime that works for your relationship. If you trust the process of your long-term dedication to sustaining your relationship through communication, then maintaining a healthy and active sex life will be realistic as your intimacy continues to grow and develop.
If day-to-day resentments become too numerous or go unaddressed, get professional help. Festering issues can snowball and make you tune out your partner, diminish your ability to be intimate, and bring your relationship to a standstill—rendering friendship and sex nonexistent.
3. Switch It Up
You and your partner are always changing and growing as individuals. Why shouldn’t your lovemaking change and grow along with you? Ask your partner if there is something specific they want to try or add during your pre-sex and/or sex routine. You don’t need to have the same idea at the same time for the change to be exciting. Be open to new ideas, and make their request a priority. When trying something new, show a true effort to understand their need by communicating with your partner. Ask your partner to guide you in your efforts by asking questions like, “how does this feel?” or “like this?” By asking questions, your partner can answer without sounding critical, and your technique can improve. This type of communication builds trust and a bond between you and your partner.
If your partner is too shy to verbally express their needs, use their actions as a cue. Mimic what they so for you: when your partner uses a specific technique to pleasure you, it is safe to assume they are comfortable with and would like the same technique from you.
4. Strengthen Your Orgasm
If you’re both having an orgasm regularly during lovemaking, explore how to achieve stronger orgasms for yourself and your partner. Men can learn a technique for “lasting” longer, which leads to a stronger orgasm. Women can explore how to achieve longer, stronger orgasms, and/or multiple orgasms. Try exploring firmer and lighter stimulation on your own.
When you’ve figured out what works best for you, show your partner how to help you achieve this. Keep in mind; it’s a similar learning process to the newlywed stage, in that it’s a gradual progression, with your orgasms becoming a little longer and stronger each time.
5. Just Have Sex
Sometimes “good-enough” sex is just that—good enough. No need to continuously follow our cultural expectation of “bigger, better, faster.” Just think of sex between the two of you as a little vacation from the rigors of the day! Keep in mind, if you’re tired and stressed, relax your expectations of what you should receive, and what you should give, and simply enjoy being with your partner.
6. Use Every Opportunity
Take advantage of every opportunity to have sex, when you have a hotel room, are celebrating your anniversary or birthday, or have a day or even a few hours off from the usual responsibilities such as children and work. And explore initiating spontaneous sex. This makes a clear statement that your relationship is a priority too, not just another obligation.