We are in a rut

When the phase of falling in love, full of passion and fascination passes (this usually lasts from one year to two) – and with it the charm of newness – routine and predictability creep into a relationship’s sex life, and the frequency of physical intimacy decreases. We start to wonder “what happened to us, at the beginning we couldn’t keep our hands off each other?”

We simply naturally move into the next phase of the relationship, in which the sense of security, love and acceptance dominates the sense of freedom, novelty and thrill that is needed to feel desire. In addition there may be obstacles, for example, in the form of discrepancies in the level of libido, conflicts within the relationship, our own health problems or those of our loved ones, our lifestyle or simply the so-called “everyday life”. The good news is that intimacy can be rebuilt and passion can be rekindled, but it won’t be possible without work on your part. It may seem like it takes a lot of effort, and it does, but isn’t the reward of having a satisfactory relationship and great sex worth it?

If you have difficulty breaking the routine in your sex life, experience discrepancies in libido or struggle with other challenges in the area of sex and sexuality, you can seek professional help by consulting a sexologist, a (sex) therapist or a sex coach.

Find out what sex coaching is and/or arrange a free virtual coffee with me, during which we will assess how I can help you best. Seeking professional support is not something to be ashamed of, it just shows your commitment to improving your relationship and it may be a breakthrough step in restoring intimacy and the sexual bond with your partner. It is never too late to revitalise your sex life, rebuild intimacy and strengthen your relationship.

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In the meantime, go ahead and try these 5 proven activities that will help diversify your sex life:

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Rebuild your emotional bond

Often, the lack of closeness or intimacy outside the bedroom can affect your sexual experiences.

When most people think about sex, they don’t think about emotional connection. When we think about sex, our brain automatically refers to the physical act, at the body level. But many times, if you don’t feel connected to your partner, switching into the “physical intimacy mode” can be difficult. If you feel distant from each other, or the two of you feel more like roommates than romantic partners, or if maybe you feel a deep resentment towards each other, if you maybe argue a lot… then you probably won’t feel like having sex at all due to these different types of situations. To enjoy physical closeness, you usually need a degree of emotional closeness as well.

Make it a priority to spend time together and reconnect on an emotional level. Engage in activities that strengthen your sense of closeness, e.g. calling your partner during the day just to say “I love you” or having conversations during which you allow yourself to be vulnerable with your partner. Nothing forges a connection better than the certainty of knowing your partner better than anyone else, their weaknesses, doubts, and the fact that they share their inner world with you. By strengthening your emotional bond, you will naturally strengthen your physical bond.

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Touch each other without sexual intention

If you tense up when your partner kisses your neck, hugs you, or smacks you innocently on the bottom, or you say something like, “Stop it, I’m not in the mood for sex!” when they only wanted to show you affection or love, it most likely means that you usually only touch each other when one of you initiates sex.

People are programmed for touch. If there isn’t enough touch in your relationship outside of sex, make sure to introduce it. Try holding hands in public places again, hug each other while watching a Netflix series, give each other a foot or head massage.

Get used to being close again, to showing each other tenderness and enjoying each other’s physical presence.

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Start talking (openly) about sex

The key step to revitalizing your sex life is an open and honest communication with your partner.

At the beginning you may feel ashamed and embarrassed, but as with everything, the more we do something, the better we get at it – so don’t be discouraged! Moreover, it is not about starting serious conversations about your sex life right away, which most of us are afraid of because we do not want to offend our partner. It’s more about freedom and lightness in talking about sex on a general level.

For many of us, such conversations are a step outside our comfort zone. However, it is difficult to have a sex life you enjoy if you don’t talk about it, and even more so if you don’t talk about sex at all.

It’s worth starting with small steps, for example mentioning that you’ve listened to a podcast about initiating sex, and asking what your partner thinks about it. Once you get used to this, create a safe space where you can express your desires, fears and fantasies without complaining, criticizing or judging. Talk about what you both enjoy and what you would like to discover together. Don’t be afraid to express your needs – if you don’t ask you don’t get; this is the only way to find out how your partner feels about it. In these types of conversations, you will need a sense of humor, which will make it easier to present the topic in a light way, as well as the courage of taking responsibility for your needs, to empower yourself and not just expect your partner to take care of everything for you.

Be aware that while your needs are important, so are your partner’s.

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Introduce new things in the bedroom and beyond

Research has shown that doing new things (not necessarily sexual, because our brain does not distinguish between different sources of our excitement) stimulates the secretion of dopamine (the so-called action hormone), which has a positive effect on our well-being, energy and willingness to act. And the biggest enemy of dopamine is predictability.

Of course, it seems easier, especially when we have little time for ourselves, to follow a known pattern – it will give us what we need at a given moment. But let’s be honest, it’s hard to get excited about doing the same thing, in the same place, at the same time…

Introducing new things to your life, but also into the lives of each of you individually, will help you see your partner in a new light, it will allow you to look at some things from a different perspective.

It will introduce excitement, pleasure and anticipation. It doesn’t have to be a big, complicated thing, like going on vacation or weekly dates, which do require some logistics, but rather small steps towards something new. It’s already enough if it’s something you haven’t done in a long time, e.g. going to the cinema or a restaurant, having sex in the shower, or walking around the house in something that looks good instead of sweatpants. Or something completely new, such as an evening with painting and wine tasting, a joint trip to a sex shop or sexting.

Be creative and think outside the box. In fact, it’s not about what you try and whether it works for you, but about the experience of something new, fun – it’s a journey, not a destination! The key is to step outside your comfort zone, or rather expand it, and share a sense of adventure and exploration together with your partner.

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Mindful pleasure instead of pressure

Sex is an area in which we want to perform well, and this makes us focus more on achievements (strong and long enough erection, a large number of positions, orgasm, or preferably several, etc.) and how our bodies look during the act, rather than on the pleasure we experience.

Instead of putting pressure on ourselves, which often leads to the opposite of what we intend, prioritize pleasure and curiosity. Discover each other’s bodies again, look for unexplored areas and new erogenous zones with your partner. Focus on the sensations that your partner’s touch causes in your body. Ask your partner whether your touch gives them pleasure.

Be in the “here and now”, instead of in the past or future. This will allow you to mindfully experience pleasure, leaving behind the worry that if something didn’t work out last time, it may not work out again.

Give yourselves permission that sex does not have to be flawless every time, and that it does not necessarily need to be crowned with penetration let alone an orgasm. By making pleasure and enjoyment your goal, you will be more relaxed during sex and enjoy it more.

These actions should help you initiate changes in your sex life, gradually restore the intimacy and passion that you may have been missing for some time and introduce a breath of fresh air that is necessary to revitalize your relationship. However, it is worth being patient and not giving up if you encounter resistance from your partner the first or second time; some of these actions may take time before you start seeing and feeling the results.