A ritual is an action or behavior that happens regularly and consistently over time. Often when experts talk about enhancing your sex life, they focus on novelty and excitement. And while trying new things can be a great way to take your sex life to a new level, most of us don’t know how to create something new and exciting in a relationship that has fallen into a routine or feels stuck. Rituals are a great way to implement new effective behaviors into your relationship.
One ritual I often suggest to my clients is to plan weekly (or monthly) sex dates. If you prefer sex to be spontaneous, and think that planning sex feels anti-erotic, I have some suggestions for you.
- Agree to take turns surprising your partner with something new at each sex date. It can be something small or big. For example, a new place, position, outfit, or role-play.
- Spend your first planned sex date talking about sexual fantasies or things you’d like to try together. Then write the activities (that you both agreed on) down on small pieces of paper, put them in a bag, bowl, jar or hat, then pick one a week before the date to start to plan…and anticipate a new and exciting sexual experience! You can discuss it with your partner or keep it a sexy secret.
- Another idea is to go toy shopping on a sex date. You can go to a sex store or try online shopping.
What do you and your partner do to have fun? Create a ritual that will insure that you are making time to play together. Here are some suggestions.
- If you like games, plan a weekly game night. It can be board games, computer games, video games, or even a made-up sex game.
- Plan play dates. Many people schedule date nights, but a play date is so much more! It can be done any time of the day, and the focus is on fun. Take turns planning a monthly date or weekend adventure.
We need to talk to connect. And connection is important for good sex. I’m not talking about conversations regarding work, the kids, the house, or finances. I’m talking about intimate conversations that help you know your partner better, and that you feel more known. Here are a few ideas.
- A couple I worked with used to have Margarita Mondays. Every Monday they would go to a small neighborhood restaurant to drink a margarita(s) and talk.
- Schedule a weekly 30 minute “state of the union” talk to express appreciations and to make requests.
- Share a nightly cup of tea or glass of wine while talking about your day or future plans and desires.
- Ask each other questions as if you just met. You can use resources such as “Table Topics” (can be found on Amazon.com) or Apps such such as “Love Maps” by John Gottman to find interesting questions to ask each other to learn things about your partner that you didn’t know you didn’t know.
Pick one or two of these rituals to incorporate into your life, and over time you will have an improved relationship and a better sex life. Rituals take time, effort and commitment, and may be difficult to establish. But with time these rituals will be something that you will look forward to and be well worth the effort!
You can listen to my Podcast about rituals, available on October 16th at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/looking-for-love-and-more/id1146640020?mt=2
Why do so many couples fall out of love?
The symptoms of a relationship where one or both partners feel that they are no longer “in love” and the reasons people grow apart are typically the same. They stop acting in loving ways, no longer spend alone time together, are less interested in each other, and almost always stop touching affectionately and sexually. Often times, one or both of the partners are filled with resentment over unresolved issues. When people don’t feel loved, appreciated or understood, they often become angry, withdrawn or both. Where there used to be love in their eyes, there is now sadness and anger.
Some people become resigned to this type of relationship believing that all couples grow apart or fall out of love, while others chose to have affairs or end the marriage. Both can lead to increased depression, stress, and an overall decreased quality of life.
What can couples do to fall back in love?
Remember why you fell in love and the things you used to love about your partner and your relationship. Do the things you did at the beginning of your relationship. Spend more time together alone. Be interested in your partner. Talk about shared dreams, goals, and reminisce over happy memories and experiences you’ve shared, create new ones and have fun! Most of the couples I see in my practice have forgotten how to have fun together.
Remember, it’s easy to fall in love, but it takes intention and daily efforts to stay in love. Act like a person in love, and you’ll notice an amazing shift in your relationship.
Couple’s therapy and coaching are great ways to address unresolved issues as well as learn new skills to have a healthy, loving and satisfying relationship. If you feel you’ve done everything you can to reconnect, but nothing’s changing, consider seeing a therapist or coach who specializes in working with relationships and marriage.
“Desire is not a destination: We connect with our desire by uncovering what is already inside of us.”
— Dr. Lori Buckley
Is the thrill gone from your relationship? Do you feel like you would rather watch TV than have sex, and that everyone you know, and certainly those you don’t know, are having more and better sex than you?
You are not alone. Diminished sexual desire is a common concern for many men and women, and at some time in your life you and/or your partner will experience a decreased interest in sex.
Yet, many people who experience a lowered or lack of interest in sex believe that something is wrong with them, and therefore experience unhappiness and/or dissatisfaction in their relationship. Men and women are in severe distress over their own or their partner’s lack of sexual desire. Research suggests that sexual desire problems affect up to 55% of relationships.
It’s important to listen to the message your body is giving you. A lack of interest in sex is your body telling you that your life is out of balance, your relationship needs attention, you need to change your lifestyle, or you may have an underlying health problem. In addition to the suggestions below, consider getting a general physical to rule out any underlying medical concerns.
People often tell me they’ve lost their sexual desire as though they’re talking about misplacing their car key. “I have to find it… I had it a moment ago… What happened to it… Where the heck is it?” But desire is not really lost, it is just covered up or blocked by external and internal forces that may include psychological, relational, or physiological factors. Sexual desire is complex, but a decreased interest in sex may just be the result of boring and unsatisfying sexual experiences.
Below are some things you can do right away to increase your desire and improve your sex life. They’re quick, easy, and they work!
INCREASE YOUR DEXUAL DESIRE
Be selfish. Desire used as a verb is defined as wanting something. Think of your sexual desire as something you want for yourself, instead of pleasing someone else. Sex is not only good for you, it can give you pleasure, be a lot of fun, and even help you live longer and look younger. You deserve to have enjoyable sex. Think about the reasons you want to have sex and how your life and relationship would be different if you were having satisfying sex.
Expand your definition of sex. Sex is not only about intercourse and orgasms. If you knew that you could enjoy kissing, teasing, and touching your partner or ask for the same without any pressure to do anything else, you might engage in more sex play. Sex play is a great way to add fun and pleasure into your bedroom.
Try new things. The good news is that you don’t need to go to a sex club or swing from a chandelier to make sex more exciting. Even the smallest change can have a huge impact on sexual satisfaction. Try touching and kissing your partner differently, or having sex in a different room of the house or experimenting with sex toys. Reading erotic books or watching adult films together to get new ideas are a great way to open up a line of communication about new things you’d like to try.
Remember to kiss. Even in great relationships, the long, lingering kiss is often the first thing that goes. Remember that first kiss and how exciting it was to spend hours making-out? Next time you and your partner are going for a drive, pull over for a fun make-out session.
Sex-up your bedroom. If your bedroom has become a place to eat, watch TV, check your email, or work, one of the best things you can do is “sex it up.” Add pillows, candles, and fabulous sheets to create romance. Perhaps some mirrors or a sexy color on the wall is all your bedroom needs to create an ambiance of seduction. Your bed should be reserved for two things—sex and sleep.
Commit to a healthy lifestyle. Daily exercise and eating healthy food will have a positive effect on your libido. Perhaps there is a form of exercise you’d enjoy doing together? Take cooking healthy meals together, and/or taking nightly walks.
Feel sexy. What makes you feel sexy? Is it putting on your favorite perfume, wearing sexy lingerie, reading a sexy novel, or enjoying a long, warm bath, working-out, thinking of a memorable sexual experience? Try different things to see what feels sexy for you!
Live sensually. Notice the beauty around you: eat slowly and taste your food, feel how soft your skin is after applying moisturizer, smell a flower, try listening to beautiful music. Being aware of our senses can awaken our bodies and our sexual desire.
Try the Three T’s. Talk, touch, and time (together). Which of these three are deficient in your relationship? Your life is busy, so if you want to feel connected, you need to make the time to talk to and be with your partner. If you need to, put it on a calendar. Make it fun by adding playful activities and romance.
Plan sex- Yep, I said it. Planning or scheduling sex can be hot! It creates anticipation, and eliminates the “who’s going to initiate” dilemma. And it’s much more reliable than waiting for the “right” time or until you’re both “in the mood”. Remember, most of us need to be sexually stimulated before we get aroused, before we feel like having sex.
And here’s a little joke…
A graduate student is trying to find a correlation between sex and happiness. He asks people how often they have sex. Some say every day. Some say every month, or week. One guy, who’s very happy and laughing and jumping up and down, says he has sex once a year. “So why are you so happy?” the student asks. And the man replies, “Because tonight’s the night!”
Great sex doesn’t begin when we take our clothes off. Here are some tips to connect with your partner to add joy to your relationship and enhance your sex life
- Meaningful rituals: these are special things you can count on, that you do on a routine basis. Weekly romantic dinners, daily loving texts, Sunday morning walks, or planned sex dates
- Be unpredictable: surprise your partner by doing things that are thoughtful and unexpected. A card, note, small gift, or get away weekend creates loving feelings & excitement, and can increase sexual desire
- Touch: sensual touch, long hugs, affectionate gestures & public hand holding release the hormone oxytocin, which and gives us a feeling of emotional bonding & lowers cortisol
- Time together: make time to be together alone. No kids, friends or electronics. Do things that are fun that you used to do together or that you’ve always wanted to do together
- Have fun and be adventurous: in the bedroom and out of the bedroom. This creates attraction & excitement. Fun is good for relationships and for better sex
- Kiss with passion: passionate kissing is one of the first things to go in a long-term relationship. Make sure to have passionate, long, lingering kisses
- Be genuinely interested in your partner and in their life: there’s always more to learn about the person you love…in and out of bed. For example: “tell me about your day”, or “tell me your sexual fantasies”, or “what can I do for you”…
- Add creativity and novelty into your sex life: do things differently. This releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is associated with attraction and infatuation. Try a new sex toy, position or place.
- Appreciate the positive and compliment your partner: it’s easy to focus on your partner’s faults and take one another for granted. Instead, focus on your partner’s positive traits, and then show appreciation with a thank you and a compliment
- Have realistic expectations: all relationships have conflicts, and every one has good days and bad days. Sometimes sex is mind-blowing, sometimes it’s forgettable, and sometimes you just want to forget
- Acknowledge, accept and manage your differences: 69% of couple’s problems are irresolvable. Much unhappiness is caused by our trying to change our partner and/or solve unsolvable problems
Gottman, John M. (1999) The marriage Clinic. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company
Coleman, Paul, Psy.D.. (2006) The 30 secrets of Happily Married Couples. Avon, MA: Adams Media