Summer might only just be upon us but it is the season of weddings nonetheless. Many couples are experiencing the results of much planning and anticipation as they come to their big day. Many hopes and expectations abound as to what their life together will be like – the unknown of the journey ahead for many at this stage is exciting and yet possibly unnerving.
But what of those years ahead – one of the questions I am asked a lot in counselling is ‘How do we keep our relationship and particularly sex alive?’ Sex in the first couple of years of a relationship is passionate, urgent and much wanted for most couples. But then the ordinariness of life sets in – the familiarity, the pressures of work, young children bring time pressures and sleepless nights and suddenly years down the line couples take each other for granted and sex gradually becomes something that moves way down the list of importance, or it even becomes a matter of conflict for the couple.
So here are some tips for how to keep your sex alive after those early years in a relationship. Broadly speaking, sex will be better if you are more fully yourself, and if you are emotionally more connected to your partner..
1. Spending all your free time together can stifle difference and individuality. Those elements are needed for good sex in a long-term relationship. Pursue some separate interests – it is healthier for you both to be able to be fully yourselves and keeps some mystery and interest between you.
2. Show appreciation and say thank you to your partner. Daniel Keltner is quoted in the Observer saying that studies show that romantic partners who express gratitude are more than three times less likely to break up. The warmth and good feeling that is generated by simple gestures of goodwill can make an amazing difference to sex.
3. Stay emotionally in tune with your partner – check out how they are and take time to talk. Being connected emotionally is a starting point to being connected physically.
4.Take time to have fun together – play tennis – go dancing – enjoy a movie – or make time for a weekend break. Fun outside the bedroom can lead to more fun within.
5. Make the bedroom a digital free zone.
6. Schedule sex. Let go of the idea that the best sex is spontaneous. There can be fun in the anticipation.
7. Remember to kiss your partner and take time about it. It is a way of building real intimacy between a couple.
8. Try something new – surprise your partner. Don’t just use the same routine and path that you know works. Familiarity can become dull, and sexual arousal can be enhanced by a fresh approach.
9. Finally don’t look back to the past – enjoy who you are now both individually and as a couple and look forward to new and life-enhancing times together.