Tips for Keeping a Sexual Relationship Healthy

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A recent conversation with a friend prompted this post. I don’t know if it will help him, but perhaps it will be helpful to some of you.

Disclaimer: I am half of a poly couple, which means I cheat and get ideas from sex with other people.

In a monogamous relationship, sometimes things can begin to feel stale in the bedroom. In particular, if you live with someone, it can be hard to switch from “comfortable companion mode” to “sexy mode.”

Hours spent comfortably in another person’s presence can get you used to them being around in a non-sexual way. Not the mention the fact that you see a person you live with at their worst, when they are stuck in the bathroom with diarrhea or lying in the dark with a migraine. It can be harder to see someone as a sexual being after seeing them in sweatpants.

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Another problem is the “they’ll be here tomorrow” mentality.  When you live with someone, you see them every day (usually). This means that you might put off initiating sex today, because you can always do it tomorrow. (Pun intended.)

Anyway, here are my ideas to help sexualize your relationship:

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First, most sex therapists recommend setting aside designated sex time. This is a great idea because it takes the pressure off of the person initiating sex. They know that they don’t have to, because you have prearranged to meet in the bedroom at 9pm on Friday and have sex.

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It may not sound very sexy, but it can be. It gives people an excuse to buy candles, lingerie, make a sexy playlist, or whatever they have been thinking about but putting off. It also gives a time and place, so that both parties can mentally prepare. Maybe one of you is showering. Maybe one of you is watching a sexy movie. Whatever. You have a set time, so you can both do thinks you like to get in the mood.

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Second, talking is always the best way to deal with sexual tension (or tension about a lack of sex.) If you are nervous, do this in a way that you think you can handle. Love letters, sexy emails, naughty text messages, and other means of indirect communication can be a good start.

Ideally, you want to move to a place where you can talk in person. For that, I recommend laying in bed cuddling in the dark. You don’t want to try to talk about sex at the dining room table, particularly if you aren’t feeling very sexy. But if you can agree to be in the dark, while maintaining physical contact, it will make it easier to talk about the underlying feelings that led to the bedroom issues in the first place.

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Often as men age, they have more trouble getting erections. This can lead to them feeling ashamed, and women blaming themselves. But it can also be hard to talk about. So get into bed, turn off the lights, and admit:

“I feel less manly because I have trouble getting an erection.”

“I feel like I am too fat or not sexy enough, and like it is my fault.”

You will find that you’re both hurt by a thing that is actually out of your control (it’s just a physical issue with soft tissue not getting enough blood flow.) From there, you can decide what to do. Perhaps you decide to just both put more effort into foreplay and not focus so much on penetration. Perhaps you decide to see a doctor and get medication. Whatever. Work it out together, and you will both be better for it.

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Third, try new stuff. If this means reading blogs like mine to get ideas, okay. If it means watching porn, okay. It doesn’t matter where you get your ideas. At a place called the CSPC is Seattle, they often have workshops on things like Erotic Massage or Impact Play, and classes in new things can be very helpful, so that when you try them you feel confident.

You can try toys. Or, there is always role play. Sexy clothes can be fun, too.

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My point is; if you try new things and don’t like them that’s okay. You don’t have to try role play and find out that you want to do it all the time for it to help your relationship. Just the act of trying new things together can be a sharing experience that makes you both feel more connected and in touch with each other.

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Fourth, try working out. If you find that you’re not in the mood as often as you used to be, this could very well be a hormone issue. Both men and women produce more testosterone when they work out, and this is a hormone associated with desire to have sex.

Besides, it’s possible that some of the lack of sex you’re having is due to the body issues of one or both parties. That is a completely valid feeling, particularly in a culture that sexualizes twigs passing themselves off as human. It’s common to feel ugly or unattractive, which can lead to not wanting to have sex. So if you burn a few extra calories, maybe it will help?

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Related to this is compliments. If you are concerned that your partner is feeling unattractive, or even if you are not, it never hurts to compliment them. Passing observations like “I like your hair today” or “That shirt looks good on you” are awesome. But you can also do more sexy compliments where you come up behind your partner and whisper in their ear. Things like “When you wear that, I want to tear all your clothes off” or “Seeing you standing here looking beautiful makes me so proud to be with you” can be useful tools to help your partner feel sexy.

And remember, when you and your partner both feel sexy, you’ll have better sex more often.

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Finally, you can always seek counseling. Most people feel uncomfortable seeking counseling for sex, because it’s such a taboo topic to talk about. However, if you are having trouble maintaining a healthy sexual relationship, then you are going to struggle as a couple. So put your fears aside, and think about seeing someone for help and advice.

No matter what you do, remember that you both have the same goal. You want to have a happy relationship, and a part of that is sex.

I would hope that anyone who reads my blog is smart enough to know the basics: Women don’t cum from penetration, everyone deserves an orgasm in sex, it doesn’t have to be centered around the male orgasm, etc. The shared goal of mutual pleasure is an important component to a relationship, and resentment can build up when you go long periods without having sex. So keep calm, remember you both want the same thing, and then figure out how to get what you want.

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One thought on “Tips for Keeping a Sexual Relationship Healthy

  1. One thing has helped me a lot if laughter. Not derisive laughter, of course, but a shared joyful experience. When I have felt embarrassed or inadequate, laughter has helped me get through it.

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