Sex therapy is often an important adjunct to couple therapy and there’s a popular misconception that longer relationships equate with boring sex. However, research evidence actually suggests that long-term couples generally report enjoying more satisfying sex than newer couples. This is probably because confidence and ease grows over time together. It is true however, that for many couples, eroticism is eroded over time. Regardless, all relationships certainly can have peaks and troughs of erotic connection.
Here’s some secrets to keeping love and sex fresh that my years as a Couple Therapist have shown me:
1. Knowing how to turn yourself on and being unafraid to do so
Staying in touch with your erotic self and knowing what makes you feel alive means you can directly ask for what you like from your partner. When you share yourself as an inspired, passionate, alive person you give to your partner, rather than relying on them to make you feel good. When both partners feel alive and passionate individually, intense pleasure is more possible together. What’s required to reveal yourself and your desires fully, is feeling you will be respected and accepted by your partner when you let them see you.
2. Creativity and playfulness
Novelty, surprise and adaptability keep love exciting. Can you shift roles emotionally in the bedroom and give each other different qualities of experience? Flexibility of attitude is a hallmark of couples who have great sex. For example can you share power, assertiveness and decision making rather than one of you always taking charge? Explore being a little subversive together in harmless ways, youthful and joyful about just being alive and being together. Being full of life and fun are massive turn-ons.
3. Openness and connection
Compassion, trust and emotional connection lead to better sex between couples who are also erotically attracted; Criticism, grumpiness, anxiety and withdrawal kill attraction. Successful couples tend to face their challenges together which builds their intimacy and fires their loyalty and passion for one another.
4. Healthy mystique
Transparency is really important and valuable in relationships but it’s also vital to keep your own sense of integrity in the relationship and maintain enough space between you to see each other as the separate attractive individuals you were when you first met. The perspective that you are still actively choosing each other everyday, every time you have an erotic encounter, helps keep passion alive and fresh.
Most couples who have better than average and more frequent sex report that they touch – a lot. They engage in everyday simple and sometimes sexy touch and find a way to acknowledge each other as sexual beings frequently in words and/or touch every single day. Let the foreplay start again after every orgasm is the advice from Therapist Esther Perel, and its pretty solid advice.
If you’d like more inspiration about sex and relationships, check out my relationship resources.
Just BE the love that you ARE,
Whay about long distance relationships?
Hi there and thanks for your question – a really good question – because having a long distance relationship at least for a time, is something many couples must deal with. All the points above still count of course but it can be much more of a challenge to feel connected in your daily lives when you can’t be together physically. Phone calls and Skype are great but not always enough, so here’s a few tips:
Try writing emails that express how you feel in your deepest self, love letters, playful letters, letters that go much deeper in revealing yourselves to each other than a chat on the phone might go.
Have a plan for the future – even though you may need to live or work apart for the time being, focus on forming shared dreams about what your future will look and feel like when you do get to spend more time in the same physical location.
Make sure the time you do get together is great time. Don’t let the build up of tension from being apart interfere when you see each other. If the stresses of separate daily lives is upsetting you make sure you keep talking about it in supportive ways even before you see each other.
Turn to each other emotionally around challenges, not away from each other.
Being apart is difficult when you want to be together but as therapist Jack Morin wrote, having perceived obstacles in the way of passion can intensify your longings for one another and help to keep feelings of desire stronger between you for longer.
In sum, you need to stay positive about life and not let times apart get you too down for too long, bring your passion for life to share with one another when you get together and see yourselves as a team with great communication, who works together wherever you are.
I hope that helps. Again, great topic and I will write more on it.
All the best,
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