Do you feel stuck in a sexless marriage? Here are seven tips to help you and your spouse salvage your sexless marriage and reignite the spark in your relationship.
1. Stop making excuses.
We do this with everything from eating better to working out and I hear it daily with sexual goals. When you experience low desire your excuse may be you don’t feel sexy, you’re tired, or you are “just not in the mood”. These are excuses that hold you back from experiencing anything at all. Start small and go big. Desire doesn’t start at an accelerated pace. It may have in the past but what we do know about desire is that it is more responsive than spontaneous. Take a small step towards being more sexual each and every day. Set a daily intention dedicated to your sexual health i.e. “Today I am going to feel positive in my body and find one way in which to give my body pleasure.”
2. Create erotic menus for different occasions.
Most couples struggle with not wanting a certain type of sex but are willing to engage erotically with a partner in other ways. Sex is like food. If we had the same meal over and over again we would start to lose our motivation and craving for that food. We need to create variety in our sex lives so that sex can become exciting and rewarding. One of the main reasons couples are sexless is because sex has become routine, boring, and predictable. We need excitement, playfulness, and mystery to activate our desire. I suggest that partners create 3-5 different erotic menus and share them with one another. Talking about sex can often kick start desire and make you feel more connected to your partner. Agree to take turns initiating an item once a week. Give yourself permission to start slow and build up to feeling more comfortable being sexual again. Check-in with each other at the end of the week and share what you enjoyed most about the erotic adventure. Like a good meal, there is always something we can find we enjoyed in our indulgence.
3. Kiss your way to better sex.
When couples are sexless it is almost always the case that they are touch-less and kiss-less as well. What I like about kissing is that it activates the same pleasure centers in the brain as sexual activity. In fact, it is one of the most important sensual activities for intimacy and closeness. Kissing can be highly arousing and our mouths are underrated sex organs. Our lips and tongues are sex organs that resemble the vulva and penis. The difference between our lips, mouths, tongues from our genitals, is that they don’t tire as easily. Kissing can energize the body and activate arousal. It can even restart arousal after sex.
4. Just do it.
Just like the Nike slogan. Most sexless couples feel like they don’t know where to start. This leads to anxiety and tension around how to get out of a sexless slump. Most couples are worried about uneven desire. That is inevitable in a relationship and should never be a goal to match your partner in his or her desire. Desire ebbs and flows in a relationship and as long as you are communicating about your sexual needs openly, couples can navigate through differences in sexual desire. The biggest misconception is that you must feel the same amount of desire as your partner in order to engage in sexual activity. The reality is that each of you has different programming and responsiveness to sex and that would be rare, if ever, that you have the same desire. More importantly is that you see sex as a part of intimacy and health. The more you do it, the more you will want to do it.
5. Set realistic expectations.
It only takes one negative experience to condition our sexual response. This leads to expectations around sex that are barriers to getting needs met. All sex doesn’t have to be passionate, love making, or intimate. Sex comes in all shapes and sizes and being creative is usually the missing ingredient. Don’t focus on the outcome and make it all about performance. This creates tension and anxiety that leads to sexual concerns. Instead, focus on pleasure. Sex is about giving and receiving pleasure. If you can find a way to do that you are setting realistic expectations for yourself and your partner.
6. More play is the new foreplay.
We often think of foreplay as the acts that lead to sex. When we aren’t having sex foreplay is nonexistent. Foreplay shouldn’t be left for only sexual activity. Foreplay starts in the mind and should be about initiating playful and fun behavior between partners. I call it more play – finding ways to feel connected, loving, and sensual with a partner. When sex starts to feel more like work than play then it leads to avoidance. Part of feeling sexual desire is about feeling desired. Does your partner know how you like to feel desired? Do you show your partner how you desire? Most of the times there is a communication breakdown or mixed messages. Show your partner that you want them using both verbal and nonverbal communication.
7. Get primal.
Sex is about primal intimacy needs – eye contact and touch – which relax the body and mind leading to more connected sex. We don’t need complicated thinking or analysis to have great sex. It only creates tension, anxiety, and pressure to perform. I recommend that couples create an intimacy nest – a place in their home that is inviting for sexual play. It can be in the bedroom or another private space in the home. Light candles, put on music, and fill the space with fabrics and objects that activate the senses and promote comfort. Mirror your bodies – face-to-face, heart-to-heart, and knee-to-knee. Spend the first few minutes making deep eye contact. This activates our emotional center in the brain that release neurotransmitters promoting bonding and trust. Start with slow and sensual touching from head to toe. Think of this as outercourse and the skin is the biggest organ so there’s lots of territory to cover. Discover new erogenous areas on your partner’s body and notice areas of your body that you enjoy being touched.