I have good news for you: an exciting sex life is salvageable and well within your reach for you and your spouse.
Here are three ways you and your spouse can take your sexual relationship from mundane to mind-blowing:
1. Don’t make fun the point of sex.
Wait, what? Did he just say that? Isn’t fun the point? Yes, I did, and no, it isn’t! It seems counterintuitive and requires a change in your thinking. Zack Brittle, certified therapist and blogger for the Gottman Institute, says sex isn’t just about the act itself (or at least it’s not all about the act), but rather it’s about sharing the body, mind, and soul as a couple. Sex is about connecting, bolstering intimacy, and exercising vulnerability with the one you’ve chosen to love the most. It’s a part of your relationship that’s meant to strengthen your relationship.
If the attention to your sex life with your spouse is centered merely on fun, you forget the overall essential role sex plays in your marriage, and the irony is that fun becomes a casualty. Focusing on connecting with your spouse in your sex life goes beyond the fun; it makes sex better.
And here’s where it becomes even more ironic: when you do focus on connection, sex becomes a lot more fun, adventuresome, and playful! (For a more in-depth look at the relationship between sex and intimacy, check out our Marriage Course: Discover Deeper Intimacy In Your Marriage!)
2. Dedicate to communicate.
Say it with me: Communication affects the sex. (Doesn’t that rhyme nicely?) Couples who struggle with communication struggle with other areas of their marriage, including their sex life; it’s all connected. But those who work on better, healthier ways to communicate thoughts, feelings, and needs with each other experience more connection, friendship, and intimacy. And this, as we’ve learned, is directly correlated with healthy (and fun) sex!
There are many resources out there for improving marital communication (see the links below for some great advice), but what I would emphasize to you here is frequency and depth of communication. Strive to communicate on a daily basis with your spouse, and aim for deeper levels of conversation than simply small talk. Work on communicating your opinions, dreams, ideas, needs, and emotions with each other — and listening to those of your spouse without value judgment. Simply listen to understand and draw closer to the one you love the most.
One more thing needs to be said about communication and sex.
Working on your marital communication is vital; however, marital sex is even better when you work on talking about sex. According to marriage researcher Dr. John Gottman, only 91% of couples who can’t comfortably talk about sex with one another report sexual dissatisfaction. (So, Salt-N-Pepa had it right when they rapped “Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby…” back in the 90s.)
Talking with your spouse about what turns you on, your interests and preferences, vulnerabilities, and sexual playfulness can be uncomfortable for many. But the good news is that it’s a learned skill that can greatly increase your comfort level. In her book, The Sex-Starved Marriage, therapist Michele Weiner-Davis says the right way to approach conversations about sex with your spouse is very much akin to approaching healthy conversation all around: Pick a time you both feel ready to talk; don’t talk when you’re tired, angry, or in a bad mood; pick a safe, comfortable environment; use “I” messages and talk about what you want rather than criticize. The more you wade into the discomfort of talking about sex, the more comfortable and natural it quickly becomes.
3. Super-glue your marriage — including your sex life — to the top of the priority scale.
This is crucial, especially if you have children (of any age) running around your house. Life is busy, schedules are hectic, money is tight. Attention to your marriage and your spouse must supersede these potential speed bumps. A wise person once said, “Show me your calendar and your checkbook, and I’ll show you what’s important to you.”
Set reminders on your phone to leave love notes. Schedule date times. Adjust your monthly budget to include some funds — even if it’s a small amount — toward nicer dinners (alone) or romantic gifts. ☆ Pay attention to your spouse’s love language — how is it that they feel most loved? Work out childcare with family or neighbors so you can get two hours alone with your spouse. Trade babysitting services with another parent — you’ll watch their kids one night and they’ll watch yours another.
Prioritizing your marriage doesn’t take doing anything elaborate.
It’s the small things that build and grow a marriage. But it has a direct and powerful impact on your sexual relationship. Foreplay doesn’t begin in the bedroom; rather, the turn-ons, attractions, and mood-making happen during continual moments of boosting your spouse to the top of your priority list.
Fun, playful sex is within the reach of you and your spouse, and you can bounce boredom out the window with some simple, intentional strategies. So here’s your assignment: Pursue your spouse. (No, not in a creepy, follow-them-around-all-day kind of way.)
Remember when you were first dating, and there was nothing in your focus except this person?
Remember how things were fun, but that wasn’t the point — you were just wanting to be together and get to know them better?
Do you remember how you talked and talked, and actually listened with interest?
And remember how you set the time and energy to be with that person, and it didn’t matter that you had to wake up early the next morning, or that you were tired from the work day, or that you barely had any cash in the account?
Pursue your spouse like this, and watch your marriage—including your sex life—be rejuvenated and energized.
Great articles for improving your marital communication:
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***
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