If you’re feeling uninspired in the bedroom, it might be time to get some expert advice…
Psychosexual therapist Carol Martin-Sperry, author of Sexual Healing (How to Books) and Cape Town-based psychologist and sexologist Dr Marelize Swart (see femalethoughts.com) dish out their best advice on how to add some spice to your sex life.
1. Remember, sex starts with a conversation
Men tend to think having sex is what creates intimacy. But, for most women, intimacy is what turns you on and makes you feel like sex in the irst place.
And the biggest barrier to intimacy is a lack of communication, explains Carol.
‘When you’re both tired and ragged at the end of a busy working day, he may think sex is just what you both need in order to reconnect. But that may be the last thing on your mind. So set aside time to just talk properly together ’ a dinner out with wine usually gets the chatter flowing. Switch off your phones and focus on each other. Even if it doesn’t lead to sex that night, you’ll be rekindling the seductive feelings that can get lost in a long-term relationship.’
Top tip: Schedule a monthly couple check-up to chat about your relationship.
2. Set your boundaries
If you’re in a new relationship, you may be worried about what has changed since you were last dating. Will a new partner expect things that have never been part of your sexual repertoire? ‘Thanks to Fifty Shades Of Grey, expectations may be different, but that doesn’t mean you have to do anything that makes you uncomfortable,’ says Carol. ‘Be clear about what you will or won’t do in the bedroom. If it’s not for you, say no!’
3. Schedule a sex date
Some people think the best kind of sex is spontaneous, and this might be true for new relationships, but not always for established ones, says Marelize. ‘Sex therapists agree that a couple’s best chance for long-term sexual happiness comes from scheduling sex.’ For the one who wants more sex, they know it’s definitely on the cards, while the person who wants less sex knows it will only happen when it’s planned and doesn’t have to come up with an excuse.
4. Use the ‘f’ word
And by that, we mean ‘foreplay’!
New research shows that women in long-term relationships generally don’t feel a spontaneous hunger for sex, but their libido kicks in during foreplay, says Marelize. ‘For many women, sexual desire isn’t the cause of sex, but the result of enjoyable lovemaking.’ Speak to your partner about spending more time on the build-up instead of rushing into the main event.
5. Try something new
Sex toys can really help to spice things up, especially if you’re having difficulty climaxing, says Carol. ‘It’s worth looking at the choice of toys available online.’ Always discuss your interest in introducing something new to the bedroom with your partner beforehand and, ideally, shop together for something that you both feel comfortable with.
If batteries in the bedroom aren’t for you, one thing that can help you feel more sexy is a massage. You could buy a new massage oil to help set the mood but just stroking each other’s bodies can be a huge turn-on as a prelude to sex.
6. Clear the air
Any hidden anger or resentment are a definite passion killer. It pays to speak up ’ and don’t be afraid of sparking an argument. A heated exchange can be very arousing, with very hot ‘make-up’ sex. ‘But, although it’s important to be able to get things off your chest, I don’t recommend fighting as a regular part of your foreplay,’ says Carol. ‘The goal has to be a harmonious relationship!’
Read more: 6 ways men drive women crazy
7. Have a sex ban
One technique that can help you feel more connected is called Sensate Focus.
The first step involves a complete sex ban while the couple take turns touching and stroking each other, and focusing on how they feel as the one doing the touching. ‘While you can read up about it, it’s easier to do with the guidance of a sex therapist,’ explains Carol.
‘They’ll set it as homework and get you to report back, and this makes it easier to stick to the rules.’ Another great way to create intimacy is the tantric exercise of gazing deeply into each other’s eyes for 10 minutes. Do this with your legs wrapped around each other, breathing at the same rate, and hugging.
8. Get help
Your relationship may benefit from a session with a couples’ therapist. Consider talking to someone if you find yourselves having the same argument over and over, it may help to talk it through with a neutral party.
Even if you aren’t arguing but are stuck in a rut, or feel like the spark has fizzled, a professional can help you reconnect as a couple.
Don’t be offended if your partner suggests seeing a professional ‘ they are most likely looking to make your relationship stronger.