It’s very common for a couple’s sex life to hit a low point, or a bit of a rut. Many people in long-term relationships can fall into particular patterns or routines — how sex is instigated, what positions you use, what time of day you do it. But it’s important to remember that, when it comes to sexual desire, your interests and activity can fluctuate depending on what’s going on in your life and how you’re feeling.
That said, there is a lot that can be done to spice up a sex life. Some of the things that people mention they miss in longer-term relationships include novelty, mystery and playfulness. As such, anything we can do to help address or inject these missing elements back into your sex life is likely to create a difference. Here are ten things to try…
1. Try sending flirtatious messages during the day
Interests and turn-ons often change over time, so think about creating a flirtatious and sexy space to explore these with your partner. You could try playful texting, using a separate app such as Wickr Me to add an element of novelty to your messaging — and use it only for more flirtatious communication.
This way, you can play around and add an element of mystery to your talks. It can certainly make regular days a little more exciting if, via your secretive messaging app, you suddenly receive a provocative photograph of your partner when you least expect it.
2. Remember to mix up your date nights
Always make time for date nights — be they planned or spontaneous. You don’t need to get ready together, or arrive and leave places together. Instead, mix it up a bit. It can be exciting to meet someone after work, or head to a hotel where your partner is already waiting. A knock at the door and you’ll open it onto an unexpected, blank canvas — upon which you can let passion, fantasy or playfulness lead.
Even in lockdown, you can inject a lot of variety into date night just by mixing things up. Playfully initiate something when you partner returns from somewhere. Make time for fun, light and enjoyable experiences. Why not dim the lights, put on some music and make cocktails together?
3. Dabble with role-play (if you’re comfortable with it)
Role-play can be good fun. Some people may feel more comfortable starting with an app such as Dipsea to help generate ideas. Just remember, if you want to broach the subject of role-play with your partner, it will be helpful to keep it playful and express your interests in a fun way.
People are more likely to wobble in a relationship if they feel their partner is bored of their sex life or looking outside of the relationship for inspiration — so the way you approach the subject is really important. Try saying ‘I would love to see you wearing…’ or ‘I’d really like to try…’ rather than ‘I’d really love to watch you with my PA’ — for obvious reasons…
4. Even before you act on them, simply share your fantasies
It’s important to remember that ‘spicing things up’ doesn’t necessarily mean having orgies or getting kinky. In fact, it can just mean mixing things up a bit. Instigate sex in a different room, join your partner in the shower, try to experiment with foreplay — and other things like this. Perhaps even express your interest in sharing fantasies.
To do this, create a safe space — maybe discussing fantasies over a glass of wine, or while giving each other sensual massages. People can feel embarrassed about fantasies, so be mindful not to show alarm if what they’re suggesting isn’t a turn-on for you. Once you’re comfortable, you’ll be closer — just dip your toe to begin with, and allow your natural curiosity to develop.
5. Add a little danger into proceedings (but not for the sake of it)
Quickies, danger and high-thrill sexual acts will certainly spice up your sexual experiences — and can work very well to mix things up. Often, even just thinking about thrills and experimentation you’ve tried in the past can be a turn-on — creating both a thrill for you and your partner, and an erotic memory and bonding experience.
The main thing to consider here is whether you’re looking for a one-off or establishing something more frequent. I would forget about doing something ‘for the challenge’ and, instead, only try something if it’s a genuine turn-on for you both.
6. Take some time to explore each other’s bodies
Personal and couple’s body exploration can be very pleasurable. Spend 20 minutes focusing your attentions on each other — with scented candles and calm music in the background — and focus on the sensations this brings out in your body.
Try to vary the amount of pressure, or how you touch your partner — and explore every part of the body with hands, lips, oils, silk, feathers etc. It can be extremely sensual and beneficial to experiment with this new approach to intimacy — and can intensify pleasurable feelings and orgasms.
7. Accessories and extras shouldn’t be threatening
The website that I’m the Contributing Editor to, Jooi, has been designed to be non-threatening — with a particularly considered approach to language and imagery. Some partners feel awkward or threatened by what they come across online, so it’s worth talking about what you might be open to trying first.
This could be a blindfold or oils. Maybe a vibrator that can stimulate one or both of you, a starter set. You could even buy this as a sexy surprise — if you think it would be well-received, or suggest that you search and look for things together.
8. Trying scheduling — but also be spontaneous
Both scheduling and spontaneity can work for couples. Many people enjoy a little bit of both. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a sexy session that they can plan and look forward to? It’s always worth reflecting on things that you’ve both enjoyed previously — and how they were approached. Additionally, think about how you act on spontaneously intimate thoughts, perhaps by sending a flirtatious message.
9. Stop repeating yourselves in the bedroom
Definitely think about mixing it up in the bedroom. Experiment with variation — whether that’s positions, approach or foreplay. Many couples find that they tend to use three or less sexual positions and that foreplay becomes very repetitive.
It might be that, on some occasions, you focus on oral sex alone — or that you include the use of oils, mirrors, chairs, clothing etc. It’s actually not too difficult to mix it up once you’re both on the same page — it may just require a little thought and effort to ensure you don’t slip into the usual routine or lazy tired sex (although that can be great, too. Just perhaps not every time!)
10. Remember that you’re separate people
This is important. Firstly, make sure that your relationship is in a good place. Relationship satisfaction can impact sexual satisfaction, and vice-versa — so ensure you are working on your relationship in general. That means improving communication and general intimacy and closeness (if this has drifted).
Equally, don’t morph two people into one or enmesh. You should have your own separate identities and differentiations as individuals. It doesn’t help a sex life if you are so close that you do absolutely everything together, and are practically finishing each other’s sentences.