Sometimes the obstacles to having a great sex life lie outside of the bedroom. Passionate sex may come easily early on in relationships, but creating long-term arousal and excitement is more challenging. Try the below tips to have a more satisfying, healthy relationship — and you might find that your sex life gets a bit more intense, too.
Think About Your Childhood
As adults, we typically respond to our childhood in two ways: we continue reliving it by imitating our parents’ habits, or we reject it and do the opposite. Done unconsciously, neither behavior is particularly helpful. If you can take into account why you’re behaving in specific ways instead of responding impulsively, you’ll be more mindful and less reactive. Once you realize the way you’re behaving has been programmed since childhood, you’ll be better able to decide how you’d like to act in the future and choose a path rather than relying on the one that was set out for you.
Couples who end up in sexless relationships sometimes do so because they had the same behavior modeled by their parents. In most households, the children have no idea how often or when their parents are having sex. But, if you saw conflict as a failure as a kid, and your parents avoided it at all costs, you might do the same thing. Sometimes, avoiding conflict leads to a sexless relationship. So, to forego this unconstructive scenario, you’ll have to get good at discussing the aspects of your relationship that you both find troublesome.
To face conflict effectively, you’ll both need to have your self-esteem in good repair. Over-connectedness and codependence can mean that people within relationships don’t want to deal with conflict because their self-esteem is so wrapped up in their partner’s thoughts, opinions, and happiness. However, relationships where disagreements aren’t dealt with seldom last—so you can deal with conflict now, or you’ll unquestionably be dealing with it down the road.
Maintain Healthy Boundaries
It’s natural once a relationship has been on the books for a few years to start forming one life together. You may merge bank accounts, living quarters, taxes—but you still need to maintain healthy boundaries. Having healthy boundaries in a relationship means that your partner could voice frustration with you, but you don’t automatically take on their frustration. It also means that when someone wants to create change in the relationship, the other partner considers their input seriously and doesn’t instinctively become defensive. Keeping these boundaries intact doesn’t have to limit your intimacy or how close you feel to your partner; in fact, it’s just the opposite. Healthy boundaries give your relationship enough air to breathe, and you both might find you feel closer when you maintain them.
Plan for Unmet Needs
No one, single person in the universe can completely meet another person’s needs. You and your partner need to prioritize your needs and maintain a community of close friends or family on whom you can rely to meet the others. If your partner has different hobbies than you do, keep a group of friends with whom you can maintain your hobby. Or, if your partner doesn’t like to relax in the same way you do, find someone who does. You don’t need to cave to how your partner lives, and neither does your partner. By relying on a community instead of one person, your relationship will naturally be healthier. And those who continue to look for “the one” who can meet all their needs should plan to look their whole life, unfortunately—because that person does not exist.
Keep Sex in the Conversation
If you’re good at talking about conflict and maintaining healthy boundaries, bringing up your sex life will be a lot easier. Once you start the conversation, it will be a lot more natural to talk about regularly in the future. Be sure to discuss the positive attributes of your current sex life as well as goals you have for the future.
If you’re feeling stuck, reach out to a trusted therapist who can guide you through the conversation and help you meet your goals—both inside and outside the bedroom.
Bio: Dr. Nazanin Moali is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in the Los Angeles area. She works with various individuals to understand and improve their sexuality. Dr. Moali conducts personal consultation sessions in her Torrance and Hermosa Beach offices, or via a secure, online video-counseling platform. Click here to download the 101 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Hot checklist. Download her new ebook, How to Increase Your Libido – For Women, here.