As a sex therapist, I see themes of issues that affect everyone’s sex lives in different ways. Some of the advice I give frequently is to clients who repeatedly ask what they can do to reconnect sexually in their long-term relationship. Below, I’ve compiled my top tips for attaining sex that feels new again.
Tip #1: Make Time for Date Night
It’s often said but infrequently done. Planning a date night—even well into your partnership—is a vital indication that you are prioritizing your partner and creating the time and space for you to be a couple. It doesn’t have to be an expensive chore, but you should make a tradition that’s reflective of the nature of your relationship. Incorporate creativity and thoughtfulness, and take turns planning it for maximum benefit.
Tip #2: Long-Term Sex Is More About Enjoyment Than Desire
Sex in a long-term partnership is sexy for different reasons than it is when you’ve just met. So, understand that during a long-term partnership, sex is more about mastery of the other person’s body, and knowing precisely what they like, than stirring up the excitement of meeting someone new. Play into your long-term relationship’s strengths, rather than trying to recreate something that happened long ago.
Embrace the pace you now have established. You may no longer rip each other’s clothes off the moment you come home from work, but you can still notice the sexy moments. Practice mindfulness to avoid taking for granted the sensual experiences you have with your partner every day. Watch them when they slip into the shower, or feed them some of the whipped cream off of your finger. Use all five senses to see, hear, taste, touch, and smell your partner, and your sex will heat up once again.
Tip #3: Share Your Fantasies
In a long-term relationship, you have a trusting bond and, hopefully, a safe space to share your fantasies, no matter how explicit or kinky they may be. Not only can this help add a new dimension to your sex life, but it can also be a way to get to know your partner better and connect on a more intimate level than ever before. You don’t have to incorporate these fantasies into your real sex life, but knowing what they are can be very arousing to both you and your partner.
Tip #4: Whatever You’re Going Through, Go Through it Together
If one of you goes through a period of low libido, what makes things so much harder for many couples is the blame game. Reframing the issue so that you are facing it from the standpoint of a team can make all the difference in the world. When you tackle your problems together, those problems strengthen your relationship rather than create distance between you.
Tip #5: Expect Bodies to Change
When you’re in a lifelong or long-term relationship, your bodies will both change. Sometimes, people are under the impression that after puberty, that’s it! We now have our adult bodies, and those bodies are permanent and unchanging, which is a sinister myth. Everyone’s bodies change from birth until death, including both yours and your partner’s. Someone may gain weight; someone may develop a chronic illness. These changes can affect your sex life together, but the important part is to have honest communication about them and to face the challenges as a team.
If you’re navigating problems that seem challenging, the best course of action is to talk to a therapist whose expertise is in sexuality. Don’t feel like you have to overcome obstacles alone when therapy can offer solutions with lasting benefits for you and your partner.
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.