A strong relationship is built on mutual respect, trust, affection and shared goals and values – qualities that stand the test of time. Part of the emotional rush we associate with a new relationship is the lack of familiarity we have with the sexy semi-stranger in our bed, the wondering if we'll be together this weekend, the "what-if" and "is-he-The-One?" questions. Presumably you prefer the security you have now. And even if that means a less-than-scorching love affair with your mate day by day, it doesn't mean you can't turn up the heat when it suits you. Here's how.
1. Listen to your libido
If movies are to be believed, a good marriage is one where the couple – including parents of demanding, school-age kids – are ready to tear off one another's clothes at any given moment. It's a fantasy-version of reality.
"Every relationship is a unique microcosm unto itself," says Mary Ann Majchrzak Rombach, a couples counselor, therapist and founding director of the Assiniboine Family Therapy Institute in Invermere, B.C. You and your partner should define what amount of sex you want, "not advertising or cultural pressures," advises Rombach. "Do what makes your own relationship happiest." Take the pressure off, and the sex you have will feel more passionate.
2. Get fit.
According to Health Canada statistics, two-thirds of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese. To be blunt, that's not sexy.
According to the Mayo Clinic in the U.S., regular workouts can improve your sex life by making you feel more energized and attractive. Additionally, regular physical activity can enhance arousal in women and reduce the likelihood of erectile dysfunction in men.
Did we mention you'll both feel hotter? About yourselves and one another? Want to refresh your sex life? Get to the gym!
Couples retreats, weekend getaways – heck, even a few stolen minutes in the garage: New settings make sparks fly.
4. Just do it.
Sometimes, says Esther Kane, a therapist based in Courtenay, B.C., we overthink things. "I feel that talking too much about our sex lives is one of the greatest turn-offs sexually – especially for men!"
Want to knock boots with your man? Get the kids off to their grandparents tonight and just jump him. Forget date night, make it sex night. This spontaneous approach, says Kane, can "shake routine up, and can add some zest back into a relationship which has been overtaken by adult responsibilities and commitments."
Page 1 of 2 – Discover six more tips that will spice up your sex life on page 2.
5. Turn your bedroom into a boudoir.
If your bedroom decor is dowdy and outdated or your bedroom is cluttered with piles of old magazines, a TV, a treadmill and/or the makings of a home office, chances are it isn't a place that screams "sex appeal."
Want more romance? Create a place for it. Relocate the home office and treadmill. Discard the clutter. Invest in a set of high-thread-count cotton bedding and some flattering lighting (preferably on dimmer switches). Better already, right?
6. Go wild.
"Wild" is a relative term, obviously. For some it may be making love with the lights on, for others it may involve sex toys and costumes, adult movies, or even sneaking in a quickie in a public place. Even if it ends up feeling silly rather than sexy, you're trying something new together – a great intimacy builder.
7. Skip to "dessert."
On date nights, have sex before your dinner or movie. You'll feel sexier (flatter stomach) and have more energy (no après-meal or movie-popcorn "carb coma"!).
8. Stop faking it.
Faking orgasm is common – and usually done with good intentions, (i.e., so he won't feel bad that you didn't climax) – but it's a barrier to real communication. Stop faking orgasm, and starting showing him what gets you there.
9. Consider adding a third person.
To your dialogue, that is. "If a couple can’t talk to each other about their sexual frustrations and/or non-excitement, it's time to get a coach," says Rombach.
10. Get enough sleep.
Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation puts the kibosh on sexual desire – in fact, according to one recent U.S. National Sleep Foundation study, 20 per cent of respondents reported losing interest in sex due to being too sleepy!
Get enough sleep most nights and you may find yourself electing not to on other nights – if you know what we mean.
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