We turned to Steven Craig, a clinical psychologist and author of The Six Husbands Every Wife Should Have (Simon and Schuster, 2012), to get his advice on how to improve your sex life. He stresses that chronic intimacy issues are almost always an indication of bigger or more serious problems.
"If the couple doesn't address the larger issues in their relationship, they will likely just revisit their problems again," he explains. "However, there are a few ways to get things revved up."
1. Make time for sex
If sex has been falling by the wayside lately, the best thing you can do is slot it into your schedule. You might have a myriad of unfinished tasks currently on your to-do list, but if you don't make time for sex, it won't happen.
"Set specific times aside for intimacy and let nothing remove it from the schedule," Craig advises. "Unfortunately, there are times when we can't be spontaneous, so we have to put important things like this on a schedule. If this seems unnatural or unromantic, get over it," he says. Not everything can work out exactly as you would like it to (or how it seems to in the movies). By getting sex on your schedule, you will be more likely to find a way to make it happen.
2. Build anticipation
Don't discount the power of building anticipation when it comes to making improvements in your sex life. Craig suggests taking turns planning a night devoted to the other person, then creating excitement around what's to come.
"Devote separate nights to focusing on a different partner's needs, and then talk to each other during the day about your plans for the other," he says. The idea is to elevate the experience and turn it into something special. But be careful, this exercise is not a licence to be lewd or rude, the psychologist warns. It should be romantic and fun.
Page 1 of 2 -- If talk about sex is an offbeat topic in your relationship, find advice for easing your partner into the conversation on page 2
3. Talk about what you want
One of the best ways to pull your sex life out of a slump is to talk about it. It becomes very difficult to maintain an adequate level of intimacy if sex talk is taboo and you and your partner are in the dark about how the other feels. "Have a talk with your partner about what you would like in the bedroom," Craig says. "Sure it can be awkward, but sometimes you have to get over these hurdles to get things on track."
4. Take a more active role
Taking a more active role is a great way to jump-start your sex life. Initiate foreplay yourself, says Craig. "Many people wait for their partners to start things, and that can lead to night after night of nothing." If your partner rejects your advances, then have a meaningful discussion about what you're both feeling. "If there is no desire over and over again, then you need to think about getting some counselling to deal with the bigger issues in the relationship," he explains.
5. Put more effort into romance
Sex and romance go hand in hand, so make an effort to be more romantic and spend time together without distractions. "Make your time together just about the two of you," says Craig. This means dating your partner more, doing nice things for one another and incorporating some of the above strategies into your daily life as a way to get closer and improve intimacy. "Say nice things, have a conversation about what you would like from your lover, add a romantic meal, start early in the night before you're tired and initiate instead of waiting for the other to do so," says Craig.
Improving your sex life doesn't have to be difficult. There are many ways to make positive changes in the bedroom that don't require much effort, just a willingness to work together to get sex back on your relationship radar.
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