If your sex life has hit the skids it's time to kick it back into high gear. "Winter is a great time to bring some novelty and mystery to your sex life," says Terri Orbuch, a marriage and relationship therapist and author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great (Delacorte, 2009). "Small changes in your routine and relationship can reignite the sexuality along with the passion."
1. Let's talk about sex
If you want to keep your sex life interesting you have to be willing to talk about it. "This can be helpful, as well as physiologically arousing, for both of you," says Orbuch. That's right: Talking about sex can turn you on. Discuss with your partner what you find exciting and what you would like to be getting more of in bed. Not sure where to start? Think about what your sex life was like at the beginning of your relationship. What do you miss? What could be reintroduced? When you do talk about sex, focus on the positive. Rather than talking about what your partner doesn't do, tell him what he can do (or do more of) to turn you on.
2. Develop sex signals
A wink or a simple caress on the arm is a lot sexier than saying, "Let's go have sex." Developing small signals with your partner is a great way to keep committed sex from falling flat. "Some couples have their own secret or personal ways of telling each other they're interested in having sex," says Orbuch. It can be a nod, a word or even a certain outfit. "This kind of secret language adds mystery and suspense to your relationship since you and your partner are the only ones who can understand and identify the signals."
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3. Add a new twist
Avoid getting bored in the bedroom by regularly introducing new ideas to your sex life. It doesn't have to be a dramatic shift, but steering clear of sexual ruts requires creativity. What you do depends on your comfort level, but start by switching up where and when you usually have sex. "If you always have sex in the bedroom, try the kitchen, the shower or even a hotel room," suggests Orbuch. "Changing the place and situation for sex will help stir things up." You can also buy some new lingerie, test out a new position (or two) or go shopping for a sex toy. The point is to take the predictability out of committed sex and make it more interesting.
4. Just do it
Sometimes all it takes to reignite your sexual spark is to simply have sex -- especially when you don't feel like it. Were you ever too tired or too stressed out to have sex when the relationship was new? "One way to boost libido is to schedule frequent sex, even if one or both of you isn't in the mood," Orbuch says. Getting those sex hormones into production again leads to more desire going forward. "Increasing the frequency of sex can have dramatic effects on the relationship," says Orbuch.
5. Explore sexual fantasies
Whether you have a vampire fetish courtesy of True Blood or a thing for getaway drivers who don't say much after watching Ryan Gosling in Drive, one of the best ways to make sure sex stays exciting is with fantasies. "Sexual fantasies can be a healthy and natural part of a relationship," explains Orbuch. The decision to come clean about what scenarios really turn you on can feel risky -- but it can also completely change up your sex life. The key is to take each other's fantasies seriously (no teasing), be creative and just have fun with the experience.
Sex in a long-term committed relationship doesn't have to be ho-hum. Take advantage of the comfort level and familiarity you have with your partner. If you are open to trying new things together, the potential of amazing sex is limitless.
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