When you’ve been together for years, sex isn’t always spontaneous. You may actually have to work at it — though culturally, that’s not an idea we have an easy time accepting.
“I’m not sure why in our culture we want and think sex should be spontaneous,” Megan Fleming, a New York City-based psychologist and sex therapist, told The Huffington Post. “The reality is that for most couples, sex happens when the conditions for sex are met and they’re rested and relaxed.”
The good news? There are things you can do as a couple to get busy in the bedroom more often. Below, Fleming and other sex therapists share a few tips.
- Experiment, experiment, experiment.
“When you try something new, relax and be in the present moment. Try, try again to see how an experience feels. Spend more time with sensations that are emerging as pleasurable while fine tuning and experimenting.” — Megan Fleming
- Take turns initiating sex.
“Too often, one partner appears to want more sex than the other and this can perpetuate a type of shaming around sex. If couples actually took turns initiating sex, it could lead to more equilibrium in their sex lives.” — Moushumi Ghose, sex therapist and author of Classic Sex Positions Reinvented.
- Go to bed at the same time.
“The ritual of lying down with your partner at night fortifies relationships. You’re more likely to have sex if you have emotionally intimate ‘pillow talk’ and lie in bed together while you’re still awake.” — Laurel Steinberg, a psychotherapist specializing in sexuality concerns
- Stop looking at sex as another box to check off your to-do list.
“I wish couples would carve out time to slow down, rest and recharge so they have the emotional and physical bandwidth to enjoy sensual activities. I find that many couples are overworked and stressed and think of sex as yet another box to check off in order to be productive. Ideally, sex should offer couples a place of deep relaxation and pleasure but that requires time to unplug beforehand.” — Sari Cooper, certified sex therapist, sex coach and host of the web show Sex Esteem
- Don’t look at porn as the enemy.
“When porn is a problem in a relationship, it’s generally not the porn itself that’s the issue, but the secretiveness surrounding it. So take porn out of the closet and put it into your bedroom. Watching porn together is a great way to jumpstart arousal that leads to sexual desire. Approach it as though you were channel surfing and explore all types of porn. You don’t have to like everything.” — Ian Kerner, a sex therapist and New York Times-bestselling author of She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman
- Talk about your secret fetishes and fantasies.
“[Discuss] things beyond what you like in bed or where they would like to be touched. Ask whether your partner wants to be dominated or prefers a submissive role. Figure out if you can go beyond what is deemed ‘vanilla sex.’ If more couples felt comfortable sharing their secret fantasies and fetishes it could definitely build intimacy, not to mention excitement and tension!” — Moushumi Ghose
- Sleep naked (at least sometimes).
“Sleeping naked with your partner allows you both to enjoy more skin-on-skin contact and to be more aware when the other becomes sexually aroused — both of which could increase the chances of having sex.” — Laurel Steinberg
- Get comfortable talking about sex.
“Many couples struggle to talk about sex in a way that is positive and to the point. Often in therapy, I have to teach couples how to have a conversation about sex that doesn’t sound like a fight. This involves relaxed, honest answers to questions about what you like and dislike.” — Angela Skurtu, sex therapist and marriage counselor in St. Louis, Missouri
- Stop thinking intercourse is the be-all and end-all of sex.
“If sex is like food, then intercourse is generally the entrée that gets served up most but there’s only so many recipes. Try taking intercourse off the table, leave orgasms on and see what your sex menu ends up looking like. Give outercourse a shot: think oral sex, manual stimulation, lots of kissing and rubbing.” — Ian Kerner
- Schedule a sex date.
“Sexless marriages are one of the most prevalent concerns for couples today. Often, couples stop having sex for years before they seek professional help. As a sexologist who sees a variety of clients, scheduling in ‘us time’ is an assignment I give almost every couple. But the commitment must stick; it’s so easy for couples to let a weekly sex date become a social date and allow touch, sensuality and good old fashioned s-e-x fall to the wayside. Taking the time to really explore each other for pleasure is the key to getting out of a sexual rut.”