8 things you can do to improve the frequency of sex in a long term relationship
There is a great article in this month’s Psychology Today called Love and Lust about the things you can do to let passion thrive in a modern relationship. It’s well argued and a great read if you are interested in the Psychology of intimacy. With that theme in mind, I have compiled the eight best things you can do to increase to chance of getting horizontal and naked with your spouse this summer.
1. Do some housework together. Seriously. Most people calm down in an uncluttered environment. Dr. Gottman of Seattle discovered that men who do housework get significantly more sex then men who don’t. Sharing chores help couples stay connected.
2. Keep some mystery. Esther Perel in her book Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence talks about couples who often find sex dull the closer and more aligned they are. Build in some mystery dates. Try some erotic adventures that are outside of your comfort zone. I have a list of 50 erotic date ideas you may want to try. Reach out and I’ll send it to you.
3. Increase the playfulness. Sex really is adult play. And if you go into it with the attitude that you are “playing in the sandbox” rather than making the encounter serious the odds of it repeating go up significantly.
4. Lock the bedroom door. I think a door lock should be mandatory to anyone who has kids. Kids need to know that parents have alone time together and that it is to be uninterrupted.
5. Make sure you have a minimum of 3 hours every week of connected, intimate time. I just did an article for the Citizen that said “if you can’t set up adult-only time in your week where you discuss things beyond work and kids your relationship is headed for the rocks. It goes further than that. I suggest a sensuous date night weekly, a weekend or overnight away quarterly, and an annual kid-free holiday. It’s not important, its essential.
6. Think about a sex contract. I think contracting areas of conflict is a great idea. I write up sample agreements on all kinds on domestic issues from how you are going to deal with your in-laws to a “threesome contract”. You need to negotiate the amount, variety and type of sex you need. You can’t hit a target you can’t see, and if you and your partner are both shooting for different targets in terms of sexual expectations there is bound to be trouble.
7. Sex doesn’t necessarily mean intercourse. I often suggest a “medicinal hand job” or mutual masturbation with a battery operated romance item instead of sex. What most men miss in the process is that sex can be intrusive. Goo runs down the inside of your leg, you need a shower, and there is a sweaty person on or inside you. If you are not in the mood and have used your words, try suggesting an alternative.
8. Be gracious. If you stomp off and say “FINE” when sex is rebuffed, it causes a major disconnect between couples. One party feels guilty, not worthy, and continues the cycle of them not wanting to have sex. The partner who has been pushed away spends an inordinate amount of brain space thinking about how they won’t have sex, along with feelings of rejection and unattractiveness.
As the Psychology Today article put it, “the paradox is that we expect more from our marriages but feed them less. Take some time out this summer to feed your relationship.