By Liz Frandsen
There is a common belief that, over time, marriages of monogamous couples often become stale, passionless, and even sexless. Perhaps the portrayal of cinematic love affairs has convinced us it’s effortless to keep the flame alive in our own relationships.
I married at a young age and perhaps rather naively believed sex would always exist with the same level of passion and vigor as it did in the beginning. I soon learned that desire, trust, and life stages constantly change within relationships and that my sex life would be no different. My now eight-year marriage has seen the rise and fall of sexual intimacy, but we always come back to these basic principles as a guide when sex doesn't feel as exciting.
Maybe it’s only human to sink into the feeling of comfort and put carnal desires aside, but I sincerely believe there are ways to explore the depths of human sexuality within the trust and comfort of monogamous marriage. So how can you nourish your relationship, so it remains full of passion, spice, and pleasure?
Throw out what you've been told
That's right, throw out the rule book. Every couple's version of happily-ever-after is different—that’s what makes life (and love) so nuanced and beautiful. So how do we keep sex exciting in a long-term relationship? For starters, view your partner with ever-evolving curiosity, keep an open mind, and recommit to growing together.
Begin with the basics
Communication makes for excellent sexual chemistry. As basic as it may seem, you can't be in sync with one another without a solid foundation. It’s important to communicate openly with your partner, even if you've been married for decades.
What does intimacy mean to you both individually and as a couple? What are your sexual desires, fantasies, or kinks? How do you like to be touched? Are you a morning person or a night owl? These answers are deeply connected to how you experience intimacy, and they can change over time, so open up the conversation and keep it open.
As we grow and change, our interests and desires may shift. Curiosity and communication keep us learning how to show up for our partner in new ways. You wouldn't want to listen to the same song every day for the rest of your life, and the same goes for sex. You should always be learning its intricacies and remixes. A relationship where each partner delights in discovering new things about the other rarely goes stale.
Discover your own pleasure
Couples in a rut often lack intimacy because both people have fallen out of touch with how they experience pleasure individually. We need to know what we're seeking before we can communicate this to our partner.
Intimacy and pleasure begin with you. Pleasure is usually thought of as purely sexual, but it’s important to slow down and reconnect with yourself. Pleasure can look like movement or sensual dance, a hot bath filled with beautiful scents, a candlelit room, a slow bite into a home-cooked meal—anything that awakens the senses! Understanding how you nurture yourself and what makes you feel good will only help your partner crack the code of how to best love you.
You've made it this far, now for the fun part . . . play! That's right. Perhaps your partner has a specific fantasy they felt safe sharing with you, and you can't wait to explore it together. Maybe it's turning up your favorite music and dancing around the kitchen.
Laugh during lovemaking. Text your partner your dirty thoughts throughout the workday. Keep the relationship young and fun by allowing space to experiment with new and potentially outrageous but exciting things.
Movies and media rarely portray sex realistically—a healthy sex life doesn’t merely exist, so create opportunities for play within your relationship. Find what makes you both come alive. Commit to this practice, and you’ll begin to notice a shift in how you and your partner connect both in and outside the bedroom. You can thank me later.
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