Maintaining the same level of passion you had when you first met your partner isn’t easy and, quite frankly, not sustainable.
When we first enter a new relationship our bodies are flooded with hormones that we need to adjust to. That rush of hormones consists of oxytocin and dopamine. In this process, that incredible rush, we can often fall just as much in love with ourselves as we do with another. We get to explore a new version of ourselves, the relational possibilities as well as a new significant other.
Lots of relationships start to adjust to a different groove on a sexual level after around 6-12 months, this is when things settle down in our bodies and our brains. Some people want to maintain this level of rush and you’ll hear people refer to “when they first started dating” as though its relative to a process of the relationship ageing when the truth is it was just a process of adjusting and that time frame is a little different for each person and each couple.
Many couples experience ups and downs in intimacy over the duration of their relationship and that’s really normal. Reason being, life gets in the way. We get busy, we have other demands on us and those with children have other people demanding their time, energy and attention.
Remembering intimacy and reigniting it requires effort, imagination and for a couple to prioritise this part of their life just as much they do other things and people. Reigniting that spark and reimagining each other can bring you both back to centre and sparking that flame of desire. Also, acknowledging how relationships and intimacy changes over the years as you experience this thing we call life together allows you to both respect how your relationship is changing, acknowledging it and flowing with it accordingly.
The aim is to put the joy back into sex for one another. So how do you do that? Here’s a few top tips:
Intimacy Tip 1 - Attraction requires each partner to see the other as an individual, embracing separateness as much as is possible whilst maintaining connection is helpful for building the air of mystery that draws us into curiosity that enables us to want to know more. This means we don’t assume we know everything about our partners and we embrace theirs and our own interests, hobbies, passions and projects. This gives you both something conversationally to explore and as you become emotionally intimate sexual intimacy will likely follow. Paradoxically, good sex will return when you emotionally and intellectually distance yourself from your partner. You can achieve this by taking up a different hobby with your partner.
Intimacy Tip 2 - Get honest & vulnerable. The more you’re open with your partner about how your feeling, where you’re at and embrace the friendship that build the foundations of the relationship you have you will be able to reach each other in a space of mutual respect and care. This might deepen the connection which leads to intimacy on many levels.
Intimacy Tip 3 - Go to a new location. Seeing and being somewhere new sparks excitement and may enable you both to shake of the sameness that you may hear in the home. If your sex life is feeling a little (or a lot) stagnant then shaking up where you have sex really helps. If you aren’t able to get on holiday then having sex anywhere in the house other than the bedroom might inject some real aliveness. If getting to actual penetrative sex is a journey in itself the next steps is for you.
Intimacy Tip 4 - Start simmering in your relationship. What I mean by simmering is by just gently turning up the heat as you go. Start with little kisses in places other than the lips as you see each other throughout the day - it could be on the back of the neck as morning coffee or on the hand at the dinner table. Think about holding hands where you can and create the gentle touches or strokes of intimacy that create a sexual safe space and elude to what you want. This could be stroking a leg under the table at a restaurant. Have feet touching our hand holding in the cinema. Then maybe consider just flirting and acknowledging each others attractiveness by gazing at one another gently in moments that might feel intimate. Then you can turn it up to showering, massages, naked strolling around the house and hopefully, before you both know it, you end up in a place emotionally and sexually that is intimiate. If you’re not able to get to this place perhaps you both would like to talk about what it is you both want and need to get there. I can work with you both on creating this safe dialogue which may lead you both back to the sex and love that you want. Through touch we humans are often saying "I love you", but without words. Here we are not only talking about hugging but also about random touches on the shoulder, leg, and back. If something is holding you back from intimacy consider stressors that might be lowering your libido and try solo exploration or simmering with yourself to lead you back to the wants for intimacy with another. Another blog on this to come in the future.
Intimacy Tip 5 - Spend quality time with each other and set aside 20 minutes a day for cuddling or just chatting. Spending time with each other creates more intimacy, which ultimately leads to a deeper connection. Conversation away from the digital screens and netflix is what will truly connect you. Couples don’t always priortise this in their relationships and then they might just subconsciously expect the connection to always be there. It has be to a conscious effort and co-creation as people change and grow.
Intimacy Tip 6 - Schedule sex. It sounds counterintutive when most people have the idea that spontaneous sex is the best sex. However, relying on spontenateity leaves sexual connection to chance and if you want consistency in connection moreover the chance of it, you should just schedule it. Scheduling is no big deal, it is what you make of it. It doen’t have to be a specific lunch hour or time of day but it can be a specific morning or evening of the week. The how is up to you both but then when removes frustrations and questions of not knowing if or when your partner wants to be sexually initmate with you and visa versa.
Intimacy Tip 7 - Introduce a little novelty. Novelty requires effort but so does sexual connection. Get creative, explorative, curious, conscious and excited about the possibilities inside of the bedroom. When you think you’ve explored it all theres always new ways to connect, new things to try and different ways to touch and be touched. You can explore conscious kink, tantra, sensuality, power dynamics, toys, eroticism of the senses, lingeries, fabrics, giving, receiving and everything in between.
Having a satisfying sex life solves multiple problems: it is a stress reliever, betters your night's sleep, brings you closer emotionally, keeps you committed to connecting with your partner, and it sure feels good. The more you have it, the more you want it and it sets your romantic relationship aside from all the rest.
Are you ready to take the next steps to Relationship Reconnection? Get in contact with Sarah Louise for Relationship Reconnections couples therapy. Sessions are online or in person and you can enquire right here.