This blog brought to you in partnership with FemmePharma.
A healthy sex life is an important part to any romantic relationship and throughout our lives, we have been given a lot of messages about how our sex life should look, feel, and be experienced. Conversely, we aren’t given a lot of information about how to normalize the inevitable ebbs and flows of the intensity and interest in our sex life as we journey through life. This is especially the case within a long-term, committed relationship. There are many reasons for the cyclical nature of our sex life and there are just as many ideas and opportunities for you to spice things up with you and your partner.
Where do I begin to spice up my sex life?
There are three things to focus on as you work to spice up your sex life : safety, self-pleasure, and getting to know yourself as a sexual being.
First, you and your partner need to create an atmosphere of safety so that each of you can self-reflect, communicate, and receive truth with authenticity. Know what you and your partner need from each other, from the environment, and bring yourself fully to the conversations. Be particularly tuned into curiosity and commit to non-judgment. Watch facial expressions, your tone of voice, and verbal reactions that could shut down your partner. Allow for the energy you both need – is it calm and serene with no distractions? Light and fun in the car? Make sure it’s a conscious and active choice together. Take responsibility for showing up as your best self by eating so you aren’t hungry, getting good sleep if you are able, having the kids and pets taken care of, and putting phones and computers away. Anchor the experience with gratitude by thanking your partner for caring about your sex life enough to show up soulfully for the conversations, and for receiving your needs and wants with love and support.
Next, do a deep dive into your own self-pleasure. Stoke your own fire if it has been a while and encourage your partner to do the same! Pay attention to what turns your mind on and what brings pleasure to your body. Explore what brings you pleasure so you can use that as a guiding light to partnered pleasure. If you find things that feel different to you, lessened, or are experiencing barriers to physical pleasure, consider seeking medical advice or therapy support for your unique options and a deeper understanding of what may be going on physically and/or emotionally/relationally.
Know who you are as a sexual being and what you both want to feel differently about your sexual connection. Elevate your understanding of who you are as a sexual being that includes desired and undesired sex acts, but also expands well beyond it. Incorporate a view of holistic sexuality (see the graphic for holistic sexuality below) into your understanding of yourself within sexuality and unpack the messages about sex and sexuality you were given that don’t serve you currently. Take time to figure out how you want your sex life to look with your partner (ex: deepened, loving, risk-taking, spontaneous, vital, etc.) and how you want it to feel (ex: wanted, desired, available, vibrant, fun, lighthearted, unpressured, etc.). Once you discover more about yourself, communicate this to your partner with a tone of desire and connection, rather than sounding as if you’re criticizing, rehashing wounds, or demanding change – you’re in this together!
Once you have taken time in those three areas, move into examining which of the following sex tips may support the insights that came to you and your partner. They’re not one-size-fits-all suggestions, they are in no particular order, and they are meant as standalone offerings, not to make you feel like you need to do them all to succeed.
1. Plan a staycation
Make a plan to stay in your home but treat it like a vacation (kids are out of the house, no house chores, no talk of anything besides what would be top of mind on vacation – think no daily logistics) or get a hotel room/Airbnb that is fun in your area! The point of it is to put in low effort for different surroundings, something you’re not used to. Order room service, tune out the world, and remove responsibilities except those that support a connection with your person. Or plan a vacation that revolves solely around your sexual connection – do a sensual spa day together! Always wanted to try out a sex club. Research the ones that fit your needs. Always wanted to try sex outdoors. Find a great place to camp that has privacy.
2. Focus on sensual play
If you don’t know your and your partner’s sensual preferences, plan a time to explore each of the senses available to you:
- What textures do you like on your skin?
- What music turns you and your partner on?
- What brings you pleasure to see?
- What tastes turn you on?
- What smells can you incorporate?
If you already know, plan a night that focuses sexual connection on sensual pleasures for each of you. Move in and out of receiving and giving with the goal being to stimulate the senses!
3. Make a sex bucket list
Research sexual connection options that sound fun and interesting to explore individually and/or with your partner. Find a range of sex acts that would “nudge” you but are just short of a shove – be adventurous and go at your own pace! Find ideas that make you feel excited, make you feel curious, feel full of pleasure, and inspire you to explore more of yourself and your partner in a multitude of ways. Next, think of ideas that require a change: change of scenery, change of learning something new, change of position, etc. You want your list to expand you both in experience and by pulling you and your person together by trying something new. Stay consistent with a curious attitude, and know that learning your no’s is just as fun and helpful as finding your one-hundred percent yeses!
4. Prioritize non-sexual connection with your partner
Building a fulfilling sexual life and infusing spice back into it happens mostly outside of sexual connection and new sex acts. Find daily activities that bring vibrancy and pleasure to you both together. Do you love evenings with lively dinner guests? Throw more gatherings. Do you love concerts? Plan several in the months ahead. Do you love to go for hikes? Put them on the calendar. Also, attend to emotional intimacy during this time which creates safety for connection and expansion. Have talks that address dreams or wounds outside of the relationship and bring more of your lives into your life together. Listen actively to one another and infuse gratitude practices throughout your day with each other. Show your appreciation for one another through words, gifts, and actions not occasionally, but every single day.
5. Try toys
There are so many companies offering a wide array of sex tools and toys that it can be overwhelming at first. A great starting point is finding articles describing different sex toys and the correct ways to use them to explore your pleasure. The key here is to be open. If you come across a toy that appeals to you – try it out!
When you are researching toys, think about all your erogenous zones. Sex toys are not just for genital stimulation. Do you experience pleasure when your nipples are stimulated? If so, think about incorporating a toy that enhances nipple stimulation.
6. Play with personas
Stepping into new parts of you can bring a new flare to your relationship. You can try finding new personas to play with, think of a pretend new career, a new name, or a new personality. Try wearing different clothing to bed or finding costumes that feel fun and racy or sexy. Play around with just one person doing it for the other and/or both of you adopting new roles together and making a ‘temporary new couple’ together. Debrief the experience and talk about what you both loved and what you would want to change for next time.
7. Schedule in sparks
Make an effort to build the sexual connection rather than bypassing the lead-up. Discover what builds anticipation and excitement for each of you. Is it flirting in the morning before parting for work? Is it sexting each other leading up to a planned evening? Is it physical touch? Is it sexting throughout the day? Do you like passionate kisses that do not lead anywhere beyond the connection of the kiss? The key to this is finding what ignites a spark, builds excitement, and what feels fun and pleasurable in connection.
8. Do everything differently
We get into routines and routines get boring, and we become complacent. Make purposeful changes like choosing a different location (the car in the driveway, the basement storage room, the bathroom counter), different times (try morning sex if you are used to right before bed, or an afternoon rendezvous, weekend morning instead of weeknight), different vibes (long and sensual vs. quick, quick, and passionate vs. we always follow the same template). What you vary doesn’t matter as much as finding places where you can explore new sensations and new sources of pleasure. Take risks to see variance as a chance to create different neural pathways of pleasure and connection with and for each other!
9. Dream up fantasies
Fantasies can provide a rich source of creative ideas for enhancing your sex life. Explore two types of fantasies: those you think are exciting and are possible for you to experience in real life within your relationship, and those that are a turn-on but wouldn’t work logistically, aren’t possible, or wouldn’t be supportive of your relationship needs. Both types are important to put time into, but you will use the insights differently. You can use your fantasies as springboards to turn you on privately, or share them with your partner to become a sex act in and of itself. If you share, tell your person which category the fantasy falls into from your perspective before sharing. Give some guidance on how you want your partner to receive the information – is it dirty talk and stays there? Is it an idea to explore what can be enacted? Is it something fun to write out and share to initiate a sexual connection together? Is it something to research if you’d like it to happen? Be someone who shares fantasies that feel good to share and be a partner who can receive fantasies offering support and safety to your person.
10. Learn together
There are many sources for sexuality education, and we all need it. Look for articles, videos, and community chat rooms, and try to find professionals who view sex ed in a holistic, evolved way. Find a retreat to attend together that teaches you a new skill or focuses on sexual connection. Buy a course that you take together. Take turns taking the lead on finding new things to learn and try out together that will deepen your understanding of evolved adult sex ed.
Hire a therapist, sex therapist, or reputable sex coach to give specific feedback and support to the relationship. If there are ruptures in the relationship beyond sexual connection (there often are), having someone who is dedicated to helping your sexual connection can often lead you as a couple instead of one of you taking on that leadership role.
Let the tips inspire you both. Let them inform you. Let them shift you from seeing sex as a to-do list item, or something reserved for less-busy couples, into seeing sexual connection as an integral part of your own vibrancy in life, as well as your relationship’s long-term fulfillment. It’s worth it, you’re worth it, and you deserve the sex life you’re seeking no matter the stage of life you’re in!