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How to Overcome 3 Blocks to a Good Sex Life
Hectic work schedules. Household chores. Constant kids’ activities. Grocery shopping and gym workouts. These and other daily demands can ratchet up stress and just plain wear us out, limiting our libido and conspiring to keep lovers out of the bedroom.
And that’s not good for our health or our relationship, experts say. A healthy sex life relieves stress and boosts immunity as it strengthens the relationship.
“Having no sex in a relationship is a problem,” says Katie Hendricks, Ph.D., relationship expert and chief executive officer of The Hendricks Institute, who, along with her husband Gay Hendricks, co-authored Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-Commitment. “That’s really nothing but accumulated withholds and pretty soon you’ve got this chasm between you.”
While there are plenty of reasons couples fail to connect between the sheets, most fall into three categories: No time. No energy. No desire. But there are plenty of ways to overcome these common complaints and put the sexual spark back into your relationship. Here’s how to do it.
“There just isn’t time.”
Many people feel like they are frantically running from dawn to dusk just to keep up with work and family demands. It’s true. Couples are scheduled to the hilt and often see each other only when they pass in the doorway.
“When you’re having really busy days,” Hendricks says, “You are making the day more important than your partner.”
What to do:
Put your relationship first and schedule sex.
Share your feelings with your partner. Find out what he’s feeling and discuss what you both want and need and commit to creating a passionate, thriving relationship together.
That probably means changing the routine and cutting some things out to make more time for each other, says Bob Hollander, marriage counselor at Maryland-based Relationships Work.
Get away for an overnight, just the two of you. And mix it up in the bedroom a bit. Try a new position or a new place for a little hanky-panky and have fun.
Hollander recommends one more thing: Turn off the technology – at least for a night. Shut down the computer. Turn off the TV. Unplug the phones or hit the power switch on the Blackberry. For one night — or better yet an entire day — disconnect from everything but your relationship.
Finally, though it hardly seems romantic, all the relationship experts suggest you schedule time for sex. Then use the time leading up to the big date to flirt a little. This way you’ll both have something you can look forward to, a shared secret that will bring you closer together and heat things up a bit.
“Do not let the schedule for your world dictate your relationship,” says Relationships Work marriage counselor Lori Hollander. “Take care of your relationship first.”
“I’m too tired.”
By the end of the day, many of us are loathe to take on one more activity – even one that’s fun and satisfying.
This is when partners really need to step up and support each other by sharing the load of chores and responsibilities and taking time to connect emotionally and mentally throughout the day, Bob Hollander says.
What to do:
If possible, take a little time for yourself. A little physical activity and some time outside, surrounded by nature, have been shown to strengthen your body, foster self-acceptance, reduce stress, leave you feeling rejuvenated all day long and boost your energy in the bedroom.
But, couples also need to take the load off each other by working as partners to manage the household responsibilities and daily demands.
For men, that means doing everything you can — including sometimes the dishes or laundry folding — to help your wife feel present and not distracted by loose ends, says Leslie Parrott, a marriage therapist, author and director of the Center for Relationship Development at Seattle Pacific University. For women, that means showing more initiative and working to make sex a priority in the relationship.
Then, plan a romantic rendezvous at a time that feels comfortable to both of you. If you’re working hard all day and not getting home until late, maybe a quickie before breakfast, or a long lunch break, will feel like the best time to reignite that sexual spark. Remember, finding time for each other might require cutting something else out altogether, but a good sex life will also spark good things in every area of your life.
“When our sexual energy is high, we feel connected and on a very personal level with other people in the world,” Hollander says. “We are all looking for that kind of connectedness.”
“I don’t feel like it.”
Sexual desire ebbs and flows throughout our lives as we experience both physical and emotional changes. And that’s normal, Bob Hollander says. In a 1992 study University of Chicago researchers found that both men and women experience a lack of interest in sex at various times. But regardless of age or circumstance, sexual intimacy is an important aspect to most relationships. If you’re experiencing a drop in desire, there are plenty of ways to fire up that sexual spark.
What to do:
Rule out medical issues and drug side effects. Some antidepressants, antihistamines and other medications can lower libido and make it hard to have an orgasm. Talk to your doctor about your lack of sexual desire and any other changes you’re experiencing and get help.
Then, try something new or different so that sex becomes something that not only feels good, but is also fun. Have sex in a different place or in a different way. Be spontaneous, or planned — mix up the schedule a bit. Flirt with each other, play. Go away overnight, regroup and reconnect.
And, if you’ve added some fun and romance back in, but still feel your desire lagging — do it anyhow.
“Sometimes [sex] is like being invited to a party you don’t want to go to,” Lori Hollander says. “But, you get all dressed up and you go anyhow and you end up having a great time.”
Once you make your relationship a priority again and slow down long enough to spend some intimate time together, Bob Hollander says, you’ll remember both physically and emotionally how much fun you can have and how important and powerful it is to connect with your partner in a way that makes intimate relationships unique and special from all others.
“If we take that pause,” he adds, “we see that the person right in front of us is who we can make a happy life with.”