Talk about what’s in the way
I always start with the assumption that one or both of you have some good reasons for not being interested in sex as much you used to be. Whether it’s the sex you’re having, the meaning that sex has in your relationship, other relationship dynamics that color how you feel about each other or something else, there are bound to be obstacles to your sex drive that can be changed. Have honest conversations about what hasn’t been working between the two of you. Decide to tackle those things to make them better. Start with what you know about these kinds of issues and resolve to change them first.
Change it up
If you’re been in a relationship for a long time, you have likely found yourself in a rut when it comes to sex. Many of us find an effective way to have sex, and we’ve gotten away from doing anything else. Once sex becomes predictable, it can be easy to check out. What used to feel exciting and engaging can now feel like too much of a bother. You can start by just doing different things, sexually, than you usually do. Try a different location, a new toy, or a new activity. It also helps to stop focusing on the outcome/orgasm and adopt an approach that has you focus on the journey and the sense of connection with your partner instead. Try seeing how aroused you can get before you even entertain doing whatever might bring you to orgasm. Whatever can take you out of your rut and onto less travelled roads will be helpful in creating desire.
People can lose interest in sex if it seems like it’s just about getting it done. If it’s an expectation that you have sex at a certain frequency, sex becomes a quota instead of a pleasure. If it’s about getting to the finish, then the journey doesn’t seem to matter. If it’s about making your partner feel good about themselves, it’s hard to maintain your own interest in sex. Whatever the expectations are, let them go. Go back to the idea that sex is just about pleasure and connection; any other expectation is probably not helping you right now. Let sex be a much more open ended experience and have fun while you’re exploring.
Learn to be selfish
I believe that good sex requires a degree of selfishness. Many people focus on the pleasure of their partner and don’t give themselves permission to really want what they want. If you tend to take what is offered to you, now is the time to advocate for exactly what you want instead. You can use a variation of my touch exercise where you each get a turn to be completely in control of what happens so that you can practice putting yourself first (Note: the other person always has the responsibility to say “no” if they need to; consent is still crucial. The object is to be game to go along if you can, but take care of yourself first). If sex starts to include your unfettered desires, it gets easier to get excited about it.
One of the most powerful ways to increase desire is to make sure you’re making your sex erotic. It’s been said that the brain is the biggest sex organ, so if you’re not using yours, you’re missing out. Each of us has a unique eroticism – the specific things that turn us on. Don’t just think about the physical acts you like but about the energetics that make it exciting. You can explore themes of power, romanticism, forbidden-ness, exploration, danger, mystery, presence, and more. You can look for insight into what turns you on if you consider your fantasies, your sexual preferences and your response to erotic material (written or visual). Exploring your eroticism and sharing it with your partner means you can turn up the heat in your sex life.
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