Relationships — 12 October 2011
Spice Things Up in the Bedroom

The secret to a sensuous long-term relationship is a healthy, loving union, writes Dr Gabrielle Morrissey. Here, she gives the lowdown on how to get your groove back – and keep it!

The path to a sexier relationship goes much deeper than simply “spicing it up”. The first step is to make sure your partnership has the fundamentals for a loving, respectful and even practical union, before sex can become sexier. A relationship has to feel caring and safe to be sexy. Yes, makeup sex after a fight can feel hot and be fueled with raw emotion, but if you have too much of it the relationship isn’t sexy but draining and potentially toxic. A sexy relationship must at its core have some basic values that you both agree on and genuinely feel regularly, not occasionally.

Honor your commitment

Love one another the best you can, accepting that it won’t always feel as strong as when you first fell for each other. Over the course of a long-term relationship you may fall in and out of love several times, or at least ebb and flow with the intensity of your love.

During difficult times you may pull together, or you may pull apart. But if you know that you are both committed and loyal to one another, the relationship will survive the times when you just don’t feel as close.

Today there are many examples of couples who “just grew apart” or had “irreconcilable differences” and decided to give up trying to stick it out. Some call it quits after a few months, others after decades. It’s widely thought that a sexy relationship is one that is always exciting. However, this myth is far from the truth: a secure and solid union is the foundation to being open to sexiness, whether that’s sometimes thrilling and sometimes just lovely, warm and comfortable. A long-term and sexy relationship isn’t fraught with turbulence. Commitment and intimacy are the key ingredients.

Have support

A relationship requires private time and without this the sexy side of you as a couple can really suffer. If you have children, finding this time can be difficult, so engage a support circle – extended family or hired help – to take care of the kids occasionally. If you can ensure regular couple time, you won’t lose the sexiness between you, or it will certainly be easier to recapture. Even if you don’t have children, support from friends and family is still very important – the time you spend as individuals fulfills you and the strongest couples are the ones who feel independently happy as well as connected when together.

Spend time alone

You’d expect us to be advocating a sizzling semi-clad beach holiday together, not spending time apart to keep things sexy. But it’s important to acknowledge the benefits of time spent alone – that being healthy individuals, and enjoying a balance of freedom and commitment, will make you desire one another. You don’t have to spend huge amounts of time without one another – certainly too much is not good for the relationship and neither is constantly missing each other terribly sexy. But a little time apart, whether it’s regular or impromptu, creates a secure foundation so your relationship is able to withstand growth and change. If you build an expectation that you will each have different interests and pursuits, you allow one another to freely express yourselves. This boosts your self-esteem and happiness. You keep being interesting to one another and yourselves. This is sexy!

Remember your priorities

How often do you say you just don’t have the time or energy to keep your relationship sexy? Your libido has flagged, sex isn’t novel anymore; in fact, it’s predictable to the point of being nearly memorized. You’re tired, you’ve got to work late at home, you’re stressed and just want to decompress in front of the TV… The list of reasons could be endless if you allowed it. Instead, remember this basic truth and don’t forget it: you love your partner. You choose every day to be with them.

The desire for them is there. Peel away the obstacles, intrusions and excuses and just focus on your connection. In your heart of hearts, you each want the other. Your loving partnership can become lustful once again and stay that way, but it takes both of you to prioritize it and commit to it. That and maybe a date night or a salsa dancing lesson here and there!

4 Basic principles for great sex

1. Sleep

According to a recent survey by iVillage, 41 per cent of married American women prefer sleep to sex. Lack of sleep directly correlates to a decrease in sexual desire the next day and night. Your body needs rest to function so, man or woman, if you want to get your “Big O” first you need your Zzzs.

2.Eat

Wine and dine on date nights; it’s relaxing and fun, and a little wine increases libido. But as a general rule, a diet low in fat increases libido, so maintain healthy eating habits. A body fueled with good food functions better, and this applies to sexual response.

3.Play

A sexy relationship doesn’t need to involve candles and rose petals. Keep a sense of adventure: do things as a couple that feel stimulating in every way and this will translate into a sexy, healthy relationship. Sex is your adult recreation time together, so have fun and don’t rely on autopilot sex.

4.Experiment

Perhaps salsa dancing lessons don’t appeal, but there must be something you’re willing to try that is new. As each year goes by, it becomes more important to discover new things together, in and out of the bedroom, so a sense of excitement stays alive in your relationship.

 

by Sex & relationship expert Dr Gabrielle Morrissey (body+soul)

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