If you’ve been having sex for a while, the Coolidge Effect can put a deep freeze on your sex plans.
Once sex becomes samey, and the novelty has worn off, our desire for sex can diminish.
There’s just no anticipation, tension or anything intriguing to look forwards to!
However, read on for some of the best (and lesser known) tips on how to spice up your sex life.
Often it’s not about chains, whips or anything else exciting, but rather challenging how and why we have sex can have explosive results!
Shake up the routine
Although a bedtime routine sounds rather comforting, if your sex life looks similar to mine:
- go to bed
- get naked
- have sex in the same old way in the same old room….
you might be super bored- there’s no fun in just doing the same old thing all the time.
However, this doesn’t need to mean swinging from a chandelier or buying a shed load of new sex toys. Just consider if you’re always…
- Having sex in the same place (the bed?)
- Having sex at the same time (the end of the day before bed?)
- Having sex in the same position (missionary?)
- Doing it in a certain way (always from naked)
- Using the same initiation pattern to sex (e.g. a backrub then a shag?)
Simply mixing up this routine, and sometimes keeping a top on for sex, or changing place (e.g. on the floor next to the bed), can be enough variation to keep you on your toes.
2. Examine what sex means to you
It’s useful to think about your expectations around sex. Do you view sex solely as penetration/orgasm, and foreplay as a prelude to the main event?
This is what Bez Stone calls “around the bases” sex– aka sex where you just go through the motions and the same old pattern- a little foreplay then penis in vagina (PIV) sex to orgasm.
Sure it’s the model we all know. But, HOW BORING.
This metro article explains perfectly why goal oriented sex (where we only care about the orgasmic destination not the journey) is problematic, especially for women.
Viewing sex as SO much more than PIV can do wonders for your sex life. A sex therapist once told me to think about sex as a menu. Sure, some nights you might want comfort food. But others you might wanna skip straight to dessert, have two starters and no main, or other nights you might splash out on trashy junk food so you scratch that itch.
If you can view sex differently, you’ll open up a whole range of fun things that add a new repertoire to your time together that don’t seem like a warm ups but become the main events themselves. Things like penis/vagina massages are great for this!
3: Stop sex.
Getting trapped into a cycle of “they initiate, I give in” is the least sexy thing EVER.
See this post on how “pressing pause” on sex could be key to increasing your desire.
4. Then tease.
Perel states that anticipation is the mortar of desire. So building the tantalisation and tease (especially whilst sex is off the table) can break the cycle of pressure to have sex- so cuddles and kisses are guilt free and not associated with sexual pressure but with pleasure.
She believes that sex as an act is focussed way too much on the body and our physiology. In fact, sex begins in the mind.
So she suggests activating your sexual imagination by imagining ourselves in situations where we WANT sex. You might need to kick start this if it feels a bit rusty!
5: Mix up how you initiate sex
We can also get stuck into our favourite ways of initiating sex that become so well-trodden that they end up not exciting us anymore- e.g. your partner always goes straight for your bum/boobs and leaves out the rest of your body.
Knowing what your erotic blueprint is (how you like to be approached for sex) can help you find a language to express what you need in bed.
6: Create distance to create desire
Esther Perel suggests that just as fire needs air, desire needs space.
To gain space, try to create opportunities to see your partner with new eyes.
This could be when they’re absent, when they’re in their element (e.g. at work, on stage, surrounded by friends, confident- when they seem “self-sustaining), if they’re doing something a little dangerous like adrenaline sports. I’d also add if you experience a little jealousy too.
7. Add novelty
Esther Perel again talks about the importance of novelty.
This isn’t however about new positions, lingerie and toys (as we’re commonly taught). You could bring in things like role play, date nights, porn or sex games. But Perel recommends instead looking at what parts of you are bringing out/just being seen in bed.
To create novelty, we should view sex not as something you do but rather as a “place” we go (not like getting on a plane to Benidorm but instead a space you go inside of yourself or that you’ve created with another).
In that place she asks you to consider:
- What parts of you do you want to bring out/want to be seen there?
- What do you seek to express there? (transcendence and spiritual union? Naughtiness? A place where you can finally surrender and not have to take responsibility for everything?)
Consider how you can bring the part of you that you always wanted to into the bedroom. This article on learning how to surrender might help.
8. Create opportunities to talk
Justin Lehmiller talks about ways to keep the conversation about sex alive, and I really like this- my blog works like this for me!
He suggests signing up to things like “sex toy of the month” subscription boxes, e.g. Love Drop or similar. He says they create natural and regular spaces to talk about sex nd trying new things in the bedroom.
To continue your learning, why not schedule in date nights that focus on sex (not just the cinema or bowling). For example, a night drinking wine and taking a quiz, or going to a class on sex (e.g. the Sh! Women’s Store offer some great ones).
9. Figure out what’s stopping you?
We’ve talked about ways to change up your sex life, but perhaps it’s more interesting to think about what’s holding you back from changing things, putting in effort or being more creative in the bedroom?
For me, it was linked to stress and sex not being a priority for us, as well as my own lack of confidence and self-esteem. As Perel says “desire is rooted in self-worth”, so spending this time on you and working out what it is you want and need is a great start.
P.S. You can learn more about Esther Perel in her AMAZING video below, or listen to her on Women’s Hour talking about Sex in Long Term Relationships here.