Things just aren’t what they used to be … in the sheets? Feeling like roommates with your partner, or like there is some sexual dissonance? Sometimes it’s timing, sometimes it’s emotional, sometimes it’s physical … but something is off, and it’s becoming more and more crucial to you to get it back on.
First things first, let’s all normalize this. Sexpert and author of On Top: Your Personal Study Guide to Holistic Sexuality, Cheryl Fagan, reminds us that relationships and intimacy ebb and flow. This isn’t a catalyst for catastrophe, a reason to start worrying, or the beginning of the end, necessarily.
“[Try not to] judge yourself or your relationship, and stay open and curious. The answers are within you!” Fagan encourages. Here are some of her tips to reconnect in the bedroom.
Check in and connect with yourself
“How are you connecting with your body lately? You may tend to be busy, living in your head these days, but grounding yourself will help you to be more present, emotionally, physically, and erotically.”
Consider the culture of your relationship
“How are you connecting outside the bedroom?
- How’s your friendship? Are you connecting over non-sexual activities? Or just busy living alongside each other? Think doing activities together like cooking, going for a walk, or reading a book together.
- Do you have honest conversations? If you both come into the conversation with love and wanting what’s best, the awkward or hard topics will be easier.
- How is non-sexual affection? Does it still exist? This is so important. More cuddles, kisses, massages, hand-holding, etc.
- Shower each other with love and respect. Accept your partner for who they are. Accept yourself. Are you building each other up? Try eye gazing: for one minute, stare into each other’s eyes (no talking or looking away) and think about what you are grateful for in your partner/relationship.”
Closeness: A Card Deck for Intimate Connection
Get the sexual energy flowing
“In long-term relationships, desire, intimacy, and erotica take intention and cultivation. There is nothing wrong with ‘working’ on your sex life. Just like anything that’s worth celebrating in life, a healthy sex life takes preparation and intention.
- Prioritize erotic time. Make it a ritual and set your intention—sex with your partner is sacred and nourishing. Choose each other, to pleasure each other, and yourself. Literally schedule erotic time, erotic play, sex, sensual time—your relationship and connection are worth it. Put phones away during these times.
- Breathing, ground yourself in the moment. At the beginning of sexual play, look into each other’s eyes or close them, whichever you prefer. Breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breath out for 4 seconds. Repeat a few times.
- Sensual touching. With your carved-out time, focus on sensual touch/massages and connecting rather than penetration and climax.
- Pleasure sessions. What’s your pleasure? Choose a certain amount of time for each partner where one gets to decide how they would like to be sexual or intimate. It could be a massage, a bath, certain music playing, going down on one another, etc. How would you like to indulge in one another? This is practice for asking what you want and a chance for you each to be selfish (in a good way).
- Practice embodiment. Connect to your body and all your senses through mindfulness, meditation, yoga, sensual dance, deep breathing, etc. Which senses feel most sexual to you? Discuss with your partner.
- Remove sexual blocks. What are some sexual inhibitions you have? How is your self-esteem? Are there medications that cause a decline in your libido? Are you too concerned with your ‘performance’ rather than just being present and focused on pleasure and one another?
- Keep talking about sex outside the bedroom. Discuss what turns each other on instead of assuming. What does sex mean to you personally and your relationship? What positions would you like to try or are your favorite?”
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