5 questions to ask yourself to improve your sex life, according to a marriage therapist
Way past the honeymoon phase in your relationship and things are getting a bit, well… dull? The Relationship Rejuvenator and marriage therapist Joanne Wilson, shares five questions you and your partner can ponder together to reignite the flame of your sex life.
If I asked you what the most thrilling, magical and unforgettable experiences of you life have been, would they involve the tubs of cookie dough ice cream you’ve eaten or the amazing sex and experiences you’ve had with your life partner?
Which of the aforementioned is more likely to be an important foundation of emotional wellbeing? Which provides a sense of security, challenges you to be your best and aids self-reflection?
Hint: you won’t find it at the bottom of your freezer.
Intimacy is a powerful tool of self-development and empowerment. As ‘you and me’ becomes ‘we’, the rush of increased intimacy is a heady and exciting experience.
However as time goes on, sexual intimacy can unfortunately wane for many couples.
So if you’re needing a respark in your sex life, ask yourself and your partner these following questions…
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5 questions that will instantly improve your sex life
1. Did I go into this relationship with an unrealistic expectation of always having matching libidos?
I’m a marriage therapist and in the therapy room, we often marvel the stark difference in approaches to intimacy taken between those who exhibit stereotypically quick-lit male libidos and slow-burn female libidos.
When a man feels desired by his partner, it can create relational generosity, trust and optimism. It strengthens a sense of reassurance and commitment.
Women, on the other hand, can often long for an emotional connection before physical connection. It is worth realising that they may need that first in order to be emotionally vulnerable and available for sex.
Men frequently ask me why women don’t desire sexual intimacy as much as men. However, I highlight that it’s just not appropriate to stereotype men and women. There are a significant proportion of libidinous females out there who suffer inextricably from rejection and low self-esteem as a result of not being with a man who fits the stereotypical oversexed male.
After a day of tense and silent conflict, one partner might think nothing of giving the other the ‘tap on the shoulder’, causing the recipient of the ‘tap’ to retreat in shock – as they’d prefer a more communicative approach to reconnecting, rather than ‘reconnecting’ via sex.
Many couples compare their frequency of intercourse with others, but it is mutual satisfaction and not the frequency that matters. For those with a higher sex drive than their partner, not having sex can be a big problem – some people can get to the point of barely being able to function without it.
Maybe their partners need to step up and make an effort just because it is important. Whoa! Controversial, I know.
2. Are we able to comfortably talk about this topic together?
Then there is the heartache of those who struggle with not fulfilling a sex-crazed stereotype – and their partner correspondingly grappling with feeling sexually unattractive and ugly.
For some, stepping up might mean just mustering up the courage to talk to each other about intimacy issues and differences in approaches, expectations and sexual appetites.
3. Do we regularly set aside a sacred space in our lives for sex and give it the attention it deserves?
The early days of your relationship are high in helpful oxytocin, the feel-good hormone.
Oxytocin helps us pair up! We take more risks, are out to impress and less likely to consider consequences. With commitment and the help of sexual intimacy, amazing, almost mysterious bonds between partners are created.
It is an incredible union of souls that brings couples together. But as time goes on, for a large range of reasons, we don’t always put in as much effort with physical intimacy, taking the other person for granted or ignoring their requests more and more frequently.
As a result, your spouse is less likely to feel amorous, resulting in fewer opportunities for the sense of value and connection derived from hanky-panky.
So be sure to put the effort in.
4. Do I pay attention to my appearance to ensure I feel confident, handsome or sexy?
Perhaps we all need to work at being alluring – not just for our partners, but also for ourselves.
Sometimes feeling your best can be as simple as a good shower, a rush of endorphins at the gym, fuelling your body with healthy foods or treating yourself to a day at the spa.
5. Do we try to save some of the best of ourselves for each other?
Each spouse needs to ask what they are doing to be a good partner and for sex to be an attractive prospect for the other. It may well even start with emptying the dishwasher! Maybe you can still incorporate the ice cream after all?
It is never too late to begin to have the courage to address canoodling conundrums – either by making a concerted effort on your own in the relationship, or by speaking to a professional therapist.
Joanne Wilson AKA the Relationship Rejuvenator is a neuropsychotherapist, marriage therapist and author of Renovate Your Relationship – All The DIY Tools For Your Most Important Project ($29.99).