I’m a big fan of good sex and I think we all deserve it as much as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I’ve also been married for a decade and must admit that sometimes the daily grind of “doing life together” can make the “doing it” a little less exciting. But I refuse to fall victim to bedroom boredom just because I’m betrothed.
Here are 10 ways to keep the monotony out of your matrimony:
1. Practice the six P’s.
One of my husband’s favorite phrases is “Previous Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.” Of course he means it in a cliché business sense (and usually rattles it off when I’ve forgotten something on a trip or lost my phone somewhere in my own car), but I think it’s time to admit that married sex requires planning.
As much as I like to fancy myself an “on the kitchen floor when the mood strikes” type of woman, my kitchen floor just isn’t putting me in any mood but a Swiffering one these days. So take a moment of silence for spontaneous sex and sync up your iCalendars.
2. Re-examine the odd things about your spouse.
You know, the things you might not totally understand. I still can’t fathom the fact that my husband has to be ridiculously organized (seriously, he hangs his pants exactly 2 inches apart) before he has the mental and emotional room to turn to romance. I’m more of a “sex will clear my mind” kind of person.
I don’t believe marriage is about changing the other person for our own benefit; it’s more about understanding each other and encouraging change only when it’s best for the other person – or for both people.
My husband’s mild OCD isn’t hurting anyone, so why not organize the playroom or line up our water glasses smallest to largest if it’s one less thing he has to do before he’s able to relax? If you’re having frustrations in funky town, try doing something for your spouse that says, I know you like this and that’s the one and only reason I did it. I think your weird thing is cool.
Flowers and a fancy dinner might get you laid once, but showing love for the stranger parts of your spouse? That’s the stuff of marathon lovers.
3. Have holdover sex.
This is like the handful of stale beer nuts you jam in your face while waiting for your fancy dinner reservation. You need your stomach to stop growling so you can maintain civil conversation until you’re seated, but you still want to fully enjoy your meal.
Me and the hubs call this “holdover sex,” as in we’ll be held over with a quickie until the next time we can have a long lingering romantic date that includes things like cologne and wine and a babysitter. I know it sounds un-romantic, but what do you have to lose? Like 45 seconds? Go for it.
4. Reminisce about who you were on early, tummy-fluttering dates.
I don’t mean ignore the ways you’ve matured and changed and added wonderful things like kids and mortgages and bike racks; I mean don’t lose the couple you were at the start. It’s still a part of who you are now. So take the time, maybe out to dinner, long before the bedroom, to reminisce. Comment on what you remember. Something as simple as, “I always loved how you laughed. I noticed it the first time we met.” or “Did you know that after our second date I told my roomate that I had found my wife?”
A little complimentary nostalgia can be a sweet way to bond. Just be careful not to talk about negative things in your past. Stay away from epic arguments and that ahem, forgettable family holiday. A trip down memory lane is only good foreplay if it’s lined with roses, not overgrown with weeds and a giant oak tree blocking your path.
5. Do something in your daily routine that your spouse normally does.
No, I don’t mean your husband should put on a French maid costume. (Although if you’re into that, by all means…) Let your partner’s “work life” come into your space a bit. I know this goes against common “don’t bring work home with you” advice, but sometimes the only thing that will take the furrow out of my husband’s brow is to ask about the problems standing in the way of his work project getting the green light.
Snore, I know, but dumping his troubles makes him not only feel better, but it also shows I care. And wouldn’t you rather have sex with someone that cares? The point is to lighten each other’s load somehow. Do a chore your spouse normally does or pack his lunch. It’s amazing how quickly a surprise empty dishwasher or unexpected clean load of laundry can start a hot cycle no matter how tired you are.
6. Keep other people out of your bedroom.
I hope the literal meaning of this tip goes without saying (umm, no, sex with other people will not improve your married sex life!). What I really mean: Be careful how much you talk about other couples, their sex lives or their marriages. Women and men have bonded over bedroom talk since the dark ages, but be careful how much you share with others, and how much you relay back to your spouse.
Sometimes our intentions are hidden even from ourselves and something seemingly harmless like “I can’t believe Jan’s husband wants it every night!” or “Aren’t you glad I’m not an ice queen in the bedroom like Lisa?” sends all sorts of subliminal messages. You might be using Jan or her horndog husband to make yourself look better but once you open the door to comparison, it’s a hard one to close and your imagination can get quite crowded with things that don’t belong there.
7. Be the kind of couple that can say things like, “Welp, that certainly wasn’t our finest work!”
It’s such a sad misconception that you can only say R-rated things in the bedroom. Sorry, but when you’ve scheduled sex for 2pm on a Sunday while your kid watches cartoons, “Are you going to leave your socks on?” is gonna come out more frequent than “Can I take your bra off with my teeth?”
Laughing is as much a relaxing foreplay as the heavy petting that broad daylight and Dora the Explorer just might prevent. Be mindful of the context of your romp and allow for a banter that puts each other at ease.
8. Have sex when you don’t feel like it and don’t have it when you do feel like it.
I know that this goes against our “you deserve what you want when you want it” culture, but consider a slightly different approach to long-term intimacy. You’re going to have to confront the reality that a healthy relationship needs consistent sex and the chances of both of you being perfectly “in the mood” every time are slim. So expect to put out when you’re not 100% in the game and expect to put it away if your spouse just can’t rally.
“Taking one for the team” requires a deep mutual respect, so make sure you have a respected game plan for what to do when one really needs to score and the other doesn’t want to get off the bench.
9. Get an annual, full-body check up.
Don’t worry guys, I’m not talking about the kind where you have to cough for the doctor; I’m talking about a physical inventory with your spouse. Time changes things — both our physical bodies and the way we think about romance and our sexuality. The kind of things that “work” in the bedroom might be entirely different than they were a few years ago.
Your boobs used to be big participants but now you can’t stand having them touched? You might want to mention that or else he’s just gonna keep squeezin’. Your go-to position hurts your bum shoulder? Tell her so she doesn’t think it’s her fault you’re wincing.
Speak up, but be sure to offer what you like instead, not just what you don’t like. If you continue to take away dishes without replacing them, your intimacy will starve. Remember to use sensitive language. If your spouse is intuitive enough to ask, “Do you still like this?” Instead of saying “No, that’s awful,” try “Not as much as I like this…” and re-direct to something positive.
10. Don’t forget the performance review.
And by that I mean compliment, compliment, compliment. When you first started dating, things like “You’re the best kisser,” would roll off the tongue. And when you first started making love, you probably enlightened each little “mmm” you experienced. Whether it was the way his back felt or the way she moved her hips, you were probably vocal about it, and you’ve probably stopped. These compliments are so affirming to your partner and have a great power to strengthen your intimacy.
Try to remember the “oohs” and “ahhs” from the beginning. Your spouse is, after all, the same intoxicating creature you fell in love with. And if time has changed what separates the good sex from the bad, start complimenting the things that work now to shape an intimacy that fits the couple you’ve become.