Are You Having Enough Sex In Your Marriage?

How can you tell if you're having enough sex in your marriage? When it comes to sex, how do you know if you're on the right track with your marriage? I asked these questions of David Tresemer, Ph.D., psychologist, relationship expert, and co-author (with his wife, Lila Sophia Tresemer), of the forthcoming book, The Conscious Wedding Handbook: How to Create Authentic Ceremonies That Express Your Love. First off, Tresemer says, "the metaphor of 'track,' as in 'right track,' doesn’t coordinate with my observations of people or research — because there are so many variations, so many experiences." Rather than holding a yardstick up to your marriage and measuring it against societal stereotypes, or, worse, someone else's marriage, Tresemer suggests that sex is a "writhing, fantastic creature," and that there are a few ways you can tell whether you're "riding" it or not.

A simpler way of saying that: You're either in the flow or you're not. If you're feeling sexually satisfied and your partner is too, then you're probably doing just fine. Like everything else, instead of looking outside of yourself and your marriage, it's best to look within. As such, here are nine things you can look at in your sex life within your marriage to ascertain whether things are A-OK.

1. You Want Your Partner

Being attracted to your husband or wife is paramount. First off, if you "feel something in your body," you're onto something, Tresemer says. Attraction starts when you "feel your breath shorten, your heart rate quicken and other phenomena," he says. "Enjoy that." It's a great sign, and it means that you are happy with the one you're with.

2. You Keep Things Spicy

Whether it's experimenting in the bedroom, investing in some high-quality sex toys or trying out role-playing, it's fun to give new things a shot. "One couple we know meets annually at a rendezvous hotel, pretending that they don’t know each other — and woo each other all over again," Tresemer says. Sounds like a good time.

3. You Supplement Sex With Sensuality

Take a bath with your wife or husband, light a scented candle, ask your partner to pour wax from said candle on your back — these are all ways to up the sensuality ante in your marriage. Sensuality, Tresemer says, is "the opening of all of your senses." This is vital in cultivating a more deeply fulfilling sex life with your partner. By employing sensuality in bed, "you spread out that arousal in many directions, making your life more awake," he says.

4. You Make Time For Cuddling

Along with sexuality and sensuality is intimacy, Tresemer says: "You cultivate closeness to your partner, the passion of simply being together." Whether it's taking a long walks together regularly, making dinner together a few times a week or snuggling a lot, connecting with your partner and fostering intimacy can only lead to better sex.

5. You Don't Want To Be With Anyone Else

This one should go without saying, but part of having a healthy and happy sex life in a marriage is actively choosing to be with this amazing, fantastic person with whom you've built a life. When "desire arises," channeling such desire into a marriage is actually super awesome, and can lead to an even better experience with your mate. "Therefore, find a partner with whom to develop these skills," he says.

6. You Cultivate Love

"Love builds on sexuality, sensuality and intimacy, yet is greater than all of these," says Tresemer. "When you’re in the greatest love, all of the pillars become immensely more powerful, not as intensely anxious as sex on its own." Experiencing love can happen without thinking, and be taken for granted. Be conscientious about the love you have for your partner, and actively feel it. "True love suffuses your every encounter with another human being, and with the earth," Tresemer says. "You can climb the ladder of sexuality, sensuality and intimacy to experience this love (what Lila and I call the feeling of “one”), which connects you to all of creation."

If your experience of love, sex, intimacy, sensuality and the like doesn't feel quite so epic, don't fret: As long as you feel love for your partner and make time to express that love, you're doing great.

7. You Make Mistakes

We all screw up. "Not intentionally, but know [mistakes] will happen," Tresemer says. "Your first forgiveness is to yourself for messing up." Whether it's not making enough time to deep-chill with your partner or being too tired or busy for sex last week, it's most important to acknowledge that you are human and therefore imperfect. Move on and concentrate on better things — like showing up for your partner more this week.

8. You're Not Hard On Your Partner When Things Go Wrong

Great sex comes from great mutual understanding, at least in part. When mistakes happen — your own or your partner's — be kind. Nothing kills a sex life like anger, resentment and closed-mindedness. "The purpose of relationships is to create more mature human beings," says Tresemer. "It’s not that mistakes won’t happen; it’s how you deal with them that matters."

9. You Are In Awe, Because You're Having Sex With Someone You Adore, And That's Pretty Cool

"First and last step, awe and wonder," says Tresemer. "Isn’t this ride the most amazing privilege to experience?" You found someone you like enough to marry. As for sex, "there is no right solution or final solution to desire, except to enjoy the invitation to experience life more fully," Tresemer says. Let it unfold. And when in doubt, shake things up in bed.

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

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