We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions remain anonymous. Now, onto today's topic: how to make sex feel like the first time — or at least, new again.
Q: My partner and I met when we were really young, and have been together for a long time. Sex was great in the beginning, but as you might be able to guess, things have gotten a bit stale. We’ve tried a lot of new things in the bedroom — sex toys, positions, roleplaying, etc — and that stuff is all great, but what I’m missing is that feeling of getting to know my partner and exploring each other’s bodies for the first time. I’m not so much looking to “spice things up” as I am to rewind the clock. I know we can’t actually go back in time, but is there any way to recreate those hot early months?
A: Thanks for the question! I’ve given a lot of advice about bringing novelty in the bedroom, but I like this twist to your question of trying to get back to your sexual roots. Here are ten ways to capture that honeymoon stage magic.
Your first step is to explore what exactly it was about those early months that made sex between the two of you so special. What was the best sex you guys had? What made it so good? Maybe the two of you really took your time with each other, or maybe there was lots of laughter and playfulness. In particular, try to think about any patterns or characteristics that have fallen by the wayside. Think about these questions on your own, and ask your partner for their perspective too.
2. Pick A Few Goals
After you’ve done some mental exploring, try to pick a few dynamics that you want to focus on recreating. You don’t want to overwhelm yourselves by trying to change everything at once. For example, you and your partner might realize that you used to spend a lot of time giving feedback to each other after your sex sessions. It would be pretty easy to start making time for these post-sex recaps again.
3. Go Back To The Basics
Once you’ve rounded all the bases with your partner, it’s easy to get into the habit of going for gold every time. If you and your partner loved exploring each other’s bodies when you first started dating, try to prioritize spending time on foreplay. You can each pick parts of your body or specific activities that you want your partner to focus on. For example, have your partner spend an entire evening just massaging and kissing your back. Or spend an hour making out on the sofa.
4. Work Your Way Back Up To Sex
One variation of going back to basics is to take lots of time to slowly work your way back up to having sex again. One of the most exciting parts of being with someone new is all of the “firsts” you get to have with each other. You can turn this into a fun little game by agreeing on boundaries to abide by.
For example, you could forbid yourselves from doing anything but kissing for a week, then only touching for a week, then only oral for a week (of course, make adaptations depending on the activities that are usually a part of your sexual repertoire).
5. Increase Your Anticipation
Being with someone new is exciting in and of itself, but the anticipation that we build up within ourselves makes the honeymoon stage of a relationship even more sexy. When the two of you first started dating, you might have spent entire workdays fantasizing about your next rendezvous. Or you might have taken an hour getting ready for each date, going through all of your favorite beauty rituals. It will take more of a conscious effort to create this kind of anticipation now that you’ve been together for a while, but it’s still totally doable.
6. Initiate With Passion
When we’ve been in relationships for a long time, most of us tend to get pretty lazy with our sexual initiations. It’s hard to get excited for sex when your partner asks, “hey, it’s been a while, should we do it?” Try to remember the ways you initiated with each other at the beginning of your relationship. Maybe you used to push your partner up against the wall. Maybe you used to sneak into the bedroom, strip down naked, and call your partner in. Again, the idea here is to replicate what worked.
7. Open Your Eyes
This is a remarkably simple yet effective trick: try making eye contact with your partner during sex. It’s amazing how many long-term couples avoid eye contact or have sex in the dark. Being able to actually see each other when you’re having sex is an incredible way to increase the sense of intimacy and connection. It will make you feel like you’re seeing each other in an entirely new way.
8. Let Go Of Your Assumptions
A lot of us are anxious about being perceived as “good in bed,” so we scramble to find the things that seem to work for a new partner. Once we’ve found something that garners a decent response, we tend to stick to it. We even get a little lazy, and assume that our partner always wants that thing. This dynamic is part of what makes sex start to feel really predictable with long-term couples.
If you want to rediscover sex with your partner, throw all your assumptions out the window. Pretend you’re starting from scratch, and act like you have no idea what your partner really wants or likes. Try out techniques and ask for feedback.
9. Create Some Distance
You know that old saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”? It works with sex too. When you were first dating your partner, you still had your own separate lives. You had stories to tell and things to learn about each other. As time goes by, many couples start to merge all of their time and interests. You can combat this tendency by going on a trip with friends, joining a book club, or finally signing up for that dance class. Having a little bit of distance between the two of you will rev up your desire for each other.
10. Make Sex A Priority
One of the reasons why sex is so exciting at the beginning of a relationship is that we make lots of time and space for it. We pounce on each other when we have a few minutes free, and we’ll have sex wherever and whenever. Talk to your partner about ways the two of you might be able to prioritize sex the way you used to. For example, you can agree to have sex when you first get home from work, instead of putting it off until you’re in bed and too exhausted.
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