When you have sex long enough with the same person, things are bound to get, shall we say, predictable. You know each other's bodies and preferences. You feel like you've already figured out what makes one another satisfied, so you tend to stick with what you know. As a result, no matter how much you love your longtime partner, it becomes normal to crave some newness. This doesn't necessarily happen to every longterm couple, but it's perfectly understandable that two people who've been together forever desire an extra layer of sexual excitement.
Luckily, Alyssa Dweck, M.D., gynecologist in New York, assistant clinical professor OBGYN at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and author of V is for Vagina, has come to your rescue. She and her colleague Michael Krychman, M.D., have written a book called The Sexual Spark: 20 Essential Exercises to Reignite the Passion, which outlines a heap of sexercises designed to keep the fire going between happy couples, no matter how long they've been sharing a bed.
Bustle spoke with Dr. Dweck, who insists, "You have to introduce your own novelty," because unfamiliarity is the key to maintaining sexual excitement. The more new something feels, the more likely you'll want to revisit it over and over again. In addition to creating novelty, though, Dr. Dweck says many of these activities, which are astoundingly simple, are meant to foster even more intimacy in your relationship, both physically and emotionally — and the closer you feel to each other, the better the sex will be.
Here are six sexercises for people in longterm relationships.
1. Write Each Other Erotic Stories
If you're looking for new ways to spice things up, consider generating a sexy story with your partner. Either keep a written journal (old school and hot) that you pass back and forth, or create an email chain (on your personal accounts, of course) where you trade chapters of an original erotic narrative. "Women’s sexual drive, libido, arousal — much of it starts in the brain," Dr. Dweck reminds us. That means we have a lot to gain from starting the sexual creativity outside of the bedroom, and in our heads.
This exercise also gives you plenty of room to be inventive and explore your fantasies, as well as to see how your SO responds to it all. You can egg each other on from afar until you feel like you're ready to burst. Imagine how hot and bothered the both of you will get after spending all day — or even all week — exchanging sexy tales with one another.
2. Create A Sexual Body Map
When you've been together for a while, you fall into a certain routine of sexual communication. As your relationship moves forward, though, there may be some things left unsaid that you're still looking for in the bedroom. It might feel strange at first to get the conversation started over dinner, which is why Dr. Dweck suggests sexual body mapping.
On a piece of paper, outline the front and back of a human body. Take crayons or colored pencils and mark the parts of the body that you would like some attention brought to. (In The Sexual Spark, they suggest using a color scheme.) For example, the color red indicates an area that desires pleasure, black represents a request to steer clear, and yellow means maybe, but proceed with caution.
Dr. Dweck tells Bustle that this exercise is "really based in just reestablishing trust." In a non-threatening way, you can immediately communicate to your partner what you're looking for, as well as what you're just not into.
3. Engage In Sexual Communication Exercises
Emotional bonding is just as crucial for your sex life as physical connection; even if you've been together for a long time, there may be some things about your intimate relationship that aren't being addressed. "There are so many variables that go into libido and arousal for women," Dr. Dweck reminds us. It's more likely that we need to feel safe and cherished in order for our sexual experiences to be mind-blowing.
Dr. Dweck proposes some simple verbal communication exercises that reestablish your foundation as a couple. Sit down with each other, look into each other's eyes, and talk about what intimacy and sex mean to you. Chat about the most memorable moments of your relationship and what you hope will come in the future. You can even do some written activities, where you write down what turns you on the most, then jot down what you think turns on your partner the most. Switch and see how your answers line up.
4. Pick Out Two New Sexual Positions Each & Experiment
Human beings are creatures of habit, almost to a fault. Even in our sex lives we find our comfort zone and stick with it, but living solely in that pattern is when you start to flirt with bedroom boredom. Give each other a little homework: Go off and choose a couple sexual positions you've always been interested in, but never had the chance to try. Put all your choices in a pool, and reach in for a new one once or twice a week.
"It’s really more to make spontaneous thoughts about sex more common and more natural," Dr. Dweck tells Bustle. You might be surprised to see that the act of planning to try something new actually makes room for more novelty in your relationship. Experimenting with new positions also gives you the chance to reach orgasm in a completely different way.
5. Watch Erotic Movies Together
Visual stimulation is almost never going to be a turn-off. Mix things up by turning on a sexy movie late at night when you've got some down time. Not porn necessarily (although, if you know it does the job for you, go for it), but rather an erotic film that has a bit of storyline to it and embraces the female body a bit differently. You could engage in sexual play while you feast your eyes, or just watch the whole thing in its entirety before you head to the bedroom for your own session.
Dr. Dweck says this isn't an attempt to get you interested in porn if you've never been into it before. Instead, she suggests you do a trial run with your partner to see if it will get the juices flowing — and be sure to pick something you're both interested in. It might even open the doors for the two of you to start playing with new fantasies, like BDSM or roleplaying. Sometimes seeing that kind of stuff play out on screen is just enough inspiration for you to go off and create your very own sexy scenarios.
6. Practice Sensual Touching That Isn't Goal-Oriented
Most of the time, when longterm couples have sex, they're trying to reach climax and all the stuff in between tends to get overlooked. You can easily heat things back up by returning back to the part of sex we're used to referring to as "foreplay.". Dr. Dweck calls this process "sensate touching". You take turns caressing each other and exploring which parts of the body that have been all but forgotten — all without any actual penetration. Have one person start as the receiver while the other is the giver, and switch off after 20 minutes.
Because you're not dead-set on reaching orgasm, there's a whole lot less pressure. You don't feel like you're going somewhere in particular, so you can just enjoy the ride without any sexual anxiety. It's also a great way to remind your SO (and maybe even yourself) of all the things you love most in the bedroom. Have fun!
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