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 based in San Francisco, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions remain anonymous. Now, onto this week’s topic: How to spice things up in the bedroom and make sex more interesting when you're in a longterm relationship.
Q: I've been with my partner for a couple of years. We love each other very much, but it's hard for sex not to feel boring now that we've had it so many times. What are some simple ways we could make sex feel new and exciting again? I don’t need fireworks every single time, but I do want us to break out of our rut.
A: Thanks for the question! I first want to point out that it’s completely normal for sex to start to feel routine or predictable in a longterm relationship. We’re creatures of habit, and we fall into patterns incredibly easily.
Most people seem to want to shake things up in the bedroom, but have a hard time knowing where to start. Even trying to come up with new things to do can feel intimidating. Fortunately, I’m here to show you that bringing your bedroom back to life doesn’t have to be nearly as difficult as you might think!
1. Make Small Changes
If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this entire article, it’s that small changes can produce big results! So many people think that “spicing things up” means doing something as intense as donning full-body bondage gear or participating in an orgy. Not the case! Here are a few super small, simple ideas that can be a lot of fun:
- Have sex at a different time of day than you usually do.
- Get down in a new room or on a new surface, like on the stairs, in your kitchen, or on top of the washing machine.
- Use pillows beneath your butt to create new angles in your favorite sex positions.
- Try having sex for different lengths of time, like going for quickies or spending an entire afternoon being intimate.
2. Play With Your Senses
One great way to brainstorm changes to make is by thinking about your five senses. Sight is one of the senses that offers the most possibilities. Try making eye contact while you’re being intimate. Or try having sex with the lights on, with the lights off, or with candlelight only. You can also watch porn before having sex or during the deed.
To play with your hearing, listen to music, or try talking dirty to each other. For your sense of smell, light a nice musky candle to set the mood. Invite your tastebuds to the party by really paying attention to what different parts of your partner’s body taste like, or by spending time kissing each other slowly and deeply.
To engage your sense of touch, try teasing each other with unique textures, like silk ties, fuzzy scarves, or soft feathers. Or try caressing your partner’s body in two different ways, and asking them to pick their favorite. You can also try cutting off your senses, like using a blindfold or trying not to touch each other with your hands.
3. Ban Certain Things
One of my favorite ways to bring passion back into the bedroom is to prohibit your old stand-by activities for a short period of time. Do you and your partner rely on missionary position too often? Make a “rule” that you can’t have sex in missionary for a month. Or you can do something like only allow yourselves to orgasm during mutual masturbation. If you’re really disciplined, try not letting yourselves do anything other than kiss for an entire week. It doesn’t matter that it’s just an arbitrary rule; it will still feel super sexy to know that certain things are “forbidden”!
4. Experiment With Your 'Maybes'
Lots of people get stuck in a trap of thinking they should only suggest activities that they already know they will like. Asking to try something new in the bedroom can feel vulnerable, so a lot of people try to play it safe by relying on the old standbys, by or not making any suggestions at all.
The problem is that it’s hard to know if you like something unless you've tried it! I like to encourage my clients to explore the things that sound even remotely interesting. For example, you may have felt slightly curious about 69-ing or being dominated, but been too nervous to suggest it since you weren’t sure if you’d like it. Give it a shot! Even if it doesn’t end up being your favorite activity, you’ll have had a novel experience with your partner, and you’ll have more knowledge about what you actually do like.
5. Bring In A Special Guest
No, I'm not necessarily talking about other people. (That's a whole other article.) I'm talking about props.
There are so many great sex toys on the market these days. You can get a toy designed for solo use, and put on a little bit of a show for each other. Or you can research options for couples sex toys that you could use together. You can also buy things like lube, sex furniture, restraint systems, or even a sex swing. It never hurts to have some backup when it comes to mixing things up.
6. Turn It Into A Game
One of the best ways to liven up your sex life is by being playful with your partner. There are plenty of fun ways to turn sex into a game. Make bets on silly trivia questions or board games, and let the prize be a sensual massage. Wrestle with each other naked. Keep your clothes or lingerie on and find creative ways to work around them. Role play the characters from the show you just binge-watched on Netflix. Take turns teasing each other, and see who can hold out the longest.
God luck, and have fun exploring!
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