10 Tips To Upgrade Your Sex Life (That Actually Work)

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As a Certified Sex Therapist, I work with individuals and couples in therapy. I have worked with peoplewho have been dating a few months, to couples who have been married for 50 years. I have heard it all;people who have low libido to people who are aroused by taboo fantasies. As much as I empower myclients, Ive also learned a lot from them about maintaining a healthy and active sex life.

Some couples come to see me after things have already fallen apart, and sex therapy is a last-ditch effort tosave their relationship. Others recognize a kernel of an issue, and address it before it pops up intosomething bigger that they cannot overcome. From one end of the spectrum to the other, here are some tipsI have learned as a sex therapist to maintaining a satisfying sex life:

1. Communicate. As a therapist, I think this comes as such an obvious factor in relationships, butIve come to realize (personally and professionally) it is easier said than done. It also makes ahuge difference based on how youre communicating. Yelling, screaming, fighting, ignoring, orcriticizing your partner are all ways of communicating, but I wouldnt encourage or recommendany of them. Good communication is about active listening, validating, and affirming. If you findthat you are having trouble communicating with your partner, find time when you both are able totalk, and do it in a neutral setting, like the kitchen. You can even try an app, such as ExpressingNeeds, to work on improving communication skills. If you cant figure it out on your own, see atherapist to help create that dialogue.

2. Have common interests. I frequently ask couples what they have in common and the first time aclient said, We have a house together and we have two kids, I was shocked that he identified thisas a common interest. I quickly learned that this is all many couples have in common, so this hasbecome a staple question I ask in therapy. When couples reach a point where they have nothing incommon, aside from finances and some shared DNA, some will try a new hobby together, butmany find that they have grown so far apart that they have no interest in sharing common interestsanymore. It is unlikely that discussing bills or your childs homework is going to stir your desireor motivate you to have sex with your partner though.

3. Accept that your sex life will ebb and flow. When you first start dating someone, everything isnew and exciting. You put effort into getting ready for a date, and you stay up late texting ortalking on the phone. You cant wait to see that person, and its exhilarating just to have their handbrush against yours. After awhile, the excitement fades. When couples decide to move in together,sex often changes and becomes less frequent. You now have to take turns doing dishes and payingbills, and things dont revolve around just being together.

If you decide to have children, your sexlife may increase while you are trying to make a baby. During pregnancy it may change again.After having a child, it is likely to change again, and presumably decrease, as a baby needsattention from you. Eventually that child grows up and moves out though, and its just you andyour partner again. Throughout it all, the goal should never be to get it back to how it was but tokeep moving forward, create new habits, and make a continuous effort to be intimate.

4. Make an effort. One of the greatest things about being in a long-term relationship is that you canwear your sweatpants, take your make-up off, and burp in front of one another. Feelingcomfortable around your partner feels really reassuring. Burping isnt sexy though. Neither isgoing to the bathroom with the door open. Just because you become comfortable with yourpartner, doesnt mean you should stop trying. The effort may look different, but take pride in yourunderwear once in a while, spritz on the cologne, and take your partner on a romantic date.

5. Keep things exciting in the bedroom. Couples tend to find what works for them, which oftenmeans the quickest means to an end, but when they stick with that routine for years, it can becomeboring and monotonous. Talk dirty, try a new position, add toys to the mix, and spice things uponce in a while.

6. Flirt. Instead of the obligatory peck on the lips as you rush out the door in the morning, prolongthat kiss, stick your tongue in your partners mouth, slap their butt, and leave them wanting more.Tell your partner how sexy they look. Touch their lower back in public. Laugh together. If youcant remember how to flirt, try downloading an app like Kahnoodle to help you show yourappreciation for your partner.

7. Go to therapy. Even when things are good, couples can benefit from going to therapy. I oftenhave couples come in for just a few sessions to get some new ideas, gain some perspective, andlearn new ways to communicate. If things are not going well and you are becoming angry towardsyour partner because your sex life isnt what you want it to be, go to therapy. The sooner, thebetter. Its easier to fix an issue when it is addressed right away because otherwise resentment canbuild and suddenly we arent just angry we arent having enough sex. Resentment is not a recipefor increasing libido or a successful sex life.

8. Stay healthy. Drugs and alcohol can negatively affect your sex life. For men, drugs and alcoholcan have adverse affects on erectile function, including difficulty obtaining or maintaining anerection, and delayed ejaculation. For women, it can actually lower libido, cause vaginal dryness,and make an orgasm more difficult to achieve. Being overweight can also affect your sex life.Since the heart has more blood to pump throughout the body, blood flow to the penis or clitorismay slow. This may lead to an inability to obtain or maintain an erection, or difficulty achievingan orgasm. Obesity can also cause physical barriers, making it difficult for partners to obtaincertain sexual positions. High cholesterol and blood pressure can also affect erectile functioning.Physical activity increases endorphins and dopamine, hormones directly related to your sex drive.Its also important to eat healthy, drink in moderation, avoid illegal drugs, and feel good about thebody you have!

9. Spend time apart. There really is something to the old adage, Distance makes the heart growfonder. Give yourself an opportunity to miss your partner. That is part of what makes dating somuch fun because you cant wait to see your special someone. So do yourself a favor and go havea night out with friends, move your home office to a coffee shop for the day, or run those errandson your own. Spending some time apart from your partner gives you an opportunity to miss andappreciate them. It also ensures the time you spend together is quality time. Appreciation is thebest aphrodisiac.

10. Have sex. Yes, one of the things to maintaining a healthy sex life is to have sex. Ever heard thesaying, if you dont use it, you lose it? Apply it to sex. Having sex actually increases our desireto have sex. When we get too busy to have sex, we get out of practice, we get out of sync withour partner and our bodies, and our sex lives fall to the wayside. Sex then becomes a chore. Thereis nothing sexy about doing chores! Sex is kind of like working out sometimes, you arent in themood to do it, but you feel better afterwards. Letting go of stress, being present in the moment,and feeling connected to your partner, are all wins.

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