It all started out so exciting and fresh. But lately, if you have time for sex at all, it's missionary at best. But is that just how things go? Or do we need to make an effort to step it up in bed--and become more adventurous when it comes to sex with our significant other?
We asked relationship expert Lori W. Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD. She and her husband Bob run the Relationships Work website.
"In the beginning of a relationship, many of the components that fuel eroticism are there naturally – mystery, excitement, newness and fantasy," she explains. "Our adrenaline pumps when we have sex with our new partner; we are more adventurous and open and take the time to explore our new relationship, emotionally and sexually. Our expectation is that this passionate connection will continue as naturally as it began."
But of course, marriage happens and real life starts setting in. You become busy with everyday tasks--raising kids, moving up the career ladder, maybe caring for an elderly parent even. "There is little time to relax much less expend the time and effort to explore the world of eroticism. And, after all, we think, 'Shouldn’t it come naturally?'”
But Lori says, sometimes it just doesn't. And so you need to make an effort to keep those passionate, erotic feelings alive.
"We have to find ways to create mystery, excitement and adventure consciously," she advises. "In the business of day to day life with routine and responsibility we forget how to 'play.' And erotic sex is adult play. For many of us, it is difficult to do the business of life and then relax enough to let down and let go. Sex and erotic love is all about letting go and giving in to the pleasurable feelings."
But what does adventurous really mean? Do we have to break out the whips and handcuffs here?
It's really up to the couple, Lori says. "For some it could be going to a bed and breakfast or trying a different sexual position; for others it could be playing out a fantasy or having sex in a forbidden place. Or it could be trying sexual toys. What is important is that each couple be able to talk with each other about their desires and work as a team to satisfy both of their needs and continue to have dialogue about their experiences. As long as no one is physically/emotionally hurt, 'being adventurous' can be as tame or as wild as our imaginations."
So if you're ready to kick things into high gear--how do you get your partner on board? After all, you don't want him or her to think they've been boring you.
"Communicating in a sensitive way is extremely important in this area," says Lori. "Instead of framing the discussion as complaining, frame it as offering and being excited about having a new adventure together. Ask for your partner’s ideas before you give your own."
In addition, Lori suggests:
- Talk with your partner in a spirit of love and caring
- Be understanding if it is an uncomfortable subject to discuss
- Listen to each other’s ideas with patience
- Remember that from your chair you see things from your perspective and your partner sees things from his (There is no right or wrong here)
- Make it an adventure
Now it's your turn. What are some of the things you and your partner do (or wish you did!) to keep those fires burning bright?