Let’s get real: It can be tough to keep things fresh when you’re going to bed with the same person night after night. Long-term relationships offer all kinds of benefits, but they can also present challenges when it comes to maintaining romance, passion, and fire. So be honest about the situation with yourself and with your partner. Then begin to take steps to make things more exciting.
Keeping physical intimacy fresh is an ongoing process that each of you needs to actively prioritize. To get you started, we’ve gathered some general principles and suggestions that can have an immediate impact on your love life.
Talk about what you want.
This may be the sex advice that’s most often offered. And it’s also the best. But it’s not always that easy. If it scares you a little to think of being really forthcoming about what you want, you’re not alone. Many people worry that their sexual desires will be perceived as odd, selfish, or simply beyond their partners’ comfort zones. But even though it’s sometimes uncomfortable to talk about what you really want or find most exciting in bed—even with the person you feel closest to—that’s the quickest and most effective way of making sure that both of you feel fulfilled and satisfied.
One way to do this in a way that feels safer for both of you is to play the “What’s something crazy you once thought about?” game. By doing it this way, neither of you has to commit to following through on the idea, and it’s safe because it’s (allegedly) something that merely crossed your mind in the past. But you might find that you each have some interesting ideas that would lead to some fun and stimulating situations. And even if you don’t actually act on these different possibilities, just talking about them will most likely raise the temperature in the room—and in the relationship.
Set the mood in advance.
Don’t wait until you’re both undressing after a long day to begin to think about being intimate together. Instead, begin the foreplay in the morning—either literally or figuratively. If you have the time and inclination, have a more physically stimulating breakfast. But even if you don’t set the mood physically, there are plenty of ways to engage in metaphorical foreplay—such as communicating how much you’re looking forward to your rendezvous, or talking about what you’re each expecting to give and receive later that evening.
Then throughout the day, continue to set the mood. Make an erotic phone call to her extension. Send him an email that you know he’ll find tantalizing. Or do something that’s not overtly sexual but that you know will keep preparing both of you for your encounter. Flowers or a gift or a new mix of songs can go a long way toward setting the mood as well. It doesn’t matter exactly what you do; the point is to set the stage throughout the day for romance and intimacy.
Just have fun for fun’s sake.
Some couples put too much pressure on themselves to make sure that the earth moves every time they make love, which can often lead to disappointment. So the next time you’re in bed together, make a concerted effort to relax and just enjoy yourselves. Laugh. Enjoy undressing. Take pleasure in the setup and the buildup, not just the final payoff. Be sensual. In other words, be fully engaged in the whole process, finding pleasure in everything from the beginning to the end.
Another idea is to play games together. They might have to do with acting out roles or living out fantasies, or you could even try an adult version of “Truth or Dare.” If you don’t feel like being too creative, there are plenty of games and books you can buy, or Web sites you can explore, to help you make sure that your sexual relationship is one built not only on emotional intimacy, but on fun and pleasure as well.
Inject some variety.
There’s nothing wrong with consistency or with establishing certain “patterns” in your love life. But when consistency turns into monotony, it can be really difficult to maintain the passion in your relationship. So try injecting some variety into your lovemaking. This might mean experimenting with new positions or locations. Or it might mean taking more time instead of having the obligatory Wednesday-night quickie. Or maybe you switch roles, so that the one who’s usually the initiator and aggressor becomes more passive, and vice versa.
There are plenty of other ways to add variety to your sex life and keep it from becoming dull. Dress up. Surprise each other in the shower. Go on a racy “first date” where you pretend that you’re two very forward people who begin to participate in increasingly daring sex talk as the evening progresses. Whatever you do, try to release your inhibitions. Keep in mind that as long as you both feel respected and comfortable with what you’re doing, then you can relax, enjoy the variety, and let yourselves go.
Remember that sex isn’t going to be perfect every time. So don’t put too much pressure on yourselves to shake the chandelier or wake the neighbors. And don’t compare your sex life to the ones you see in movies or on television. Use the ideas above to keep things fresh and exciting in the bedroom, but don’t worry if the passion in the relationship achieves a certain routine and regularity over time. Even an occasional diversion from the usual is all that a couple needs to keep things fresh. If you two are having sex consistently and each enjoying the physical relationship you share, then congratulate yourselves. You’re doing really well.