We hear a lot about ‘spicing it up’ and helping couples to keep the spark alive, particularly during the Hallmark holidays, but what perhaps is more important than focusing on making one day amazing, different or making a huge effort to show our partners that we love them; is to take that initiative and intention forward into the rest of our relationship and daily lives together.
We know that routine is not the bedfellow of desire, and that desire is less obstructed at the start of our relationships when we have less on our minds, less to distract us, and our highest priority is investing in our partner and our relationship with them.
At the start of a relationship we do that naturally – our focus is on getting and keeping this person that we are so interested in; but the nature of the beast is that the more we know someone, the more we become familiar, the more we assume, and the more we can start to take for granted.
Curiosity and assumption go against each other. If we are curious we want to learn more, explore more, find out more, and try more. In contrast when we are assuming, then we aren’t questioning or thinking about what we are doing.
When we assume, then we think we already know, or at least that we already know what we think is the best way, and so we don’t try to do things differently. And this is when we trip up in our sex lives.
Desire is the want to be sexual. Particularly in women we understand desire as context dependent, and often responsive. We have the desire to continue what we are doing, trying and experiencing. For couples this is one of the main ingredients of a healthy sex life.
Creating new contexts, not getting stuck in the old ones. Routine doesn’t excite, and the brain thrives on the opposite. The new, unknown, novelty, and intrigue and interest build anticipation, and anticipation is the most natural aphrodisiac that we have.
Many people report that they are finding it harder and harder to switch off to turn on, with the blurring of the boundaries between work and home, and really sex is about adult play; so what we need to be more aware of perhaps is that the playground won’t come to us, we have to build our own.
Use this time as an opportunity to think about what you would like to do differently. The advice that I often give to people is that every time you have sex: change one thing. That can be as simple as room, lighting, lube, toys, clothes, no clothes, position, but don’t get stuck and put under pressure by the idea that making changes in your sex life have to be huge. The little things make the biggest difference, and the more we enjoy something then the more encouraged we are to repeat that experience, which in turns feeds into us desiring it more.
So this Spring, don’t believe all your bases are covered because Valentine’s Day is long gone, zoom out and have a look at how you can make changes across your sex life, to make the rest of the year just as enjoyable.