It's a bird! It's a plane! It's cupid, stupid! Valentine's Day is less than a week away; filling couples with trepidation, expectation and dread! As we prepare for cubicles and Facebook feeds to be filled to the brim with extravagant floral arrangements designed to be the envy of all who gaze upon it, others clamber for guidance on how to recapture a fire long since cooled. This time of year there is no shortage of advice on how to spice up your sex life and re-woo your mate. This Hallmark holiday was packaged and sold as a superhero; swooping down and rescuing relationships from the pit of monotony. As if only one day, a nightie, and a candlelight dinner was the simple cure to mounting intimacy issues. I can give sex tips, but no matter how well-intentioned they may be, they are only as good as someone is open to receiving them! After our last podcast went live, I received numerous emails... all asking the same questions: "How do you get your partner to actually do THAT?" "How do I introduce different ways to spice up our sex life, without my partner taking it personally?" It became obvious that knowing WHAT to do was one matter... knowing HOW to approach your partner was another entirely!
Approaching Your Partner About Sex
Let Actions Do the Talking...Take the Wheel!
Often, routine and responsibilities are our sex lives kryptonite. We diligently plan and execute our schedules with pinpoint accuracy; being responsible for one more thing can make even Wonder Woman or Superman crack. Rather than placing another task on your partner's to-do list, YOU initiate the change up! Buy a sexy blindfold, tell her to lay back and relax; you do the rest. Make dinner reservations and have him meet you at the bar wearing his favorite little black dress, with his favorite whiskey waiting. This one is no talk... just action! You already know what your partner wants and you deliver it on a silver platter.
Take the Wheel... Get Back On Track
When sexual desire fizzles, it's rarely due to lack of attraction. Don't assume it's you; something you have done or didn't do. Usually it's about head-space. If sex has become a thing of the past or mundane, chances are everyday life is the nemeses. When in a relationship, sex is the barometer for how healthy you are as a couple. Sex ceases being unemotional, especially (and women will hate me for saying this) for women when in a committed relationship. Even if casual sex was a part of the past, being in a relationship shifts the dynamic and sex becomes more. You need to recalibrate and ensure you are both on the same path; this takes communicating. Remind your partner of the things about them that turn you on. You may tell them every day you love them paired with a quick kiss, but do you take the time to feel them? Do you look at them when in a conversation? Do you dedicate distraction-free time to them? You may both be in the same place physically, but how sure are you that you're in the same place emotionally? Sometimes we just need to know our partner is 100 percent present. It doesn't have to be hours of staring into each other eyes... just a few moments out of your day. Discover where you both are now and find a way back to each other.
Take a Backseat... Let Your Partner Take the Lead
Relationships are tricky; one person cannot "fix" a problem. Why? Because, there are two people in every relationship and no matter how well-intentioned you are, sometimes it is best to just sit back and listen. Your partner may not need a hero or to be saved, it's simply a matter of being heard and respected. I know my previous points were all about the seeker of spice taking control of the situation but there are times, and with certain people, when the best way to take control is to relinquish it! Stop trying to fix it on your own. Start by directing the conversation to encourage your partner to be the initiator of the solution! Make your partner feel safe and allow yourself to feel vulnerable. Empower your partner to save the day! A little conversation can go a long way. Ask your partner...
"How do you think we can fix this?"
"Do you feel like we have become 'that couple'?"
"What can I do to support you in our life together?"
"What would you like to see happen?"
"What dreams do you have for our future together? How are we going to get there?"
Like I said before, sex issues in a relationship are rarely about sex! There is typically more going on behind the scenes. Give yourself the opportunity to see the problem through your partner's eyes rather than assuming (Because, well, you know what they say about assuming!)
Sex issues are a shitty reason for a marriage to end, but let me be completely frank: Human beings need an outlet. I hate generalizations, so let me make one! Just as a woman needs attention or feeling desired, a man needs physical contact. If on either side that's not happening, infidelity (emotional or physical) will eventually occur. Look, marriage and long term relationships are hard. They take work and commitment from both people; feeling respected and fulfilled. Relationships only succeed when BOTH work to make it work. A sex issue is a HUGE elephant in the room -- big enough to bring any house down; even one with a good foundation. I'm not saying it can't work out. Of course it can. A foundation will see you through but those who see it are right to take this seriously. You must. Sex is not just a man thing and it's not a sidebar in a relationship. It's the pulse of a relationship. It sets the tone. Chances are you're both good for each other. But honestly, sometimes that's not enough. Relationships aren't movies. They're not easy and don't maintain themselves. But that's life right? We're not kids anymore. We're adults with real world responsibilities. My advice when you approach your partner about sex; create a time but don't force the moment, carve out an opportunity however is best for you both... but whatever you do, it must happen.