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How to Keep Sex Alive in Long-Term Relationships

Talking about sex isn’t always easy or natural. Having clear and open communication with your partner is key to keeping the spark alive. Meika Hollender, author of GET ON TOP, shares her tips for how to keep sex alive in long-term relationships.

The research is clear: women in relationships have more orgasms than women not in relationships. In male/female relationships, the orgasm gap shrinks. Female orgasms are by and large what are referred to as “context dependent.” And men, statistically, make better partners when they care about and know their girlfriend (or wife). It’s also clear that when two people have been together for a while, things can slow down. But there are endless ways to bring back the fire. Sexuality is, after all, lifelong. So while the days of literally feeling electricity on your skin when your partner touches you might be in the past, the spark is always there. Deciding with your partner to make sex a top concern—something you care about and want to work on together—and having open communication will help you tap into it as the months and even years roll by.

Being honest with your partner when your new relationship energy fades and things slow down, sharing that disappointment together, and continuously finding playful ways to be sexual are all important parts of maintaining long-term relationships. Maybe you never felt comfortable bringing a toy into the bedroom during your first years together, or watching porn, or trying a new position, or looking for any of the various supposed orgasm trigger spots—G, A, U, or whatever some sex researcher comes up with next—these are all great ways to tap back into your initial spark. It’s up to you both to add to it and keep it going. There may have been a time when the idea of “scheduling” sex to make sure you had it at least weekly would have been beyond comprehension. But then maybe you or your partner got a new job, or went back to grad school, or you’re hooking up with someone who has a kid, and then suddenly it all makes sense. Sexuality can fade, and all kinds of life-shifting busy-making experiences can get in its way— illness, family issues, work. If you and your partner can choose to make your shared sexuality a mutual priority, to stress its importance, then it will always be there for you, even if it has been dormant for a while.

Sex is just as good for you at any age, any stage of life, any phase of the game. Try out a fantasy or commit to trying something new. This does not have to mean a threesome if that’s not your thing. It can be as simple (and awesome) as doing a new breathing technique. Dr. Jill Blakeway, founder of the YinOva Center in New York City and author of Sex Again: Recharging Your Libido, suggests something called looping. Basically you use a four-count yoga or meditational breath (four-count inhale, four-count exhale) to try to unlocalize your orgasms out of your vagina, thread the energy around, and create a whole-body orgasm. “Orgasm has become very local,” she says. “And a lot of women don’t orgasm at all. It’s about stagnation and not being able to let go. Even when they do, it’s often quite local. It’s possible to spread that feeling throughout your body, looping energy up your spine and down the front.” An advanced version of the looping involves syncing your breath up with your partner. Give it a whirl. Even if you don’t manage a full-body orgasm, chances are you will be present, not distracted, in the moment, and you and your partner will have a good laugh together. That’s a lot better than going through your to-do list or wondering who will do the dishes while your partner is going down on you. If looping isn’t your thing, find something that is. Slow things down. Try tantra. Spend time touching every part of your vulva—with no other expectations—to see what’s sensitive. Work toward multiple orgasms, or extending your orgasms. The amounts of games to play are really endless. It just depends on how playful you want to be on any given day. Keeping sex alive in a long-term relationship is a choice and a learned skill. It’s well worth the effort.

Good vibrations lead to better sex.

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