You can burn down the house long after the honeymoon passion has cooled.
If the truth be known, most married people would just as soon stay married. They’d love to keep having hot sex with their spouses, and for as long as possible. They’d love to avoid tumbling into some tawdry affair, with all its messy and humiliating consequences.
It’s not just AIDS and the fact that we’re usually too busy or exhausted to attempt the extra-marital hunt. It’s that, deep down; we’re basically nice, loving, responsible human beings.
Who would like to get a little more?
So that’s the subject of this story: how nice men and women can keep married sex hot for the long haul.
But first, one-word bit of advice about the whole subject: Relax. There’s no reason to doubt your manhood or your femininity, or your love for your lover, if seeing her or him naked doesn’t arouse you as quickly or as wildly as it once did. It’s worrisome, sure. It stirs up all kinds of dark self-doubts. But in a long-term relationship, it’s completely natural and predictable to experience a gradual downshift in your sexual responses, and it helps just to know and accept this. You’re certainly not alone. (If it’s any consolation, there are several thousand other men and women reading this story).
Following are suggestions from the top sex therapists on how to prime yourself for long-life passion:
SHAKE IT UP
There’s a lot of talk nowadays about safe sex, but maybe sex (at least once the protection is in place) isn’t supposed to be ‘safe’. Maybe it’s supposed to be one big wild desperate adrenal rush with stuff getting knocked over and things busting apart at the seams – a few breathless moments stolen from death. Maybe that’s why married sex – at least the mechanical kind that we sometimes settle for – often seems hardly worth the trouble. Boredom is death to life, and death to sex.
As a result, sex therapists stress the importance of breaking out of boring sexual routines. Alter the pace. Try going much faster, or much slower, than you usually go. And remember, good sex doesn’t always have to be lingeringly slow.
Try some sessions of non-intercourse sex, when foreplay is the main course, not just the appetizer.
Or try some sessions where only one person gets all the goodies. Do it one time just for her/him. Then, other time, she’ll (or he’ll) do it all for you.
If you’re always the aggressor, try letting yourself be seduced. And sometimes both can be aggressors. The only limit is your imagination.
TRY ALL-DAY FOREPLAY
“Always remember that good sex begins while your clothes are still on,” say William Masters, M.D. and Virginia Johnson, the grand-dad and -ma of sex study. Getting in the mood is not just the few moments before sex; it can go on for hours, or days, beforehand. Since good sex is just one aspect of a good relationship, it can grow naturally out of the time you spend together.
“The best sex times we ever have usually happen after hours and hours of talking,” says one young businessman who’s been married five years. “Sometimes, usually it’s Saturday, we’re talking all day long. The whole day becomes a prelude to bed. If we take the time to reconnect, to really say ‘hello’ again, after the madness of the work week, things often get very special after we turn out the lights.”
Address your mate from a new angle. For ideas, take a look at those classic how-to love manuals, Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana or The Perfumed Garden, an ancient test that describes something in excess of 200 positions. Tell the lady at the bookstore it’s for your kid’s school paper.
Sleep specialists tell insomniacs never to read or watch TV or do anything else in bed except sleep. Eventually the bed becomes powerfully associated with the sensation of falling asleep. Beds can also become powerfully associated with boring, predictable sex. So try getting out of the bedroom. Many people have fantasies of making love on the living room sofa but don’t do it. It takes a little effort, but it’s worth it.
Think of yourself as a Hollywood location scout, looking over your whole house for promising stage sets. Consider the kitchen, for instance, Kitchens are full of interesting things (Remember Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange on the kitchen table in The Postman Always Rings Twice?) Try the balcony when the stars are just coming out at night. Or your Car. Or a caravan got on hire.
Therapists often recommend setting aside some time to be together, when you’re not stressed out, exhausted or trying to do two other things at once (Yes, make a date with your spouse!) Arrange to have dinner together once a month, for example. Observe Masters and Johnson: “If you don’t spend much quality time with your partner outside the bedroom, it’s hard to create a sense of closeness and affection the instant you’re ready for sex.”
Okay, sure – sexy lingerie isn’t exactly an original idea. But it works. Black lace panties and those little French maid whatchamacallits with the straps have this amazing way of enhancing one’s sexual appetite. Ditto for incendiary male shorts or briefs.
WARM UP THE TV SCREEN
There are certain kinds of videos that can’t be watched in the company of a woman without taking a brief, sweet intermission, which may help account for the fact that a good percentage of video rentals now are erotic films.
But watch it: many women are turned off by hardcore films; you might be better off trying something softer.
Also, remember that you’re using erotic films only to increase your arousal. It’s a huge error to judge your sexual performance, against the ‘stars’ of these films. Most women, confronted by someone like Harry Reems, would call the police. And film editors splice multiple sex acts to make them look like one continuous, marathon performance, which in reality would kill even the guy in the movie.
ASK AND YOU’LL PROBABLY RECEIVE
The most sexually satisfied women are those who’re the most open with their partners about their sexual fantasies, intimate sexual feelings and desires. It’s safe to conclude that you’re much more likely to get what you want if you simply learn to ask for it.
Sounds easy enough, but most of us don’t do it. Say Masters and Johnson, “One of the most amazing things to us about sexual behaviour is how reticent most people are to talk with their lovers about sex… We see plenty of couples whose well-intentioned caresses fall short of the mark because they’re too much, too soon, too little, too light-handed, too far off the mark.”
Many sex marriage counsellors observe a failure to communicate among couples they counsel. Very often, they discover that each partner has desires he or she has never brought up. Whatever your fantasy, it’s probably not as strange as you think.
How to ask? One expert recommends mentally rehearsing your lines before the big moment to keep stuttering, blushing and mumbling to a minimum. But maybe you should just relax and do it.
Most couples are very open to the idea of trying to make their love lives better. If you just approach your spouse in a nice, loving way – say, “I love our sex life, but I’d like us to try some new ways to keep it interesting” – you’ll probably find your partner may well have some ideas of her/his own.
KEEP UP APPEARANCES
One of the real keys to a satisfying long-lasting sex life is taking pride in yourself, keeping yourself up. Take your physical self seriously; don’t let yourself get sloppy. You notice when your mate lets himself/herself go, puts on weight, pads around in a bathrobe all day. It works the other way, too.
FOCUS ON THE GAME, NOT THE SCORE
There’s something peculiarly male about the idea of focusing single-mindedly on one single goal – orgasm – and then driving straight for it, as though driving to a job. So, this bit of advice is for the men: Sex is a form of adult play, a willingness to take time to enjoy things, to go slow or fast, to try something new. Maybe we’d enjoy the game a lot more if we weren’t so focused on the score. And maybe it would last a lot longer.