How to keep the sexual spark alive long term
(First Published in Sassy Hong Kong)
So blindfolds off, darlings. Let me kick this off with a sexy reality check.
The idea that “exciting sex is effortless”, and that you and a partner will be “eternally happy and horny” just because you love each other are myths. Like keeping yourself in shape, or getting that dream job, there aren’t any free lunches at the hot sex table. It takes time, effort and commitment to maintain the sexual spark over time.
As humans, we are hard-wired to crave surprise, novelty and adventure. The biochemicals that flood our brains in the early days of a relationship help us feel high and horny all the time, so it’s no wonder that we enjoy that unbridled passion and spontaneity in our sex life too. But as we get to know someone over time and on a much deeper level, it’s inevitable that the novelty fades and the sexual high wears off. Think about it… we wouldn’t get any sleep or see our friends otherwise!
SET YOUR INTENTION
What to do when you feel this happening? Communication. Talk to your partner, agree that sex is something you’d both like to keep as a priority, and commit to doing it together. Don’t complain or criticise. It shouldn’t feel like you’re both having to meet a goal or that it’s a burden. Instead, it should be fun and something you look forward to.
Don’t ignore the situation either and hope that your sex life will magically revive itself without any effort. The trick is to set this intention together early and don’t be complacent about refreshing it regularly. It’s a bit like adding fuel into a tank, you don’t want things to empty out completely for a long time, because it’s so much harder having to jumpstart your sex life from zero, once its become a habitual state of affairs.
CHANGE IT UP
Since you’ll have built up a quite a bit of trust and familiarity in your long-term relationship, its important to explore things outside of your usual sexual routine to recapture that element of variety and adventure. Yes, it’s that good old spice it up nugget… You could try role play, new toys, unusual positions or different venues. Brainstorm the possibilities with your partner so you’ll have a “sexy bucket list” of things that you both want to try.
Here’s one of my favourite ideas you could start with. Separately, each write out a fantasy that you’d like to explore involving your partner. Be as colourful and descriptive as possible, and really spend time elaborating on it – where is your sex cult located, what everyone is (not) wearing, exactly how much whipped cream is involved etc. Read it out to each other savouring every saucy, risque detail of your erotic masterpiece. And then, try to make it happen!
MAKE TIME FOR “SEXPLORATION”
For some couples, especially those with kids, it might be important to schedule certain times to do this. So let’s say Sexploration Sundays have been designated, and for an hour or two of your choosing, its sacred time dedicated purely to your erotic exploration as a couple. No distractions, no chores, no work talk. Just your sexy alter egos and wicked imaginations.
Holidays are a great time for “sexploration” too. When I was with a previous long-term partner, we used to affectionately regard ourselves as “sex tourists” because we were always finding something sexy to do together when we were on holiday. This also helps to expand what you can explore from a practical perspective, because Hong Kong can sometimes be limited in options.
If you’re part of a daring couple, why not take a short stint at one of Tokyo’s famous love hotels or have sneaky sex in the middle of Paris? Take a rope bondage lesson in London or attend a Tantra retreat in Bali? The world is your sexual oyster and you’ll end up having holiday memories to last you a lifetime, in addition to busting out of that sexual routine. So pack your naughtiest underwear – or none at all – and go travel!
CREATE SOME SEXY DISTANCE
Sexual desire is like a flame, and it needs space and air to keep burning. The comfort and stability of a long-term relationship can snuff out the sexual spark, especially if you’re one of those couples that like to do everything together joined at the hip. To sustain long-term desire towards your partner, Esther Perel, the author of the book “Mating in Captivity” and TED speaker says that reintroducing this element of “other-ness” or “separate-ness” is critical.
So dedicate your time to sexy solo activities that make you feel good on your own. This could be a regular night out with friends, solo masturbation nights or taking a sexual empowerment workshop at your local toy store. This erotic independence will keep you interesting and interested in each other. When you reunite with your partner, you’ll still have sexy stories to share and discuss.
TEASE AND RELEASE
Here’s a bedroom idea for couples that live together but still want to leverage the principle of sexy distance to fan the flames. For a whole week or maybe longer, you and your partner take turns seducing and turning each other on. This could be through sexting, making out, foreplay, watching ethical porn together etc.
But here’s the nub, you both must stop short at actual intercourse for the duration of that entire week. If you really want to take this a step further, you could even try out sleeping in separate beds for the week.
I know it sounds somewhat counter-intuitive, but that tantalising distance and mounting sexual frustration – oh so near, yet so far – can make you ravenous for each other. Of course, when the week is over and your collective willpower sources are almost depleted, then it’s clear what’s bound to happen when you do end up in bed together. Cue fireworks!