Let’s face it: 2020 was a particularly unsexy year. It wasn’t exactly a wine-and-dine kind of year, and what we thought would be a couple of weeks of staying home stretched on and on until we found ourselves completely reorganizing our existence.
Not exactly a turn-on. So if you felt a dip in your libido or your relationship is suffering a lack of intimacy, remember this. It’s totally okay!
Long-term relationships run the risk of turning stale in the bedroom. Hey, it happens. Life isn’t always an exhilarating adventure; sometimes you need to go to the grocery store or clean poop off the walls.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to stay stale. Tons of couples experience difficulties, and tons of them take care of these difficulties with really good results. All it takes is a little willingness and an open mind.
Love In A Time Of Corona
And then there’s the other passion-killer: stress. Stress is another natural part of life, but it makes relaxing so hard. Say, for example--just off the top of my head--stress from a worldwide pandemic.
This kind of stress is not business as usual. The world has changed and we haven’t been able to go out and explore the world with our partner. No getaways, no date nights, no dancing, no museums. And for so many of us, no space.
Too Much Of A Good Thing
Too much time together time can make being together boring at best, and teeth-grindingly irritating at worst. It makes us snappy. It makes us needy. And sometimes it makes us unable to actually see each other, an ironic but very real side effect.
So if your relationship is feeling lackluster, if the spark has un-sparked, it’s time to look at the conditions that caused the lull. And then, with your partner, strategize. You can spice up your relationship and reignite that old spark--and maybe even a new one. But first things first.
You Gotta Want It
Your spark isn’t going to return without some effort from everyone involved. Two things need to happen here. First, you need to acknowledge what has happened and that it happens to everyone. Out loud.
It may help to talk to trusted friends whose relationships are also facing challenges. Or go online to read the stories of other people struggling with the same thing.
This will give you some comfort that 1) this is a shared experience and 2) this doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed.
Second, you need to commit to working on it. Making this commitment is the first step in showing each other that you desire and care for them.
And last, for bonus points, be open to the possibility that what you like may change. Or it may already have changed and you just haven’t noticed. As you notice new things, communicate your desires to your partner and be ready to discover new things about them.
Sex education doesn’t traditionally teach us how to identify what we like or how to talk about it. If you’re having trouble with this, download the Emjoy app and listen to Discover What You Like and Ask For What You Want to learn how to do it.
How To Spice Things Up In Your Relationship...Even During A Pandemic
Now that you’ve taken the first step towards passion, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Think about the sex that you are having (or the last time you were having sex). Are you enjoying it? If you are, are you telling your partner what you like about it?
And if you aren’t, maybe it’s time to try some new things. Don’t worry. You don’t have to come up with these new things. They’re already out there, you just haven’t heard of them yet.
Listen to some erotica.
Ah, the keeper of new things. Listening to erotic stories will give you ideas of new scenarios, toys, perspectives, and ways to play. And it will probably turn you on.
Oooh, did I just hear a spark?
Here are two places to start: head over to your Emjoy app and listen to Game Night, and then It’s A Match.
Get a new toy.
If you haven’t ever purchased a toy, do it! Try a vibrator. They’re so fun to play with and they’re essential if you’re one of the many women who need clitoral stimulation to orgasm. It can be fun to tease each other with it throughout the day or play with it in the bedroom.
And if you’ve already got a vibrator, time to do some research. There are so many different ones out there but there are also a ton of other toys that can be really fun, like ropes or anal plugs.
Make sure you invest in your toys. Only the highest quality of ingredients for your pleasure parts.
Bring back flirting.
Flirting is hawt. And a lot of successful long-term couples still do it. It’s playful, it’s fun, it’s silly, and it’s light-hearted. These are all things we need to embrace when we’re under stress.
Think back to the beginning of your relationship, before you became physical at all. How much of an element was flirting? Was it not the container you two used to hold your sexual energy and share it with each other?
You can still flirt to build sexual tension. Be open-minded about new ways to flirt. You can be flirty in your texts, or you can dabble in some sexting.
Sexting is another great form of foreplay. But it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If you’re one of the truly blessed, awkward sext-ers, try this: think back to a time you guys had together that you really enjoyed. Remind your partner of it in a text. Tell them what you liked about it. Be vague and flirtatious at first, but don't be afraid to let it escalate if you’re enjoying the conversation.
This exercise also gives you an opportunity to practice building your communication skills, as you tell your partner what you liked about the sex that you’ve had in the past.
Listen, scheduling sex is not unsexy. You know what’s unsexy? Not having sex. It’s 2021 and it’s time to leave that notion in the past, with all the other crap. It is literally sexy to plan sex with your partner.
Here’s why: you’re making time for pleasure. You’re making time for intimacy. You and your partner are agreeing to prioritize one another. Let spontaneity enter the room during your agreed upon appointment. And start thinking of it as a very, very sexy appointment.
Scheduling sex also gives you both something exciting to look forward to. You can use the time leading up to it to flirt, sext, or play.
Take penetration off the table.
If there’s usually a penis involved, take penetration off the table. Schedule a few (very, very) sexy appointments where you and your partner agree that penetration isn’t allowed. This will force you to explore new ways of pleasuring each other. And there is a lot more to sex than penetration.
Embrace non-physical forms of intimacy.
A lack of physical intimacy can be really stressful. If your libido is MIA, sex can feel like a chore. And that can make your partner feel like the laundry. The longer this dynamic goes on, the more stressful things can get. And we already went over what stress does to desire.
Sometimes it helps to connect in ways that are more emotionally intimate. Take the pressure off by agreeing to connect in ways that aren’t so much physical. Go for a walk or a bike ride, play a game, give each other massages, dance to a song you love, take a bath or a shower, or read a book together. Agree to kiss and cuddle without the goal of sex.
Allow some wiggle room during hard times. And for some more ideas on how to spice things up in the bedroom and for some guidance on sexting and partnered sex, listen to Partner Play in the Emjoy app.