RECHARGE YOUR SEX DRIVE

The key to bringing the heat back into your bed­room? Spon­tane­ity. It’s time to kick out your old rou­tines and let the good times roll again

Men's Health (Malaysia) - - Cover Stories -

Six ways to bring new life into your bed­room (and wher­ever your pas­sions take you).

IF YOU’RE FEEL­ING TIRED

af­ter a long year, we get it. Ex­haus­tion creeps into each area of our lives be­fore we no­tice it – and though your sex life started out hot enough to melt lead, chances are the fire isn’t what it used to be. Sex­ual spon­tane­ity in men gets shelved not from a lack of in­ter­est but from fa­tigue, says MH res­i­dent sex and re­la­tion­ships ad­vi­sor Dr. Elna Ru­dolph. “If you are hu­man, you will even­tu­ally get com­fort­able with your sex life. Do­ing the same thing over and over again takes less men­tal en­ergy than be­ing cre­ative and com­ing up with some­thing new. If you are in a long-term re­la­tion­ship, you might have learnt to switch off your cre­ative en­ergy,” Dr. Ru­dolph says. And that makes you lazy.

It may also be that your spon­tane­ity switch has been put into hi­ber­na­tion be­cause it’s not be­ing re­cip­ro­cated or re­ceived with en­thu­si­asm. “If your part­ner has of­ten said no to some­thing spon­ta­neous, they will stop ask­ing for it and stick to what works. If you re­ceived neg­a­tive feed­back from a part­ner in the past, it could have af­fected your self-es­teem and body image, which could cause sex­ual in­hi­bi­tion and can make it dif­fi­cult to take the ini­tia­tive,” she says. The way you grew up might also be in­flu­enc­ing your be­hav­iour; you might be­lieve that ro­man­tic men are soft­ies, for in­stance.

Luck­ily, the sack-dapt­able new you is only a mind shift away. The op­por­tu­ni­ties may have been pre­sent­ing them­selves all along, but you have been deaf to the sig­nals ( both ob­vi­ous and not-so-ob­vi­ous) while stick­ing to your rou­tine. Don’t like sur­prises? No one is sug­gest­ing that your part­ner pops into your of­fice wear­ing a coat and noth­ing else for a “meet­ing”, or that she springs a three­some on you out of the blue. But there are con­sid­er­able ben­e­fits to open­ing your mind to new ex­pe­ri­ences.

It turns out be­ing play­ful has the same ben­e­fits for adults as play­ing has for kids – it’s an im­por­tant source of both re­lax­ation (it trig­gers the re­lease of en­dor­phins, the body’s nat­u­ral feel-good chem­i­cals) and gives you stim­u­la­tion that keeps your brain hotwired. It can also im­prove re­la­tion­ships and your con­nec­tion to oth­ers. Shar­ing laugh­ter and fun can foster em­pa­thy, com­pas­sion, trust and in­ti­macy. Plus, to mix a metaphor and a quote, you can (and should) teach an old dog new tricks to keep you feel­ing young and en­er­getic. In the words of Ge­orge Bernard Shaw: “We don’t stop play­ing be­cause we grow old; we grow old be­cause we stop play­ing.”

More and more ex­cite­ment is not al­ways at­tain­able, but mak­ing things spe­cial is. “A lot of sex that is seem­ingly spon­ta­neous, ac­tu­ally goes a long with some plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion. That makes the other per­son feel spe­cial: the fact that you have ap­plied your mind a bit and thought of some­thing new and ex­cit­ing for you as a cou­ple. That goes a long a way in im­prov­ing the qual­ity of the sex you are hav­ing and also the qual­ity of the re­la­tion­ship,” Dr. Ru­dolph says.

So, how do you turn over a new leaf to­day and bring a play­ful and spon­ta­neous edge to your love life? Here are six ways to get go­ing. It’s okay to “break the rules” some­times. But in this case, mak­ing rules to play by can be a win­ning strat­egy. Shower time is one of your day’s most reg­u­lar rou­tines, so what bet­ter op­por­tu­nity to shake things up? In­vite your part­ner for a steamy ses­sion in the bath­room, but lay down some new bound­aries. No touch­ing with hands, only a soapy sponge, one of you has to be blind­folded, no talk­ing… you get the idea.

Ap­ply­ing new “rules” to your sex life can open up new di­men­sions in al­most any sit­u­a­tion. Write down 10 of them with your part­ner and get both of you to sign them off. For ex­am­ple, if you tend to have morn­ing sex, agree to only in­dulge each other at night. Once the idea gets hold in your brain, you’ll both be think­ing about it dur­ing your 9 to 5 – noth­ing is sex­ier than an­tic­i­pa­tion.

Re­mem­ber the days when a one-time show was not part of your sex life – you were so into each other you could go a few more rounds? Tell her it was great, but now you want to make it all about her.

“These ideas can be pro­duc­tive and arous­ing,” says Dr El­mari Mulder Craig, Pres­i­dent of The South­ern African Sex­ual Health As­so­ci­a­tion. “It means you are cre­at­ing sex­ual ten­sion which height­ens de­sire and arousal,” she says.

“Make her feel wanted, and she’ll be more aroused. It’s the gift that keeps on giv­ing.”

2/ Look for In­spi­ra­tion

Be­ing cre­ative can be chal­leng­ing when you’re fresh out of ideas – a killer for spon­tane­ity. If you want to start things off slow, look to your past for things that worked. En­tice your part­ner with a list of your big­gest turnons by send­ing her a What­sApp list­ing them, and chal­leng­ing her to work her way through your fan­tasies – and it goes with­out say­ing that you ask the same of her. Quid pro quo, dude.

Any­thing new can feel a lit­tle un­com­fort­able or em­bar­rass­ing, so try dos­ing your new ap­proach to sex with a sense of hu­mour. It’s un­likely to be the edited, flaw­less ex­pe­ri­ence you’ve seen in a movie, and it may not work out the first few times you try. We’re all dif­fer­ent, and lim­it­ing your­self to fan­tasies you’ve seen on­line or on the screen may not work for you and your part­ner.

“In­spi­ra­tion builds creativ­ity. It all starts with the thought or fan­tasy about sex. When you feel emo­tion­ally safe with your part­ner, you can al­low your­self to be vul­ner­a­ble with them, which will en­hance spon­tane­ity. So work on emo­tional in­ti­macy as well,” Dr. Craig rec­om­mends.

3/ Change Up Your En­vi­ron­ment

It’s Fri­day. You’ve got the usual planned for the week­end: bad­minton & brunch with your bud­dies on Satur­day, a trail run, and more than likely your reg­u­lar Sun­day morn­ing love-in, be­fore you read the pa­pers. Same same. Sur­prise her with a week­end away – all that needs to be on your check­list is a room with a view and some Egyp­tian cot­ton on the bed.

Re­search from the Durex Global Sex Sur­vey also shows that tech­nol­ogy gets in the way of sex, even on hol­i­day – as many as 40% of peo­ple are less likely to in­sti­gate sex if their part­ner is on their phone in bed. Put some bound­aries in place. Agree your phones need to be locked in the ho­tel safe af­ter dark. In­stead of mak­ing so­cial posts, you want to be mak­ing love. Re­search from Trip­cen­tral seems to back up the ben­e­fits: 58% of women aged 18-34 said they have more sex while on va­ca­tion than at home! The happy num­bers: 46% of women 45-60 also agreed that they have more sex on va­ca­tion than when they’re at home.

4/ Go the Ex­tra Mile

Fore­play (tick), play (tick)… How about some af­ter play? With the ex­tra time on your, er, hands, why not ex­tend the fun af­ter you’re both done? Be­cause you’re al­ready aroused, you may find that cer­tain moves feel super-in­tense. With the rush to the fin­ish line over, you can take some time to try new things – be­cause you’re al­ready aroused, you may both be less in­hib­ited.

A change is as good as a hol­i­day, right? So switch­ing things up in your bed­room can also pay off. For ex­am­ple, close the cur­tains but leave the win­dows open on a stormy night so that that stormy breeze blows in, up­ping the in­ten­sity and ex­pe­ri­ence.

5/ Don’t Edit Your Thoughts

Have you ever been sit­ting hav­ing lunch and a thought pops into your head: “I wish she’d drag me into the bath­room right now”? Some­times the thoughts can be a lit­tle more X-rated than you’re com­fort­able with: “in­tru­sive” sex­ual thoughts are per­fectly nor­mal, but can be pretty un­com­fort­able for those of us who were raised with neg­a­tive mes­sages about sex­ual de­sire.

Give your­self per­mis­sion to keep on think­ing the thought with­out la­belling it. Recog­nis­ing that you have sex­ual thoughts – no, it doesn’t make you a de­viant – is a great start in mov­ing to­wards greater sex­ual spon­tane­ity in a re­la­tion­ship.

Once you be­come com­fort­able with own­ing your thoughts, start shar­ing. Some sim­ple sug­ges­tions: “You have very sexy lips”; or “I love the way you move”.

Ex­press­ing your en­joy­ment of her is a first cru­cial step in sex­ual spon­tane­ity, Dr. Craig says. “Ex­pand­ing your sex­ual arousal tem­plate and know­ing your body are also im­por­tant steps,” she says.

6/ Be More Spon­ta­neous – with Your­self

Cou­pled sex takes some beat­ing, but there’s noth­ing wrong with start­ing with some self love if you’re try­ing to tap into a side of you that takes more sex­ual ini­tia­tives. Giv­ing your­self per­mis­sion to give in to your own de­sire next time you’re feel­ing turned on is a good way to prac­tise spon­tane­ity, and may help you take sim­i­lar steps with your part­ner.

In fact, if you are re­ly­ing fully on her for your sex­ual sat­is­fac­tion, it can cause frus­tra­tion and even re­sent­ment on both sides, Dr. Ru­dolph warns. “You are at the mercy of her wants and needs, and that is not ex­actly a pow­er­ful po­si­tion to be in. Sort it out your­self as of­ten as you like, and share some­thing ex­cit­ing and in­ti­mate with her if and when she is ready.”

But enough about you. What about your part­ner? “One of the ben­e­fits to be­ing more spon­ta­neous is your part­ner feels wanted, and there­fore aroused. You may in­spire her part­ner to be more spon­ta­neous as well,” Dr. Craig says. Con­sider it the gift that keeps on giv­ing.

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