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
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.