illustration of couple making love in bathtub
Alicia Rihko
Alicia Rihko
Relationships

5 Simple Ways To Revive Your Dying Sex Life

We all get into a rut now and then.

You’ve been with your partner for 15, 20, 30 years. Congratulations! While more than 40 percent of American couples divorce, you and your spouse are beating the odds. And if you’re having sex at least once a week, you’re doing just as well as the majority of other couples. A 2017 study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that the average adult enjoys sex 54 times a year. (Not that it’s a competition.) And when it comes to intimacy, isn’t quality more important than quantity? After so many years with the same person, the spark almost always starts to fizzle amid outside factors like stress, age-related hormonal changes and exhaustion. If sex has become as monotonous as your nightly skin-care routine, it may be time to explore a few tactics aimed at adding a little spice to your love life.

Make eye contact
You may not be aware, but it’s possible that you aren’t looking at your partner during sex. After all, you’ve been together for so many years, you probably know every inch of each other’s bodies blindfolded. (Something else you might want to try!) If your regular sex routine doesn’t include direct eye contact, initiating that ocular connection might surprise and delight your partner in a wonderful way. Making eye contact brings a whole new level of intimacy to your lovemaking. Don’t announce it, just do it. Your partner might not even realize what’s changed, but the enhanced sense of connection will be appreciated and enjoyed.

Put it in writing
If it has been a very long time since you were officially courting, you and your spouse might both be starved for some flirting. Of course, it’s hard to be authentic with your flirt when you both know it’s a sure thing. But if you’ve been married that long, you probably didn’t have text messaging when you were first dating, and you may never have experienced the power of sexting. Surprise your spouse with a sexy message early in the day and wait for a response. It might feel silly at first if this isn’t something you’ve done before, so start slow and ramp it up as the day goes on. Something as harmless as “Hey, let’s make some time for each other tonight,” can kick off a sexy exchange that will culminate in some serious culmination. Better yet: emoji sexting. You'll never look at a farmers market shopping list in the same way again.

Enhance your environment
There’s plenty of value in a change of location when it comes to breathing new life into your sexual relationship. But there’s also something to be said for adding a little ambiance to your bedroom. Candles, preferably scented, can create an atmosphere of mystique that feels new and exciting. Adding music or creating a new playlist can also make your room feel like it was made for coupling. Just creating that collection of sexy songs will get you jazzed up for your next encounter, and your partner will appreciate that you prepared. Have a birthday, anniversary or other gift-giving occasion coming up? That’s a great opportunity to invest in some new bedding. What you do in between the sheets will feel new if the sheets themselves haven’t been on your bed since the early 2000s.

Try a little self-reflection
In this age of internet, people are watching more pornography than ever. The jury is out over whether or not watching other couples doing the deed can benefit or hurt your relationship. Some experts say it’s a great way to get turned on, while others say that married people who watch pornography are more likely to get divorced. So in lieu of watching others, why not try watching yourself? Using a mirror to watch yourself and your partner doing the deed can be incredibly exciting and will put a whole new spin on your sex routine. Sure, your body may not be what it used to be, but neither is your spouse’s.

Take a trip down memory lane
While it may seem that sex is more exciting early in a relationship when things are new and you’re still discovering each other, you and your long-time spouse have something wonderful to celebrate and use to your advantage in the bedroom: You’ve built a life together and you share a common history. Taking time to look at old photos, movies, or even your wedding album can be a romantic way to kick-start an exciting evening. Just be careful not to fall into the trap of watching meaningful moments in your children’s lives. Those milestones are wonderful to reflect on, but images of your 5-year-old’s piano recital or your toddler sitting on the potty are sure to kill the mood. Surprise your spouse with a photo album from your early years together or digitalize some of those physical photos (since we’re talking about relationships that are older than the iPhone). Bring out the new collection of images just before bed and see where it takes you.

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illustration of couple making love in bathtub
Alicia Rihko