20 Days, 20 Ways to Get the Spark Back in Your Relationship
Wondering where the spark went? Rev up your relationship with these 20 tips!(20 Photos)
Welcome to the Challenge
Parenthood, fatigue, monotony, or a loss of the intimate connection to your partner can all contribute to a fizzled libido. To get your groove back, you’ll need to start with a balanced sex “diet” because like food, we need variety to keep us interested and healthy. Imagine a sex-life pyramid containing four groups: intimacy-driven sex, sex that engages our senses, sex for the sake of feeling good, and fantasy sex that flexes our mind muscles.
It is our philosophy that you should regularly be tapping into each of these groups for a healthy, balanced sex life. This idea will guide our Challenge - each day’s assignment will draw from a different group, with the goal of giving you healthier, hotter and more frequent sex.
Of course, giving your relationship a boost takes time, and it takes two. Tell your partner that you’ve signed yourself up for this Challenge, explain that you might have some new tricks up your sleeve this month, and certainly, ask your honey to sign up too! Also, set aside an hour each day to focus on your Challenge assignments.
Worried you can’t make time for sex? Follow these four easy steps:
1. Turn off the TV.
2. Close the computer.
3. Step away from the phone.
4. Turn and face your partner!
Ahhh, there you are.
Now close your eyes, take a deep breath, and just do it – have sex, make love, get it on – and do it tonight!
Change Your Sexual Scenery
Sometimes, all you want to do in the bedroom is sleep. Having sex elsewhere can do wonders for reawakening the libido. Tonight, have fun all over the house, forcing yourself out of your rut:
Get Kinky in the Kitchen: Hop onto the table or countertop so your partner can kneel for some downtown oral pleasure. Slide an ice cube over, or drizzle honey on your lover’s bare skin for a delicious twist.
Love in the Living Room: Women can lean over the arm of the sofa, rump pertly positioned. Men, dive in from behind.
Delish Dining Room Dish: Men, sit on a dining room chair and have your cowgirl ride, either facing you or leaning against the table while you plunge from behind.
Good Clean Fun: In the laundry room, set the washing machine to the spin cycle, sitting on top for extra, vibration-heavy stimulation in tandem with his thrusting.
Play Peek-a-Oooh: Try subtle exhibitionism on your porch where you can experience the thrill of possibly getting caught.Getty Images
Sniff Out Hotter SexNo matter what appeals to you, begin integrating aromas into your sex play to amp up the erotic vibes and enjoy the way they add a sexy new layer to your love nest.
According to Dr. Hirsch, “Research has shown that when women are in the presence of a preferred scent, they are more likely to project positive feelings on those around them, which can lead to increased attraction.”
You can evoke an erotic environment by using scents with the fragrant notes that are said to arouse intimate feelings and encourage lovemaking. Here are a few to get you started:Spice: cinnamon, vanilla, black pepper, ginger
Citrus: lime, orange
Herbal: frankincense, patchouli
Floral: lavender, rose
Look for scented massage candles, fragrant body oils, or a fun sensual product like K-Y Brand’s Kissable Sensations that enhances the pleasure of foreplay with decadent chocolate and refreshing strawberry sensations for the body; or prep your bedroom with sexy room and linen sprays.Getty Images
Boost Your Libido with Naughty Lingo
Reading erotica aloud can help you ease into pillow talk, getting you both in the mood for sex, and inspiring you to try new things.
Use your tone of voice, breath and lots of words to creatively get turned on. You’ll increase your intimate connection and gain access to all kinds of exciting, fantasy-driven sex experiences every time you make love.
1. Purchase an erotic book for your pleasure chest. Look for those written or edited by sexperts, like Rachel Kramer Bussel, Violet Blue, Susie Bright, and those authors on the Carina Press.
In the spirit of stimulating your imagination, and your sex life, our friends at Good in Bed are offering one free erotic short (or another Good in Bed guide of your choice) to all Challenge participants! Offer expires April 8, 2012. Download now using this code: H4YPX2UF.
2. Take turns reading passages aloud in bed – pausing to emphasize the passages that arouse you. Tell your lover what you’re inspired to try.
3. Read particularly dirty passages as if you’re telling your partner exactly what you’d like to do together.
Once the stories have you fully aroused, toss the books aside and ravish each other.Getty Images
Protect Your Sexual Comfort Zone
In the practice of sado-masochism, a "safe word", is an agreed-upon word uttered by the masochist during a sex session, when he or she can no longer tolerate any more pain administered by the sadist.
In this case, a safe word doesn’t need to be limited to pain tolerance. You can use it to indicate needing a temporary break during sex play, or it can signal your discomfort with the direction your partner might be taking.
To pick a safe word:
- Each of you can make a list of words you’d feel comfortable using.
- Avoid words like “stop,” “no” or “wait” as these might come up naturally during a moment of sexual teasing, which would be confusing.
- Try color or number words like “red” or “seven” that are easy to say but clearly don’t belong in your dialogue.
- Try your top choices the next time you are exploring new sex play, and see which feels most natural to you both.
Need some humour to introduce the topic to your honey? Check out this hysterical clip on safe words from the IFC comedy, Portlandia.Getty Images
Playing with Power Dynamics
You’ll need a few props to help subdue your partner, like leather cuffs, blindfolds, under-the-bed restraints or gags. You can also use things you already have, like leather belts, silk neck ties or scarves.
1. Demand your partner to strip. Blindfold and restrain him or her to the bed.
2. Tease your sex slave by caressing inner thighs, sucking on nipples and kissing the neck. Women, rub your breasts up and down his torso. Men, tease her body with the head of your penis.
3. Lick your partner from head to toe, making your way closer and closer to the genitals - without touching them.
4. Kneel on either side of your submissive’s head and request oral pleasuring, stopping before you reach orgasm, to focus on returning the gesture.
5. Use deep rubs, soft caresses, the tickle of a feather, a firm slap of your palm, getting closer to your partner’s sweet spot.
This slow, sexual torment will intensify until you can’t wait one more minute to crash into each other for explosive pleasure.Getty Images
Tips for Mind-Blowing Technique
Get up close and personal with your partner’s naughtiest parts:
1. DO kiss and lick his shaft.
2. DO slide your lips over your teeth to avoid discomfort.
3. DO address sensitive spots: lick the underside of his shaft and the head of his penis.
4. DO add intensity with a small bullet vibrator held against your cheek while sucking.
5. DO invest in an inexpensive vibrating tongue ring, such as the $10 LingO to add intensity.
6. DO NOT worry if you can’t deep-throat. Simulate the act by placing your hand around the base of his penis while you suck.
1. DO gently caress and kiss her inner thighs.
2. DO lick her in long, thick strokes, building intensity before plunging in.
3. DO kiss and nibble her most intimate parts.
4. DO suck on entire bits of her skin, being extra careful with the clitoris.
5. DO use your fingers to give internal stimulation while your tongue works externally.
6. DO NOT Bring her to the brink of orgasm and suddenly change tactics! If she’s begging you not to stop, then please don’t.Getty Images
Give Sex a Delicious Twist
Cooking together can be fun even without the promise of sex. The delicious smells and libido-boosting foods are a reward in themselves.
Today, consider food shopping and meal preparation your foreplay. Together, pick your recipes and hit up the market. At home, uncork some vino, whip up your dishes and unwind over the meal, using good food and good conversation to seduce each other right at the table.
A few key foods to consider:
1. Oysters are the first foods that come to mind when thinking about sex. Why? Because they contain zinc, which has been linked to male fertility, potency, and sex drive.
2. Asparagus contains folates which boost your ability to reach orgasm – yum!
3. A glass of red wine or champagne is helpful in lowering inhibitions…
4. Dark chocolate causes a release of phenylethylamine, leading to feelings of sexual excitement.
If you’d like to incorporate dessert into your after-dinner sex play, try Chocolate Body Paint, which comes with a paintbrush for easy application or K-Y Brand’s Yours & Mine Kissable Sensations, which comes with decadent chocolate and refreshing strawberry flavours for the body.Getty Images
Lock Eyes All Night Long
Get warmed up by engaging in several 30-second hugs throughout the day. Thirty seconds sounds short, but can feel uncomfortably long. Prolonged hugging is an important primer to this assignment because it will make you feel closer to each other, more turned on, and more likely to want sex.
After 3-5 hugs, take your connection even deeper:
1. Instead of jumping into sex, start by facing one another, looking deeply into each other’s eyes, and melt into a close embrace. Erase the space between your bodies and hold on for longer than is comfortable.
2. Now, with eyes still locked, begin to kiss, caress, nibble or suck – maintaining uninterrupted eye contact. Look for the reflection of your pleasure in your sweetheart’s eyes.
3. Your orgasm might be elusive under a watchful gaze, but when you do find it, keep those eyes locked. Remaining connected at the highest heights of pleasure will send your intimacy levels through the roof.
If you do this successfully, afterward, you’ll feel heightened intimacy and connection lingering in the air - hold onto that.Getty Images
Fundamentals for Increasing the Heat
This week, you’ll need to exert a little patience, and practice your sharing skills. If you’re a die-hard masturbator, or a little shy to initiate sex, this might seem daunting. You can do it!
For just one week:
· No lovin’ on yourself at all! You’ll be more willing to have sex if you’re not already satisfied. Don’t masturbate, and you might just find your partner more desirable.
· Take turns initiating! It is common for one partner to propose sexy time more often, sometimes putting pressure on both parties. Take turns this week to see how it changes the dynamic between you and your partner.
· Say “yes!” All too often we say “no” because we think we’re too tired, too busy or simply not in the mood. Trust us - when you let your body lead, your mind will follow.Getty Images
Add One More, Without the Crowd
With the help of smoke-and-mirrors trickery, the two of you can enjoy a “party of 3” without any risk.
To help make your experience more realistic, several toys on the market simulate human contact, such as penis sleeves, and tongue toys.
However, your most powerful tools will be your way with words, and your ability to multitask.
1. Place your blindfolded partner on the bed and turn off the lights. When you take away sight, it’s amazing what you’ll believe. Start a dialogue about the 3rd person you’re with, and what you’re both aching to do.
2. Ask your lover to chime in with his or her requests. Listen and deliver.
3. Keep the dialogue going, and get creative to sustain the fantasy.
4. Women: Have him go down on you while you use a penis sleeve on him.
5. Men: Suck her nipples while pleasuring her with a tongue toy.
Tomorrow night, switch places!Getty Images
Build the Heat All Day Long
If the two of you feel like ships passing in the night, sending a few sexy signals throughout the day could transform you into two rabbits in a den.
Here are a few ideas to get you thumping:
1. Getting dressed together in the morning, lock eyes and hold your gaze – throw in a slow and sexy wink before moving on with your routine.
2. Passing in the kitchen? A silent booty tap or crotch grab will peak interest.
3. If your partner’s busy with laundry or computer work, quietly approach from behind for a brief, sensuous neck massage. Leave a lingering kiss on the neck before walking away.
4. Surprise your partner when he or she is on the phone by sliding a hand into their pants for a quick (and quiet) teaser.
By now, you’ll both be hot and bothered. So, if you happen to meet in an inconspicuous doorway while the kids are finishing dinner, cover each other’s mouths, unzip, and pull aside your panties. The quick frenzy of such a spontaneous, primal ravishing will make that final release oh so satisfying.Getty Images
A New Way to Foreplay
Tonight, give an erotic massage as foreplay:
1. Kneel above your lover’s head, facing backward, and place your oiled palms on the upper back. Push your hands down to the buttocks, then up to the shoulders. Repeat.
2. Place your hands palm-to-palm, and slide them down the spine and around the shoulder blades. Repeat.
3. Make small circles with your thumbs down the length of the spine. Repeat.
4. Position yourself alongside the body and glide your hands up and down the legs, gently kneading them.
5. Turn your sweetie over to address the front of the body and you might even notice his penis or her nipples standing at attention.
6. Men: gently knead her breasts with one hand. Find her clitoris and massage circles around its head with the other. Take the pad of one finger and swipe it from the vulva over and past the clitoris, several times.
7. Women: stroke his shaft with the one hand while using the other to massage the head in a circular motion, like juicing an orange.
If you don’t succumb to sex mid-massage, end with a foot rub and simply curl up in each others’ arms and fall blissfully asleep.Getty Images
If You Build It, You Will Come
Having a room that’s all about relaxation and seduction is sure to have a positive impact on your sex life.
Start love-nesting in seven easy steps:
1. Remove the clutter. Keeping a neat nest will reduce stress and encourage intimacy.
2. Rearrange furniture, lamps and accessories to shake things up.
3. Compose a music playlist to add sexual ambiance anytime you need it.
4. Consider colour: pale blues and greens are ideal for relaxing, but pops of red, orange and pink will heat things up. Add a coat of paint, a few accent pillows, a bedspread or coloured light bulbs to boost the mood.
5. Treat yourselves to something new – a romantic light fixture, coloured bulbs, sensual artwork, or satin sheets.
6. Purchase a “pleasure chest” and fill it with your new playthings.
7. Install a lock on the bedroom door and use it.
Now, split a bottle of champagne with your love tunes playing in the background, slowly undress each other, open your toy box, and christen your new sexy room.Getty Images
Stay Positively in Love
Much of what makes great relationships thrive happens outside the bedroom. In fact, studies show that most successful marriages have a high ratio of positive to negative interactions. Experts believe you should have five positive interactions (like hugging, holding hands or having great conversations) for every one negative one (like nagging or bickering).
Don’t go through life tallying every interaction, but consider whether you’re in a positive or negative zone and use this tool to swing back in the right direction.
Catalog the connections you make with your partner outside the bedroom. Do you hold hands while walking? Lean into each other as you watch the news or your favourite show? Cook meals together or clean together afterward?
If not, try adding these positive moves in an effort to outweigh the negative. They might not be explicitly sexual, but each little thing adds up, helping to fuel lasting sexual desire.Getty Images
Become a Centerfold Tonight
More than mere masturbation fodder, erotic photography is a celebration of the naked form and a source of fantasy fulfillment.
Tonight, it’s time to stage a private erotic photo shoot:
1. Pick a location and up the erotic ambiance using pillows, candles, and music.
2. Don your favorite lingerie or nightie set, or start in the buff, and settle into a few comfortable positions.
3. Then, let your partner direct you into poses that appeal to him or her. As you get more comfortable, slowly shed layers, being mindful of how the air and light feel upon your skin. Concentrate on the way it feels on your nipples… between your legs…
4. Trade places.
5. Once you’re both done, look through the pictures and vocalize just how sexy you think your partner looks. This direct dialogue about what turns you on can be an incredibly hot prelude to ravishing, fantasy fulfilling sex.
Decide whether to keep or delete your photos. Either way, consider whether this exercise made you feel more comfortable in your own skin – because (say it with us) that’s the sexiest thing of all.Getty Images
Get Off Solo for the Sake of It
At some point today, embark on a solo masturbation mission. Why? Because a little bit of self-pleasuring can act as a powerful stress reliever, and is also key in helping you get to know your body.
Once you know exactly what makes you feel good, you can share the details with your lover. The more open you are with your partner about your likes and dislikes, the more your sex together will improve
- Lock the bedroom door and relax.
- Today, when you masturbate, think about the details you can share with your partner – pressure, speed and location of touch are great places to start.
- You can also share thoughts that turn you on, or details you fantasize about when masturbating.Getty Images
Stock Your Pleasure Chest
- Try c-rings, vibrators, cuffs, erotica, massage candles or oil, blindfolds, penis sleeves, or couples’ toys like the WeVibe.
- Invest in a high-quality personal lubricant. We recommend K-Y® Brand Yours & Mine.
Too shy to shop in person? Check out these fabulous online retailers that offer a discreet shopping solution:
Women: Make your choices based on how the undergarments make you feel, and bring a few home to model. Think about having fun and changing your “sex type” – maybe you’re normally “the girl next door” and it’s time to get seriously naughty. Or tell your guy what you find sexy on (and off) him - ahem, David Beckham Bodywear…
Men: Select a wide variety of pieces that appeal to you, and present them to your partner at home.
Tonight, make your new purchases worth their wear. Remember, you can’t return sex toys, but keep clothing tags and receipts intact so you can return what doesn’t float both of your boats.Getty Images
Get Hotter With One Conversation
Talking about sex isn’t always easy – I know. My professional journey grew out of my own personal roadblocks and talking about them was a huge step.
Relationships can manifest dysfunctional patterns in the same way physical dysfunction can inhibit happy endings. The best medicine to overcoming an issue is talking about it – because not talking about it gets you nowhere.
Tell your partner what you need from him or her, what you’re willing to give, and what you hope to learn from this Challenge. Or, begin to open up about intimacy issues you’d like to resolve.
Begin the conversation by taking turns telling your partner:
- 3 of your favorite things about the sex you have together.
- 2 reasons why you signed up for this Challenge.
- 1 sexual fantasy you’re curious to try.Getty Images
Strangers in the Night
Can you remember the first time you ever locked eyes; the electric, blissful first days in love? According to a recent study at the University of British Columbia, all you need to get back there is your hot selves, plus a few key props and a vivid imagination.
Researchers there found that longtime couples were best able to rekindle romance by pretending they were strangers on a first date.
Here’s one way to start all over again:
1. Dress up and try a new look.
2. Separately make way to your meeting spot (maybe where you first met), and let your anonymity embolden you.
3. Make eyes at your partner from across the room. Smile, wink, flirt.
4. Approach your partner and offer to buy a drink.
5. Exchange fake names, and begin flirtatious, clever banter. Punctuate your conversation with subtle touches – brush bodies together, toss hair, touch shoulders.
6. Imagine that unless you make a move, this enchanting specimen will disappear.
7. Invite your new heartthrob home, and make love like the first time.
Conclusion: Perhaps you didn’t do every suggested assignment in this Challenge - that’s okay. However, we do hope that these 20 erotic assignments have at least brought you closer to your lover, reinvigorated your sexual self-esteem, reminded you of how much fun sex can be, and perhaps helped you fall in love all over again.
For continued inspiration and information, check out our Love & Sex content daily for new ideas on how to reconnect.Getty Images