10 Mistakes Couples Make That Destroy Their Sex Lives
When we fail to prioritize intimacy the way we do other aspects of our lives, we weaken our connection to our partner, and our relationships suffer. But each of these mistakes is reversible, so check out our expert advice! (11 Photos)
Avoiding Sex Talk
To have a great sex life, you have to talk about it. And though having sex seems to be easier than talking about it, the awkward conversations are essential to a hot sex life. This is because there are no universal truths about sex, the body and attraction. Each person is different and no expert can tell you what works for you or your partner. The only way to know is to talk openly about your desires and concerns.
It you’re not loving your sex life and suffering in silence, it’s time to speak up. Follow these three steps to ease into this tough conversation:
1. Compliment. Talk about what you do like.
2. Ask. Welcome your partner’s input, suggestions and concerns.
3. Share. Express your concerns being mindful of your words, facial expressions and body language to engage your partner.
And remember that you don’t have to get through all three steps in one sitting!
Sex is only as important as you make it. Not everyone values sex to the same degree and you certainly don’t have to compare your sex life to anyone else’s. These comparisons are useless, as people are not averages. However, if you like sex and want to have a satisfying sex life, you have to prioritize it the way you do with other important aspects of your life.
Just as you set time aside for your workouts, friends, work and family, you also need to make time for sex. This doesn’t mean you have to have sex each and every time you slot it into your schedule, but hopefully you’ll at least find some time to feel sexy, be intimate and continue to develop a connection with your partner.
Scheduling sex may contradict spontaneity, but it gets the job done!
Putting too Much Pressure on Themselves
Sex is supposed to be fun! But if there is one thing that takes all the fun out of sex, it’s pressure. Whether it’s the pressure to orgasm, the pressure to last longer or the pressure to have sex 3 times per week, focusing on quantity and benchmarks can lead to disconnection and a lack of intimacy.
“Goal-oriented sex is a sexual satisfaction killer. There is much wisdom in enjoying the journey, not just the destination,” explains Dr. Guy.
Instead of counting minutes, days or orgasms, get back to basics by taking turns pleasuring one another in a new way. If you’re used to focusing on your partner’s reactions, refocus on your own pleasure. Being a giver is great, but learning to be a taker in bed is just as important to minimize performance pressure. Try lying down and relaxing for 10-15 minutes while your partner touches, kisses and caresses your body. Try to enjoy your own bodily sensations and don’t worry about responding or reciprocating until your turn is done.
Letting Themselves Go
Neglecting your appearance altogether sends a strong message to your partner about how you feel and how you want to be perceived.
When people complain that their partners have let themselves go, they are not usually talking about a bit of weight gain or the typical bodily changes that come with age. The natural changes that develop with time and age do not constitute letting yourself go. In fact, they should be celebrated and we all need to find a way to enjoy our evolving bodies.
But when you stop putting any effort into the way you look, it can take a serious toll on your sex life, health and body image. It’s not usually an issue of how you look, but how much effort you put into your health and hygiene. Sex therapist, Dr. Guy Grenier explains:
“Couples will notice that their partner will try to look their best when going to work or when having friends over, but seldom go to the same lengths when it is just the two of them. Putting an effort into your appearance and presentation is another ‘sexual secret’ that goes a long way to keeping things exciting in longterm relationships.”iStockphotos
Being Too Romantic
It is possible to have too much romance! Most people require a balance of romantic and raw animalistic excitement to experience sexual attraction - this is because we’re turned on by both comfort and the unknown. As time goes by, we become more comfortable with our partners and even fall more deeply in love! And while love is grand, it doesn’t always make for hot sex.
To find a balance between romance and a little raunch, try looking at your lover just for their body the next time they walk into a room. Forget everything you know, love and respect about them and just focus on the animal attraction you experience while focusing on their hottest asset. And though you might be intimidated, try to tell them what you’re thinking using the language of raw attraction. Go beyond telling them that they look good and specify what body part you love and what you want to do to it.iStockphotos
Telling White Lies
You’re probably sick of experts telling you to “be honest”, but rest assured that we are far from casting stones. Most of us don’t intend to lie about sex -- we just have difficulty being honest with ourselves about this highly sensitive and often confusing topic.
Unfortunately, untrue excuses like “I have a headache!” can do more harm than good and send your sex life down a slippery slope of dishonesty instead of addressing the real issues at hand. The next time you feel inclined to tell a little white lie, think about what you’re really feeling and try to express your concerns instead of covering them up.iStockphotos
Women aren’t the only ones who fake orgasms! Over 25 percent of men admit to faking it too. And though a little encouragement can go a long way, you’re probably leading your partner down the wrong path by feigning pleasure. Think about it: do you really want more of what’s already not working?
People fake orgasms for a wide range of reasons and if you’re on of them, you’re not alone. You’re probably well-intentioned and it may even seem easier to fake it than to talk about what you’re really feeling. But after a while, faking can become a bad habit that leads to distrust, anger and resentment.
To bust out of your faking rut, you’ll need to figure out exactly what you do like (some DIY sessions might help) and learn to focus on your own pleasure as opposed to your partner’s.Masterfile
Making the Bedroom Into A Home Theatre
The bedroom should be a sacred and erotic space -- for sleep, snuggling and sex. If possible, try not to use it as a makeshift office or playroom and keep that television anywhere but here. Research shows that couples who have a television in their bedroom have sex half as often as those who don’t.
If you’ve already mounted a 50-inch screen on the wall, set limits on how often you turn it on. You may also want to consider the type of programming you tune into -- some shows are more likely to arouse passion than others!Masterfile
Letting Parentood Replace Your Sex Life
While having children can bring couples closer together, it can also send your sex life into a downward spiral. With hectic schedules, financial burdens and increased responsibilities, sex lives often take a back seat to practical responsibilities. Accompanied by the shifts in sexual attitudes that sometimes accompany parenthood, it’s easy to replace your sexual self with your parenting self.
But these two roles need not be mutually exclusive and experts say there is no reason to hide your affection for one another from your children.
Sex and parenting educator, Lanae St. John, says it’s healthy to be playfully affectionate in front of your kids. “Do so early and often so as to normalize the behavior. Talk to them about it too! They will get used to seeing you together. It’s healthy for them to associate love and sexual feelings modeled in a healthy adult relationship.” St. John adds, “Don’t forget how the kids got into this world in the first place!”Maste
Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again - Even if it Works!
Monotony can be a sex life killer. You may already know what floats your partner’s boat, but if you keep doing the same thing over and over again, the novelty will eventually wear off.
If you’ve already developed a pattern in bed, it can be difficult to change things up. Try making these incremental shifts to take the monotony out of monogamy:
1. Have sex at a different time of day.
2. Have sex in a different area of your home (even if it’s in your bedroom away from the bed).
3. Wear a blindfold while you touch your partner’s body, so that you’re forced to explore new hot zones.
4. Ask your partner to share a sex dream or fantasy with you to spark a new conversation about your turn-ons and hidden desires.
5. Read erotic stories together to laugh, get turned on and learn more about the endless possibilities of sexual desire.
Jessica O'Reilly is a sought-after sexologist with a PhD in human sexuality. She maintains a private practice in Toronto and travels the world to teach workshops that promote healthy and deliciously pleasurable sex. From regular appearances on Cosmopolitan TV to hosting retreats in the sunny Caribbean, she relishes in every moment!
Check out her work at jessicaoreilly.com