When you’ve been in a relationship for years, it’s all too easy to grow comfortable and slip into a sexual rut. The problem with comfortable is it oftentimes leads to boring ― and no couple should settle for boring sex.
To help you bring excitement back to your sex life, we asked sex experts to share their best tips for couples in long-term relationships. See what they had to say below.
1. Take the lead.
Be honest with yourself: Who tends to initiate sex more often, you or your partner? If you’re the less sexually assertive partner, flip the script and take the lead on getting things started tonight, advised Jenny Block, a sex expert and the author of The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex.
“Change things up: Don’t allow yourself to dance the familiar and instead choose the steps you have yet to take for a spin,” she said. “Do you always do things in a certain order, in a certain way? Well, forget all of that. Let go, let loose and let yourselves be free, new and unfettered again.”
2. Make a sex date once a week.
You never thought you and your partner would become one of those couples that has to schedule in sex. But the reality is, hot, spontaneous sex doesn’t always happen on the regular for long-term couples, said Tammy Nelson, a sex and relationship therapist and the author of The New Monogamy. If you’re more inclined to get busy Saturday afternoon, when you’re well-rested and relaxed, more power to you for acknowledging it.
“With a sex date on the calendar, you are more likely to plan out what you can do to make it fun, different and exciting,” she said. “You can be as spontaneous and impulsive as you want ― but sometimes you have to plan it.”
3. Talk about what turns you on now.
At this point, you know how to turn your partner on ― or at least you think you do. Chances are, the sex script you’ve been using to get your partner off for years needs some updating, said Celeste Hirschman, a sex therapist and the co-author of Making Love Real: The Intelligent Couple’s Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion.
“The best way to put an end to boring sex is to have a really honest, detailed conversation about what turns you on with instructions, examples and a PowerPoint ― just kidding about the PowerPoint,” she joked.
Approach the conversation without judgement and be very explicit about what you want. Show don’t tell, Hirschman said.
“Don’t just say, ‘I need you to be more passionate,’ show your S.O. exactly what being more passionate would look like by doing it to them,” she explained.
As Hirschman notes, this approach means you’ll have to get over the idea that your partner should “just know” what you want.
“That’s a horrible myth that gets in the way of steamy, hot sex,” she said.
4. Take intercourse off the menu for a while.
Sex is about more than just intercourse, said Chris Rose, a sex educator at PleasureMechanics.com. To revive your sex life, take a one- or two-month break from intercourse.
“In the interim, commit to getting naked and touching one another more frequently. Explore full body contact, your hands and mouths, erotic talk and all the other ways you can pleasure one another,” she said. “You may just discover a new favorite path to arousal.”
5. Have vacation sex ― or staycation sex.
There’s nothing better than a vacation ― except maybe vacation sex. If you can’t financially swing a weekend getaway, turn your bedroom into a little escape by sprucing it up a bit, Block said.
“Create something new that will inspire you to play just like when your surroundings are fresh and foreign,” she said. “Clear the clutter. Splurge on new sheets. Pick up some fresh flowers. Drown out the outside world with music that puts you both in the mood. Switch out your bulbs to create a more inviting lighting design ― whatever it takes.”
6. Go ahead: Press send on that sexy mid-day text.
Sex is all about the buildup. Sending a sexually charged text to your partner will get the message across that you’re in the mood and create what Nelson likes to call “erotic anticipation.” (Let no eggplant or peach emoji go unused!)
“The more provocative the better ― but try not to be too blatantly sexual,” she said. “Texting is like teasing: you can use it to connect and give just a taste of what is to come.”
7. Discuss your sexual highlight reel.
When you think back on your sexual encounters as a couple, what really got you going? Mull that over, then share your thoughts with your S.O., sparing no detail, Rose said.
“Talk about your best sexual encounters together and explore the details. Where were you? What happened? What were you both feeling?” she advised. “Dig deep into your best shared sexual memories and you’ll likely open up your erotic future.”
8. Make your S.O. feel wanted.
Don’t idly assume that your partner knows how much you appreciate them, said Danielle Harel, a sex therapist and the co-author of Making Love Real: The Intelligent Couple’s Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion. Tell them. Ultimately, feeling emotionally connected is what keeps partners feeling safe and turned on, she explained.
“This means talking about how beautiful, handsome or sexy you still are to each other and how much you appreciate each other,” Harel said. “It also means empathetically listening to each other.”
She added: “It might be scary, but having deep conversations can make you see each other as new, exciting and sexy again.”