Relationships are always hot and heavy in the beginning. But at some point, most people in long-term relationships experience a lull in the bedroom. The good news, besides the fact that you're not alone? It's not likely to last forever, said Chris Maxwell Rose, an online sex educator.
"Knowing that it won’t last forever can take a lot of the pressure and resentment out of the situation and allow you to appreciate other parts of your relationship more fully," she told HuffPost.
If and when you do want to revive your sex life, you need to make a plan for doing so. Below, Rose and other experts share eight tips for heating things up in the bedroom.
1. Talk about it, even if it feels awkward to bring up.
If you want to get back to having sex, you're going to have to bring up the elephant in the room: Tell your partner you're unhappy with your sex life and want things to change. The important thing is to be real with each other and gauge whether or not your S.O. feels similarly, said Angela Skurtu, a St. Louis-based therapist.
"Have a direct conversation about what you each are willing to do to rebuild your sex life," she said. "You need to both agree that you are unhappy with the quality and frequency and be willing to commit time and energy into rebuilding it."
If one of you is perfectly content with your lackluster sex life, you may need to see a therapist, Skurtu said.
2. Flirt shamelessly.
If at this point, you can count the number of times you've held hands in the last year, it's not a good thing. Once you've had the conversation above, flirting with your spouse is the best way to demonstrate that you mean business about having sex again, said Skurtu.
"Talk to your partner about what styles of flirtation you find exciting as well -- 'I like it when you kiss me randomly and then go do something else. It leaves me wanting more!'" Skurtu offered as an example. "You can also send flirty texts, just start to be playful again."
3. Don't wait for your partner -- go solo.
Just because sex with your partner is infrequent doesn't mean you're not a sexual person. Masturbating more often is one of the most liberating moves you can make during this sexless period, said online sex educator Charlotte Mia Rose.
"Everyone has an individual sexuality that is theirs alone, that can then be shared with a partner," she said. "If your partner’s libido is gone, you can still have a rich and active sex life! This is a revolutionary way to think about sex in a couples-obsessed culture and it goes way beyond masturbation: You can enjoy all of the sensual pleasures of life, get into the best shape of your life and otherwise enjoy being in your body."
In the end, the more you "cultivate your own sexuality, the more you'll have to offer your partner when they are ready to reconnect," she said.
4. Carve out some time for a weekly sex date.
Scheduling time for sex may sound supremely unsexy but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. When you and your partner have hit your stride again, you'll think back fondly on your days of Google calendar-suggested sex.
"If you haven’t had intercourse for a long time, don’t think that you can hop in bed now and get right on that," said Tammy Nelson, a sex therapist and the author of Getting the Sex You Want. "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."
5. Hug and touch on a regular basis.
Bringing sexy back isn't going to happen overnight, but it helps to remember that making a connection doesn't have to be an all or nothing deal. Start with a massage or simply touching and work your way up to sex, said sex educator Chris Maxwell Rose.
"Affectionate touch is just as important to the health of a relationship as passionate sex," she explained. "Even if you aren’t having sex, try to add more casual affection into your days; long hugs, kissing and cuddling are all wonderful ways to express your love."
Take baby steps at first, Rose added: "Aim for at least one long hug (at least 20 seconds or longer to trigger the release of oxytocin) or cuddling session a day."
6. Revisit your sexual highlights as a couple.
You don't want to dwell on the past (of course things were hotter in the beginning) but revisiting the highlight reel of your sex life may remind your spouse what you two are missing, Skurtu said.
"Start from the beginning and be specific: 'You remember when we were on that hike in the woods and we ended up having sex?'" Skurtu said. "Go through old sex stories play by play and talk about how it felt for each of you during those experiences. This skill can help couples begin to feel that old spark together."
7. If something feels good, go with it.
You may have had certain preferences back in the day. As you re-approach sex again, give yourself permission to experiment with whatever comes naturally and feels right to you both, Nelson said. It may help you get out of your rut.
"If you ate ravioli every night of the week for year after year, wouldn’t you be totally sick of ravioli?" she said. "Try something new. You aren’t going to have sex if you’ve been together for a long time and sex has become boring or mundane."
8. Romance each other.
Aside from sex dates, make a plan to go on actual dates, Skurtu said.
"Go on a classic long walk on the beach, dress up sexy for each other or light a fire at home," she said. "The key is to put some effort into the time you spend with your spouse."
And if your date night turns into a sex night, just consider it a bonus. ;)
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