As a couples' therapist in Denver, I spend a lot of time talking with people about their sex lives.
What we know from research, is about 75% of couples are dissatisfied with their sex lives and this is one of the most common reasons that couples seek counseling.
It often takes years of arguing, feeling hurt, being resentful and feeling rejected before a couple finds that they are willing to ask for help. It is vital for you to know, that sexual "problems" in relationships are normal and expected. Sexual problems offer us a chance to go deeper in our relationship, to expand our understanding of ourselves and our partner, and can be a guidepost to a MORE fulfilling, rich marriage or committed partnership
#1 Tip to Improve Your Sex Life: Medical
Get a complete and thorough physical. Before proceeding with revitalizing your sex life, it is imperative that you meet with your physician to rule out any organic cause to what is happening intimately with your partner.
If you are taking medications, talk about potential side effects with your doctor to learn if this can be contributing to your sexual problems. If you are a regular drinker, smoker, or drug user, ask your doctor how these activities might be contributing to the issues in the bedroom as well.
#2 Tip to Improve Your Sex Life: Be Fair
This as a process of discovery. Many couples want to hold on to the problem being one partners or the others. If there is a medical contributing factor, you might want to name this as the sole culprit when the truth is that the physical and always connected to the emotional.
Think about it, if you had a diagnosis of cancer, this is not purely physical — as a feeling human being, you would likely have a strong emotional response to the diagnosis which would shape your behaviors. It is the same with sexual problems that are physical…there will be an emotional response to the physical issue. The emotions that you have will organize your experience of sex, desire, and arousal.
#3 Tip to Improve Your Sex Life: Get Healthy
Lack of sleep, poor nutrition, high levels of stress, inactivity, self-hatred, and marital discord can all lead to problems in the bedroom. Take an inventory of the foundational components of your life and how they are lining up to support a vibrant and healthy sex life…or how they are not.
Ask yourself these simple questions:
- Do you get enough sleep?
- Do you get enough physical exercise?
- Are you eating a healthy and varied diet of nutrient-rich foods?
- Would you describe your level of stress as low, moderate, or high?
- Are you self-critical? Do you hate your body? Are you hard on yourself?
- How would you describe the relationship with your spouse? Healthy and vibrant? Tense and argumentative? Boring with moments of excitement?
If you have a number of life components that do not support a healthy sex life, start there and start making some changes. Ask for help if you need to or talk with a therapist about how to begin healing these aspects of your life.
#4 Tip to Improve Your Sex Life: Don’t Make Assumptions About Connection During Sex
Most couples say that they feel more connected emotionally when they are having sex, however sometimes the way that they describe their intimacy often tells a different story. Ask yourself these questions:
- During sex do you feeling emotionally connected to your partner?
- If yes, how do you emotionally connect during sex?
- If no, when do you emotionally connect with your partner?
- During sex, what do you do when you lose emotional connection with your partner? What feelings arise and what do you do?
- Do you find yourself pretending that you are present during sex when you are actually thinking about other things or people? How often do you do that?
- Have you ever talked with your partner about what sex is like for you? Have you been able to hear about their experience with you in sex? If so, what did you learn from that?
#5 Tip to Improve Your Sex Life: Do More of What Works
Many couples who have issues with their sex lives spend WAY too much time focusing on having more intercourse, rather than scaling things down and starting with what works first. If you are having sex with your partner that ends in arguments, resentment and rejection, it would be wise to stop focusing on needing to have more sex “to meet your need” (or your partner’s need) and let yourself be successful in other parts of intimacy like kissing or holding hands first.
Start by asking yourself the questions listed about in #5 around, for example, kissing…Are you emotionally connected to your partner while you kiss? Are you checked out while kiss? What are you thinking about? Are you feeling your partner during kissing, or are you thinking about getting to the sex part?
If you are not connected and are feeling checked out while kissing, chances are that this is also true when you are in the bedroom. Now is the time to find places that “work” in your intimate landscape and get curious about what you partner likes and doesn’t like.
Bonus Tip #6: Be On The Same Team
This sounds crazy, I know, but it is imperative that you practice not taking the feedback from your partner too personally. When you come to your sex problems as a united front rather than a battleground, you will get much more traction and see meaningful and powerful change. This means creating a relationship that is more collaborative, enjoyable, and supportive…in and out of the bedroom.
If you and your partner are having a hard time being a team when it comes to sex, it is a good time to see a licensed professional or someone experienced in working with couples, relationships, and sex. Call today, 720.457.3342, or schedule a free 20 minute consultation online so see how we can help support you in having the relationship and sex life that you desire.