Relationships all have ebbs and flows and finding a way through is a lifelong project. It’s been a couple of decades since we were taught that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. While the principles were broad, they do ring true for so many couples, particularly in the bedroom.
The intimate relationship between you and your partner can often be seen as an indication of how the relationship is progressing – which often leads to uncomfortable realisations. Communication about sex is key, but it is one area couples often struggle with, as it can be just too confronting or require too much vulnerability to be truly honest about.
In a long term relationship, your needs and habits can change, but so long as you are physically capable, there is no reason not to enjoy a fulfilling sex life for all your days together.
Continuing along the Mars and Venus path, the trouble can often arise with the different needs between the sexes – as a general rule, men are often more inclined to be emotionally open when they feel physically valued and connected, and women more often need their emotional needs met to respond physically. It can create a perfect storm.
One idea we recently heard of at GrownUps was the idea of an intimate ‘wish jar.’ Both partners can write down their wishes when it comes to sex and put them in a jar. Then, take turns at selecting a wish from both jars and put them into practice.
Obviously, this requires both parties to be receptive, but you can set whatever guidelines you like about the wish jar – you may get a couple of minutes to describe why you wrote that particular wish, and they certainly don’t need to be all sex-related – it’s fine to say you’d like to other forms of physical affection (once these needs are met, they can lead further).
Make sure, at every occasion, both parties feel respected and able to be honest without fear of judgement or reprisal. If your sex life isn’t what it was, you may be better to start off slowly, and reconnect, then once you both feel more connected sexually before you take things up a level and introduce other elements of fantasy. Wishes could be as simple as “let’s do a ‘Turn-on Tuesday’ date, meet you upstairs at 8,” or “let’s start with a five minute neck rub in the kitchen, five minutes of kissing in the hall and flip a coin where we go next.”
The idea is to share ideas, create a sense of fun and banish obligation or resentment. For most couples, monogamy is the goal, so if you are only going to share yourself intimately with one person, make it great! There should be laughter, kindness, adventure, understanding and satisfaction. Take a good long look at the one you love – all those things were there once, so if you’re a bit out of practice, get started again – one wish at a time..