Utah Couples Counselor and Online Relationship Coach, Kensington Osmond, M.S., LAMFT, MFTC discusses Emotional Affairs. What are they? How can you spot them? When should you shut down “friendships” that have the potential of hurting your relationship? And, how to heal from an emotional affair and revive your relationship.
How to Keep Stress From Tanking Your Sex Life
Stress and Sex Drive
Is your partnership struggling to keep things “spicy” in the bedroom? Due to all the current stressors in the world, we are all experiencing a multitude of difficulties. As an online sex therapist and couples counselor, I have worked with couples through it all and commonly as a result of stress, it is possible that sex will take the last little note on a couple’s list of priorities.
Even without extraordinary stressors like today, in most long-term relationships, sooner or later there will be a time when the sexual dynamic is not as ambient as it once was. Even in a happy and otherwise fulfilling relationship, sexuality can take a hit due to several reasons, including stress, major life events, hormonal changes, physiological concerns, etc..
However, when things in the bedroom become a little more dull, repetitive or almost absent, there are quite a few ways to “spice things up”. Because of the current state of stress that MANY of us are in, I wanted to share with you my favorite bedroom-play tips for more fun and less stress in the bedroom. You won’t believe how easy it is to keep stress from tanking your stress life!
Give Each Other A Sensual Massage
A massage will help you or your partner relax and connect with each other on a physical level. The massage doesn’t have to be very sexual or even lead to sex (although it can), but you should focus on making the moment intimate (so, not a sports massage). You can keep your underwear on, but make sure there is ample amount of skin to skin contact between the two of you.
For the full effect to take place, use massage oil (coconut or olive oil is also fine), light some candles, put on some music, and create a nice relaxing ambience. Let stress melt away as you tune into eachother.
Not the best at home masseuse? Now that we have to wash our hands constantly, try making it fun by giving one another a hand massage with oil or hand cream. This can be a very sensual, stimulating yet simple activity to connect physically.
Genuinely Compliment Each Other
Compliments make us feel special and help us connect, and it’s easy to get caught up in the in the motion of life and to forget how good we can make our partner feel by pointing out our favorite things about them. Don’t hesitate to show appreciation for each other’s wonderful qualities.
Try complimenting your partners unique personality and also mention all the things you find physically attractive about them (their eyes, lips hands, muscles, bottom, etc.).
When we feel good about ourselves (especially if our partner is the one giving us all the feels) then it’s a lot easier to take a step back, breathe, and find gratitude in all the little moments together.
After sex, spend some time talking about what felt good during the experience. If you’d like something done in a different way, try approaching it with positive language, such as ‘ it feels great when you’ – try avoiding negative language like ‘don’t do this, or I hate it when you…’
Pillow talk can lead to some of your most intimate moments. Your connection to your partner may feel heightened during this time, your partnership may have the comfort of vulnerability, and using this time to express your love for one another – likes, dislikes, dreams, fears…can lead to a deeper strength and healthier stress levels in the long-run.
Read Erotic Stories To Each Other
This is a fun one…there are several books and online websites you can find that have erotic stories. Finding one that you like and sharing it with your partner can be a great part of your foreplay. If you are creative, you can also write your own stories about all the sexy things you’d like to do with your partner, in what setting. These can be hypothetical or very realistic.
Reading to each other is a great way to get your heads out of the “real world” and into your relationship. If you or your partner struggle with foreplay due to the pressing stress of life around you – this is an excellent way to encourage one another's sex drive while letting some of life’s worries go.
Share Your Sex-Fantasies
So many times I hear my clients share that they love hearing about their partner’s fantasies. Similar to the previous point, this can create a great amount of desire in your dynamic.
Sharing your sex-fantasies with your partner can open new opportunities to adventure in the bedroom. Encouragement here is key. You don’t have to be the most adventurous sex partner to have a little fantasy fun. Join in as you feel comfortable and have fun with it.
Explore Your Environment
Have sex in different parts of the house/apartment – try the kitchen, livingroom, car in the garage, guest room or bathroom. Novelty is also a great way to light that spark and have fun.
Speaking of exploring your environment, get clean together. Showering or bathing together is in so many of the classic romance movies because it’s exactly that – romantic, sensual, heated, and fun. Lather one another up with soap while exploring each other’s bodies in a sensual way.
Try A Sex Toy
There are so many great sex toys available out there. Some are simple and very affordable; some are more elaborate. It is fun to get something that you can use together, but it can also be helpful to have one just for solo play.
If you’ve never used a sex toy before, start simple and speak with an expert (or read some reviews). They can help you pick out the right plessure gadget for you and your partner.
Test Out New Positions
After some time, most couples have their usual 1-3 positions they stick to. I understand why = they work. However, when the spark starts fading, it is a great way to help you explore each other again.
You’ll find that your preference might have even changed over time. However, most importantly trying new positions is not just about finding the best way to get to the end, but about having fun. Yes, sometimes it will be awkward or impossible, but try and have fun with it. Don’t be afraid to look or sound silly, as having fun together will boost your libido (and a boosted libido means less stress).
Solo Play (You do you, boo *wink wink*)
Spend some time self-pleasuring/masturbating. Solo play, like coupled sex, can help reduce stress. This can be part of your ‘me time’, where you can explore fantasies, explore what feels good, and what your preferences are.
It will also provide a pleasure roadmap that will be useful for your partner, as once you know what feels nice, you can then teach your partner the best ways they can participate as well.
Send A Provocative Text
Sexting is for everyone, and it is a fun way to give your partner some insight on what is on your mind, or what some of your fantasies might be. You can do this even if your partner is in the same room as you.
Have fun, that’s what emojis are for anyway right? Sexting is an excellent way to get foreplay started.
Take away one or more senses during foreplay. Not being able to see or hear heightens the awareness on other pleasurable sensations and that can be very exciting.
Make sure you establish the ground rules first, so everyone feels comfortable throughout.
Commit To One Sexy Act Every Day
This could be anything from a kiss, to a sensual massage, to doing any of the previously mentioned activities – staying in a frame of mind that promotes intimacy, can have a positive impact on your libido and help reduce stress both individually and within the relationship.
Ask For Help When Needed!
If you feel sexuality is a difficult part of your relationship for any reason, even without the added stressors of today’s climate, rest assured there is help. Online sex therapy with a qualified consultant can be very helpful in exploring the root causes of the difficulties and finding solutions to help you get to a more fulfilling sex life while leaving that pesky stress behind.
Here’s to spicing things up in the bedroom!
Dori Bagi, M.S., SAS, MACA is a kind, empathetic couples counselor, individual therapist, and life coach who specializes in sex therapy. Her friendly style makes it safe to talk about anything, and her solution-focused approach helps you move past the past, and into a bright new future of intimacy and connection.
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