Do you or your spouse ever think or say to a friend, “We never have sex anymore?” If so, you definitely need to read my Love Essentially column, published today in Chicago Tribune Media Group publications!
Let’s Talk About Sex…Or Lack Of It by Jackie Pilossoph
It is impossible to make a blanket statement (no pun intended) about married couples and sex. No two couples have the same sex life, and the spectrum of what goes on in a couple’s bedroom can range from snoring and boring, to wild and crazy passion every night.
But with work, kids, chores, and the pure exhaustion life can cause, finding time and interest in sex, especially for women can be challenging.
So, I reached out to Northbrook based therapist, Dr. Sarah Allen, Psy.D. to ask for some tips to help couples who might want to improve their sex lives.
Allen told me that when couples come to see her, it is almost always the case that they haven’t had good sex in a long time, often because other issues in the relationship, such as anger and resentment prevent physical desire.
But let’s say things are pretty peachy around your house with the exception of what’s happening under the covers. Here are Allen’s five tips that might help spice things up:
1). For women: make time to de-stress and unwind. Women need time to get into the sex frame of mind. “Men and women are very different in that women need an emotional connection to get interested in sex, whereas men are more visual,” said Allen, who is also a licensed clinical professional counselor. “Women are constantly doing doing doing, especially during this time of year, and they aren’t thinking about sex.”
2). Plan dates that are exciting and outside your comfort zone. “Feelings of being scared are similar to feelings of excitement,” said Allen. In other words, instead of dinner and a movie, try rock climbing or parasailing, something you wouldn’t normally do with your partner. The charge and the high you get might carry over into the bedroom.
3). Do things together that bring you back to being the people you were when you first met. Before you were married, before you had kids, and during the times you were first getting to know each other, you probably did things together that you don’t have time for anymore. Maybe you had picnics, maybe you listened to music together, or maybe you went to art galleries or museums. Doing those things might bring back memories and ignite a spark.
4. Treat yourself to things that make you feel sexy. “Sexy is all in the mind,” Allen said. Buying a new dress or a new pair of shoes or a new bottle cologne might help you feel more confident, and as a result, sexier. Even something as simple as a manicure or a yoga class helps boost self-image which again, can translate into feeling sexy.
5. Read. Allen recommended reading The Sex-Starved Marriage: Boosting Your Marriage Libido: a Couple’s Guide, by Michele Weiner-Davis, and It’s Not Him, It’s You: How to Take Charge of Your Life and Create the Love and Intimacy You Deserve, by Laura Berman. The two have very different philosophies, but both are among her favorites.
I have two tips I’d like to add:
- After Nine Tonight. This is a website for men and women that offers helpful tips for a couple’s lacking sex drive, as well as a series of short, romantic movies to help busy moms get in the mood. www.afterninetonight.com
- Kind gestures make a difference. When a woman receives flowers from her husband on no particular occasion, it causes her to fall in love, which then translates into physical desire. I’m not saying a dozen roses will solve all your issues, but, a kind gesture—a nice card, offering to do the dishes, a backrub, an inexpensive gift—makes a man or woman feel loved, appreciated, respected and cherished. And that is a huge turn on. The flipside is, no one wants to have sex with a spouse who is rude, mean, dismissive, or disrespectful. Just sayin…
Allen did mention that if a woman feels she has little or no sex drive, she should see her OB/GYN to rule out any medical conditions that might be the cause, such as hormonal changes during and post pregnancy, and peri-menopause. There are also many psychological causes of low sex drive, including anxiety, depression, stress, poor body image and lack of self-esteem.