“Got any pointers?” I asked James, my husband of fourteen years.
“I do,” he answered. “A big one. I’ll show it to you.”
When you’re feeling loving towards and supported by your partner it’s easy to have awesome sex, to feel generous about sharing your body, and to want to pleasure the other person. When you’re pissed off about the undone dishes, the coming home late from work, the colleague who keeps calling your spouse’s cell phone, and the middle-of-the-night wake-ups to soothe a worried preschooler, it’s a lot harder to get into the groove.
If you’re having trouble finding time to get horizontal with your partner, you’re not the only one. According to this YourTango survey, 78 percent of married couples want to have better sex. Leaky breasts, whining kids, hormonal changes, and the exhaustion that comes with 21st century life often seem at odds with hot, steamy sex. But good sex is like good sleep — sex begets more sex, which makes everybody happy. Not having sex leads to Long Dry Spells, which make your marriage feel like a desert.
So what’s a couple to do?
Inebriate: There’s nothing like a fru fru girly drink (lemon drop, anyone?) or a glass of Pinot Gris to help you lose your inhibitions.
Lubricate: Writer and sex guru Alisa Bowman suggests coconut oil to lubricate down there. Olive oil and avocado oil work well too. As does old-fashioned KY Jelly. Don’t be shy about needing lubricant, which makes hand jobs go more smoothly and intercourse more fun.
Masturbate: In order to learn what you like from someone else, you need to learn what you like. Masturbating and experimenting with touching yourself is a great way to figure that out. Masturbate often. Not only will you be pleasuring yourself, you will be figuring out how to teach your partner to pleasure you. Masturbating with your partner can be fun too.
Exfoliate: I’m not opposed to sweaty, grimy, rolling-in-the-dirt or just-after-exercise sex but a partner who is scrubbed and shaved, just out of the shower, is definitely a turn-on. Leopold Bloom ate with relish kidneys that had the tang of urine but unless you’re into golden showers you probably prefer the penis you are pleasuring sans piddle.
Add surround sound: Sounds like hackneyed advice but when you’ve been having sex with the same person for many years it’s easy to forget the small touches. Some sexy music like Sadé, a candle, and mood lighting (the iPod has an app for this) will help you relax, especially since you’ve just finished that girly drink and are making an erotic show of sucking on the straw.
Define “sex” your own way: Maybe you’re NOT in the mood for an orgasm but you do want some skin-to-skin. That’s okay. Your partner who’s jonesing to get his rocks off can give you a long back rub and take care of his business at another time. Sex doesn’t always mean intercourse. And it doesn’t always mean orgasm. Though both of those are fun too.
Try something different: One friend has decided to do it in the garage next time, another to wear high heels and a cute red T-shirt (her partner’s favorite color) while they’re doing it. You can also use props (cock rings are fun, a mirror on the ceiling if you’re not the shy type), change positions (doggie style for a change, standing up), or sneak some sex in the great outdoors (you know how food always tastes better when you eat it outside …?)
Bone up on your … reading: Learn how to give the best cunnilingus or how to give the best blow job. Read sexy novels like D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and sex memoirs like Hump: True Tales of Sex After Kids and Confessions of a Naughty Mommy: How I Found My Lost Libido. There’s nothing like reading about other people’s triumphs and failures in bed to get you in the mood for having some of your own.
Inspired?! Close your computer, run out for that jar of coconut oil, and have some fun. And please report back and share your best advice so we can learn from it too.