Are you and your partner having good sex — or great sex? Good sex is sex that is generally satisfying and leaves each partner feeling emotionally and physically fulfilled. Great sex is the same, except it is more intense and more uninhibited … the kind of sex you don’t soon forget!
Many couples in long-term relationships assume that adventurous and uninhibited sex is a thing of the past. This is particularly true when people get stuck in a “good sex” rut — they go through the same motions every time because it gets the job done. When it is over, each partner has been satisfied … but there certainly weren’t fireworks.
For instance, a couple recently came to see me at the Berman Center seeking help for their love life. Despite their happy marriage, Keith and Elizabeth were experiencing intimacy issues. Sex was infrequent, and when it did occur, it often was dull and monotonous. However, between their full-time jobs and raising three kids, neither of them thought they had time to reignite the passion in the bedroom.
In addition to working with them to make space for themselves and each other in their busy lives, I gave Keith and Elizabeth some “homework” to get back in touch with each other’s bodies. I instructed them to engage in a night of VENIS — very erotic no-intercourse sex. In the VENIS program, you can be as imaginative and provocative as you want — massage oils, feathers, body paint, props, etc. The only rule is “no intercourse.” The idea is to enjoy each other’s bodies without rushing toward the finish line. Before sending Keith and Elizabeth off to VENIS land, I supplied them with a basket full of erotic goodies: chocolate body paint, handcuffs, a vibrating rubber ducky and blindfolds. When they came back in for their next session, they told me that their night of VENIS was the best “sex” they ever had!
Here are other ways to turn “good” sex into “great” sex:
The fantasy box: Create a fantasy box and store it in your bedroom. You and your partner should write down your fantasies on little slips of paper and place them in the fantasy box. Every once in a while, when your sex life needs a little extra oomph, dip into the fantasy box and start playing! Making fantasies come true is a great way to bring spice back into the bedroom.
Tantra: Tantric sex not only prolongs sex and improves the quality of orgasms, it also helps increase the emotional intimacy between you and your partner. One great tantric tool is “soul-gazing.” Here’s how to do it: When you are both undressed, sit on the bed facing each other and place your right hand over your partner’s heart and gaze into your partner’s left eye. Synchronize your breathing while you maintain eye contact. Soul-gazing returns sex to that sacred space where intercourse is a holy, valued activity between two people in love.Bring “sexyback:” Most women need to feel sexy in order to feel sexual desire. However, between driving in traffic, rushing to make dinner and getting the kids in bed, women often feel harried and unattractive at the end of the day. This is where the importance of “me” time comes in. It may sound cliche, but unless you make time to recharge, nurture yourself and get in touch with your senses (massage, bubble bath, pedicure), it will be hard to feel sexy. You may even invest in a little bit of sexy lingerie. Once you start to feel sexy on the outside, it might change the way you approach intimacy. Who knows? You might even be inspired to give your man a little lap dance.
The bottom line is that great sex isn’t as far away as you think. With just a little bit of work, any couple can have fireworks in the bedroom … even on a regular Monday night!
Dr. Laura Berman is the director of the in Chicago, a specialized healthcare facility dedicated to helping women and couples find fulfilling sex lives and enriched relationships. She is also an assistant clinical professor of OBGYN and psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. She has been working as a sex educator, researcher and therapist for 18 years.