Even relationships that burn hot can hit the occasional rut in the bedroom, yet many people looking to bring the magic back don’t know where to begin. This can be especially challenging for couples who’ve been together long-term: Settling into a comfortable routine together can easily stifle your more primal urges.
But just because things have simmered down lately, that doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to a ho-hum sex life. In fact, some experts suggest that putting some conscious effort into your passion can help you connect on an even deeper level, both in and out of the bedroom.
We checked in with Vivian Green, a sexologist and sex therapist currently working as an editor at Sexsi Toys for her best advice on turning up the heat between the sheets. Read on for five easy ways to spice up your sex life that’ll have you reconnecting in no time.
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Green says that when couples are struggling to connect physically, it can help to intentionally block out time for intimacy. “Schedule it into your calendars if you have to,” she tells Best Life. If this seems to lack the spontaneity you’re used to, that’s OK—sometimes getting past your initial dry spell is all you need for a more natural connection to grow.
“This creates a regular environment to be together for extended periods of time,” Green explains. “Make sure that there is no pressure to do anything, but leave things open enough to let it happen. As you do this, start to also incorporate more intimacy into your daily routine. Even when you have a busy schedule, find quick and creative ways to be intimate, such as through sexting or using toys.”
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Sometimes there’s some unspoken reason that your sex life has cooled, so Green also suggests making space for communicating more openly with your partner. This can also open the door to more flirtatious discussion of any desires you’d be interested in exploring together.
“Open communication is crucial to enabling spice into your sex life,” Green says. “Feeling hesitant to open up about your sexual desires due to shame or fear of judgement is not going to get you anywhere. Make sure that you work on having an open dialogue with your partner so that you both feel more connected. Being able to communicate your desires in a safe environment can lead to more satisfying intimacy.”
The key, she says, is to listen and respect each other’s boundaries while at the same time looking for creative ways to keep everyone satisfied. “If there is something that is out of the question, is there a compromise that could help?” she offers.
If your relationship has been bogged down by the very real stresses of the last few years, you’re not alone. A recent meta-analysis of 21 studies found that the pandemic has led to “higher rates of sexual dysfunction and reduced sexual activity” over the last several years.
Green says the best antidote to this is to step outside of your comfort zone to try things you’ve been interested in, but were too shy to ask for. “Try something new, whether it’s trying a new position, introducing toys, or exploring different types of intimacy, such as oral sex or anal play,” she says. “Introducing novelty can help reignite the spark by adding excitement and variety to your intimacy, and can also encourage exploration and growth.” Green adds that trying “tantric sex, role-play or fantasy can help you both feel more connected and can encourage you to try new things together.”
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That sense of novelty can also benefit your sex life outside of the bedroom—especially if you choose an activity that helps you comfortably break down your barriers.
In particular, Green suggests attending a workshop or class that pushes you to explore your intimate connection. “Seeking out new experiences has helped many of my clients feel more connected, and has brought a sense of novelty and excitement to their sex lives. It can be a great way to learn more about what you enjoy, or an outlet to express yourselves together,” she explains.
Finally, Green recommends exploring each of your five senses—touch, hearing, sight, smell, and taste—as a way of bringing a spark back to your foreplay. “It can be simple, such as using food or massaging your partner,” she notes. Not sure where to begin? Pick one sense to focus on and get creative. For instance, try experimenting with hot and cold sensations by using ice or candle wax, or explore different scents with candles or incense.
“Feeling encouraged and able to express your desires in new ways is a great way to feel connected. You can also focus on the senses by using sensory deprivation, to heighten your awareness and pleasure,” says Green.