I think many people approach sex a little backwards after marriage. In the first year or two or five, sex may be automatic and easy, but after that (or even before), you may find yourself just…never in the mood. Or in the mood at opposite times. Or too annoyed to care that you might be in the mood! Rather than focusing on the end goal, there are actions you can take to promote so much healthy affection and companionship that there will be room in your heart, mind, and schedule for great sex. Try the following ideas outside the bedroom for more frequent, better sex in the bedroom.
1. Get the House in Order
I know this seems crazy, but if the apartment or house is in chaos, it can be hard to take time for a great romp. Intimacy can often fall to the wayside in the effort to get the dishes done or the laundry folded. One way to help a hassled partner feel ready and willing is to be part of getting everything settled around the home. Chores may not feel like foreplay, but trust me: pitching in more than usual will definitely get their attention.
2. Comfort and Cuddle with no Strings Attached
Many marriages get to the point where a lot of physical touch is a simple signal that sex is desired. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but if your spouse is feeling overwhelmed, tired, or ill, every touch from you will start feeling like an obligation. Sex isn’t fun when it feels like you have to do it! Start changing the way you communicate a desire for sex so that you can still touch each other out of genuine affection—not merely as a request. Make it natural for you, but start to explore how physical touch can be more than an overture. When you’re cooking together, hold each other close. Squeeze each other’s shoulder when you pass in the hall. Cuddle when you watch a movie or lay in bed after a long day (without the expectation of intimacy). Many partners will feel truly cared for when they are held tightly with no expectations. Ironically, this comfort can lead to the bedroom heating up faster than you might expect!
3. Give Each Other 10 Minutes
It can be tempting to jump all over the person who is “arriving home,” especially if one of you works in the home or watches the kids for part or all of the day. Whether that jumping is a desire for physical attention or just showering this person with needs and information, it can be very overwhelming to walk into the home and immediately be engaged in conversation. One way to give you both some time to ensure that the rest of the evening will be great is to allow for the “10 minute rule.” Everyone gets 10 minutes to do what they need and want to do upon arriving home before any requests or needs are put forth. This usually only works with the adults of the house, but you’d be amazed how much smoother and happier the rest of the evening is just because of this transition period, and it works for couples who both work outside the home, as well.
4. Listen When Your Partner Talks and Ask Great Questions
In many relationships, there is a talker and a listener, or maybe even a talker and an ignorer. Regardless which role you typically play, one way to strengthen your connection (in and out of the bedroom) is to play the listener, but also ask good questions. You may have decided a long time ago that your partner’s work isn’t of interest to you; decide the opposite and start asking real questions about their work. At first it may feel fake, but as you get to know the situation, your questions will become more and more genuine. This goes for both the listener and the talker; more careful questions and thoughtful listening will make you both feel more loved…and you know where that leads.
5. Wear Clothes Your Partner Likes
This may seem inconsequential, but it’s easy for us to stop caring how our spouse sees us; after all, we live together and relax together, so why dress “up?” The answer is that the first sparks of sex happen when we find each other attractive. This doesn’t mean you have to get dolled up every day, but it does mean telling each other when you find an outfit attractive, and then doing your best to “be seen” in it around the house and out in the world. These little things build and one day, your husband or wife is going to see you looking good and you’ll be off to the races.