What tips can you give to spice up a relationship that has been waning for several years now? My husband and I have been married for nineteen years and were madly in love when we met. We have had three children (ages 18, 16, and 13) since we married and it seems that we never have any alone time. We hardly have sex, but he is affectionate. I’m just exhausted all the time and sex seems like a chore. What can I do to get out of this rut?
---Keep it Together
Dear Keep it Together,
I talk with a lot of women who experience a very similar situation. They are married, in somewhat happy relationships and have a family that keeps them running constantly. They are tired and often times, sex falls on the back burner. The problem is, when you turn sex into a chore or a “wifely duty” it doesn’t seem very fun anymore, and makes it feel more like you are doing your husband a favor, rather than enjoying intimate time together in which you can reconnect.
The first thing I would suggest is to plan your nights together. I know it sounds “unsexy” to plan when you are going to spend alone time together, but your children are almost grown now. They can survive a few hours without your constant presence. Heck, most teens don’t even want their parents around, so this is the perfect time to rekindle your passion. Have dinner together, watch a movie in bed, snuggle or read a naughty book to one another. Maybe take a bath or give each other a back rub. Do whatever you need to do to relax your mind and body to prepare for lovemaking.
It sounds as though your husband enjoys being affectionate, so use that to your advantage. Have him caress and kiss you, have him go down on you, do whatever it is that you like to have done to you in bed. He will be so thrilled to spend time alone with you that it doesn’t really matter how you start the ball rolling...the important thing is not to stagnate.
After almost 20 years together, don’t you think it is time you celebrate? Perhaps plan a weekend getaway for just the two of you for your upcoming anniversary. Go to a lingerie store together or find something on your own that you know will excite you both. Try out a new toy (you can order them discreetly online and they arrive in very unassuming packaging) or just read some erotic literature to spice things up. If you can’t afford a weekend away, kick the kids out for a night so that you can have the run of the house to yourselves to really maximize your time together.
If you are feeling less than sexy, or if you feel that your physical appearance isn’t what you wished it was, changing up your lifestyle can also help to increase your self esteem. Start a new plan to eat better and exercise more regularly if this is something that you feel would help you in your quest to better sex. Exercise gets the endorphin levels up which make us feel great and relaxed, as well. Setting aside time for yourself isn’t only a good idea for your marriage, but it will set a great example for your children, as well. Healthy living is about improving the quality of life, after all.
If you are in your 40s or 50s and have noticed that sex has become painful at times, you may be experiencing perimenopause or even menopausal symptoms, which can also reduce sex drive and make sex uncomfortable. But, fear not! There are simple ways to reduce those symptoms, and lubricants can make sex much more enjoyable. Just talk with your gynecologist and see what she suggests.
The best thing you have done so far is say that you want a change in your life. The rest is easy in comparison. Lay out your plan and work towards your goals. Let your husband know you want to improve your life, and subsequently, his as well. He may be so inspired, that he may start eating healthier and enjoying your alone time together more frequently as well. Remember, if you change your mind, you can change your life!
Good luck and thanks for the question!