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Making It Last Longer


It’s a conversation that is inevitable at some stage in our relationships. At a certain point of knowing someone, it can feel like we know absolutely everything about them. It’s an age-old question—how do we keep the spark alive in a long-term relationship? Whether you’re monogamous or non-monogamous, once you’ve spent a long period of time with a partner, it’s very normal to fall into a pattern of domesticity or routine, both in and out of the bedroom. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It demonstrates a level of intimacy, comfort, and trust with our partners that should be celebrated and enjoyed. Nevertheless, sometimes we reach a point in our physical relationship where we want to shake things up, explore, and simply try something new. This isn’t an impulse that we need to feel ashamed about either—we can hold space for the love of our routine and domesticity with our partners, while equally acknowledging that we’re ready to open up to new experiences.

So how do we go about it? We’ve seen in ourselves a desire to shake things up, and we’ve recognized that nothing is wrong or bad in our relationship and that we have nothing to feel ashamed of. Where do we go from here? The first step requires a little vulnerability and is simply opening up a conversation with our partner. Try not to assume you know how they’re going to react—leave space to be surprised! You never know, they might be thinking the exact same things as you. Just being willing to be open about our sexual desires, needs, and fantasies already goes a long way in re-igniting passion in a relationship—being able to have an open conversation about sex is an incredibly sexy thing already.

Everyone has different comfort zones when it comes to sex—so if you want to try something new, the second thing you need to do is think about what is already familiar to you. If dirty talk or bondage is something that is already incorporated into your regular sex life, then it might not be the thing you’re looking for in this moment. Take some time to explore—either alone or with your partner—new fantasies that you might want to try. Find some new porn or erotica, and really pay attention to how your body is reacting as you’re reading or watching. Exploring deeper sexually requires us to know our bodies and its reactions— can you recognize a clear “yes” in your body? Can you recognize your “no”? As you get to know yourself and your body more you’ll be able to more clearly communicate with your partner the new or different directions you’d like to go in your sexual play.

We may think that rekindling a sexual fire always needs to be about something or someone new, and while that may be true sometimes, it’s not necessarily the case all the time. It’s not necessarily about new positions, new toys, new partners, or new locations— though these things can all be incredibly stimulating, and a great place to start. I find, however, that they don’t fundamentally address the reason why we might have fallen into a sexual routine in the first place. Oftentimes when we feel like we’ve come to a place of stagnancy in our sexual relationship with our partners it’s not because we haven’t tried to latest sex swing or had sex on the beach, it’s because we’re so caught up in the rest of our lives that we haven’t been tending to our sexual relationship in the way it deserves. We have jobs, friends, kids, hobbies, projects, and a home to take care of—sometimes we forget that our sex life is an animal of its own that needs to be nurtured and cared for in order to survive and thrive.

Let them miss you.

We love our partners, and we love spending time with them. Sometimes we forget that it’s not only good to have a little space, but necessary, for them and for us. When we allow our partners to miss us—and for us to miss our partners—we’re creating space for longing and desire. Especially if you live with your partner, where it’s inevitable that you see each other daily and are deeply enmeshed domestically. Create some space for you to be on your own or with your friends—take a night away, have a long weekend to yourself, or even discuss a vacation that’s just for you (or them). Notice how when you come back to each other you feel refreshed, revived, and impatient to get them back in the bedroom. Time apart tending to our own lives creates the possibility for us to miss our partner and to reconnect with the feeling of daydreaming about them and all the things you want to do to each other.

There is so much beauty in the enmeshment that comes with a relationship, but there is also so much erotic power to be found when we individuate and re-establish our separate identities - even if only for a night. This also gives us the opportunity to reconnect to our own bodies and desires, and rediscover what makes us feel irresistible about ourselves. When we are always relying on our partners to make us feel sexy, it can be easy to forget how much we can turn ourselves on. Take a night to yourself - pamper your body, put on your favorite lingerie or clothing, and do what makes you feel undeniably sexy and powerful. Reconnecting to our own pleasure through masturbation or even just self-massage reminds us that we are sexual beings all on our own, and not simply in relation to our partners. Plus, it’s often a huge turn-on for our partners when they see how sexy and confident we feel in our own skin, and how deeply connected we are to our own sexual power.

Create space for fantasy.

Fantasies can be incredibly sexy, but they can also be incredibly scary. Maybe you’re in a monogamous relationship, and you know your partner has fantasies about other people. Or maybe you’re in a non-monogamous relationship, and your partner’s fantasies touch on fears or insecurities that make it difficult for you to feel sexy or willing to explore it. This is totally normal! The first thing we need to do is to remember that fantasies are just that - fantasies. They are tools of sexual pleasure and stimulation, and just because your partner has a gangbang fantasy doesn’t necessarily mean they want to be gang-banged in real life. It’s important for us to create space for our partners (and ourselves!) to express our fantasies without fear of judgment, shame, or expectation.

Here’s the twist, though. What if our partners really do want to live out their fantasies? What if those fantasies scare us, or push us out of our comfort zones? Let’s say you talked about exploring some deep fantasy with your partner in the bedroom, but now it’s the next day and you’re wondering if they really do want that thing. This is the perfect time to open up that conversation. It may be scary, but it can also be incredibly liberating. Remember that you can express your discomfort without judging your partner and that you can even work through the discomfort to get to an even sexier place you never imagined.

Perhaps your partner has a fantasy about a threesome or another person, but you’re nervous about feeling left out, unloved, or fears of abandonment come rising to the surface. Talk to your partner about those things—figure out what before or after-care you both need so that exploring sexually doesn’t create conflict in the rest of your relationship. Maybe you’ve talked about a fantasy and it’s a hard “no” for you—you know it turns your partner on but for you it’s just not sexy at all, or it activates old trauma or wounds that make you feel unsafe. How can you support your partner’s fantasy without crossing your own boundaries?

This is the perfect opportunity to talk to your partner about hiring a sex worker to help them fulfill this fantasy, and in fact, can be the perfect container to hold their fantasies without making you feel unsafe or like your relationship is being threatened. That’s what sex workers are there for! To facilitate an experience for someone—to create a space to explore without judgment or shame or the weight of the rest of the relationship. You may have to confront some internalized feelings you may have about sex workers and sex work, and that’s natural too. See what comes up for you, witness it without fear, and get to the root of why you have that feeling or belief.

Remember set and setting.

Sex can be a trip. It can take us to amazing places we never even imagined. And just like psychedelics, we have to think about the set and setting of our sexual encounters. When was the last time you put some intention into creating a sexual experience for yourself and your partner? When we get caught up in the flow of life, it can be one of the first things to fall by the wayside. Coming back to the set and setting of our sexual encounters is an amazing, and for me, fundamental, tool in relighting our passion for our patterns and our sexual drives. First, think about yourself and your partner’s physical and emotional states. Are you always tired and burnt out? Are they stressed from work, child-rearing, and dealing with family? Already we’ve found a source of sexual stagnation.

Our sexual energy can be quickly depleted when we’re dealing with all the stressors of everyday life. Take a panoramic view of both your and your partner’s lives and see where you can create some space to rest and rejuvenate your well of sexual energy. Ask your friend or your family to take the kids, cash in those sick days, take some things off your plate that aren’t necessary. Sometimes this may not be possible—we have responsibilities that simply cannot be ignored, or we lack adequate support systems to feel like we can truly take serious space to take care of ourselves. Honor that, and try to find little ways to create pockets of relaxation and specialness. Come home with flowers, do a face mask together, give each other sensual massages after work or after the kids have gone to sleep.

Once you’re in a physical and emotional state more conducive to sexual exploration, think about your atmosphere and your surroundings. How do you normally have sex? Do you take the time to put special touches into the experience? No matter what you’re trying or exploring during the actual act of sex, put some extra attention into creating a beautiful environment. Light those candles, put on your favorite music or porn to have on in the background. Have fresh sheets on the bed, or rent out a hotel room for the night if that’s available to you. Take a shower together and take time to massage each other, anoint each other with oils, rose water, your favorite things that make your body feel good and sensual. Revisit what foreplay means to you both - taking time to explore each other’s bodies as if you’re meeting for the very first time, and witness the way even a “vanilla” sexual encounter suddenly feels deeper, more intense, and more arousing.

Sex is not the only thing in our relationships, of course, but for many of us it is a deeply important experience that we desire to share with our partners. And like every other part of our relationship, it requires maintenance and care. It’s normal for us to fall into routines and patterns, and isn’t something that we should ever feel bad about, because it also means that we’re reaching a level of intimacy and trust with our partners that is profound and nurturing. It just means that it’s time for us to take a step back, reconnect with our bodies and our desires, and create the space with our partners for both of us to have deeper experiences. This requires communication, vulnerability, and a willingness to put ourselves out there and know what we desire and what is out of our comfort zone. Just like love, sex can be activating - it can trigger all sorts of things in us that we then have to work through on our own and with our partners. But if we’re ready and willing to go deep with another person, chances are you’ll not only have an incredibly sexy experience, but also learn something new about yourself and continue to grow closer to your loved one.



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