Q: Me and my boyfriend have been together for years. We have a great relationship, we have great conversations, do things together and love each other. But I feel like we have come to a point where we barely have sex anymore and honestly it has never really been great. None of us really want to talk about it. How can I approach the situation?
My thoughts: First of all I want you to know that you are not alone - this is so common and I have been there myself. From my perspective this is a question with many layers and this post is just a beginning.
To really make it simple there are, as I see it, three approaches:
1. You learn to live with the situation as it
2. You find your way to make sex great (again)
3. You get out of there
As you probably already figured out I think 1 is a shitty approach so that leaves us with 2 and 3. I would definitely recommend starting at 2 and if needed after that I would argue to not be afraid of 3. I'm going to focus on 2 in this post - Finding a way to make sex great again.
Whether there was ever just sex or great sex in the relationship, the desire in this case, as I read it, is to both bring back sex into the relationship and to make the sex great.
Let's have a look at bringing sex back into the relationship. Often, after a while in a relationship we simply stop prioritising sex as it just doesn't happen by chance anymore. To create a change from where you are at I believe it does start with individual work from both/all partners. But then how do we come back to each other and find our way together? You already know the answer: Communication. Sex and sexuality is a topic that many of us avoid for reasons such as embarrassment and feeling unsure and ashamed. Opening up this vulnerable topic may feel scary af. So I want to offer you a few suggestion on how to open the conversation with your partner:
I have something that I want to share with you that feels really deep and vulnerable - when can we schedule a time for that?
I am longing for more connection/intimacy/pleasure/sex, could we talk about that?
I feel like I want to explore how we can come back to having more sex again - can we find a time to talk about this together?
I am not really sure how to say this, so please allow me some space to share my thoughts...
Then what do we do you do during this time together, the time you have scheduled for talking about sex. You can never know how the conversation will unfold. I want to offer you some ways to start - below are a few suggestions on questions to work with. As a first session together you might just start with decided which questions to explore individually and then set up a new time for when to discuss it together. Allow yourself to take it slow.
What is my relationship with sex?
What beliefs do I have about sex? And about sex in a relationship?
Why is sex important to me/us?
What does sex mean for me/us? How can I/we expand what sex is? (What more can sex be than just penetration?)
How can we prioritize sex in our relationship? And what does each of us need, to be able to prioritize it?
What does masturbation and self pleasure look like for each of us?
Then let's move to the desire of having not just sex but great sex. One thing to start with is to ask yourself what great sex really is and really means to you? And what is great sex for your partner? Envision it, describe it. How does it make you feel? Is it slow? Is it fast? Is it adventurous? Does it include sexy lingerie? What about foreplay? How do you dress? What do do you smell? What do you taste? What does the kisses feel like? Invite all your senses to the vision of great sex. If you have experienced it before then it might be easier to tap into it again, but also make sure your previous experiences doesn't limit you. If you feel like you have not yet experienced great sex, allow yourself to dream big (and again, know that you are not alone). So again, I believe this is both individual work and work together.
To sum it all up, sex is complex but somehow also simple and that a beautiful mystery. I want end this first Q with three last things to remember:
What great sex is for you today, might be different from yesterday and from tomorrow - we are always changing
Have fun - don't take life too serious and don't take sex too serious
This is a journey, and it will will require continuous love, care and commitment
You choose yourself and each other each day.