I’d like to spice up my sex life with my husband of 15 years

Q I am married 15 years to a man I love. I’d like to spice up our sex life. Do you have any suggestions? We are both in our early 40s and have three children.

A In the beginning, sex was probably great. Then, children arrived and a new kind of intimacy developed, bringing you close in a different way. However, in most long-term relationships there will be times when the sex begins to bore you.

Most would agree that sex is best when it’s honest, caring and fun.

Only the two of you know the sex you had. If you look back, was good sex always about sensation, orgasm and intercourse? For many, this is the meaning of sex. But sharing with your partner allows you find where emotions are in your bodies, where laughter and pain reside, and what it takes to be free and have fun, and be passionate. To have this takes a great level of sharing, and to see the world through their eyes. Being vulnerable can be scary.

So let us start with ‘foreplay’. I want to get away from the idea that this is about warming up for ‘real’ sex, which is regarded by most as intercourse. Think about tender kisses, affectionate touching, and looking in to each other’s eyes as foreplay. The point here is that it is what happens between you when not in bed. In our day-to-day life, how we treat our partner has far more impact on what happens in bed, later, than the few kisses before intercourse. This applies to both parties.

In a long-term relationship, romance is about trust and being there for each other. However, it is vital to remember the little gestures that make the relationship fun. We can all forget the little acknowledgements and appreciation of what our partners do. All this can get forgotten and we expect to hop into bed and connect.

Come up with a few things you two like doing together without your kids. Plan it for you and him.

Enjoy yourselves, but don’t expect it to lead to mind-blowing sex. It takes time to bring back the old feelings of the fun of a date. Lower your expectations and really enjoy being together.

Now, to spice things up: start by discovering what gives you both physical pleasure. A foot or hand massage can be amazing. All over body massage, with or without oils, slowly taking in every part of each other, is very sensual. Don’t rush, and stay with what you are doing rather than thinking about orgasm and penetration. Talk to each other.

Many people assume they know what the other likes. We don’t. Open up to each other and find out what each likes.

Is it a man’s job to give his partner orgasm? What pressure for both. Orgasm is a pleasurable response in your body and is a release of sensations. The connection matters. There are plenty of books available. One I recommend is The Complete Guide to Sexual Fulfilment, by Nitya Lacroix. A fun thing to do is for both of you to go to a bookshop and find a book that might give ideas. But, remember, at the core is connection and fun.

* Marie Daly is a psychosexual therapist

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