Want to know how you can keep your sex life stronger for longer? Keep on reading…
One of the greatest things about being coupled up is having someone you trust to sexually explore with, right? In new hookups, people don’t know our boundaries or the secrets of what we’re really into. In relationships, who better to satisfy up than the one who knows which buttons to push?
I want to believe this idea. But as a sex expert who talks to hundreds of both women and men every year, I’ve come to realise something unsettling. For a large number of couples, the opposite is true.
Most long-term partners know less and less about each other sexually over time. What’s more, if they left their relationship tomorrow and had a one-night stand, many would probably do more of what they wanted with that random individual in one night than they did with the person they love in the last year. A recent study confirms this: The longer our romantic relationships, the less willing we are to risk being sexually novel, the researchers found.
Why does this happen? Well, it’s psychologically easier for us to expose our unshackled desires and introduce new sexual behaviours in hookups. In relationships, we fear offending our partner (“So you haven’t been happy this whole time?”) or receiving their judgment (“You want to bring sex toys into bed? Why?”) or getting embarrassed. The result? Couples who indulge kinks with porn or erotic literature but have the same routine sex with each other.
Maybe this isn’t you. Perhaps you’re part of those lucky few couples who have sex without restraints (or with restraints, if your kinks lean that way). If so, keep swinging from those chandeliers and dripping candle wax on each other’s bodies. But even if you feel sexually in sync, it’s worth asking yourself: “Could there be ways my partner would like to explore that I don’t yet know about?”
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Consider: A study found that when couples are more willing to engage in “sexual transformations” (trying new sexual things to boost their partner’s pleasure), it leads to greatly increased relationship satisfaction. If we want our relationships to last and stay fulfilling, we need a culture of candour where we ask our partner for what we desire in the bedroom and embolden them to do the same. I had a partner say, “Tell me what more could I do to turn you on. What’s something you want to try, even if it’s weird? I want us to have fun exploring each other’s fantasies.” Just like that, I was free to show my real self.
Talking openly about sex isn’t the only way. Making a bold sex move can make our partner feel safe to do the same. Maybe the mere suggestion that you visit an upscale sex shop together (maybe both of you pick something you want to try?) can be enough to show that you are open to the new.
Bridging the gap can also mean creating something from nothing. Let’s say she gives you a light tap on the bum when you’re on top, but you really want her to be more forceful and spank you. Tell her, “When you do that it turns me on thinking about other things I want you to do…like spanking me….”
People yearn for stability and emotional comfort, but we also crave adventure and sexual excitement. Too often, relationships nurture the former and treat the latter as optional. I know this much: If someone is going to agree to have sex with only me from this point forward, the least I can do is commit to doing the best job I can of maintaining excitement.
Hasn’t there been a time when you saw something sexy in a movie and thought, “That’s hot—I wish I could try that”? It’s important to voice those desires and realise your partner’s tastes are constantly changing too. When we start to see our partner as the best person to go to for fulfilling our sexual cravings, we’ll stop believing that the toll of a monogamous relationship is giving up on our dirty little fantasies.
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