I know, I know.
Women come to me and in that first session say the words: “I just want our sex life back. I just want things to go back to the way that they were”.
I feel you, I feel you.
This long-term relationship thing is not for the faint at heart. Honestly, where is the warning label that says *Potential for sexual desire and arousal to drop* Did you ever think that you’d be here when you first got together or first sealed the deal?
I for one never imagined that this would be my life’s work when I got married 10 years ago. Nope! Never knew that helping women through the waters of sex, intimacy and relationships would be what was awaiting me.
How covert is all of this sex stuff when it comes to long-term relationships and marriage? No-one gives you a heads up and if they do, it’s something said in jest that doesn’t actually inform or prepare you.
You see, I don’t think any of what I’m about to say should be a secret. I’m going to be frank with you about all that I have learnt about monogamy and staying together for the long-haul.
So much of it, comes back to the mindsets that we adopt (I know, so Tony Robbins, right?) and our expectations. It's a two prong approach.
Are you ready to let go of ‘I just want our sex life back’ and to step forward into what your sex life could be and become?
Yes! Just the answer I was hoping for! (and keep a lookout for that word hope, it is like GOLD when it comes to your sex life).
Phase 1: Mindset Shifts
Can we geek out on a little bit of wordplay together?
Instead of thinking and saying 'I want my sex life back' or 'I just want it to go back to how it used to be' could you try experimenting with some fresssssh terminology like 'I am curious about how the next phase of our relationship will unfold' or 'Things are different now and that could mean that our intimate life is different' or ‘I’m wondering how I/we can invest in our sex life/intimate life…’
'Cos I get concerned that you will get so caught up in wanting things to be the old way when so much has happened since then. You're DIFFERENT. They are DIFFERENT and all those crazy chemical cocktails at play in the early days of you getting together are kinda gone too. What you have together now is deep and I reckon we can start to see that deep bond and love as sexy, sexual and erotic, not just the giddy heights of the early days. That was when you didn't know each other and that desire was peaking because you wanted to know each other. Nowadays, you actually DO know each other (you can picture them brushing their teeth while they are on the toilet now right?)
When I cast my mind back to the early days, sure there was fun and that interest in what was going to happen (lack of certainty can be a turn on) but lack of certainty can also be anxiety provoking. Were you ever all-consumed with what was going to play out between the two of you? I was and so was my brain. It had the searchlights on for a little dopamine hit that let me know we were ON but without that signal, going into sex was a gamble. Gambling can be sexy and exciting but giving your body in this way can be a risk if you aren’t sure where you stand or what’s in it for you.
Remember all that ambiguity?
It's a cheesy saying but it's true...'Don't look back, you're not going that way' and neither is your relationship.
Instead of yearning for a feeling to come back, go claim something else entirely.
Oooh I just got goosebumps for you.
And if there is another way of saying it so you feel like you are looking forward rather than back then please let me know! I’m always open to new ideas!! If it works, work it (yup, you’re going to need crackers – that was cheesy too).
Use your memories of those early days as HOPE. Not hope to get something back but hope that you can have something sexually wonderful together. It will be a different flavour that you haven’t tasted yet.
Phase 2: Expectations
You’ll be shocked to hear I’m a high achiever and I’m willing to make a little punt that you are a high achiever too – you get shit done, you are a bit of a taskmaster and when you hit one goal, you move on and up to the next.
With that mode, it’s natural to set the bar high, like really high. And if you could name that bar, it would be called ‘expectations’.
Expectations set us up when we put them up high but don’t really know how we are going to move from where we are to where we want to be. That gap causes pain and frustration and is a real libido dampener! From where I stand, goals and sex aren’t all that compatible and I had to learn that one the hard way.
When we have a goal or expectation, we put pressure on ourselves. When we expect things to be the way they used to be or to go backwards, we crack it because we are operating against nature. We grow onwards and upwards, not backwards. Re-creating our old sex life from the beginning of our relationship is hard because we know a lot about each other.
The only antidote is to move the bar.
Nudge it down. Seriously.
Drop the expectations of sex being full of passion, excitement, being thrilling or even spontaneous.
It opens it up for some weird magic to come in.
Dropping the pressure and expectation leads you into this big open field of acceptance. Acceptance of how your body has changed, your identity has changed and your love has changed…
If acceptance feels too far from you right now then what about saying ‘this is our reality, this is our real life’ – a simple acknowledgment of what is.
It is easier to insert sex into your real life rather than expect sex to be on this whole other level, completely separate and transcendental from where you actually are (which is grounded, living real world lives).
Writing this I recall starting a hashtag years ago – it makes me think it’s time to revive it. It was #sexrealistic. How refreshing to just enjoy realistic sex. I’m talking…
+Suppressing giggles under the sheets
+Chucking the clean laundry on the floor to make space
+Smiling when there is a touch of vaginal flatulence (this has happened to all of us, right?)
+Allowing all the parts of your body to be gently grabbed, especially the parts you don’t like/aren’t at peace with
+Wearing socks in sex because when your feet are warm, it helps you to stay present
+Tickling to break up the monotony of one type of touch
+Taking a pause/breather when you notice you’ve checked out because it gives you a better chance of getting back into it
And above all, just giving the awkwardness a big old hug and saying…’well, this is awkward’ and start your touch and attention from the least threatening place. Build it up from there. If it’s full blown awkward or uncomfortable, don’t keep doing that thing. Scale it back to a place of safety.
Sex isn’t meant to be on a script, perfectly curated or predictable. It is meant to be a little raw and a little unpredictable.
Start with playing around the mindsets and move into bringing the expectations down into what is realistic. Bring it into your life as it is now rather than leaving it in the past with your memories or projecting it into what your ultimate fantasy is. Maybe you can make a space look like that fantasy once in a while but not all the time. Sex for the most part, is probably going to be in a familiar space so make that space as welcoming to being sexual as you can.
I have complete hope that you won’t need to get your old sex life back because your new one will be so YOU.
P.S. Like I said - you aren't going back...you're going forward only that, sometimes, a little help is needed to do that. I would be so honoured to walk alongside you in an introductory session to point out some of the things you may be struggling to see and to dissolve some of the blocks that are feeling pretty solid right now. Let's see where you are, briefly look back and then look ever forward to this new chapter of your sexual life. Mmm exciting! To book, head straight to my sessions page and we can start talking (and if you book and pay for your intro session before July 31, you beat the gentle price rise!)