Put sex at the top of your priority list
Especially when you're married and have children and your to-do list is filled with work, social commitments, and piles of bills, sex can easily fall low on the totem pole of priorities. But this is one of the biggest mistakes couples can make, says Dawn Michael, PhD, clinical sexologist, relationship expert and author of My Husband Wont Have Sex With Me. "When couples don't make sex a priority, it falls behind everything else—but when sex becomes a priority for both people, each person takes responsibility to initiate it." Make a pact that you'll both be more willing and open to improving your sex life. "When you each know the other is on board, you'll be less intimidated to initiate and more willing to accept your partner's sexual advances," says Claudia Six, PhD, clinical sexologist, relationship coach and author of Erotic Integrity: How To Be True To Yourself Sexually. This also indicates that you're not just waiting for the other person to go first—you're in it together.
Spend 10 minutes kissing with all your clothes on
When we first start dating someone new, we typically start by holding hands, and then move to kissing. But, sadly, kissing slowly goes away as the relationship continues and life becomes more hectic. "When we kiss, specifically with our clothes on, it reminds us what we truly love and are attracted to about our partner and is one of the best things we can do to keep the spark alive," says Rudi Rahbar, PsyD, licensed clinical psychologist. A good place to start is by letting yourselves linger over a six-second kiss when you say goodbye in the morning. "This will give you food for thought throughout the day," suggests Deb Castaldo, PhD, couples and marriage therapist and author of Relationship REBOOT: Tech Support for Love. Consider these ways kissing makes you stronger.
Compliment each other often
There's nothing better than feeling loved and knowing that our partner is attracted to us—and the best way to achieve this is by complimenting one another. "This reminds us that our partner continues to find us attractive, even when we might not feel our best. It helps us feel wanted," says Dr. Rahbar. This reboots warm feelings and minimizes conflict and criticism. Start by telling each other things you appreciate about the other person. This will build a cooperative atmosphere and encourage you both to be more open and willing to explore in the bedroom.
Turn off all electronic devices
In our tech-savvy world, staying connected is more important than ever, for both our professional and personal lives. But becoming too dependent on our phones, computers, and tablets can be sexual sabotage when it comes to maintaining intimacy with our partner. "Devices have become such a ubiquitous part of daily life that people think nothing of interrupting sexy time to respond to a text or email," says Dr. Six. "But there's nothing that can't wait until you're done romancing each other, so turn off phones and computers or leave them out of the bedroom completely so you can fully focus on satisfying one another." These are signs you might be too addicted to your cell phone.
Make your bedroom a sacred space
When you look around your bedroom, does it feel like a place you can let go of your stress? Or is there unfolded laundry in the corner, bills piled on the nightstand, and kids toys under the bed? "It will be difficult for you and your partner to get in the mood for carefree, intimate, connective sex when you're constantly reminded of your other responsibilities," says Celeste Holbrook, PhD, sexual health consultant. "Most of us tend to let our bedroom be the catch-all for rotating clutter, however, treating your bedroom like a sacred space to connect with your partner will immediately lift you into a sensual mindset." Start by cleaning off all the counter tops and moving any laundry, toys, or other items off the floor and into other rooms. This way, you're both released from the burden of your responsibilities—at least until after sexy time.
Don't let rejection be an option for either of you
Sure, there will be days when one or both of you are not in the mood, and that's fine! But rejecting your partner on a consistent basis for no real reason can be taken offensively by the other partner. "Continued rejection is not healthy for the relationship and, if it happens too often, your partner may become angry and withdrawn," warns Dr. Michael. Instead, try to remain open to being sexual with each other even when you're not totally "in the mood." "Don't wait for the planets to line up perfectly to have sex. Just do it," says Dr. Six. "Having sex more frequently tends to make you want to do it more often, so get the ball rolling by saying yes more." Here are 15 signs your relationship is solid as a rock.
Stop comparing your sex life to someone else's
Your sex life is as individual as you are, so holding yourself to someone else's expectations will always disappoint you. This includes the sex you see on TV, the internet or in the stories your friends tell you. "Aim to make your sex life with your partner the most perfect it can be for the two of you," says Dr. Holbrook. "Don't judge what you like and don't like, as these desires are as personal as your fingerprints. Instead, celebrate them!" In other words, give yourself and your partner permission to connect sexually in any way that you want, not just in the ways you think you should. Here's how movie sex is ruining your sex life.
Switch up your sexual script
Everyone has one: the words or actions you say or do around your partner to indicate that you're in the mood to have sex. For many, it might be giving a massage, touching lovingly, or simply asking to have sex. Switching up this script can increase arousal because you won't be checking out mentally due to the same old routine. Remember when you first started dating your partner and your stomach flipped every time you knew you were going to see him or her? You can still harness that same power of anticipation by sending flirty texts or photos during the day. "Giving signals that sex is going to happen and not following through with that only builds anxiety," says Dr. Holbrook. "Instead, you'll want to build anticipation by coming up with new and exciting ways of enticing your partner about what will come later." If sex has cooled down in your relationship, here's how to rekindle the fire.
Be open to discussing your fantasies
"Fantasies are a normal part of sexuality, and sharing them—either in the real world or imagined—can provide tremendous erotic fuel to your relationship," says Dr. Castaldo. When you start opening up with your partner about your desires, it makes sex so much more enjoyable for you both. Start by each writing down your dream sexual experience using adjectives, phrases, descriptions and feelings. After you're both finished writing, read your lists to each other (or at least the things you feel comfortable reading) and talk about how to make those desires come to fruition. "Remember that fantasy is a language used to describe our deepest emotional desires, so if your partner's list includes something you're not comfortable with, think about how you can create the emotions associated with the act," says Dr. Holbrook. Here are habits of couples with steamy sex lives.