Saving intimacy for the bedroom
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Many couples get aroused together only when they’re going to have sex, as if arousal was an unhappy state of mind that they’d rather avoid. But the happiest couples make a point to enjoy small moments of excitement even when sex isn’t on the menu.
In sex therapy, we call this “simmering”: Taking a moment to enjoy feeling excited together, before leaving for work in the morning —or before falling asleep together at night. In a long-term relationship, it’s often the simmering more than the sex that keeps you erotically bonded.
Criticizing yourself in bed
We all have limitations in bed. That’s normal. But it’s impossible to have good sex while feeling bad about your body or your skills.
Most of us tend to be hard on ourselves. Our minds generate so-called “Automatic Negative Thoughts,” a term I like because its initials spell the word “ANTs.” ANTs can spoil lovemaking, just like real ants can spoil a picnic.
The best way to handle negative ANTs is not to take them too seriously. As the Buddhists say, “let your thoughts come into your home, but don’t serve them tea.”
Stop giving your ANTs so much attention, and they’ll often get bored and go away.
And guys, for a quick boost, check out exactly how long women actually want sex to last.
Not standing your ground
sirtravelalot/Shutterstock Many people feel that a good relationship is where two people “become one.” But that’s seldom a good idea. It often leads people to deny their differences, to force themselves to be what their partner wants, or to be unable to “stand their ground” when conflicts arise.
That often leads people in relationships to feel anxious and overwhelmed, and to end up avoiding each other.
The happiest relationships are where two people acknowledge one another as fundamentally different. Then each person in the couple can feel comfortable asserting his or her needs, even when those needs are potentially in conflict.
In the short run, that can be challenging. But in the long run, it’s often actually more erotic.
Here are more simple ways to improve your sex life.