Being in a long-term relationship has a ton of benefits, and one of those benefits is the close intimacy shared between you and your partner. However, becoming too comfortable with your partner in terms of your sex life can become quite monotonous. Coming up with new ways to bring excitement back into sex with your significant other can be challenging, so we’ve talked with an expert and a few college women on how to combat this issue.
Couples relationship expert Dr. Diana Kirschner is the author of Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor’s Guide to Lasting Love and a true guru on all things love.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 43 percent of American women and 31 percent of men admitted they had a sexual problem. While there are numerous possibilities for these numbers, Dr. Kirschner says that the biggest issues for couples who experience a lack of sexual fulfillment are that they don’t make sex fun, they don’t experiment and are often afraid to tell each other what they really like in bed.
She suggests that there are four primary ways in which couples can spice up their sex life: novelty, sexual trance, partner engagement and role play.
“Novelty keeps dopamine, the brain chemical associated with exhilaration and ecstasy, going,” says Dr. Kirschner. In non-science terms? Trying out new things during sex can add a boost to your body’s response to sex.
Bringing in a change of scenery is always a fun idea according to Hillary Holmes, a junior at the University of Texas at Austin. “My boyfriend and I live in an apartment together, and to keep things interesting, we attempt at trying to have sex in a different room every week. Sometimes it’s an ultimate fail and we end up laughing, but it brings us closer!” she says.
If you and your partner are a little less daring, trying new positions is a classic, yet efficient way of keeping the spark aflame. Nancy Brown, a sophomore at the University of Iowa, says, “Certain positions can really push the limits – and your muscles – of sexual satisfaction.”
Sexual trance refers to each partner focusing on his or her own pleasure and sensations to create a fulfilling sexual release. The purpose of this is to learn what stimulates your own body and ultimately enhance both you and your partner’s sexual experience. Dr. Kirschner suggests that this can be done by trying different sexual acts such as intercourse and oral sex. “The more you know about each other’s body, the better you and your lover will be able to please each other,” she says. “In order to learn what works for them, try touching, massaging, licking or stimulating all the different parts of their body.”
Jessica Brown, a senior at the University of South Carolina, says that experimenting with stimulating various places on her partner’s body definitely helped with their sexual fulfillment.
“I observed that touching certain places on my body that turned me on didn’t necessarily have the same effect on him,” she says. “I think that’s what most people fall short on; they assume that everything that turns them on automatically turns the other person on as well, which isn’t true.”
Partner engagement is pretty much exactly how it sounds. You and your partner are dedicated to the fullest sexual expression and fulfillment of each other. However, it’s important to never go to the point where there is intolerable pain or physical or emotional trauma. Learn what your partner likes and doesn’t like.
According to Sean Jameson, sex coach and creator of the Bad Girl’s Bible, people tend to be guarded about their sexual fetishes and aren’t as eager to open up about them right away.
“Be adventurous and take the initiative at times with pleasing each other,” Dr. Kirschner adds.
The last type of sexual enhancement is role play. This is where living out your sexual fantasies comes in to play. According to Dr. Kirschner, 95 percent of people report that they have sexual fantasies so there’s no need to feel weird about it!
“Fantasies help each of you to explore all the different aspects of self which frees up energy and loosens you up,” Dr. Kirschner explains. “The excitement and newness of role play keeps the dopamine flowing, which keeps the passion going.”
Some of the more common roles couples choose are the infamous “naughty doctor and patient” and the “naughty cop and lawbreaker.” While it may sound a little silly, once you’re fully into the role, you’ll likely overcome the initial embarrassment and find pleasure.
“My partner and I take a slightly different approach to role play,” says Kelly Richardson, a second year at the University of Florida. “We turn on a porn episode and try our best to mimic what the couple on-screen does. Even if we don’t get the exact position correct, it’s a fun way to get some inspiration.”
With these techniques, rekindling the excitement of sex with your partner can be much less difficult than it seems. The key to remember is that just because your relationship has lasted for a while doesn’t mean your sex life with your partner has to suffer!