Take intimacy out of lovemaking, and it becomes sex, just an act—a physical need, a bodily function. Like hunger, or thirst. Perhaps that's the reason why sex becomes a chore, an obligation for couples as the years go by.
As the passion slowly fizzles out of the union, couples do it for the sake of it, without actually feeling the bliss that they once felt. Gradually, they get together either out of habit, or do it less and less. In worst cases—and there are many out there—they stop doing it altogether.
Age doesn't help things either. The interest dips further, because of the growing dissatisfaction with the way our bodies change. We no longer feel as sexy—one of the reasons why couples prefer making love with the lights turned out or finish doing it fast.
But we need to consciously move beyond body image and become more focused on love and pleasure, according to Sallie Foley, a sex therapist at the University of Michigan Health System.
Further, most people expect their libido to decrease with age. "As the body changes so does the attitude towards sex. The biological urge is not so pressing," says Anne Hooper, UK's leading expert on sex.
"The reaction time may change, but you always have that built-in desire," says Sylvia Hacker, a retired sex educator based in the US. By not fulfilling this desire, we are suppressing our right to the most natural pleasure. Foley suggests that couples need to understand how their bodies change and be open to allowing pleasure in their lives. Because that's in our nature.
Creatures of love
"From the sperm to the worm we are all sexual," says Hacker. Without satisfying sex, we begin to lose the vigour of life and our relationships; it is the foundation of a deep, happy bond between couples.
"Sex is probably the nearest way most people get a glimpse of bliss," says Hooper. And the moment you learn to reignite the spark, intimacy and bliss will be back in your relationship and in your life.
Here are some tips to help you do that.
Caution: These tips have no expiry. They are not for one-time use. For lasting results, make them a part of your lives; a part of your good habits.
Wear sexy to feel sexy: The more time couples spend with each other, the less they care about appealing to the other person. They neglect their bedroom attire, which is very important if you want to feel and look attractive.
So, "use your imagination and think beyond basic lingerie. How about a robe with a matching bra and panty underneath? A tuxedo shirt with nothing else? A tank top with a matching thong? The possibilities are endless," writes Jill Savage in Is there really sex after kids? A mom-to-mom chat on keeping intimacy alive.
Have fun: "Consider how you might use your sexy clothes off in a seductive and inviting manner. Maybe you invite your mate to undress you. Have fun playing together," writes Savage. You don't have to be too serious. Laugh even when you are in bed, pass funny comments on yourself, your blemishes or the situation to really have fun making love.
Talk before, during and after: Don't limit your sexual contact to the bedroom. In fact, good sex starts much before you even touch each other.Talk sex on phone, leave naughty messages to each other—an SMS, voice message or chits at private places. That's how you actually create the intimacy—by building sweet anticipation. Slowly, you'll begin to feel the sparks.
Get out of bed: "If you never make love anywhere except a bed, you are missing opportunities for variety," write Joel D Block and Susan Crain Bakos in Sex over 50. There's a certain thrill and excitement in doing it in places that are actually not meant for lovemaking. For instance, the dining table, or the kitchen counter. any place that is private and comfortable and titillating enough.
Change positions: One of the chief reasons sex seems like a mindless habit to most couples is because they keep doing it the same way, over and over again.
"New sex positions help you find the excitement that's gone missing," say sex book authors Evans Dr Christine and Usher Dr David. Look up the internet, watch porn together or refer to books for inspiration. Agreed that the positions illustrated in the erotica literature, Kamasutra for instance, are not easy for all to try, but you can modify them for your pleasure.
Keep at it: "Frequent sex is one of the key nutrients that feed a loving relationship," says Dr Laura Berman, director of the Berman Center in Chicago, USA. The more sex you have, the closer you'll feel to each other, which in turn will make you want to have more sex!
According to Berman, couples shouldn't go more than two weeks without being sexual. "Ideally, you should shoot for once a week or more," she says. Because once you get hooked, you'll never want to stop.
Sometimes it's neither boredom nor lack of intimacy, but just bad bedroom habits that keep couples from enjoying a blissful sexual relationship. Here we list five most common bad bedroom habits; if you have any, work on ditching them pronto.
Silence: You are not together to do a chore. This is no mission. Talk, comment, or at least make some sound as a feedback to let your partner know how you're feeling. It's the little things you say, the noises you make, the feedback you give verbally and through your body, that breathes passion into the act and even piques it.
Non-initiative: Whether you are the man or the woman, you too have to take the lead and initiate intimate moments. You can't keep waiting for the other one to start and then go along. It's not anyone's job; it's an expression of a feeling and a beautiful experience. When both are equally proactive in making the first moves, lovemaking seems less like a responsibility and becomes more enjoyable.
Body/mouth odour: No matter how attractive you look and how good a lover you are, if you have bad mouth or body odour, you'll ruin the experience for your partner. Take care to be clean and smell good, it's a way of saying to your partner, your feeling good matters to me. Same holds true with other aspects of personal hygiene.
Asking the wrong question: "Did you get an orgasm yet?" or "How was it?" are wrong questions to ask. You are supposed to be clued in to each other's sensations and rhythms, while at the same time allow the other person to linger in the bliss. Questions like these act as mood spoilers, dropping the person from cloud nine with a thud.
Hurrying: Even though life's fast-paced, sex doesn't have to be. There should not be any feeling of rush or hurry. Enjoy the sensations like you have all the time in the world, even though you don't have. Hurrying through lovemaking can make the person feel neglected and used.
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