By: Michele Bender
When it comes to sex, honeymoons are heavenly, and usually, so are those first blissful months as newlyweds. But you’ve no doubt heard from some married friends that once you’re married, things in the bedroom just may get a little, well, boring. After all, couples get to know each other well and reach a comfort zone – and while this is good for other aspects of your relationship, it can result in your sex life losing some of its spice. What to do? First, realize that very few couples have consistently fabulous sex lives, and ebbs and flows are totally normal. Second, you both should be prepared to put in some effort to keep things interesting. “You simply can’t assume that good sex ‘just happens,’ and that it’s possible for everything to be the same six years in as it was six weeks after you met,” says Tracey Cox, author of Hot Sex (Bantam Books, 2005). “We accept that our bodies and faces age and need work to keep them looking good, yet assume our sex lives will survive without any effort on our part.” This is one case though, when making an effort may be a whole lot easier and more fun than you think. Here, nine tips to stoke the honeymoon sizzle
Keep on kissing
For such a small thing, kissing has a huge impact on your marriage and sex life. In the beginning of your relationship, endless make-out sessions were a given. But you may find, as time goes on, that days can easily pass without even a peck. Even during sex, you may stop locking lips. “Many couples stop kissing when they become too familiar with each other, but this is the first step to a diminishing sex life,” explains Ava Cadell, Ph.D., author of 12 Steps to Everlasting Love (Peters Publishing) and creator of the new board game “Tantric Lovers.” “Kissing passionately not only will keep your sex life alive, it will keep your relationship alive.” Because kissing brings you face to face, it’s the most intimate connection between two people – more so than having sex. Kissing will also remind you of the beginning of your relationship, when you could get turned on just from making out. Hot tip: Twice a day, kiss for at least 12 seconds. Sounds a bit obvious, but trust us: It will keep the fires burning.
Share your desires
You know your partners’ likes and dislikes in the bedroom, right? Think again. “What you want and need will change with the time of the month, the stage of your relationship, your stage in the life cycle, and so on,” says Aline Zoldbrod, Ph.D., coauthor of Sex Talk: Uncensored Exercises for Exploring What Really Turns You On (New Harbinger Publishing). “But because your spouse can’t read your mind – and vice versa – you have to be able to tell the other person what you want.” Speaking up can make all your desires come true, and when that happens sex is sure to stay fresh and fun. “Communication is the number one ingredient for good sex,” says Cadell. “Praise him when he does something you love – and be specific.”Hot tip: Once a month, exchange a wish list of three things that will heighten a romantic or sexual experience for you. For many people, writing them down may be, at least initially, less embarrassing than saying them out loud – do whatever feels best for you.
Talk to your spouse
In these hectic wedding-planning days, it may seem that you spend more time chatting with your vendors than you do with your fiancé. After you’re married, other things, such as career and family responsibilities, will, of course, absorb much time and energy. However, connecting emotionally is what will keep the sizzle in your sex life going long after the honeymoon is over. You will most likely have to make a conscious effort to create “conversation areas” in your daily life together. As Cadell says, the best thing to spend on your partner is time.Hot tip: Get into bed just a bit earlier and snuggle while you talk about all the things you love about each other. Tell him how you appreciate something he did recently, even if it seems relatively minor, like filling your car with gas or stopping at the supermarket without being told. Be sure not to use this special time to complain – just air the good stuff. If you’re morning people, set the alarm 15 minutes ahead so you have time to talk then. If you find that you can’t do this every day, don’t worry – just shoot for as often as possible.
Have a fantasy night
It’s always important to take a break from your day-to-day routine. Once a week or month (depending on how you feel), you and your partner can take turns creating romantic interludes. Use your imagination – this way, the relationship never has a chance to become boring or predictable. Hot tip: Dress up and go out dancing, take a bubble bath together or make love on the dining room table (suit yourselves!).
Try everything (within reason) once
Anything goes – as long as it isn’t done against anyone’s will and no one is hurt physically or emotionally. Cox says that indulging your partner, even if his ideas seem a bit quirky to you, can make sex more interesting. At least try to vary what you do when you have sex. “Doing something you didn’t do last time is a quick, easy way to keep things interesting,” says Cox. Hot tip: Try a different position, clothes on instead of off, different music or time of day – or simply turn yourselves around so you’re facing the opposite end of the bed.
Do it when you’re not in the mood (sometimes)
Okay, most of us modern women may not be used to thinking this way, but the reality is that you and your spouse aren’t always going to be on the same sexual wavelength. He may be in the mood when you’re not and vice versa. The problem? If you put your sex life on the back burner until you’re both ready, you may be in for a long wait. Hot tip: Go along with him occasionally, even if you feel a bit blah – you may actually have a titillating surprise in store. “If he knows how to push your buttons, then having sex when your husband is ready and you’re not means it’s very likely you’ll get aroused once you get going,” says Zoldbrod.
No, we don’t mean working toward six-pack abs or a perky butt. We’re just talking about keeping in good shape by working out and eating right. Why is this so important. “Staying fit makes you feel good about yourself and your body, which makes you feel more confident and possibly more sexual,” says Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., professor of sociology at the University of Washington and author of Lifetime Book of Love and Sex. Exercise produces endorphins that put you in a happy and excited mood, and increases your heart rate; this in turn increases blood flow throughout your body, including all those sensitive spots filled with nerve endings. It’s just what the doctor ordered. Hot tip: Exercise together, whenever possible. Use each other as motivators even when you feel tired. Working out together is also likely to inspire both of you to make healthy food choices.
One reason the honeymoon is such a sexy time is that you’re on vacation. . “You can sleep late, you’re not tired out from your daily routine, you don’t have the usual distractions bothering you,” says Michael Broder, Ph.D., author of The Secrets of Sexual Ecstasy (Alpha Books). “The best thing you can do is re-create those close-to-ideal circumstances as often as possible by putting time aside for sex.” Try regularly escaping with your spouse. “Time away is the cure for so many couples who are in a rut and have lost the magic,” says Cox. Hot tip: If a whole weekend away is unrealistic, aim for one night or just a few hours, even if it means camping in the backyard or stealing an afternoon in a hotel.
Make it a priority
Cox suggests putting sex at the top of your to-do list, not at the bottom. Keeping your sex life front and center is a way of saying to each other that lovemaking and your relationship are extremely important to both of you. And this will keep both of you energized and provide a sense of well-being that will make your life together as satisfying as you know it can be. Hot tip: Whenever possible, have sex before you start dinner or before you go out for the evening, instead of waiting until afterward. This way, you’ve got plenty of energy and sex becomes the main event.
All of these suggestions will take some thought and planning on both of your parts, but luckily this kind of work is fun—and you just can’t beat the payoff in a closer, more intimate relationship.